In the north, the more tightly woven styles were made, whereas in the south, a looser stringed bag, popularly known as a dilly bag was made.
People, particularly the women, cut their hair regularly using quartz or flint knives. This hair was never wasted. It was rolled on the thigh and then spun into long threads of yarn. It was then plaited to about the thickness of 8 ply wool.
Purposes for the string were manifold. These included making the head ring for resting the coolamon, headbands to keep the hair off the face, spear-making (securing the head to the shaft), and even balls for ball games.
Among some groups, including the Pitjantjajara, a small modesty apron was made of the string for young girls to wear when they reached puberty. People in Central Australia today may talk of a girl having her "string broken, which can mean sexual abuse, or having sex when she is not ready.
Among some tribes, adults wore a loincloth-like pubic covering, which also hung from the waist belt. This was made either of the string itself, or of other material, including paperbark. In the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the men wore pearl shells as a pubic covering, which they call Riji, and which are considered extremely sacred.
The string could be died various shades using dyes such as ochre.
The Bangarra Dance Theatre's 2005 production of CLAN incorporated traditional desert string games into one of their performances, creating intricate patterns as they thread themselves through long, elastic strings.,
Grasses were combined with the hair to create a tougher fibre. This varied depending on the area in Australia. In the arid areas, it was spinifex, whereas in the Top End, it was palms such as pandanus.
Pandanus and sand-palm are used in areas such as the Daly River region and Arnhem Land to weave carry baskets, dilly string bags, wall hangings, floor mats and fish-nets. The women of Peppimenarti and Oenpelli are famous for such weaving, however each community has their own distinct styles and techniques.