There are tons of different wig creation techniques. Cosplayers, I promise that wigs aren't that scary! I will take a wig over a tough sewing project, and I hope over the course of my Instructables, you will be able to feel the same!
Some wig techniques often used by cosplayers are wefting, layering, adding a foam core, spiking, splitting a wig, and heat forming the fibers. Often times, these techniques are combined to create our wigs. Something very prevalent is taking wefts and gluing them onto a form to make a hair shape. That being said, this tutorial will primarily focus on wefting your actual wig.
If you've ever seen a crazy cosplay wig, it probably wasn't just one wig. There were probably 2-3 wigs in there or a lot of wefts. What are wefts? Wefts are individual strands of the synthetic hair fiber. When you part your wig hair, its the strands sewn onto your wig cap.
Wefting aims to make a wig thicker than normal. Thicker wigs are often desirable for things such as spiking, layering (the hair will naturally flip up if there is more hair underneath), adding a second color (you can color blend your wigs to get a desired color), or even just for the look of the character.
For whatever your reason is, it's time to get to work!
Step 1: Know Your Options
For wefting, there are a few popular options. You can either sew or hot glue in your wefts. Sewing will almost always be cleaner than hot glue, so if you have the time, I recommend hand stitching your wefts. I also don't trust myself with a hot glue gun near hair fibers, but if you do, the process will go twice as fast.
You can also buy wefts, cut up an old wig, or make your own wefts. Making your own wefts is a very tricky process, so I would not recommend it. For the opportunity cost, someone has already taken the time and done it for you. You can usually get more hair from cutting up a wig and inserting the wefts, but it really is about your desired thickness.
In the green wig above, I used a foam structure for the hair spikes, but the wig itself was two wigs wefted together. I used two different color wigs to get my desired color blend and also adding the second wig allowed me to cover up any "bald spots" from the spikes.
In the brown wig above, I used a support for the braid, stubbed the hair, and then used tons of wefts to make the braid. I glued each weft down, and then for the non exposed hair, I smoothed everything down with silicon.
Wefts are super useful, and now, you can use them too!
Step 2: Arm Yourself
Here is what you will need to get that extra volume to your wig:
1. A pair of scissors
2. A comb (I suggest a comb and not a brush for reasons I will cover later)
3. Aligator clips (you can pick them up at your local Sally's Beauty of CVS)
4. Thread matching the color of your wig/and or the color of the thread of the previous wefts
5. A pin cusion
6. A hand needle
7. Your wefts. I ordered a pack of Short Wefts in Spanish Brown from Arda wigs.
8. Your actual wig. I am using a Westley in Spanish Brown from Arda wigs.
I love Arda wigs because the fiber quality is really nice and generally their weigs are already very thick; if there is ever a wig you can do cool things with without wefting, it's from Arda. There are tons of other different wig sellers on the internet (like Epic Cosplay, Match, Rockstar Wigs, and even EBay!), but typically the cheaper the wig, the lower quality the hair fiber will be. In wefting, hair fiber can get tangled pretty easily so I like to treat myself to nicer wigs. If you don't really care or it will be hidden (like a base layer on a foam core), buy that cheap wig and save your money.
Step 3: Separate Out Your Hair
In the first picture-- those are wefts! You are now aiming to add in new layers right in between the original layers.
Pull back the hair so you completely separate two wefts. Your starting point does not matter, it just depends where you want your thickness to start. For example, a fluffy hairstyle might be concentrated at the top with wefts, while long thick hair will have an even distribution.
To separate the hair use the back of your comb (as shown), an alligator clip, or even your finger will do the trick!
Twist small chunks of hair and using your alligator clips, clip the hair to the top of the wig. It doesn't have to look pretty, but it should separate all the hair between two wefts.
As a side note, I always pin my wig onto my wig head for security. I place one pin in the crown of the wig head, and then a pin on each solid side that falls right above your ears.
Step 4: Pin Your Wefts
If you order wefts from Arda, they come as one long strand of wefts. This means you will have to measure and cut the wefts to fit the section you are sewing on to. If you are chopping up another wig, the wefts will already be measure to about the same size in relation to where they were on the wig.
Starting at one end, pin your weft down into the wig head, and keep pinning it all the way across until you read the other end. If you are using Arda wefts, cut the excess when you reach the other end.
I place pins every other elastic band, and make sure to leave natural slack in between wefts. The original wefts have some slack for larger head sizes, so the last thing you want is for your added wefts to be too tight.
Step 5: Sew in Your Wefts
Thread your needle with your thread and tie a knot at the end (large enough to not slip through the solid above the ear piece of the wig).
Lift the wig up a little and thread your needle through where you put your first pin. Sew at least 4 loops before moving to the next weft.
Not sewing anything in the gap between elastic bands, thread your needle through the middle of the elastic band like a pin, as shown. Pull your needle out and through and once again, sew at least 4 loops of this.
Continue this process all the way across the wig until you reach the end.
Repeat steps 3-5 until you are out of wefts.
If you are using hot glue, place a small dot of hot glue in the middle of the elastic band and press your weft into it, being careful not to get too much hair caught in the glue. Repeat this process until the end and then repeat steps 3-5.
Step 6: Comb Our Your Thick Wig
When you're done, you should notice your wig is a lot thicker. You can see, especially with flash, the two different layers of hair.
This wig took me about 3 hours, but often times wefting can take between 3-7 hours. Yowza.
With increased thickness, it also means your wig is going to be a lot harder to comb through.
Wig hair is synthetic and made of a plastic. You cannot treat it the same way you would treat real hair. If you use a hairbrush and tug through a tangle of wig hair, it will pull the fibers and it becomes very hard to revert.
What do I mean when I say pull the fibers? If you've ever taken a ribbon and curled it with scissors-- it's just like that. I've ruined plenty of wigs with being too aggressive with brushing, so a comb is a much safer and more gentle way to brush your wig. If you run into a tangle, try to detangle it with your fingers. Sometimes if the wig hair gets real bad and stretched at the ends, you can always trim a little bit off the ends.
If you are working with a long wig, to store, braid up the hair and put in the plastic bag it came in. If you are working with a short wig you can throw it in the bag and you're done!
You are now one step closer to mastering the art of wig styling! Good job!
As always, drop a comment if you have any questions!