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Gustoweh Headdress Instructions

Gustoweh Headdress Instructions

Gustoweh Headdress Instructions

An Eastern Woodland Gustoweh (“Real Hat”) is a traditional Native American headdress. This is one of the most appropriate headdresses for Eastern Woodlands Indian Regalia. Follow these Gustoweh Headdress Instructions to make your own ‘Real Hat’!

Materials Needed:

You can acquire these materials separately or purchase a Gustoweh Headdress Kit from the Wandering Bull with the supplies you need to make a Gustoweh!

Create the Frame:

Gustoweh Headdress InstructionsTo construct the frame, wrap a piece of the Wood Splint around your head.  This browband should rest about 1” above your eyebrows and at the top of your ears. Do not make it too tight because you will wrap the frame with fabric.  Overlap the ends of the Wood Splints about 2” at the back. Secure the ends with the Tape. Use additional Wood Splints to make 2 cross pieces over the top of the frame. Place one from front to back and one from one side to the other.  Place the browband on your head and measure each piece so it starts and ends at the browband and rests lightly on the top of your head.  Secure these with the Tape as shown.

Cover the Frame:

Use Fabric Strips to cover the frame. Start at the back of the frame and completely wrap the browband part of the Gustoweh Headdress Instructionsframe.  Sew or glue the loose ends together.  Sew or glue a new strip to the fabric on the browband and wrap the cross pieces.  Wrap carefully, because a neat wrapping will be more comfortable to wear.  Sew or glue the loose end to the fabric.

Note: The Mohawk and Onandaga style Gustowehs leave the wrapped frame exposed, so you do not need to cover the frame with the larger piece of Fabric.  For Oneida, Seneca, Tuscarora and Cayuga styles, continuGustoweh Headdress Instructionse with the next step.

Use the 10″ x 26″ piece of Fabric to cover the entire frame. Using a whip stitch, start at the back and attach the long side of the Fabric to the bottom edge of the browband with the needle and thread.  Then gather the top edge and loosely stitch the fabric together overlapping the edges.  The fabric should stay loose, and not tight like a skullcap.  You will aGustoweh Headdress Instructionsttach the Sockets to the top next.

Prepare the Feather Sockets:

Choose the Gustoweh Style you will make to determine the number of Feather Sockets you will use.

Feather Sockets hold the Feathers on the top of the Gustoweh. You can make Sockets from old wood thread spools, old plastic film canisters or a piece of wood 1″ in diameter x 1.5″ long.  Drill a hole vertically through the center of your socket if there isn’t one.  Then drill two holGustoweh Headdress Instructionses on opposite sides near one end of the socket.

You can use a wire coat hanger or a similar gauge wire for the pins. You will need two 4″ long wires for each feather. Use Needle Nose Pliers to bend a 1/4” eye in one end of one wire for each feather.  Insert the Pins with the 1/4” eye into the Feather Sockets so the eye goes to the bottom.  Run the remaining pin pieces horizontally through the holes at the bottom of the Feather Socket so it catches the 1/4” eye and holds it in place.

This will allow the pin to wiggle inside the Socket, and the attached feather will move when the headdress is worn.

Attach the Feather Sockets:Gustoweh Headdress Instructions

To attach the Feather Sockets & Pins to the Gustoweh Frame, bend the ends of the horizontal Pins down.  Place the bent ends so they straddle the top Wood Splint. Gently push the Pins through the Fabric. Then bring the ends of the Pins together around the Splint and twist them to hold the Socket in place. Repeat these steps for the number of Sockets you are using.  Place the first Socket at the top leaning to the back.  Attach additional Sockets down the back.

Create Feather Strips:

Gustoweh Headdress InstructionsStrip the webbing from the Barred Wing Turkey feathers to make wavy, loose feather stripsGustoweh Headdress Instructions.  Carefully pull the feather sides down and away from the center quill starting at the top of the feather.  It may take a few practice peels to get the knack of the process.  Peel all of the Barred Wing Feathers (not the Bronze Turkey Tail Feathers). You can use all of the pieces, regardless of size.

Take 8 of the peeled feather strips at a time and wrap thread around the bottoms to make feather bundles.  Add some glue to hold the feathers and thread in place.

Sew the feGustoweh Headdress Instructionsather strip bundles securely to the Fabric or the Fabric Strips. Start at the base of the Feather Sockets. Attach shorter bundles to the front and the longer ones towards the back. Space them evenly apart and arrange as many as you need to get the look you want.

Add one Bronze Turkey Tail Feather to each pin on the top. Snip the bottom of the Bronze Tail Feathers off to expose the hollow part of the feather quill.  Slide the Bronze Turkey Tail feather on to the pin.  You can remove the Bronze Turkey Tail Feathers for storage & transportation.

Decorate your Gustoweh:

You can add a Gustoweh Band, Beadwork, a Wampum Bead Strip or Metal Brooches to your Gustoweh.  Find everything you need at!

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porcupine roach

Making a Porcupine Roach

The  Porcupine Roach is one of the most beautiful and practical headpieces of the North American Indian. Many different men’s dance styles use porcupine roaches.  The following directions will show you how to make a long porcupine roach.   You can also use the same technique to make a shorter or a round porcupine roach.

Materials Needed:

  • Porcupine hair
  • Roach Base
  • Imitation Sinew
  • Deer Tails
  • Large Needle
  • Scissors
  • Frame for tying rows of hair
  • Glass Jar/ Cup  approx. 4″ tall x 3″ wide (to hold the Porcupine hair)
  • Roach Stick (a 2.5″ dowel 6″ longer than the finished roach – with a nail in the top to hold the roach in place)
  • Elastic style bandage for wrapping completed roach

Continue reading Porcupine Roach Instructions

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Cowrie Shell Necklace 

Native Americans have traded Cowrie shells amongst themselves for hundreds of years. They use these shells to decorate their clothing and to make jewelry.  The European traders brought glass beads to trade with the Native Americans.  These beads were eagerly adopted by Natives and also used them to create jewelry. Our Cowrie shell necklace is a very traditional, yet simple necklace to make, so you can show off your new necklace in no time at all! Continue reading How to make a Cowrie Shell Necklace

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breastplate instructions plains style

Plains Style Breastplate 

The Hairpipe Breastplate has historically been associated with the Comanche. They were first created in the mid 19th century  and were 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:

You can make a longer Breastplate by using more Hairpipe and longer Breastplate  strips

Continue reading Breastplate Plains Style Instructions

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Chicken Dance Bell Kit Instructions

It’s Easy to Make your own Chicken Dance Bells!

Use the Chicken Dance Bell Kit Instructions by The Wandering Bull Native American Trading Post to made your own Chicken Dance Bells. Chicken Dance Bells are long enough to extend from the waist to the ankle. They are tied in three places, at the ankle, just above the knee and to a belt at the waist. The Wandering Bull Trading Post has everything you need to make your own Chicken Dance Bells. Use the suggested supplies here, or customize your Chicken Dance Bells with your preferred supplies. Continue reading Chicken Dance Bell Instructions

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Silver Bolo Tie

What is a Bolo Tie?

A Bolo TieSilver Bolo Tie is kind of a cross between a necktie and a necklace.  They are often made with a braided leather cord with decorative metal tips on the ends.  The focus of the Bolo Tie is a slide that features a decorative item like a stone cabochon, a beaded rosette, a silver concho, or other items that have a flat back that can be attached to the slide. Continue reading Make Your Own Bolo Tie!

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Deerskin Lacing - Lace Maker Tool

Deerskin Lacing for Native American Crafts

Deerskin lacing is great for Native American craft-making. You can use it for stringing and tying jewelry (chokers, bracelets and more), garment lacing, making fringe, braiding a headband, or wrapping a metal ring to make a dream catcher. These are just a few examples of uses for soft deerskin leather lace. Here at The Wandering Bull, we cut our own Top Grain Deerskin into Continue reading Deerskin Lacing & Lace Maker Tool

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Andy Bullock Loomwork

Bead Looms & Beadwork History

Native American beadwork, like quill work before it, is a decorative art form.   Almost as soon as seed beads were available, native women invented two techniques for using them: loom beading and applique embroidery. Those two techniques are still in use today. Loom-beading and a form of single-needle weaving (peyote beading) are not adaptations of techniques known to European or other cultures –  they are native inventions. Continue reading Bead Looms – History and Usage

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Real Animal Sinew and Imitation Sinew

Real Sinew and Imitation Sinew

What Is Real Animal Sinew?

Sinew is a fibrous band of tissue also known as a tendon. Tendons connect muscles to bones in animals. These fibers have been used by many pre-industrial societies because they are strong and durable. Real animal sinew has unique properties which make it an excellent material for sewing and binding. It contains natural proteins that act like glue and it shrinks as it dries, so it doesn’t need to be knotted. Continue reading Real Animal Sinew and Imitation Sinew

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White Sage Smudging How To

Wandering Bull Botanicals

White Sage for Smudging Rituals

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