How to Braid Horsehair Key Chains

Written by kent page mcgroarty
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How to Braid Horsehair Key Chains
Fashion a keychain out of horsehair. (horse image by ann triling from Fotolia.com)

Horsehair from the tail of a horse is used to make a number of crafts including jewellery, belts, bridles and key chains. Such hair is very durable and can last an extremely long time when cleaned well and properly braided. Braid horsehair as you would human hair, whether in the traditional three-strand braid, french braid or something more ornate. It is ideal if you or someone you know has access to a horse. If not, there are several online resources for obtaining horsehair; check out the reference section of this article for further information.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Rubber bands
  • Metal key holder ring
  • 15 strands of horsehair, at least 19 inches long
  • Shampoo
  • Comb
  • Scissors
  • Measuring stick or ruler
  • Notice board and tacks OR heavy book
  • Glue
  • Ribbon

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use a measuring stick or ruler to measure at least 19 inches of hair off the horse's tail. Cut 15 or more hairs with a sharp pair of scissors from the underside of the horse's tail. Doing this prevents any missing hair from showing. Take the hair and band one end together with a rubber band. Hold the hair at the banded end and comb the hair, allowing any smaller pieces of hair to fall away.

  2. 2

    Bind each end of the hair with rubber bands. Shampoo the hair, and allow it to air dry. Comb through once more after the hair has dried completely.

    How to Braid Horsehair Key Chains
    Rubber bands (Messy Rubber Bands image by MrGreenBug from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Remove one of the rubber bands. Pin banded end to a notice board with a tack, or hold down banded end with a book or something heavy. Use whatever you are comfortable with, as long as the banded end is kept in place. Braid hair however you wish. Beginners will most likely find the traditional three-strand braid the easiest. Work such a braid by separating the hairs into three sections: right, middle, and left. First take the left section and cross it over the middle section. The original left section is now the middle section. Next cross the right section over the middle section, making the original right section the middle section. Repeat; keep all sections separate and tighten by pulling the sections away from each other. French braiding is another option. Do this by dividing a smaller section at the crown (or in this case, "top of the key chain") into three sections as you would for a regular braid. There still should be plenty of hair on either side when you begin to braid. As you go down the braid, add small sections of hair from the right and left sides into the braid. This will plait the hair.

    How to Braid Horsehair Key Chains
    Books (OLD BOOKS image by brelsbil from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    Glue each end of the braid together. Add coloured ribbon to each end for a special touch. Carefully place a metal key holder ring below the glue at the top of the braid, making sure you do not upset the braid. The ring should go through the hair. Also consider making an extra loop in the braid for attaching the key ring, or attaching more ribbon or string to the braid to put the key ring through.

    How to Braid Horsehair Key Chains
    Metal key ring holder with keys. (Two metal keys image by terex from Fotolia.com)

Tips and warnings

  • Feel free to create any pattern or braids you want. Also try braiding more than one braid and sewing the braids together. If you have access to more than one horse with different coloured hair, try weaving more than one coloured hair together. Use horsehair for hat bands, dog collars, picture frames, and much more. Braids, including french braids, can also be done on the horses themselves. Just be sure to leave some hair undone so the horse can swat flies.
  • Horsehair can fray from too much rubbing.

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