I did it! I finished the 13 dwarf beards in time for the midnight premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It took me five and a half weeks overall, but I didn’t work on them every single day during that time. I didn’t do much of anything else in my free time, though. All the hard work was definitely worth it; they looked great, (not 100 percent accurate, but overall pretty close), and wearing them with a big group while in line for the midnight showing was just as much fun for everyone as I had hoped it would be. This is going to be an image-heavy post, but I’m just so proud of the work I put into this event, I want to be sure it’ s documented. And if anybody is planning a Hobbit- or Dwarf-themed party, maybe this will give you some ideas.
Kili. I gave him a goatee because I wasn’t sure how to crochet a five o’clock shadow, and I didn’t want him to be the only one without a beard section.
Fili. Originally wanted to untangle the yarn on top that is pulled back, because movie-Fili’s hair is kind of wavy there, but I ran out of time. Love his braided mustache, and I love this yarn color.
Oin. some of his mustache strands have craft wire in them. The lighter gray strands of unbraided mustache on top are actually hot glue-gunned onto the braid beneath them to keep them in that round shape circling the mouth. I noticed during the film that one of the dwarves had a kind of spiked curl in the back of their head, and I think it was Oin, so I might need to add that for next time.
Gloin. I realized after I finished this one that those three small bundles on either side of his mouth should actually be braids, not loops. Love this color of yarn, though–I used the same color for Nori and Ori, and working with it always made me want to eat a pumpkin muffin, because the color is called Burnt Pumpkin.
Dwalin. Couldn’t figure out how to add tattoos to the scalp part.
Balin. I curled the ends of the beard by dipping them in a mixture of water and glue and wrapping them around wax-paper-covered rolls of toilet paper to dry.
Bifur. I don’t think his beard cuffs got enough silver spray paint, and I didn’t manage to figure out how to include the axe head that is supposed to be imbedded in his forehead. Maybe I can work something out by next year.
Bofur. The braids have craft wire in them, and the mustache was formed separately with glue and let dry, then hot glue-gunned onto the upper lip crochet base. You can’t see it in this picture, but he’s got another braid hanging down in the back.
Bombur. Hard to tell in this picture but he does have a “bald” spot on top. I ended up making another, bigger neck-braid too, but that part was pretty simple. And I know for a fact that Stephen Hunter approved of this creation, because he favorited my tweets of it.
Nori. Definitely the most complicated design, so I was the most proud of how this one turned out. The cones are crocheted and stuffed with batting. He’s the only one I made eyebrows for, since they had to be braided back into his hair!
Ori. This was the first one I added extra yarn “hair” to, and I was originally planning to do this de-tangling of the yarn for all of them, to make them look more like hair. But it took way too long, so I didn’t do it on the rest of them. Adam Brown re-tweeted a picture of this, too, so it must have turned out good enough for the real Ori!
Dori. Had to show off the multiple angles! This was one of my favorites. I just think it looks so cool! I don’t have the braids replicated exactly right but I’m pleased with how it turned out. The silver cuffs on all of these were made by first squiggling designs with Elmer’s glue onto white cardstock to create texture, then after the glue dried I spray-painted the whole thing silver. If I had more time I might have tried to match the actual cuff designs, but the random glue squiggles still look pretty cool.
Thorin Oakenshield. Should have made his braids a bit longer, and I noticed while watching the movie that it looks like maybe he has a bigger braid or two in the back? But I love the gray streaks that I included at his temples and forehead.
Our company of dwarves was first in line at our chosen theater, although not all 13 dwarves were there right away. After the sun went down it was pretty cold, but the beards helped keep our faces warm, and I had arranged for a friend to deliver us hot pot pies, (because it sounded like a hobbit/dwarf-ish food), when there were still about four hours left before the show started. We also had somebody bring us hot chocolate, which we shared with the people behind us in line.
Themed activities that we did to pass the time (and to give me an excuse to hand out prizes) included an archery contest, (we shot at a goblin target with a toy bow and arrow, and the grand prize was a Kili action figure), a warrior attack contest, (charging at the same goblin target with a chosen fake weapon from our stash and seeing who had the best style), playing a dwarvish rune-based memory game (I made the cards based on the movie’s “dwarvish word of the day” from the facebook page), riddles, and trivia. And anybody that could correctly name/identify all 13 dwarves got an edible pipe. We also traded some edible pipes for lembas bread from some elves that were a few groups behind us in line. We also had an on-going burglary competition, but the caveats were that you had to be wearing your beard at the time and you couldn’t actually steal anything serious. (The winner ended up being a sneaky little dwarf who drank half of somebody else’s soda before they noticed, and the prize was a Bilbo action figure.) Other prizes were posters, some of them small ones that I made by cutting up a Hobbit movie calendar–I don’t exactly have an unlimited party-planning budget.
Front and back of Sting prize; hold it silver-spray-painted side out when all is safe, but flip to blue cardstock/candycane to signal that orcs or goblins are near!
Edible pipe, made from brownie cooked in mini-muffin pans with reese’s peanut butter cups at the center for the “tobacco.” I stuck pretzel sticks in the reese’s when they were still warm so that it would harden around the pretzel, then dipped the pipe “bowl” in almond bark to reinforce it. Tedious, but they turned out pretty well and they were a hit.
Another snack idea that I thought of but didn’t have time for was stone trolls; I was going to make rice crispies and cut them out using a gingerbread-man cookie cutter, then dip them in white chocolate almond bark with a little bit of candy food coloring to make it gray, so that they resembled Bill, Tom, and Bert after they were turned into stone. I thought about dipping all but their feet and calling it “Trolls at Sunrise,” but I didn’t end up having time to do any of it, and that’s not a snack that will be appropriate next year for part 2 since the trolls are only in part 1. I can re-use the pipes and candy-cane Stings ideas, though.
Ori enjoys an edible pipe.
Fili sneaks up on the goblin for a surprise attack with a glowing Sting, (which I got over at thinkgeek.com). I painted the goblin based on the Grinnah action figure.
The Dwarven rune-based memory game cards; basically I copied the runes, pronunciation guides and meanings provided by the official Hobbit movie facebook page, and found pictures to match the meanings. I put the runes and the pronunciation on the cards with the pictures too so that anybody could make a match regardless of previous rune knowledge. The cards are printed on colored cardstock so that you can’t see through them when they’re flipped over to cheat, and laminated to make them more durable.
I’m definitely going to save the beards for next year when part 2 comes out, although personally I’d like to go to that one in a Smaug costume if I can, although I have no idea at this point where to begin crafting on that. I’ll probably tweak the beards to improve them before then anyway, especially now that I’ll have a lot more reference pictures from multiple angles to work with from the first film. And we didn’t have a Bilbo or a Gandalf this year, so maybe they can be added as well.
13 dwarves wearing pagelady’s beard creations and 3D glasses in the theater for the midnight showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
This project was a lot of work, and sometimes it seemed ridiculous or frustrating that I was putting so much effort into something that might seem silly or fleeting. But if you watched the Hobbit production videos like I did, you have an idea of how much work by how many people goes into making these movies that we love. And I think this is the best way to honor and appreciate the hard work that those people did–not just Peter Jackson and the cast, but also the people who did make-up, lighting, sound editing, digital enhancements, and every little step along the way, for months and months–by putting in a lot of hours myself to enjoy experiencing their work to the fullest.
And the highlight of the night for me was when the official Hobbit movie twitter account acknowledged all my hard work with a “so great!” stamp of approval.