Plains Style Breastplate
The Hairpipe Breastplate was invented by the Comanche in the 1850s and adopted by many other tribes of the Great Plains. The term “Hairpipe” is used to describe the long, slim, hollow beads made from animal bone that are used to make Breastplates.
How to make a Plains Style Breastplate – 36 rows long:
- 4 36 Hole Breastplate Strips
- 70 4” Hairpipe (Plastic or Bone)
- 11 Yards Imitation Sinew
- 72” Deerskin Leather Lacing
- Deerskin Leather for Fringe
- 216 Glass Crow Beads
- 36 Glass Crow Beads in a contrasting color
You can purchase your own materials separately or purchase a Plains Style Breastplate Kit from the Wandering Bull with all of the materials you need to make your Plains Style Breastplate!
Assembling the Plains Style Breastplate:
Read all directions before beginning to construct your Breastplate.
1. Knot one end of the 11 yard piece of Imitation Sinew. To avoid adding additional knots, do not cut the piece shorter. Use it as one piece and work slowly to avoid tangling.
2. Begin at point A1 in the diagram and continue threading the breastplate as illustrated in the diagram. Remember to begin with the second row of holes on each leather strip, because the first row will be used to fasten the Deerskin Leather Lacing to hang the breastplate around your neck. While threading, draw the Imitation Sinew completely through each row, but do not pull it too tightly. After threading the last row, knot the Imitation Sinew.
3. Cut the 72” Deerskin Leather Lacing into pieces. One 20” piece is for the neck, one 16” piece is for the top row, and the remainder is for the waist ties. Fasten the Deerskin Leather Lacing for the top row as illustrated. Tie the neck piece to the Deerskin Leather Lacing on the top row (B). Hang the breastplate around your neck to determine where the waist ties should be attached. Attach the waist ties by knotting the Deerskin Leather Lacing on the breastplate strip (as shown in C).
Add Fringe to your Breastplate:
4. Carefully cut the pieces of soft Deerskin Leather into 34 pieces of fringe, 4”-5” long about 1/16” thick. Attach the fringe as illustrated (D), one to each loop of cord on the outer edges.
Customize Your Breastplate:
5. The small drawings on the right of the illustration (F) offer alternative patterns that may be created with Glass Crow Beads.
A shell Concho, mirror or other small decoration may be added to the center top front of the Breastplate for added ornamentation.
The Wandering Bull Native American Trading Post offers several Native American Regalia Craft Kits. Click Here to see all of our kits!