Support the news
Have you always wondered how to turn your beard into a Christmas wreath, but didn’t know how?
That was once Dana “Mr. Beard'O” Blatchford, too. Then two years ago, January 2014 to be precise, he began growing an epic beard.
“I run into people who know me from only work and they say, ‘When are you going to shave that?’ You just don’t understand. It can’t be shaved. Not now,” the 41-year-old Gloucester resident explains.
“I’ve always had different looks my whole life,” Blatchford says. Long hair, short hair, long beard, short beard, lots of tattoos. And then there was that time “in the ‘90s, I had long hair in a perm. I did it just to do it.”
But sprouting an awesome beard was just the beginning. Before long he was painting it with New York Giants logos, American flags, Valentine’s Day hearts, Halloween spider webs, Elmo. And sculpting it into hockey sticks, shoes, his name. Last week, he transformed it into an amazing green Christmas wreath.
His wife (“she is so understanding”) was out for a ladies night with her friends. He was home watching their two sons. “I put the TV on and went into the bathroom.” What developed was a Christmas miracle — complete with (plastic) mistletoe and glittering decorations.
Blatchford runs an office cleaning service and works part-time doing maintenance at the Cape Ann YMCA. “I’m very lucky that my bosses at the Y understand and don’t do anything to jeopardize it. I think if they said, ‘It’s the beard or the Y,’ I might be leaving the Y. It’s just become a way of life. My goal is to get it down to my waist. The bigger the space, the more I can do with it.”
Below are his directions for making his Christmas wreath beard.
Be warned: It may change your life. Like Blatchford, you may find the Bruins inviting you to have your beard photographed by their people and featured at the start of games on the video scoreboard. (“It’s still there,” he says.) You may be invited to do a T-shirt featuring your beard (and your love of the New York Giants) by Beardsy.com. Friends of your children may wear T-shirts featuring your likeness to your kids’ school. (True story.) “I even had a hamburger in my town named after me,” Blatchford says. Stone Pub on Gloucester’s Main Street offered a hamburger with bacon, mozzarella, coleslaw and steak sauce. “I got to put on what I want.”
Step 1: Grow an awesome dang beard. Blatchford’s beard is probably a bit more than a foot long now, falling somewhere between his chest and his belly button. “It started off as fun, goofing around. I always thought, ‘Kids do the color spray on Halloween. Why can’t I do it on my beard?’ And it turns out it went way beyond the goof,” he explains. Another motivation? “Being lazy and not shaving.”
Step 2: Come up with a design for your beard. “I’m always looking for new ideas,” Blatchford says. In addition to the Batman logo, sports team colors and spooky Halloween designs, the beard supports causes. There was a red, white and blue beard with the Eiffel Tower for #prayersforparis after the terrorist shooting there. Also a stars and stripes “9/11 Never Forget” beard; a pink ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness beard; and a rainbow #equality beard. The beard seems to be a liberal. “I think you’re right,” Blatchford says. “Absolutely.”
Step 3: Brush it out with a horsehair brush “so it doesn’t rip the hairs out.” Note: Before decorating it, “I don’t wash.”
Step. 4: “I straighten it the best I can.” Blatchford favors applying Sleek It Iron Straight Heatspray by L’Oreal, the uses an “electric straightener [that] you put on your hair and pull down.”
Step. 5: “Then I start forming it.” He applies Freeze It Hair Spray and begins molding it with his hands. “Then you blow dry it on heat so it gets really hard real fast. … It’s pretty stiff. You could probably whack a golf ball off it and it would zing off.”
Step. 6: Paint on the color. Blatchford discovered Jerome Russell Temporary Hair Color sprays when he visited his local drug store and requested dye, like the kind people use at Halloween. How does he paint the detailed designs? “I stencil them. I have cardboard. Whatever I want on the beard I draw on the cardboard, cut it out with an X-Acto knife and then press it on the beard.” Spray the hair color through the stencil.
Step. 7: Add plastic mistletoe (from the dollar store) and Christmas ornaments as desired.
Step 8: Photograph it and become famous on social media.
Step 9: “I wash after,” Blatchford says. He’ll do up his beard and wear it to a Bruins or Giants game, or out with his kids for Halloween. But the Christmas wreath beard — like most of his designs — never left his home. “If I do the Valentine’s beard, I’ll do it, take a few pictures of it, and wash it out. … It washes right out afterward in the shower.”
Support the news