For this awesome costume I was working on, I decided to make the wig of the Red Queen because, honestly, the wigs in the market are very low quality and depressing to look at..
After long hours of research I found non that could be even close to what Helena Bonham Carter used, I know hers is custom made and all but, if you look for an Elsa, Ariel, any Disney Princess or any Manga character you can find all kinds of wigs and quality, but for the Red Queen it seemed almost impossible…
Very little information exist out there also regarding on how to make a wig with such volume. So I did something different.
When you look at the design of this character, you can really see HISTORICAL references everywhere, specially from the Renaissance and Rococo Eras. The collar, the hair, the big forehead, the cage, the stomacher on the original costume. So, I went and research for historical references instead and that really helped me like Marie antoinette hair, elizabethan collars and stuff like that. NOW THE WIG:
For the total wig I used:
- Front lace Cherry Red Wig
- extra weft of the same color
- Hair spray (A lot of it)
- Standard Bobby Pins
- Jumbo Bobby Pins
- For the foundation I listed below the other items I used for it
For a base, I purchased the front lace Tauriel wig in Cherry Red at Arda Wigs as well as a short weft of the same color to add extra volume in the process. Bad news is that they have DISCONTINUED this color on this wig now.=( But I would guess that the Crimson Color could also work even though is a bit darker.
I was thrilled by the quality of this wig, it’s amazingly soft and it does not tangle!. You can see my happy face when I open it! You can also see that my forehead is really small so the BALD CAP was a necessity here….
A very important thing to notice is that the Red Queen’s hair is not really curly.. it has WAVES. This is one of the reasons why the wigs in the market don’t look right because the have curly hair.
To achieve this effect called finger waves I went online and found a great tutorial by Sam villa that you can watch here. It explains how to twist the hair on a curling iron in two different ways but I did it with my foam rollers (way #1) and it worked perfectly.
Once the rollers were set up, it was time to BOIL the wig! Please be careful here. I used a bucket filled with boiling water, then dipped the wig in it and stirred it for about 8-10 minutes. I did not did it directly on the stove because I do not have a pot big enough for the wig and I was scared I might burn the wig anyways…BBQ tongs are very useful to avoid touching the wig while in hot water.
Then I let it air dry on a towel for 2 full days to make sure it was completely dry. The first day I left it on a towel and on the second day I put it on my foam head in my balcony, Thank you beautiful Montreal Summer! =)
The moment of revelation came and I remove the rollers and this is how the wig looked:
The BIG VOLUME SECRET
To create the volume on this wig you need a good foundation and for that I used:
- Two Dollar store Hair bun
- Fiberfill Stuffing
- Red Spray Paint
- Hot Glue
- Four Invisible Hair nets
- Cheap red wig or wefts (similar to the main wig color)
First I spray paint the stuffing with red so It wasn’t as visible once on the wig.
To maintain the shape I use the invisible nets on each side and then I used Hot glue on the hair bun and attached it to the little ball of fibrefill stuffing.
I placed the buns on the wig and before attaching them I test the position and volume until I was happy with it. Then I sew it to the wig. First the hair bun to the mesh of the wig and then the bun and the stuffing and then all together to make sure it wouldn’t fall. I like working with needle and thread on a wig, I feel is better and safer than just hot glue.
After, I cut wefts of a red wig I had and turned them into home made wefts by sewing them to a piece of mesh.
Then I carefully went around the bun and used my hot glue to secure the weft on the bun and started brushing the hair with some hair spray until I covered all the stuffing. Then I secured the shape with another hair net.
Before starting the styling of the wig, I also added some extra hair in the back of the wig where I saw it with fewer hait and might show while wearing it. I did the same curling process on the wefts as I did with the wig.
Time for some Fun! STYLING THE WIG:
This part took me about 5-6 hours because I did it all twice. 😒 I did one side completely and then I struggle trying to repeat it on the other side. So I undid everything and worked both sides at the same time, lesson learned: when working two equal parts, work them at the same time. I apologize for not having too many pictures, I was a bit too concentrated I forgot. I will try to explain as much as I can if you have any questions, don’t hesitate:
First, I started from the back on both sides at the same time. I took each strand separately and brushed it with a wide comb and hair spray. This part gets a bit sticky and might try to tangle the wig a bit so you have to be slow and patient. I work one strand on one side, the the same strand or so on the other side to try to make is as similar as possible.
Then I placed the strand towards the front and pinned. It’s very important Not to pull the hair too much, otherwise you will loose the beautiful wave you just created. For the tip of the hair strand I just twisted around the hair bun towards the outside, this helps to add more volume on the side of the wig. When the piece is in place use hair pins to secure the strand of hair.
Then repeat this process with ever single strand of hair on both sides including the hairspray part and putting hair pins everywhere you need to. It takes a lot of patience and time but it’s worth it. It’s about playing with the hair until you are satisfied with the shape.
As you go, you can check that both sides are balanced. leave the strands of the edge of the back of the wig undone and start with the front. You will notice that the hair starts to concentrate in the middle and the back like a small mullet, it’s ok. They will also start creating a soft heart shape like the Red Queen has. Leave all the edge of the front for last.
Next, grab the strands on the wig that are hanging in the back, twist the hair strand by strand, pin them upwards, and finish twisting all the back hair in little curls and pin them.
Once you have only the front at the middle (where the pointed hairline is) comb the strands, and softly put them towards the back. But leave some volume at the front, you dont want to end up with a tight shape here. Once you reach the back, twist the strands and hide them under the hair in the middle of the back of the wig. Hairspray it all and you are done!!!
For the rest of the costume, check out my other posts. Hope this was clear and if you have any questions, let me know.
Until next time!