Beauty School Dropouts & Other Painted Wigs Project at TheCostumer's Manifesto Costume Design & Construction Beauty School Dropouts & Other Painted Wigs (5D+10C)
We celebrate many unusual holidays in the UAF costume shop, among them National Cheap Chocolate Day (February 15), and Cheap Glitz Week (December 26-January 2nd), but no holiday is better loved, than National cheap wig and makeup day, (November 1st), when all the already cheap wigs and SPFX makeup sold before Halloween drops to anywhere between half to 1/10th of the usual price. We grab anything we can get those days, even those cheap nylon wigs where the hair is sewn to just the top of a tacky net "shower cap" type base. We do this because these cheap wigs are ones you can do vile weird stuff to without guilt. You can cut them up for parts, you can butcher several together like Frankenstein's monster, you can use glue in place of hairspray to make them stand on end, or hold their shape with no maintenance, and best of all, you can paint them, all without sacrificing a good wig.
This wig was dressed for The magic Flute in 1998, it has been used several times since and has never needed re-dressing. It was a cheap, bland ash blonde the color of the internal cap you see here when we started work on it.
The wig was dressed and pinned with a little hairspray and pins, then the wig was sewn as pinned, the silver braid was hot glued to the wig over the sewing to hold it together more firmly, then the whole wig was re-sprayed with a "hairspray" of 50-50 water and acrylic glaze soaking it along all the joins and surface. After drying for 24 hours the wig was then sprayed with metallic gold hair spray, and brush painted with two shades of yellow-gold acrylic paints. Another layer of spray glue was misted over the top to "fix" the gold hair spray permanently.
This pink wig is the only one from our great set of "Beauty School Dropout" wigs not to have "walked" out of our storage before it could get photographed. It too is built like a truck, and painted in shades of pink in acrylic.
Lysistrata started out life as bright colored Halloween wigs, but in shades that don't harmonize well. These are only dressed in tons of "Final Net" and colored hair spray so that the styles can be reversed for future use. However, the simple expedient of getting a bunch of red, pink and yellow color, and adding highlights to all the clashing wigs that pulled the colors closer together, made our bimbo chorus look like they all went to the same bad hair salon. Colored hair spray can add zippy highlights to colored wigs so that instead of a uniform yellow, a wig gradates from yellow to orange to flame, or a violet wig has perky hot pink highlights that give even these weird wigs depth and character that straight out-of-the-box ones do not have.
You will need
A foam or cork wig head with table mount
A cheap wig, preferably in a lighter or medium color
a plastic bag to protect the wig head during painting
Super-hold hair spray
A spray bottle with a mixture of acrylic glaze and water, or glue and water
A hot glue gun or needle and thread.
Pins, a wig cap, etc. to attach the wig to the performer.
Render your wig design on paper to give yourself a plan to work towards. You may end up changing your plan slightly, but starting without a plan is definitely a mistake. The instructions below detail how to do a green fairy wig like the one shown, but you may choose to design a different style of wig and can extrapolate your own process based on your design crossed with the instructions below.
Bag your wig form, and attach it to the table mount. Put the wig on the head, and flip it various ways to see which will get you the shape you want. You need not use a wig in the normal position. In this case we determined that for the upsweep ratted beehive style we wanted. we would want to take this blond "rock star" mullet, and dress it so that it would go straight up in the opposite direction. You can also use gravity for setting a wig that goes up by working on it in the inverted position, and then flipping it one it is dried. Once you know what way you want to work on it, pin the wig to the head form, stretching it out at all edges so it won't "shrink" as you work.
Then the wig is pinned on.
When your wig is finished, photograph the sketch and the wig as jpeg files and post them to 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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