Intro: Big Wigs—Cheap, Large Wig Technique
Looking for a cheap and simple way to make a super thick, tall, or just plain HUGE costume wig?
Wigs with extreme volume can be very expensive, heavy on your neck, and difficult to shape with hair spray/gel alone. I wanted to add volume with lightweight, cheap materials instead of just more hair.
Here's what I did to make this wig for a Sugilite cosplay from the show Steven Universe.
The wig survived a busy con, looked great, used cheap materials (mostly dollar store items), stayed on my head despite the weight imbalance, and did not require me to wear a wig cap (only to slick back my hair with spray/gel).
Step 1: Things You Will Need
1. A disposable hat that fits snugly (I used a cheap straw hat from a second hand store)
2. Wigs (I needed two long, thin ones; estimate your number based on the size you need)
4. Hot glue gun
5. Duct tape
6. Hair spray/gel (dollar store gels and sprays worked just fine for me)
7. (optional) A buffer material (I used a thin Styrofoam sheet, but anything lightweight and pliable works)
Step 2: Prepare the Hat
Cut the hat into a good shape for your head. It needs enough "grip" to stay on despite the potential weight imbalance your wig will create, but shouldn't be so long that the wig cannot cover it all, so I opted for a helmet look.
I cut the edges off and reattached them so it ran along my forehead just above the hair line, down just behind my ears, and across the back of my head. Trim them as needed.
Then, I duct taped everything down. (See the images for an in-progress look before I finished taping everything.)
This will be the base upon which the wig will sit.
Step 3: (Optional) Add the Buffer
If you want the wig to be extra tall or shaped a certain way, you can add a buffer material upon which the wig will sit. I used one for this wig: a thin Styrofoam sheet. I glued one end to the top of the helmet and bent the other end inward, so that I could glue the "top" of the sheet onto the back of the helmet. This added a LOT of volume using light-as-air empty space, but be careful--it can also warp the shape of the helmet. Do what you need to do for your project.
Then, cut/sand the edges down so it's a smooth, shapely slope upon which the wig will sit.
Step 4: Lay the First Wig
First lay down the wig that you wish to sit farthest back on the helmet base. For this wig, focus on how you want the back of the finished wig to look without worrying about the front and sides yet.
Adjust it to your preference. When you've found a good position, glue it down securely. Start gluing the base and work your way through smaller sections. Remember that some parts can be sprayed or gelled into place without gluing, but you don't want it to fall off or expose the helmet underneath.
Step 5: Lay Subsequent Wig(s)
Now, focus on the other wig or wigs. Lay subsequent wigs further forward on the helmet to hide the border of the front of the previous wig.
This time, focus on the front and sides of the wig rather than the back. See the image for an idea of what you're going for.
Be sure to glue the wig so that it covers the helmet completely. Pay attention to the bangs. Lay the base of the wig close to the hairline edge and cut/gel/spray the bangs into place on your face.
Step 6: Add Finishing Touches
Now, you can spray and gel the wig into the right shape.
Double check for bare spots and helmet edges that need trimming. If you find any holes you missed in which you can see the helmet, be sure to either spray/gel/glue the wig over them, or heck, paint the spots if you need to do so.
My wig had a particularly nice-smelling scent due to the spray, so no con funk could permeate my defenses!
Be sure to take breaks when wearing it--the helmet means trapped heat.
Have fun with your big wig!