Notes: I always complete the costuming before applying the wig. All the handling of the doll during the costuming process would quickly frizz up a beautiful wig. For this tutorial, however, in order to make the picture taking a bit easier (only have two hands here, and most days, that is not nearly enough) I am using a plain head to demonstrate on rather than a fully assembled and costumed doll. This makes it easier for me to maneuver and hold in one hand while running the camera in the opposite.

Ok, lets begin.... wigging is not terribly difficult. It does take a bit of practice. The two most common pitfalls are 1)using too much hair, or 2) using too little hair. Learning how much is the right amount is something that is difficult to put into words. You do not want a huge heavy wig. But you do not want any bald scalp showing through either. Strive to use just enough viscose to cover the head well, and have a well balanced wig that is flattering to the dolls size.

You will need viscose wigging material, scissors, glue, dark brown or black thread, straight pins, bowl of water, wide tooth comb, plastic sandwich bag.

 

This is the hairstyle that we will be creating today. It is appropriate and beautiful on dolls of the Victorian and Edwardian era. While the initial concept of how this wig is made is a bit more complex tha some others, once you have completed one, you will find it an easy, fun and versitile style to do.

Variations are to add curls to bottom back under bun,

Wrap the bun in a thin braid,

Loosely wave the viscose before doing any of the wigging for a curlier look,

Pull out long straight wisps around face and bang area before pulling up and tying off main hair...

and just about anything else your imagination can come up with.

Let's get started!

In order to protect your doll, clip one corner off a plastic sandwich bag and place the doll in head first, allowing the head to poke through the cut corner. This will keep glue and excess hair from getting all over your beautiful gown.

An upsweep hairstyle is done in sections, and the placement and direction of the hair is the most important key. I have drawn sections on to my sample head ONLY to be very clear in how you will apply the hair. You need ONLY to study the photos carefully to understand the placement of the hairline, and how the head is divided all around into sections.

You do NOT need to draw these areas on to your doll.

First notice that the line that goes across the forehead and around the entire circumference of the head will be how the actual hairline is created. You do not want it too low in the front, but you do not want a receding hairline either, so carefully judge where the hairline will be.

The center front section is marked here with number 1, and proceeding around the head ...

 

section 2 is next. Note the hairline comes forward of the ear, and then goes over and behind the ear.

Continuing around, we have sections three and four. Notice that the hairline goes down to the nape of the neck in a smooth line.

 

Continuing around the head, section five is behind the opposite ear, and the last section is to the left of the center front section.

All this is a complicated way of telling you to mentally plan your hairline, and divide your head into six fairly even sections all around.

 

The viscose we use must be combed out before use. To do this, use a very wide tooth comb. FIRMLY grasp the end of the hank of hair in one hand and comb gently with the other. See the big ball of fuzz at the top of the photo? This is all the junk that comes out of the hank of hair, leaving you with nice, continuous length pieces in your main hank. Do not over comb, and do NOT let go of the end as you comb, or you will loose all of your hair. The idea is to only remove the short or tangled pieces.

 

Divide your hank of hair into several thin pieces as shown. You will need 6 thin pieces to go around the head. Your kit has sufficient hair to do the wig a couple of times, so don't fret too much over how you divide it.

To give you an idea of how big or thick to divide your 6 pieces of hair, when you grasp one end tightly and place it over one of the sections on your head, it will cover the porcelain nicely in that area. You will not be able to see the porcelain through the hair. On the other hand, the section of hair will not be so very thick that you can not contain it in the section.

 

I have applied glue to section one, going right up to the hairline and then straight back toward the crown of the head.

Here, I have laid a section of hair over section one. The end of the hair is placed just over the glued area and extends down over the face and hangs down the front of the doll. The arrow is here to help you see the direction that the hair lays.

When you have glued the piece to the head, apply a small amount of glue to your finger tip and smooth it over the section that is actually on the head, from front to back to help hold the section together as you work around the head.

Now, carefully apply glue to section two. Again, keep your hairline in mind when applying glue. Where the glue goes is where the hairline will be.

 

Here I have applied a section of hair to section two on the head. Again, the end of the hair just covers the glued area, and the remainder of the strand is hanging forward and slightly down as shown by the arrow. Again apply a bit of glue to the top side of the hair, ONLY on the area over the top of the head to help anchor.
Glue is applied to section 3.
Another strand of hair applied to section three. Notice the angle that this section is glued into..... it is pointed in a nearly straight down angle.

The center back section, (#4) has had a piece of hair applied, and it hangs straight down the center back as shown by the arrow on the left.

Section 5 has also had hair glued into place in this photo, again at a downward angle.

Glue has been applied to section 6, and the hair will be applied to this final section, angling the strand down and slightly forward.

Here is a view of the doll from the top of her head. See how the hair has been applied in a circular pattern around the entire head?

 

This is a view of the doll from the front after all of the strands have been glued into place.

It's a good idea to let this dry for 10-15 minutes before handling it too much more.

Remember all that ratty fuzzy stuff we pulled out of the viscose when we combed it out back in the beginning? Well, we don't waste anything! Find a piece of coat hanger wire, or a very small knitting needle or even a metal skewer.

Place one section of the fuzzy viscose against the rod. Holding the hair firmly as you twist, begin twisting the rod.

As you twist, the viscose will wrap itself around the rod and mat up.
Continue twisting the rod and smoothing the hair with your fingers till it is fairly tight around the rod. Slide it off the rod.
Gently curve the piece into a circular shape. We are going to use this piece as a "rat" for our hairstyle.

Pick up your doll and figure out where the front and back are. Visualize the approximate hairline area. On top of your viscose, apply a bead of tacky glue as shown.

Place the rat that we just made in the previous steps around the head like a halo, setting it into the glue. Trim off excess at center back as needed.

Now gently lift up your hair strands away from the face. See how they are glued down right up to the hairline? At this point, it is very important to work gently. Do not grab a comb, Do not overhandle your viscose. Gently bring the hair strands up toward the top of the head,

Here, I have turned the doll upside down. Use a large needle, and gently comb through the areas where the hair sections meet, blending them together slightly with the tip of the pin. Work your way around the entire head in this manner. Again NO COMBS, NO BRUSHES.. If you use either of these, you will loose most of the hair in your wig. If the pin catches as you are blending the sections, DO NOT yank it, as you will probably pull out a hank of hair. Just smooth over the top.

After blending the sections together, I have pulled them all gently into a ponytail at the back of the head. See how nicely the hair lays on top of the hair ratt that we used??? The ratt adds height and shape to the hairstyle, allowing us to make a full wig without using a ton of hair, which would end up looking very stiff and unnatural.

Note that you can vary the position of where you hold your ponytail, some people prefer the hair to gather more on the center back of the head, others prefer it more toward the top. Wherever you gather your ponytail, this is where you will eventually place your bun, so keep that in mind as you draw the hair up.

When you find just the place, hold the hair together and tie the ponytail off very tightly with thread, wrapping the thread around the hank of hair several times before knotting securely. If you can have someone else wrap and tie the thread as you hold the hair firmly, it is much easier.
Hair has been tied off. Apply a small bit of glue over the thread wraps at the base of the ponytail and over the knot of the thread. Trim threads.

CAREFULLY cut off the excess hair above the place where you tied it off with the thread. DO NOT cut through the threads. Cut about 1/16" above the threads as shown here.

To hold, you can apply a bit of glue to the top of the "stump" of hair that remains above the thread.

Making a bun is really very easy. Take a piece of viscose about 5" in length, and about the same thickness as the sections you used around the head. Twist is slightly and then tie a knot in the hair. You can do half or a whole square knot. I prefer to do a whole square knot.

 

Decide which side of the knot you like the looks of best, and use this for the top of the bun. On the underside, apply glue, and then fold the ends of the strand of hair under and into the glue to hold. Use your finger to press the ends of the strand firmly into place, and to cup the underside of the bun slightly. This will help it fit over the stump of the pony tail better.

 

Here is my finished bun with the ends glued under, ready to apply to the doll.

 

Apply glue to the ponytail stump and to the back side of the bun. Do not go all the way to the edges of the bun, as you do not want glue seeping out and ruining your lovely hair do. Use the thickest tacky glue available to you. I think that designer tacky is the very best for wigmaking. It is so thick that it never seeps through the hair.

Here is the bun glued into place on the back of the head.

View from the side. Notice how natural and soft the hairline looks???

 

You can stop now, or go a bit further and add a bit more detail to your wig.

Take some of the pony tail that you cut off and divide it into very very small thin pieces.

Dip each piece into a bowl of water grasping one end firmly as you do.

Wrap the wet viscose around a corsage pin, paper clip, yarn needle or other similar tool. You will want to make several of these curls. Pop them into a slightly warm oven for 5 minutes to dry.

Remove from oven and slide the curl off the end of the pin.

You can then cut each curl into smaller sections for use on the doll.

I want to add a curl just in front of the doll's ear on either side. I am using a very sharp pointed pair of tweezers to gently lift up the hair where I want to apply the curl, separating the glued hair from the porcelain in just a very small area.

Then, in that newly made pocket beneath the hair, apply a small dot of glue using a toothpick.

Use tweezers to grasp the large end of your curl and push it under the wig where you have applied the glue.
You can also apply loose curls at the nape of the neck.

I also applied some very small curls across the forehead. I then took a straight pin and fluffed them out a bit for soft bangs.

You can do any or all of these steps, depending on your personal preference.

 

Use small scissors to clean up any stray hairs.

Lovely wig. And our beautiful model is Elizabeth, one of my new sculptures.

 

 

I hope that you have enjoyed this project.  If you would like to be notified of future additions to the tutorial section of my website, please sign up for my mailing list by using the form on my website home page.  I send out update letters at the beginning of each semester announcing the new courses.

If there is a special project that you would like to do - email me!  I am always interested in your ideas for class projects.

Remember, if you have any problems or questions on this tutorial, please email me - I'm here to help!