Acrylic Paint and Your Wig!

So a while back I posted about dying my wig with acrylic paint, and it worked, not as well as using ink, I would assume, but it got the job done. Well here’s a step by step picture tutorial for coloring a wig (spiking isn’t explained in this tutorial)

First, you’ll want to gather your supplies:

  1. Your wig (obviously)
  2. A wig head (it will get stained)
  3. A wig stand (optional, but it’s less messy if you need to move the wig for whatever reason)
  4. Acrylic paint (try to get a full bottle; the amount needed depends on how long the wig is and how dark you want it)
  5. bowl (I used one for hair dye, but a regular bowl should work, but use one that won’t be used for eating or whatever) with water
  6. Tinting brush
  7. Gloves (I suggest one on each hand, I only used one for the hand that would touch the wig, and that wasn’t a smart idea…)
  8. Something to put under the wig. I cannot stress this enough, this is VERY messy; use a large piece of cardboard or a bunch of plastic bags, newspaper, whatever, just surround where you’re working with them. I didn’t put enough and had to move around/clean a lot.
  9. Clips
  10. A comb (one you don’t mind getting dirty; ones with the tail are much more helpful for parting, but any will do)
  11. (not pictured/optional) Hairdryer

Alright, get all that stuff together? Good, now let’s go!

1. Set everything up; lay down whatever your using to cover the floor/ work space; stick the wig on the wig head and the wig head on the stand, and get water in your bowl.

2. Mix paint with the water

  • So the amount of water will affect how the color of your wig comes out; a lot of water and little paint will just lightly tint your wig; a lot of paint and a little water will make it very dark; experiment a little, and if you have to, add another layer after you finish dyeing it once. YOU CANNOT MAKE YOUR WIG LIGHTER. It sucks, but if you want a wig lighter you’ll have to buy a new one; if it’s just a little lighter, I heard that dusting it with a bit of baby powder or corn starch works.

3. This step is kinda optional, but it makes things easier: section off your wig. When you’re brushing the paint onto your wig, it is easier to do in sections (not to mention cleaner) than if you’re just pouring paint all over it. I like to start on the sides and work all the way around and back to where I started, but it’s all preference. After the first section, I go lazy and stopped sectioning the fibers as I pretty much  knew where to stop and start for each section.

4. Put your gloves on and start dying and put on something to watch or music to listen to; it’ll take a long time to finish. It also takes a bit to get used to, but you’ll get the hang of it as you go along, and don’t worry if you get it all over the wig, as long as you’re dying it all one constant color. If you’re dying a Stocking wig, you’d have to be really careful about what colors go where (though I wouldn’t suggest using this method for two tones as they might bleed together)

  1. What I normally do is just brush the mixture over the top layer of the wig a bit just to coat it. 
  2. Then I take the tail of the comb, and pick up a few wefts at a time and color the back (though this wig doesn’t have proper wefts on the top since there’s so much fibers, but you get it…)
  3. Finally,comb it over to the other side of the wig and clip, then move to the next few wefts until you lose your mind reach the bottom. If you’ve ever colored someone’s hair before, it pretty much the same exact thing.

5. When you reach the bottom of the wig, unclip all the wefts and comb them back down.

Doesn’t it look nice? Well, you still have the rest of the wig to do, so turn it around and repeat until you finish.

This is why you’ll want something under your wig, it drips a lot; I learned the hard way, and I still had to move my stuff onto my floor and onto a box while I was coloring this wig.

6. Made your way around the wig? You’re almost finished! now all you can do is let the wig dry; you can either just leave it to sit until the water evaporates, or use a hairdryer to dry the hair.

  • No matter which method you have used for drying the wig comb the fibers every  few minutes so it doesn’t clump. Acrylic paint just does that, so unless you want the fibers to stick together and color unevenly, comb it while it dries.

7. Make sure the wig is completely dry before you get to this step, I mean it. We’re going to rinse off this wig. “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!” Well much like the other dying methods, you’ll notice that some of the “dye” wasn’t absorbed or whatever, and will rub off. You don’t want to that happen on your cosplay! So run it under some cold water until the water is clear, and let the wig dry. Of course if you do this when it hasn’t dried, all of your hard work will have been wasted.

7. There you have it, a dyed wig! The paint gives it a texture that makes it feel kinda rough and stiff, so this is good for wigs you plan to spike/style heavily. I used this method for my Madoka wig, and if you brush it enough, it will get softer, but that’s also because paint rubs off…BUT it also adds the effect of highlights, which is what I like about this method.

So this method isn’t perfect, but it works well enough, I mean my Madoka wig is still a nice shade of pink, when it was originally a white wig.

Pros-

  • cheap
  • no fumes from rubbing alcohol
  • Since it ends up kinda streaky due to the layers of paint you may put on, it looks like there are highlights in the wig instead of one flat color.

Cons-

  • Messy (it stains your wig head, just putting that out there again)
  • Time consuming
  • When finished, its lighter than when you first dyed it (so pick a paint a few shades darker than you want the wig to be

There are other things I’ve noticed about this method that you’ll have to consider:

  • I think the color can be removed; I used this method of washing all the hair spray and gel out of my wig, and I’m pretty sure it reverted back to its original color. It’s hard to tell because I don’t remember how blonde it was when I bought it, but I did see some paint in the solution I soaked the wig in to wash it.
  • Once again, there’s a texture; it’s rough because it’s paint, not ink, and it makes the wig somewhat stiffer (not by a lot) but it helps if you’re spiking the wig or styling it. If you comb it enough it’ll go away, but sometimes it means your rubbing the paint off.
  • If the fibers are nappy, they won’t take the dye. Like the “roots” of my wig didn’t take much of the dye, so I’ll brush some paint on and seal it with hairspray to fix that.

Hope you found this helpful, and that it works out alright. It may take some trial and error, as this run wasn’t as nice as my first wig, but I do think it had to do with the condition of the fibers, so be aware, and good luck suffering  cosplaying~

I’m going to go and try to nom my keyblade again while Mimi isn’t around >3>

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