This is NOT a process followed by DAME but is instead a useful guide that we are hosting to help any enthusiasts add their own wig to a mask blank.
Materials used in this tutorial: 3 normal sized cosplay wigs, scissors, glue gun, upholstery foam, tripod, brush, comb and hair styling products.
In this tutorial, I have only used 3 normal wigs to make my kigurumi wig, however some masks will require more or less wigs depending on their size and style. If the character has short hair, purchase an extra wig to make sure the mask is covered evenly.
(Optional) I like to add a strip of upholstery foam to the forehead of the mask. This helps to create volume to the bangs.
Personal rule of thumb: I like to layer my wigs starting with a back piece, side pieces on top, followed by another back piece with sides pieces on top of that. I then cut a smaller back piece with the top front piece being the last to be glued onto the mask.
Step 1 - Cutting the wigs
The easiest way to divide the wigs is by cutting the wig into two parts: the front and the back ( usually made of wefts.) The front sections will be used to make the sides, bangs and top of wig while the back sections will make the back of the wig.
- Brush the wigs before and after you cut them. This helps removes the loose hair that has been cut.
You ideally want to have 3 back pieces and 3 front pieces.
Make sure to keep one of the front pieces safe and sound until the end as you will need it to make the top of the wig. The other two of these front pieces will be cut in half to create the side panels.
- Cut slits into the bottom of the wig so they can stretch/fit over the mask. ( See image above on left.)
Back pieces x3 Front pieces x3 (one whole and 2 cut in half.)
Step 2 - Gluing the wigs (first layer)
(Please be careful when using a hot glue gun!)
Check mask is secure on the tripod with clean surface to glue the wigs onto. Start by gluing a back piece onto the back back of mask. Glue along the wig lace and wefts. Once you have glued a back piece on, glue side pieces.
This is how you want the wig to start looking. The side pieces help create the big poofy bangs most anime characters have.
Step 3 - Gluing the wigs (second layer)
Repeat the process you just did for the first layer of hair. Glue the back piece then two sides on top, making sure the back of the mask is evenly covered. The only difference is to place the hair higher, with just the bottom overlapping the top of the previous layer.
Step 4 - Gluing the wigs (third layer)
The third layer will fill in the bald spot at the back of the mask (See image above.) For this piece, you want to trim the back piece so it fits in the space between the top side pieces.
Step 5 - Gluing the wigs (final layer)
The final layer of the wig is the top piece. This is the front piece that has not been cut in half. This piece is glued on top of the head and will become the front bangs of the wig. I like to glue this piece so the front edge is over the foam strip and the rest is slightly overlapping the previous wig layer.
Step 6 - Trimming the wigs
Brush the wig out. Don’t worry if some hair comes out. This is normal since these are loose hairs from cutting the wig. Cut the hair into your preferred style. Cut small sections of hair at a time. Consider the vision when cutting the hair - you don’t want to be blinded by hair!
- You can purchase cheap thinning scissors on eBay. These scissors will thin out parts of the hair if some areas are too thick.
Step 7 - Hair styling (Be careful of eyes and paintwork when styling hair)
For hair styling, you can use hair products or glue if you want a permanent style.
If you want a more permanent style, I would recommend using PVA glue (also known as school glue) as it can be washed out with water. Mix the glue with a small amount of water. Then using your hands, comb or brush, apply it to the sections of hair you want to style. When you are happy with the styling, leave the glue to dry. The glue should dry clear overnight. If you are unhappy with the styling, you can work out the glue by rubbing water onto the hair until it’s gone.
- If using hair spray, make sure to cover the mask as some hair spray can damage the paint work. You can do this by sliding a piece of paper behind the hair you want to spray.
- Don’t purchase expensive hair spray or hair products for wigs. These can contain vitamins that are good for real hair but can damage synthetic fibres in cosplay wigs. In this case, cheaper is better (in my experience.)
- You can cover the mask with clingfilm to avoid glue getting on the hair or eyes.
- Keep a pair of gloves, brush and comb nearby as these often come in handy during this process.
Once the hairstyling is done and dry, add any accessories and viola!- You have made your kigurumi wig.
I hope this tutorial was of some use. Best of luck friends!