How to Recreate Cleopatra's Hair Do


On the side, you will see a picture of Cleopatra.  When you think of her hair, you vision braids, hair ornaments and a head dress.  At the time, women would have wigs with braids falling to their breast. 


Let's say, this is the printed canvas which you would like to work.  You may wish think of the picture in "cartoon" form.  On the right, you will see a line drawing of the picture. 

Threads which are a good choice for hair are sock knitting wool, pearl cotton, The Gentle Arts, embroidery floss, Persian wool and Excellent Productioin in Craft (EPiC).  I like to use sock wool for hair.  It simulates the real thing and is also easier to manipulate into hair like styles.

To make the braids, I worked along the hair line where the part took place.  The drawing on the right will show the placement of the braids.  Three strands of wool was placed in the needle.  You will work in the exact part line.  Your needle will go down the canvas and back up the very next available hole which is on the part.  Then the strands were divided in to 3 groups and and braided.  The braid should be long enough to cover the curve and down the length of hair.  (see picture)


The hair may need partial braids to cover the entire area.  To do so, start where you see void canvas and make the braid.  The end should meet with the rest.


You can see the left side of the face.  Here, a long braid was created.  A second braid starts at her cheek bone.  Smaller braids were created as you travel "around to the back of the head."


Braid Ribbons

The braid decoration was achieved by using Plate.  To create crimp on the plate, you will use your thumb nail and push the plate into a clean bolt.  Push the plate into the groves until you have made enough for your decoration.  The plate was couched down over the braids.

Head Band

Cleopatra's head band was created by stitching 2 rows of Kreinik 3/8" Trim which was stitched down with waxed silk thread.  The ends were plunged down.




Rolled Pearl Purl

To create the ornament on the head band, Pearl Purl was stretched out of shape and wrapped around a large needle.  The bottom portion was secured to resembel a snake.  (The upper portion is free which creates a 3D snake.)  A second spiral was formed.  This was attached on both sides of the snake.

Please note:  The head dress should be worked after you have finised the background if it is to be stitched.  If not, you may wish to protect the snake area with a white cloth which has been tacked down.