This Will Curl Your Hair

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When I began crocheting old-fashioned rag rugs, I started to accumulate a lot of end pieces of fabric I didn’t know what to do with. Not being one to throw things away without having a real good reason to do so, I stored them and waited. You know the old saying, “I might need that someday!” Well, lo and behold I just came up with an idea. Those old leftover end pieces will be just the ticket for … curling my hair!

My mom showed me how to do it years ago. Back then I had very long hair, being the farm hippie back-to-the lander that I was. My mom said Gramma used to curl her hair that way and if Gramma did then it’s all right with me! (I have all of the Foxfire books edited by Eliot Wigginton. That will tell you a lot about me.)

The beauty of this technique is that you can sleep on it. When I learned how to do it I was ever so grateful because sleeping on curlers was like medieval torture. Enter the Iron Maiden. Exactly the same except made out of plastic and wire. Sleeping on soft pieces of fabric is so nice.

This technique is not for the beauty-salon-perfect, not-a-hair-out-of-place coiffure. This is for casual bouncy curls. Who needs a coiffure these days anyway? This technique would be good for little girls who want to have a fantasy hair-do without the torture of curlers. My mom used to intone, “You have to suffer to be beautiful.” Love that, Mom, and now we’re over it!


Strips of cotton cloth about 2 inches wide and 18 to 20 inches long (enough width to wrap the hair and enough length to tie the ends.) This length will work even if you have really thick hair. It’s always easier to make the strips long and cut them off than make them too short and not have enough. You can use any kind of cotton but the lighter the better, without being too lightweight. If you use fabric that’s too thick it may take a long time for your hair to dry. When I was young my hair was so thick that I’d wake up after a full night’s sleep and my hair would still be wet. Now I don’t have that problem. Sigh.

How many strips? The more strips you have the more curls you can make. Just like curlers. If you have hair that takes a curl easily and you just want big waves a few rags will do. Maybe only two to four on the sides and two to four on the back. If you want really wavy hair then eight on each side and the back (four stacked over four). This is where experimentation comes in. Don’t wait until the day of the party to try this! There’s always the bailout of washing out the wave if you don’t like it and just going au naturel.


Separate your washed and towel dried hair into sections. Take a section and place the middle of a strip about a few inches up from the end of the section.

Wrap the fabric over itself.

Pull the wrapped fabric down to the end of your hair.

Roll the fabric and hair up together.

If you want wave all the way to your scalp, roll all the way to your scalp. If you just want the bottom part wavy, just roll up as far as you want wave. Tie the ends together.

Repeat this all over your head. Wait a few hours or overnight. You can feel through the cloth when it is dry. As I said before if your hair is really thick – or if you are doing just a few curls – it may take a while to dry.

When dry, unroll the strips to find hurly-snurly hair. Brush to make it BIG and fluffy. Finger comb it to make it wavy. Then shake your head, darling!