A photo montage of about 4 evening's worth of work towards a commissioned grey cat tail.
After wearing for multiple hours, the fur that contacts your body most consistently begins to flatten down.
Expect to have twigs and branches snare in your tail if you make it overly long! Bring the wire bristle brush with you to game if you think that'll bother you.
- 3 colours of bulky yarn,
- zip ties
- web belt
- 2ft length of chain - preferably metal
- wire bristle brush - fine wired cat or dog brush works well
I think one of my favourite perks about this tail is that there's the potential for it to be vegan! I have a wool allergy, and I used 100% acrylic yarn.
Throughout construction, you're going to want to be able to keep the tail taut. I used a lanyard and a zip tie to change the length. I would sometimes loop the tie over my big toe and go from there, but it's also possible to use a coat hanger + doorknob :)
I've started laying out the markings. This is a striped kitty tail, so I've designated approximately where the bands of black and grey will be, as well as having indicated the bottom links where the pale underside will be.
Taa daa! There's the underside.
Starting to show the alternating markings.
It's starting to look pretty good, right? If you like this look, you could probably stop here.
If you want a smooth, fluffy look, this step is very important (and time intensive): unravel every piece of yarn. Every piece.
If you don't, your tail will look less foofy, and more like dreads.
If you WANT dreads, then by all means! They also look awesome!
TAA DAA, YOUR TAIL IS DONE
That's just the fibre that's combed out.
(Kiera-Oona's side note: If you know someone who will take the recycled floof you comb out, you can always give it to them as acrylic stuffing, or to use as spinning fiber for their next yarn batch)
Here it is! Stripey kitty tail that moves and swings!
I use nylon web belts and a zip tie to fasten the tail to them. These belts are thin and adjustable, and you can wear them under your clothing to make the tail look like it's actually attached to you
Kiera-Oona: Thanks again Chinburd, for such an awesome tutorial!
A note or two about the chain tails. After making one ourselves (me and my hubby that is), be sure to pick out a lightweight chain. Especially if you have a few back issues. Secondly, my hubby's tail has been larp tested, but we noticed it picks up alot of leaves and such, but we might have found a remedy for this. The potential remedy is 'leave in hair conditioner' It helps keep it silky, it doesn't take more floof out of the tail when you brush it after you apply the hair conditioner. It also makes brushing out leaves and dirt a lot easier.
If you want to make a tail that is noticeably lighter, braid a chunky centre of yarn to work with as your base instead of a chain. You can knot it at the top and bottom and use a clip, or macreme a loop for a belt at the top of your tail.
Update 3.0 - Cleaning and care tips from Kiera-Oona
After wear and tear, especially outdoors, I've found that you'll get all sorts of leaves, grass, and possibly burrs in your tail. I highly recommend for caring for your tail is spray in some leave in hair conditioner, then brush out the grass and burrs, fluff it out and let it hang to dry. This will help prevent pulling more fluff out of your tail, it will help make it smell great, and the stuff they put in the leave in hair conditioner will make it a bit easier for the grass n' stuff to slide out.
If your tail gets really dirty, you can soak it in cool water with a bit of laundry soap (or possibly even shampoo), squeeze it out, comb the major knots out with your fingers, and hang to dry, then use the leave in hair conditioner and your fine brush to gently brush it all out.
To make your leave-in hair conditioner go a bit further, you can thin it down a bit with water before putting it on your tail.
Try to avoid shampoos or laundry detergent with tea tree oil in it. It could melt or degrade the acrylic yarn.