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Extensions & Hair Rolls Project at The Costumer's Manifesto Costume Design & Construction I Extensions & Hair Rolls Project (10C)

When a show calls for performers to have long, full, or unusual hair, but for aesthetic, practical or budget reasons you don't wish to use full wigs, it is usually best to find a way to work with the actor's real hair using either pads, hair extensions or both. Below are a few examples of these that we used for

Les Liaisons Dangereuses at UAF when we wanted the women to have very long, but realistic looking hair:

Fornesx23Mvc-006f.jpg The actress playing Cecile de Volanges had full, fluffy, but very slippery, honey colored hair with blonde highlights.

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Build7Mvc-002f.jpg We made this object to hold up her hair extensions (which couldn't clip in because of her slippery hair), and to put stable side pads on her temples that she used to wrap her real hair around so it won't flop. The ribbon at front was meant to show. The side pads are made of old nylon stockings stuffed with net.

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Photos1Mvc-014f.jpg How it looked with the pads and extensions

Build2Mvc-003f.jpg The actress playing Presidente Tourvel had very thick curly hair, into which one can easily put clip on extensions (they even survived Valmont pulling her by the hair during "beyond my control").

Build7Mvc-004f.jpg We make her a simple hair roll with a forehead band, which is meant to show, and two "potatoes" of nylon stocking stuffed with net to give her something nearly invisible to roll her hair around easily, plus extensions (below) that have been blended out of 3 colors of cheap fake hair and curled to match the color and texture of her own:

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Build7Mvc-012f.jpg are sewn to the ends. These are available from beauty supply and wig stores. The actress carefully pinned the clips to the foam head form each night so that the pieces didn't get tangled. She would pull her natural hair around the pads, and clip the extensions to her hair near her scalp underneath to add length.

Extension clips

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Photos3Mvc-028f.jpg How it looked on stage, in three different styles she worked out for the progression of her character from constrained, to sensual, to falling apart and being dragged round by the hair...

Here is a simple hair "doughnut" we made for a redhead in an earlier show to pad out her long hair in a c.1900 style:

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254images254photos33007.jpg It is made from the leg of a nylon support stocking, stuffed with tulle, and sewn onto a circle.

To show how it works, we put it on my B&W hair for maximum contrast and visibility. When you match the hair roll to the hair color, the roll is nearly invisible.

254images254projects55012.jpg The roll is put on like a crown, with all the hair falling around it (being sure to put hair over the eyes in front).

254images254projects55014.jpg the hair is tucked up and around the roll.

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254images254projects55016.jpg Even without pins you can see the shape it produces.

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254images254projects55018.jpg However you can see here how important it is that the roll color match the hair color, and that careful pinning should fill in the gaps with an even layer of hair, or the roll will show.

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254images254projects55021.jpg The shape of the style with just a basic roll, and not much hair to put on it.

254images254photos33010.jpg Nylons conveniently are sold in colors that naturally match various hair colors. In the event that one needs pads for an unnatural color, like blue or green, white nylons or tights can easily be dyed with Rit or other non-toxic household dyes by cooking in a pot or microwave. Nylon "takes" these dyes more easily than any other fiber. We save any and all old nylons with runs in them for making wig caps, hair pads, rolls, and other useful costume objects. Minor runs and toe holes are not a problem for these uses.

If you can't obtain materials locally, you can but hair products at

The Project:

Lengthen a performers natural hair, and allow it to be dressed in a variety of period styles by building a combination hair roll and extender.

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You will need:

Cheap hanks of artificial hair in a color or colors (and texture) to match the performer's hair.

A nylon stocking in a color to match the performer's hair

Fiberfill or net stuffing

Needle & Thread

scissors

a Curling iron (optional)

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If you are using more than one color of hair, blend the hair till it matches that of the performer.

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Stuff the nylon to make a head piece that wraps around the back and sides of the head. Ten make a short braid of the fake hair, to put in the top/front to close the ring, as shown.

254images8Pict0071.jpg Take more hair and wrap the part of the roll that is the stuffed nylon.

254images8Pict0073.jpg Stitch the wrapped hair in place every few inches so it won't unwrap.

254images8Pict0074.jpg Attach small hanks of the hair to the bottom/back of the roll with needle and thread.

254images8Pict0075.jpg If needed also stop the hair from slipping out of the threads with small amounts of glue.

254images8Pict0078.jpg Once you have put on the equivalent of one hank of fake hair (see above) you will want to cut out about half of what is there, in a seemingly random fashion, to match the look of the performer's hair. Too much hair will make the piece look fake.

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254images8Pict0080.jpg Cut up in small cuts from the bottom to shape the hair into an irregular V shape as shown,

254images8Pict0081.jpg also clip little bits of the hair laying on top, so that the hair has a natural irregular look.

254images8Pict0082.jpg If the original hair of the performer is curly, or if the style you want for the show has curls, curl the ends with a curling iron and mousse or hairspray.

254images8Pict0090.jpg A finished piece.

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254images8Pict0014.jpg The finished piece worn with the hair, flipped under and over the roll in slight variations on the style.

When your piece is finished, photograph the hair both alone and on the person for whom it was made and post the photos as jpgs in your File folder at the class @160x120.jpg eGroup

. Post a message to the group letting everyone know you have posted these pictures so you can get feedback.

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