Ever since I mentioned making a wig for Jennifer out of plastic wrap, yarn and glue, some people have wondered exactly how I did it. Here are step by step instructions to making a fast and functional yarn wig for your doll. No pictures yet, but maybe soon. Please note that the finished product is neither neat nor professional, so feel free to modify the sucker if you want to improve it.
What I used:
A bald dolly
Glue gun with glue [duh]
To create the wig cap, I first warm some plumber’s putty in my hands and put dabs of it at the front and back of Jennifer’s head, just above the edges of her headcap. You can use whatever temporary adhesive you want, so long as it keeps the slippery plastic wrap from moving.
I then cut a strip of plastic wrap about 4” high x 12” long. Then I fold it length-wise a few times so that it was about 1.5” x 12”, several layers thick. I wrap the strip of plastic wrap around Jennifer’s head with the bottom edge of the strip aligned with the line where her headcap meets her forehead. I press down on the plastic wrap so it sticks to the plumber’s putty and doesn’t move. Then I gather the loose ends of the plastic wrap at the nape of Jennifer’s neck and hot-glue them together, trimming off the excess.
The wig cap now just looks like a thick headband made out of plastic wrap. To close it over the top of Jennifer’s skull, I use a combination of more plastic wrap and Scotch tape, all adhered together with my trusty glue gun. I don’t care how neat it is because the lumpy, wild style of the yarn wig will cover up all imperfections in the wig cap.
The wig cap is almost done, but the hairline is still very high. To bring it down to a more realistic level, I affix little tabs of tape to the hairline to bring it forward and down. I create each tab by cutting a small piece of tape, then sliding it, sticky side up, inside the wig cap, under the hairline edge of the wig cap. The tape then sticks out like a tongue. I fold the tape back on itself and adhere the loose end on the outside of the wig cap. The doubled tape acts as a reinforced extension of the wig cap.
I create enough tabs to bring the hairline down around Jennifer’s face. I make the tabs curve around her forehead by cutting darts in some, then taping the darted edges in their new position. Finally I am done with the basic shape of the cap.
To reinforce the wig cap, I run some more tape and plastic wrap across the already existing structure. Since the plastic wrap is thin, I don’t want the hot glue to seep through on to Jennifer’s head [even though the glue scrapes off easily]. Two layers of tape and/or plastic wrap later, the wig cap is complete.
Then I put the hair on the wig. This is how I prepare the yarn; you may have different ways of doing so. I measure out two arm’s lengths of yarn from the skein, then fold them in half a few times, so I end up with a bouquet of yarn loops. These will form a primitive weft of hair. I measure it at least twice as long as I want Jennifer’s final hair to be because I will be styling it later by cutting it!
WARNING: I do this part of the wig making with the yarn and the glue gun in my hands, but, if you don’t like the possibility of hot glue dripping on you, do this part on a table, laying down the row of yarn on sticky-side-up masking tape to keep it in place. I spread out the tops of the loops between my thumb and forefinger so that I create a row, rather than a big clump, of yarn. I make sure that the strands of yarn did not sit on top of each other, but, rather, side by side. I then squeeze a thin strip of glue across the line of hair. The glue is slightly below the tops of the loops. I smear it with the glue gun nozzle so that the strip widend and gets down between the strands of yarn. Then I let the strip dry.
When the strip on the front of the row of yarn dries, I flip the row over [very easy to do if you’re holding the row of yarn]. Then I place a strip of hot glue on the other side of the yarn row, matching the position of the glue on the front of the row. I make sure that the glue reaches down between the fibers to the dried glue on the other side. Then I let the second row of glue dry.
I now have a line of hair loops held together by glue: in other words, an improvised weft. I trim the top edges of the weft down as close as possible to the glue line.
Then I am ready to glue my first weft on the wig cap. I start at the back and bottom of the wig cap, wrapping the wefts around the wig cap and hot-gluing them into place. I make wefts as I go so that I don’t use up too much yarn.
I leave the front part of the wig – the area from the ears forward – for last. I want this part to be neater since I look at Jennifer front-on most of the time. I make smaller bunches of yarn, just 4 to 6 strands, and glue them directly to the wig cap. I don’t make wefts with glue because I want to reduce the bulk at the front of her face. I touch up any sparse areas elsewhere on Jennifer’s head in a similar way: by using unwefted yarn and a small amount of glue directly on her wig cap.
Once the hair is all glued on, I finalize the hairstyle with my scissors. I separate any remaining loops and began to reduce the hair to the desired length. I never cut straight across the yarn; I always use my scissors at an angle. The result looks more realistic. To thin big clumps of hair, I cut straight up into them with my scissors parallel to the way the strands were running. I keep Jennifer’s head in motion as I do this, looking at her from all angles. Even though it is a wild hairstyle, I still want it to appear balanced and relatively even.
Since finishing the initial ‘do, I have gone back and trimmed the wig shorter and shorter for new looks. That’s the enjoyable thing about this type of wig. Since it’s quick to make and not that expensive, you can think of them as temporary and/or disposable, and you don’t need to be afraid of modifying them for new looks.