TUTORIAL: Betty Grable Paper Wig

Introduction: TUTORIAL: Betty Grable Paper Wig

Betty Grable, an iconic American actress, was famously known for a pinup pose during World War II. As part of my "Not Betty" photography series, I am making several iconic Betty paper wigs for my art project. You can check out more about my project here. But for the purposes of remembering how I made each wig, you get the benefit learning how to recreate your own Betty Grable paper wig, personalized to fit you. Enjoy!

Note: I have the instructions here, but for the full post with all my images, please head over to my original Betty Grable post here. Thanks for stopping by!


Styrofoam head bust (optional but highly recommended)

Yellow raffia ribbon

Double-sided tape

Masking tape


Pen/Permanent marker

Plastic grocery bags

MirrorPhoto of Betty Grable’s hairstyle

Step 1: Cut Plastic Grocery Bag Into a Large Square.

You may need two and tape them together in order to create a square large enough to cover the circumference of your head. (I taped two pieces together, so that I could make sure my hear wig covers back to the nape of my neck.)

Step 2: Using Masking Tape, Create a Headpiece That Fits to Your Head Shape and Size.

I pulled a long piece of masking tape, and then I placed the plastic bag on top of my head. I wrapped masking tape lengthwise around my forehead. Then I pulled a second long piece of masking tape around the back of my head, making sure it wraps around the bottom/close to the nape of my neck.

Step 3: Create the Head Shape/hairline to Match That of Betty Grable’s Photo.

I outlined the shape of the head/hairline using a permanent marker. Then cut the head bodice carefully, making sure to not cut away too much. Remember, it’s always easier to cut little by little then to add to the shape of the wig.

Step 4: Layer Raffia Ribbon (unraveled) to Wig.

I unraveled raffia ribbon and taped the ribbon to create a base for the hairstyle. (It helps to cover up flaws when styling the hair.)

Step 5: Create Additional Depth to Hairstyle.

Working from the edging of the headpiece, cut raffia ribbon to create a pulled back bun shape. I used masking tape under the bodice of the headpiece. Note: Make sure that the natural curve of the raffia ribbon follows the curve around the headpiece.

With double sided tape, sandwich the other end of the raffia ribbon to the headpiece. Then add more double sided tape on top of the raffia ribbon already on the headpiece.

Hair bun piece should now be complete.

Step 6: Create Soft, High Curls at Top and Front of Headpiece.

Cut about 4 inches of raffia ribbon. Unravel the ribbon so that it is completely open.

Using a pen, pencil, or fingers, curl raffia ribbon. To keep the shape and style of the curl, use double-sided tape to maintain the shape. Use more double-sided tape to carefully place curls matching the hairstyle in the photograph.

Step 7: Voila! Project Complete!

Place your finished Betty Grable paper wig on, and look like the iconic actress for a party or class project of your own!

For other fun and crafty paper wigs:

TUTORIAL: Mozart-Inspired Paper Wig

TUTORIAL: 1960s Bouffant Paper Wig

TUTORIAL: Betty Boop Paper Wig

From my hometown to yours,


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