January 17, 2011

Tips & Tricks: How to Make a Topsy Tail Tool

Since quite a few of my hairstyles use flips, many followers have been asking where they can purchase a Topsy Tail tool. It can be purchased online at Amazon (via the link), on Ebay, or locally at your Claire’s, Wal-Mart, Target, or Sally Beauty supply.

As we all know, things are not made as sturdy as they used to be years ago… in fact, many of the Topsy Tail manufacturers today make them out of cheap plastic. The problem is that if you do not loosen the ponytail enough before you use the tool, the tension while pulling the hair through causes the tool to break.

The Topsy Tail tool that I have been using is very sturdy, because it was one of the originals my mom bought back when I was a little girl. But, you simply do not have to spend $2-5 (not including shipping) online or spend hours hunting through the stores trying to find a Topsy Tail tool. We are going to show you how to make one with stuff you might already have at home!

Homemade Topsy Tail Tool

As you can see, the one we made in the photo above is not pretty by any means… but is is very functional and will last you for forever! You can make on any size you would like, but this one is particularly for large ponytail flips. (You will need to use smaller wire to make a Topsy Tail tool for small pigtail flips on your younger daughters.)

Topsy Tail: Tools Needed

Items Needed: Wire cutters, electrician’s tape, and a dry cleaner’s wire hanger.

Time Requirement: 5 minutes

Not only do we show you how to make the Topsy Tail tool, but we show you how easily the homemade one works on a basic ponytail flip!

If you like this tip… be sure to let us know!

Happy Hairdoing!

* Note from Mindy: Don’t forget to follow us on BlogLovin, a new easy-to-use blog reader!

  • Vicki

    For those of you with babies and toddlers with super-fine hair, the loop-tools for flossing with braces work great. Walmarts near my house don’t seem to sell these any longer, but the drug stores still sell them with the other braces and flossing tools.

  • Sally

    hey Mindy,
    if you want a good topsy tail go on con airs website and look up topsy tail it is the real one very sturdy.

  • Michelle

    Oh my goodness. I will never forget my experience with the Topsy Tail in 7th grade. I saw the commercial and loved it instantly but my mom wouldn’t buy it. So I decided to make my own from a rubber band and a twisted length of florist wire. Let’s just say that I had to have a sizable chunk of hair cut off after getting it stuck in my hair so badly. Fun stuff!

  • Rebecca

    I tried making this, and while it worked great for the flipped ponytails, the coat hanger doesn’t bend enough for wrapped ponytails. It pulls the ponytail apart.

  • http://rnpbarry@juno.com Pam

    Thank You So Much! The plastic ponyflip I’d been using for years cracked and was pulling my hair out when I used it. I couldn’t find one to buy on amazon. I found your sight on how to make one. Thank you again! This is one of my favorite hairstyles even though I am in my 50’s !

  • Cathy

    I showed my husband your “how to make a topsy tail” and he went to the garage and grabbed some coated electrical wire (thin), electrical tape, and wire cutters. A few minutes and I have a topsy tail =)

  • Eryn

    In a pinch I raid our craft box and make a topsy tail with a pipe cleaner! They don’t last forever but I can use them on big or little ponys.

  • Ann

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I could not think of the name of the product I had back in the early 90’s! And, this worked GREAT!!! Thank you for sparing me the expense of buying one! It works perfectly! Now, my 14 year old daughter wants to use it!!

  • bella

    u ucan use a pipecleaner the same way as the wire is used in the video

  • bella

    also, if you make a pipe cleaner one, and find it hard to slide it through hair easily, you can bye a bright roll of duck tape( for about $1 and you can use it for soooooo many other things) and make a new one bywraping thepipecleaner in duct tape so that its smooth! works like a charm!!

  • http://www.cutegirlshairstyles.com/tips-and-tricks/tips-tricks-how-to-make-a-topsy-tail-tool/ trenna ritchie

    awsome! I am amazed! I was still sceptical even after the video. So, I found a wire coat hanger and made one, tried it!

  • Bella

    Make one out of pipe cleaners!
    its much easier and you can just bye a bag of pipe cleaners for like a $1 and then make lots of different sizes with that bag!plus, your daughter can choose pretty colors!

  • Katy

    Your hubby is SEXY!

  • Crystal

    What a great idea! Thank you! This inspired me to use an elongated bubble blower that are at Walmart for $1. It comes in a long tube of bubbles. I broke off the plastic bubble wand from the handle and it works like a charm!!!

  • Rachel

    I can’t wait to try this:) Thank you so much for putting this out there so we can make it ourselves.

  • Rachel

    Thanks I have been looking for a topsy tail for awhile I just made one I can’t wait to use it. I also found one on ebay for $1.59 with free shipping! I ordered one I am gonna see which one I like best.

  • http://www.facebook.com shiryn

    topsy tail tools are very easy to find here in the philippines..my mom always use that on my hair but it always break..good thing i could make my own..thanks a ton mrs.mindy ;D
    i’ll ask my mom to help me with this one haha XD




  • Katherine

    Just discovered your site and just discovered I CAN style my daughter’s hair (you get most of the credit for that). Thank you! My husband watched your husband’s video and just made us one of these and I’m sporting a flip. Thank you for making this so easy!

  • Lisa

    Thank you for this tip… I have been trying to flip my daughters hair with out one and it is a pain!!!

  • Mary

    I loved your idea for making a Topsy Tail tool, however, I didn’t have a wire coat hanger. So, I improvised with a wire fly swatter. After the swatter part broke off I kept the handle, just in case. Well, I cut off the end, taped it up and YES, it worked….

  • Mikaela

    Oh my gosh! I made a Topsy Tail with just clear tape instead of electrical tape (because I didn’t have any) and it worked perfectly! I can do flips on myself! Thank you so much! Your website AND hairstyles are AMAZING! Thanks!!!

  • Bebimama

    Could we not use a wire? I don’t have that thing to cut the wire

  • http://lauzina.wordpress.com Angel Cuitlauzina

    Wow!! I wish I had a sister to play and fix her hair. I love fixing my hair and I’m just 8!

    Love and Blessings Angel Cuitlauzina <3

  • Olivia

    Your husband says “ten” in such a funny way!!!

  • Jewels

    I made a blue one!!:):) I had a topsy tail already but It didn’t work on big pony tails. This is an awesome idea! Thankyou.

  • ale

    Your blog is sooooooo cool iv tried many hairstyles and they look sooooo coool :)

  • Stephanie

    Another thing I found that works and is more flexible is coated wire for hanging photos ($1.19 at Wal-Mart). I may try to make a mini one with a small zip-tie though! Thanks!

  • Karla

    After watching your ingenious homemade idea, I thought about what one could make it out of that might be a bit more flexible than hanger wire, more like the plastic of the original Topsy Tail. I, too, thought a zip tie would be perfect, but didn’t have one on hand, so I went to the garage and found that .080 weed trimmer line had the flexibility I wanted. I taped the ends together just like you showed in your video, which made that part stiff like it needs to be, and then put one of those little rubber caps that you sometimes find on metal hanger tips on the end. Both tips of of weed trimmer line fit into just one little rubber hanger cap. These little caps are also found on the tips of the wires that are inside of kites sometimes. That way, it won’t snag on my daughter’s hair at all when I push it through the pony tail. I never would have even thought of any of this without your helpful video. Thank you for sharing all of you ideas with such unselfishness and humility!

  • Lila

    Thank you so much for showing me how to make a topsy tail. The demo was fantastic and having such sharing people like your family is great! Keep up the great work.


  • Nancy

    Awesome!!! Thanks for this DIY version. I love your blog!!! All your tutorials helps me do my daughter’s hair so much easier and fun!!!

  • Mary DeLaney

    Just use a zip tie and a little glue. Takes a few seconds to make and wont break.

  • N

    I had one of these when I was a growing up and unfortunately I managed to break it. I have been contemplating buy one for my little girl, but this is a much better option. Thank you for the tip.

  • Emily

    Thanks I made one and it works perfectly. B.T.W. Do not try to make one out of a Chenile Stem

  • http://www.shopandmodel.com/ Shop and Model

    A absolutely nice tips and tricks.
    Useful suggestions.

  • Ayaka

    This is so great idea! I was trying to find topsy tail, but Japan doesn’t have that- even Amazon.jp! I will make it right away and try your tutorials that use topsy tail. Thank you so much! Also, I am always looking forward to seeing your blog from Japan!

  • Robin

    I love this! thank you. I will be making one soon. I have a weird question. Why was your husband wearing his wedding ring on the wrong hand?

  • http://aallen615.blogspot.com/ Amy

    Gotta tell ya…I got the ‘need for one’ after reading your blog about a year ago. I MADE ONE WITH A PIPE CLEANER….works wonferfully! 😉 and much easier than working with a hanger! 😉

  • Jen

    I loved your idea! I had a TT and it broke after a few uses. My hair is really thin so I used your idea but with wire you would use to hang a picture with. It is wonderful. It doesn’t catch on my hair and is bendy which is a nice feature. I love your website!

  • Shannon

    We made one using a pipe cleaner! It was sooo fast and simple. And when it broke a few months later, we just grabbed another pipe cleaner! I’m sure yours would hold up better in the long run, but if anyone is needing a super quick, no-tool way to make one, grab a pipe cleaner! :)

  • http://www.curlyhairdoideas.com Curly Hairdo Ideas

    Great idea! Love it! Thanks for sharing :)

    ~ Karli

  • http://www.besthairwax.net/ Best Hair Wax

    This is ingenious! I bet we can make it in different sizes to so that we can make smaller flips here and there! Thanks for posting this!

  • Lexi

    I have e-mailed you a question at cutegirlhairstyles@gmail I would really appreciate it if you could reply SOON.


  • Wanda

    This is great!! I cannot find a topsy turvy tail anywhere so I will be trying this tomorrow for school! Thanks for the great tip!

  • http://www.kippingkrafts.co.uk Stephanie

    What a great tip. I made mine this morning and will be using it not only on my daughters hair, but mine also. I also had a go at making my own hair ornaments by using a hot glue gun and attaching large buttons to bobby pins, it looks great and co-ordinates with my daughters school uniform.

    Keep up the good ideas, we love them!!!

    S xx

  • Abbie

    So I had one of those from way back in the day…til it broke. The one I had snapped together so I could make the opening as small or as big as I wanted. I LOVED that! The new ones are set to one size and it doesn’t seem to make as nice of a flip as the other one did. We have already been through one of the new ones (it broke, had to buy another one). I’m excited to make your version. I have made one from pipe cleaners that seems to work pretty well too. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.thecampbellkids.blogspot.com/ Valerie


    My girls don’t have much hair & I have improvised with dental floss threaders. They work great for my follicly challenged girls as the TT is not flexible or small enough for their hair type/ length. I will be happy when they have enough hair to use the smaller TT!

  • Christy S. Lube

    Awesome instructions! That’s a great idea. I have the book by the original inventor, and that’s similar to some of the prototypes she made before the final design.

    I would suggest, if you are looking to buy one, get the actual Scuncii brand from the Hair Flair Boutique. (hairflairboutique.com). It’s much sturdier than the one from Claire’s and the ones from eBay. (Don’t ask me how I know… LOL.)

  • leah

    thanks for sharing the idea! I think I gave my topsy tail to my nieces, but if I ever want a new one, I know what to do :)

  • Mickeylyn

    Thank you so much for the tip! I have been doing the flip by hand and causing more tears than it’s worth. I will be making one of these tonight. My daughter will thrilled.

  • Lexi

    Thanks so much my sister and I are making one tonight

  • Laurie

    FYI… Topsy Tails were on the 10 for 10$ dollar rack this weekend at The Icing and Clairs (same stores, same owners).

  • http://sewkool.blogspot.com/ Adeela

    Thank you SO much! I am totally gonna make this. I tried making this before with just wire and it did not work.

  • Cari

    OOOOO! I love this tip! I’ve been trying to find a topsy tail for months – ever since I started following your blog. Thanks!!!!

  • Lisa

    THANK YOU! I love this! I’ve been dying to get one and I have everything to make one instead!

  • Sherry

    Why didn’t I think of this, before just having bought my topsy tail a week ago?

  • http://www.camillemessick.blogspot.com Camille

    Great tip! Thanks a bunch! I have looked at Walmart several times for one, but can’t ever find one. And I’m too cheap to pay shipping for one! So, I’m going to have to go with the homemade style. You guys are a great team! Thanks for sharing!

  • Molly

    I love your blog! So much fun for me and my girls to follow. I have a question that I’ve been wanting to ask for a while now: What kind of hair elastics do you like the best? I feel like I’ve tried everything out there but can’t seem to find anything that I totally love. From the videos it seems that you usually use a black elastic, not the clear “plastic” ones that are so popular right now. Suggestions?? Thanks so much!

    • Maddie

      i think the idea is grat and all but it might hurt your daughters hair with the tape, because when you put it through the hair the tape might get stuck in the hair and it would make a huge knot and i don’t want to deal with my daughters hair because i am horrible with knots!

  • Angela Lamb

    Awesome! I have been looking for a Topsy Tail. I am going to make one right now. Thanks.

  • Becky

    Great idea! Thanks!

  • http://www.mykidscallmemom.blogspot.com Jamie M.

    That is great, it is to bad they don’t make them as sturdy as they used to. Thanks I will be making one of these for my girls.