If you don't have the hairy feet, no one
will catch on that you're a hobbit. So, how to make your feet hairier
than they may already be:
First I tried simply taking a mat of wool (some people use doll hair)
and gluing it on my foot using sock glue. It worked ok, but it still
sorta looked like a mat of stuff
Now other people have taken clippings of
their own hair, or used doll hair and glued the curls down on their
using spirit gum. Personally, I find that the hair all lies flat and
doesn't look right, so I didn't want to do that.
Carolyn, of OneRingCircus, has
taken to making patches that she sticks
on her feet. Basically, you start with a piece of pantyhose cut to the
size you want, coat it with liquid latex, and then start applying small
bits of hair to the top side of it. When it dries, you have a reusable
hair patch (that looks a little like a skinned rat!). She's got a study
page showing how to do this at <Carolyn's
Frodo Costume Feet
> . Now, I made a couple of errors when I
this. First, I slid a stocking over my foot (having applies the liquid
latex to hold it in place) and then I cut around leaving the foot
patch. I figured this way it would be exactly where I wanted it. Wrong
on two counts! First, you don't want it stretched ahead of time,
because then when you peel it off it returns to unstretched size and
just makes a mess and doesn't reuse as well. Second..... shave your
first. It's really painful pulling that stuff off what little hair you
may have! Oh, and shave it with water or cream - don't dry shave; that
irritated skin really doesn't like the ammonia in the liquid latex. ow.
So my trials with Carolyn's feet
didn't work out too well (but my
friend had fun ripping the piece off my poor foot!), although I've seen
hers on her and it looks good.
Leah, also of OneRingCircus, has
gone one step further with making hair
patches. She actually got chosen by Weta to be made up in an actual
movie hobbit costume for a ComicCon, and have their pro makeup people
their thing. So she has seen the hobbit foot prosthetics and separate
hair wigs (did you know they are separate pieces? There's really not
much hair on the actual 'shoe') up close and personal. Leah decided to
try the professional way of using actual wiglace, and using a
ventilating tool to handknot each hair on to it. You can see her
efforts at creating Sam's feet at <hobbit feet
I've seen her feet also, and they look good.
netting that matches your skin
So I decided to give this method a try. But wig lace is far too
expensive for my tastes and so is the tool for it. I talked with a
friend who has made beards and she showed me: start with maybe 1/4yd of
netting. Not tulle - although you can use that also - but netting. A
quarter yard will make probably about 5 pairs or so, and only cost
$0.25 or so. Plenty to practice on. Oh, and get a color that matches
your skin tone as best as possible, I found the 'peach' completely
disappears against my skin, but the ivory is also a good match. then
you get this little tool called a 'knit picker'. It's sold in a blister
pack and looks just like the small seam rippers -same size, same blue
handle and clear cover - but instead of having the ripper point, this
has a teeny tiny latch hook on it! It's meant for reaching through from
the back of knits to pull any snags to the back so you don't see them.
That's why it's called a 'knit picker'. But, since it's a teeny latch
hook, it will tie knots just like in hooking rugs. But on a teeny
scale. Just what you want to do. And it only costs barely $2. That's
all you need for tools. Get some doll hair (personally I still have a
LOT of that spelsau wool batting) or something that when folded in half
will be close to the length you want, and a flexible piece of paper to
use as a pattern.
draw a pattern
Take the paper (I found a napkin to be handy) and trace the shape you
want covered with hair on your foot. Now put the paper on your foot and
draw on the paper, don't draw on your foot! A napkin is just nice and
flexible and will drape nicely. You probably do NOT want to go
above the bend of your ankle, the glue won't hold it well when you
flexing your foot. Don't worry, having the hair just on the top
of your foot looks fine. Once you have your pattern, sit down
with a good long movie and get comfy. Make sure you have good light.
Place the netting on top of the pattern so you can see where your edges
will be. No, it won't work to keep the pattern underneath all the time,
just trust me, and you probably don't want to try to draw the pattern
onto the netting either.
Begin towards the toe of the
pattern and work back towards the ankle.
This way your hairs will overlap each other in a more normal 'growth'
pattern and your hair will grow over your feet and toes (if it's long
enough) and not up your leg. Cut a piece of the netting a bit larger
than your pattern so that it's easier to hold. It's netting, so you
don't need to finish the edges, but you will want a little bit of an
edge for easy handling when it's finished.
poke the knit-picker through the
Poke the hook under a line of the netting (notice it's all hexagonal
lines? I found it easier to work horizontally) and come up through it.
Now you have a 'thread' of the netting on your hook across the neck -
you went under and out with the tool.
pick up a few strands of hair
Make sure the latch of the tool is open and pick up the loop of maybe 4
hairs or less that you are holding in a U shape (folded in half) with
your other hand. As you pull the tool back out of the netting,
you'll see the latch close (it closes because that 'thread' of the
netting pushes it closed!).
pull the loop through, and pull the
Now once it's pulled some of the loop out, push the tool forwards again
(on top of the netting) so that the latch opens and you can catch the
remaining tuft of that loop of hair (the original loop is now down the
shaft of the tool) and pull it through the loop. It makes a knot around
the 'thread' of the netting.
tighten the knot
Last thing you want to do is to give it a good tug with your fingers
and tighten that knot. A loose knot will look really ugly when you're
finished, and it's a lot harder to get through the wispy hairs after
the fact. And yes, they do tend to loosen as time goes. the tighter the
better to start.
plan your next knot from your pattern
So do a line of these tiny knots, probably skipping a hole or two for
spacing. If you don't space out your knots, it will be much too full
and work more for a beard! Just look at your arm and see that the hairs
really are spaced apart a bit. That's what you want to simulate. Check
against your pattern to see how long a line you need to knot.
When you get ready for the second line, stagger it like a checkers
board. If you don't, you'll have hair growing in straight lines like an
orchard and it will look very strange. hair is much more random than
Keep checking against your pattern for where you want to start and stop
your rows (don't expect it to be all like a straight box, sometimes
wider and sometimes it's narrower - at least it is on my foot - I want
it longer over my big toe than over my little toes). It's really pretty
easy. Almost mind numbing once you get the hang of the latch hooking
(that's why you want a good movie you don't need to watch too hard. I
By the way, be prepared to make at least 3 toupees: the first one,
while you'll be very proud of it, the next day you'll look at it and
think it looks like hair plugs! You'll get better each time and they'll
really start to look like hair on your foot.
When you've finished one foot wig, trim the border of the netting to
the approximate size and shape. Feel free to trim the hairs a little
shorter to fit well on your feet Leave a little bit of a border,
because when you glue it down you don't want to be holding onto the
hair! As to the gluing...
Well, my first thought was of
course sock glue. It worked fairly nicely
for the mats so I tried it for the wigs. eh.... not so good. Couldn't
get it to stick enough to the netting and my edges kept coming up. I
kept checking all night long to make sure I didn't lose one.
<sigh> Next I tried liquid latex on a very small sample piece I
made to get used to the hooking technique. Bad idea DON'T DO IT!
The liquid latex sunk into the hair and just made a terrible mess
to stick it on (and it's very difficult getting the stuff off hair - if
you've ever used it around your ears, you'll know). When it dried and I
went to pull it off I was terrified of ripping the netting apart. Not
really a reausable method. Don't go there.
Ok, that left spirit gum. For
some reason I always want to avoid using
the stuff. I don't know why. But I tried it for a convention and it was
fine. I outlined the area where the patch
go, I didn't
entire underside. I tapped the wig into place - be careful, like any
adhesive it's on your fingers and when you press into the stuff the
will want to stick to you when you take your hand away. But it held the
edges just fine,
you really can't see the netting edge unless you look hard for it. When
it came time to remove it, I just peeled it off - no remover, it really
didn't seem to need it, then I washed my feet to remove the adhesive
there. And that's it. I can reuse them without any problem, they work
Oh yeah. There is still the pesky problem of 'no shoes - no service'.
There's a couple of ways to get around that. I bought a product called
'Sticky Shoes' but they seem to be out of business. However someone new
is taking up the slack! The business is called Stick2Feet
they seem to be the same thing although they're low on solid colors
right now. They are
interesting, it's basically a thin flip-flop sole with adhesive so that
it sticks to your entire foot and you don't need a thong. You can trim
them with scissors to your own foot size and shape. Feels really
when you peel them off. I would strongly suggest if you want to try to
buy a pair, that you call them on the phone to order. Another solution
is what Leah did: buy a pair of flip-flops, pull out the thong and
replace it with clear plastic instead. Just be careful how the thong
will interact with the foot wig! You may even want to consider making
it in pieces to put around the thong (never tried it, but you probably
And if you can't get the
Stick2Feet, and you don't want even a clear thong messing up your foot
hair, you can try my version: buy a flip-flop (in season you can
get them for $1!), pull off the thong and throw it away. Go to a wig
store and buy some wig/toupee tape: it comes in regular strips the size
of bandaids (50 to a box usually) or ask for "hurricane strength" that
will probably come on a roll. Wash and dry your feet well, and put on 2
or 3 strips of tape: one across the ball of your foot, one from the
heel up the side of your foot, and if you are particularly flat footed
you might want a third strip from your heel closer to your arch. Then
step onto the flip-flop starting at the heel and slowly roll your foot
onto it. Stand firmly for a few seconds to adhere it well. On me they
are good all day. If you have particularly sweaty feet you might want
to try some spray anti-perspirant first, just make sure it's good and
dry before you put the tape on.