Changing the Color of Your Wig

Thursday, 13 May 2010, 12:00 | Author : Janet
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When it comes to dying your wig, there are several options from which you can choose.  In the past, we have experimented with colored sharpies, cheap hairspray, and acrylic paints.  Although each method has its own adverse side effects (such as staining your costume or making your wig impossible to comb), we have learned how to create long-lasting color that retains the comfort and texture of your wig.

The easiest way to replicate your character’s exact hair color is to start with a white wig.  Whether you purchase a synthetic dye or create your own, you will have better results with a white wig, as opposed to a wig already saturated with pigmentation.

We have found a wig dying tutorial by Honey Bunny that teaches you how to make your own dyes at home.  In a small spray bottle, mix 1 cup of 70% rubbing alcohol with about 15 drops of Dick Blick acrylic paint.  The Dick Blick website offers a wide selection of colors from which to choose.  If you buy two bottles of dye, you can mix and match for the perfect color!  During the dying process, you will saturate your wig with a mixture of alcohol and liquid dye, let the color set for 8 hours, rinse it in cold running water, leave it out to dry, and repeat as necessary.

There are a few important things to remember when you’re using this tutorial.  You can add more dye to the alcohol mixture to create more vibrant colors, but you should test each solution on an inconspicuous area of the wig or use some hair clippings.  You will notice that the final color of your wig differs slightly from the color your see in the bottle.

Not all wigs have to be white in order for you to change their color.  Katie Bair sells pre-mixed (albeit expensive) wig dyes that have been created specifically for cosplay wigs.  You can refer to her Virtual Mixing Chart to see how her dyes will affect the color of your wig.

Don’t forget to wash/rinse your wigs completely before wearing them.  This will remove the loose pigments from your wig and prevent dye transference to other surfaces. When Amitie created her wig for Death the Kid, she decided to use large black sharpies in order to have maximum control when drawing three white stripes on her (soon-to-be) black wig.  Although we believed she could use black sharpies as a substitute for more professional dying methods, the black ink spread to her white shirt and permanently stained it!  You will often find that cheap and fast methods seldom work – since they are not products intended for wig dying.  Purchasing the right product is the first step in caring for your wig and creating a stunning costume.

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