So now that you know the background behind the Do-It-Yourself Fallera Hair Project, let’s start with the tutorial on how to make the mono, which is the rather elaborate hairpiece that goes on the back of the head. The one with the braids and twisting ropes of hair.
You Will Need These Supplies:
2 Packages Kanekalon Hair In Color You Want (also known as “yaky braids”, these are the perfect amount for what we will be doing. They are also, fortunately, very cheap and come in a multitude of colors. I used the light brown chestnut brown from but you can get these at most beauty supply stores, especially black African ethnic hair stores. DON’T WORRY THAT THE HAIR IS SUPER TEXTURED IF YOUR OWN HAIR IS NOT. When we are finished, you won’t be able to tell the kanekalon is really crinkled.) I got mine off eBay, $11 for 2.
Upholstery Thread in Color That Matches The Hair (do NOT skimp on this and just go with regular thread. Upholstery thread is way thicker, more durable, and smoother, making it WAY, WAY easier to work with).
Yarn Darning Needle (again, the bigger size makes it easier to work with)
Rubber bands and/or those little clear “Mary elastics” braid bands (they look like the clear bands that hold Barbie dolls in the boxes)
Something To Listen To So You Aren’t Bored
A Helper (optional)
Cost of Monos pre-made: around $150 and up
Cost of homemade mono: less than $20 if you already have a hair brush and scissors
Open one package of kanekalon hair. It should be tied in the middle with a rubber band. Carefully undo or cut the rubber band off. Take a small amount of hair (about 1/4 inch in diameter when tightly pinched) away from the bundle and carefully set aside where it won’t get messed up. This serves 2 purposes:
1. Now your hair bundle is slightly smaller, which it needs to be to make the mono properly proportioned
2. You will need that small lock of hair later to make the rolletes (coils above the ears). Remember, we are doing this on the cheap! We want to buy the bare minimum of stuff, we don’t want to buy more than we need to. This way, you only need exactly 2 yaky braids.
Holding the larger hank of hair very tightly in the middle where the rubber band had been, gently brush the hair to get rid of any loose strands and to make sure they are all laying straight and even.
Step 2: The Large Central Double Twist
You are holding the hair in the middle right? So you have 2 halves. You are going to need to twist those halves tightly so that they twist back on each other when you let them go.
There are 2 ways to do this: with a friend or without a friend.
If you have a willing accomplice, have them hold the middle of the hair for you.
If you don’t, you can do like I did and hold the middle of the hair tightly between your big toe and the next toe. In either case, you will need both hands to twist the 2 separate halves at the same time.
Twist them in opposite directions (twist the left half clockwise, twist the right half counter clockwise) for about 5 to 7 inches at the same time. Eyeball everything. I didn’t use a ruler or measuring stick even once. If you have too many twists, you can always let some of them unravel.
Now, when they are both twisted, tell your friend to let go of the middle (or unhook it from your toes) and, with both ends of the twists tightly gripped in one hand, gently guide the loop you just formed into it’s natural inclination, which is to twist tightly back on itself. Ta-Da! You should now have a big twisted double coil with 4 “bumps” or twists, Like in this picture:
Tie it off after the 4th twist with a rubber band. Don’t worry that the rubber band looks dreadful and doesn’t match the hair. We are about to cover it up in the next step.
Step 3: The Small Twists That Go Around The Large One We Just Made
Thread several feet of upholstery thread onto your large needle. Tie the thread onto the needle: it makes it easier to work with and you are less likely to lose your needle.
Divide the loose end of the hair into 4 approximately equal portions. Take the one on the very right and twist it semi-tightly (tight, but not too tight) for several (about 3 or 4) inches. Don’t worry about the other 3 parts of hair right now, just let those go. Cross over the top of the rubber band with it (don’t wind it AROUND the rubber band, just over the top). Now flip the beginnings of your mono over. You are going to be working mainly from the back from now on so the thread doesn’t show. Going halfway through the base of the double twist (so the thread doesn’t show on the other side) tie the thread to the double-twist. Ignore the part of the twist covering the rubber band. Start sewing the twist to the outer edge of the double-twist. Remember, only go HALFWAY through the pieces of hair so the thread doesn’t show on the other side, the side that will be visible when worn. Twist a few inches, then sew them (you know how the twisting makes the strands of hair look like they are going at a diagonal? The stitches should also be diagonal, but in the opposite direction to better hold the hair) to the side of the double-twist. Twist a few inches, and sew them, all the way around the double-twist until you come to the end of the small hank of hair. Tie this off tightly with a rubber band or clear elastic hair band, tuck the ratty looking end up, and sew it securely to the double-twist to hide it.
Step 4: The Next Small Twists
Divide the remaining loose hair into 3rds now. Take the very right-most piece and forget about the others. Twist semi-tightly for 3 to 4 inches. Now, remember how we crossed over the rubber band with the first twist? Cross over the rubber band with this piece now BUT cross from the OTHER DIRECTION this time. So when you have crossed both pieces, they make like a “X” and practically conceal the rubber band. Now you just do like you did before: twist a few inches, sew them onto the first twist (not the double-twist, the first small twist). Don’t worry that your 1st and 2nd small twists will be mostly hidden behind the double-twist as you go along. After you have done all 4, it will look like it should, very full. Go all the way around, tie off the end, tuck it up and sew it in place.
With the remaining loose hair, divide it in half, and use the right half to go around again, sewing it to the 2nd (outermost) twist. It may not reach all the way around this time. That is okay. Just tie off the end, tuck, and sew it like before.
With the last piece of loose hair, go around the mono it the opposite direction as the last time. Remember the last piece didn’t go around all the way and left a little gap? Now you are going to cover that gap with this piece. Twist, sew, tie off, tuck, knot. This one didn’t go around all the way either, but that is fine. You won’t really notice when the braids are sewn on.
This whole process has taken many hours so far. Take a break. Finish tomorrow with the braids.
Step 5: The Braids
Open the other packet of hair. Take off the rubber band, take a approximately 1/4 inch in diameter-when-pinched hank and set it carefully off to the side with the piece from before.
Holding the hair tightly in the middle, brush gently to get rid of the loose hairs and to make sure they are all straight.
Now, divide the hair in half from the middle. Fold each piece in the middle and tie that fold tightly with a rubber band or clear hair elastic. Don’t bother with the hassle of pulling the hair through the elastic, just tie off the middle like it is. When you are done it will have a very small nub or knot at the top. This will be hidden anyway, so don’t sweat it.
Now, divide the new hank into 3 approximately equal parts and plait it, not too tight, not too loose. Firm but even. When you come to the end, tie off and trim the end to be fairly short. This will also be hidden.
Do the exact same thing with the second piece of hair.
Step 6: Sewing On The Braids
I sewed on the 2 braids differently.
With the first braid, I lined up the middle of the braid with the middle of one of the longer sides of the mono, then started sewing it on from the center. So I sewed the braid onto the outer edge of the mono (going halfway through the hair to hide the stitches on one side, through all the width of the braid, not just the portion immediately closest to the mono) first on the right, folded up the end (now in the exact middle across from where I started) using the picture of a complete mono as a guide, and sewed it in place, hidden. Then I did the same for the other side.
The second braid I did a little differently because I was afraid it wouldn’t be long enough go all the way around.
I sewed the 2 ends onto the backs of the ends of the first braid, then, with the resulting loop of braid, just sewed the second braid onto the outer edge of the first braid. It fit perfectly.
If it is a little mis-shapen, pull and adjust it. Your mono should be fairly durable, but don’t be too rough just in case.
YAY! DONE with the mono.
The dimensions of mine are 7.5 inches (19 cm) wide by 5.5 inches (14 cm) tall.
Step 6: Admire Handiwork
Feel pumped up and inspired and get ready to do the next part: making the rodilletes, the spirals that go above the ears. These will be made from the hair you set aside.
Noticed a typographical error (typo)? Have a question? Just want to say something? Comment! I would appreciate it very much!