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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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
a Curling iron (optional)
If you are using more than one color of hair, blend the hair till it matches that of the performer.
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.
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.
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
. Post a message to the group letting everyone know you have posted these pictures so you can get feedback.
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