A couple of weeks ago my daughter was trying to figure out what to be for Halloween, and it came down to either a black cat or a zombie. Immediately my mind went to a book I wrote in 2003 called Braid Crazy (Chronicle), in which I showed how to get crafty with braids, including a tutorial on braided cat ears. So I cat-braided my daughter’s hair to see if that would inspire her to make a decision. She loved them! And decided that yes, she’ll be a cat, for at least half of the four Halloween festivities she’s got lined up this year. (For the zombie look all you have to do is make 20 braids the night before, unbraid them the following morning, backcomb or tease the top of the newly kinked hair, and spray with hairspray.)

The following is a re-photographed and slightly rewritten version of my book’s “Catty Grrrl” braids. I love that we don’t have to buy any headpieces for my daughter’s costume(s), and that these handmade ears cost only pennies to make. For variations, add a red bow to the base of the left ear for a Hello Kitty look, or round them out into circles and say, “squeak!”

Project originally posted on CRAFT.

Project Steps

Use a comb to make a center part in the hair. Lightly spray the hair with water so that it is slightly damp. This will make it easier to braid and will help contain those irksome loose wispy “fly-away” strands.

Make two thin ponytails on top of the head, using hair that borders the forehead and center part. Secure each ponytail with a rubber band.

Slip one pipe cleaner underneath each rubber band and secure it by bending the top tip of the pipe cleaner down over the rubber band.

Braid each ponytail, dividing the hair into two sections and using the pipe cleaner as the third section. Secure the ends with the small rubber bands. Trim the pipe cleaners to size.

Crease each braid 2″ – 3″ from the rubber band, creating a cat ear. You may have to give the crease a good pinch to make it pointy.

Pin down your ear with bobby pins, then wrap the rest of the braid around the base of the cat ear.

Tuck the end of the braid underneath the wrapped base and secure with more bobby pins. Add hair spray just for extra help. A kitty-cat you are!