Creating a snazzy braided tail is surprisingly easy. You will need the following:
- A strip of mohair or viscose hair swatch long enough and wide enough for a tail
- A pipe cleaner close to the colour of the hair
- Tacky glue
- Sewing thread to match the hair
- Embroidery thread to match the hair
- A fine-tooth comb or clean, dry toothbrush
- Clothes pin or other strong clip
First take the pipe cleaner, fold it in half, pinch the folded tip tightly to compress it as much as possible, and then tightly twist the entire length. The folded tip will be the end of your tail, the part with the two exposed wires will go into your model.
Poke the pipe cleaner into your model's tail hole and measure where the end falls. This is your dock so you want it to come almost down the curve of the bum. Adjust your length accordingly, trimming the wire from the end which goes in the model. Make sure a good quarter to half an inch at least goes into the model for a good hold.
Now that the dock has been prepared, take the hair swatch and lay it glue side up (the shiny side of the glue tab). Run a thin line of glue along the glue tab. Only a very thin line is needed here.
Lay the dock on the glue as shown with the internal section of wire sticking above the glue line and the external part of the dock laying down the line of the hair.
Now, begin rolling the dock up in the hair swatch. This should be done tightly, but slowly, taking the time to smooth the tail hair as you go so it does not tangle.
Your finished tail should look something like this:
Place your clip along the length of the glued section of the tail and leave it to dry completely.
Once the tail has dried, gently comb it or brush it with the tooth brush to smooth the hair. Cut a goodly length of thread and thread the needle, and knot the end of the thread.
At the top of the glue tab, push the needle through the entire thickness of the tail. Wrap it around the top a few times to tighten the hold.
Now, very tightly, and as evenly as possible, wind the thread around the tail down the length of the dock. Leave some slight spaces, you don't want it to be solid thread.
When you reach the bottom of the dock, wrap your way back up the tail and knot a loop off at the top.
Spread a bit of glue over the thread covering the glue tab at the top of the tail to secure the hold.
Your tail should now look something like this. Leave it until the glue at the top has dried completely.
Now take six strands of the embroidery thread - I like to make them about a foot long to give enough to grip - divide them into pairs and make a three stranded braid. Knot tightly at the top and bottom.
Measure the braid against the wrapped section of your tail and the internal part of the wire. You want the bottom end to stop with a knot, mark on the braid where it needs to be cut at the other end, but don't cut it yet.
Trim the ends of the thread close to the base of the knot and daub with glue. At the other end of the length needed of braid, daub the braid with glue and let it dry. When the glue is dry, cut just at the end of the glued section.
If you want your tail to end in a loop or something else, don't end the braid section at the knot, create a glue section at both ends of the length of braid you want and cut as mentioned above.
Now that the braid has been prepared, thread the needle again, knot the thread, and run it through the braid just at the knotted end.
Decide which part of the tail is going to be the upper side and push the needle through the bottom of the thread-wrapped section and draw it tight so that the knot is flush against the tail.
Hold the braid as straight as possible along the length of the tail and start stitching. You want to go through the braid from the top, come around the dock in a loop, and go through the braid again from the top, so that you are wrapping and stitching.
Once you reach the top, wrap your thread a few times around the internal wire and braid, and knot it off. The excess braid can be trimmed then.
Installing the tail is just like installing a regular tail. Squeeze some glue into the tail hole, use a tooth pick to rub some around the mouth of the hole, and then insert tail. Once it's dry, you can position the tail as desired.