Ever needed a cosplay wig that was a mix of colours you just could not find to buy and would be too tricky and time-consuming to dye?
That’s the problem I was up against when I decided to cosplay the obscure character known as “The Beast” from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. This wig was the most challenging part of this costume so I have put together a tutorial, of sorts, to show my process in the hopes it can help others with similar projects.
Describing “The Beast”
This character is just incredibly fun and charming in a rough and ready way but the most striking thing about her is her rainbow, dreadlocked hair.
I instantly wanted to cosplay her but was initially put off by where I could possibly find a rainbow wig in the right colours in order to dreadlock it myself (something I had never done before) and if I couldn’t find one, would it be difficult to dye a light-coloured base wig?
Purchasing and build
After spending weeks searching in costume shops and online I resigned myself to the fact that while you can find rainbow coloured party-wigs quite easily, there are none out there quite this long and with this particular colour combination. Attempting to dye a wig with various colours of artists ink and rubbing alcohol seemed like a large and expensive undertaking. This left one other option; could I find a base-wig in orange (as per her predominant colour) and rip it apart then sew in wefts? This is something I have never done before but what is cosplay if not a hobby in which teach ourselves new skills?
I started the search for a long orange wig and while I would have preferred lace-front I needed to stick to a budget. However, given her dreaded/messy hair I decided I could hide the obvious wig-front in the styling. Still, finding the perfect base-wig proved a challenge until a cosplayer friend was clearing out her costume and craft stash and very kindly let me have an incredibly long and thick deep-orange wig!
The next task was to turn the wig inside-out and carefully unpick the stitches holding the wefts to the wig cap. Making the first cut and feeling I was destroying a beautiful wig was the worst part but once I got going it wasn’t too difficult and I managed to save the wefts I cut out for possible future use.
In order to get the exact colours in the correct order for the rest of the wig I bought some lovely long wefts individually from Coscraft.com (and still have plenty of hair left over from them!).
Keeping the wig cap inside-out and pinned in place on my wig head I cut the wefts to the correct widths and began to hand-sew them onto the wig cap in the same positioning as the orange wefts I removed.
This was also a wonderful lesson in how to thicken up a wig, as to get enough of each colour running through the wig I actually found I needed to add in extra wefts in the gaps that the original wig had left. This worked very well but became tricky to work with given the amount of hair I had to clip out of the way as I worked! This soon became a very heavy wig!
The fix for this was to sew small wig-clips into the front edge of the wig to help secure it to my head and stop it pulling back and straining my neck.
Once all new wefts had been added I needed to trim the dramatic length and make sure all layers could be seen. For this, I enlisted the help of my long-suffering sister-whom I often use as a human wig-stand-to cut and style on. I wouldn’t say I am the best at cutting wigs but given this needed to be backcombed and dreadlocked I could afford to be choppy and rough.
The final look of the wig before dreading was quite beautiful and reminded me of Rainbow Dash. I definitely felt some guilt knowing I had just spent hours sewing it together and was about to purposely mess it up.
Taking on the task of creating dreadlocks for the first time was daunting so I turned to youtube for tutorials from people who created synthetic dreads for pony-tails and watched various techniques. Looking at The Beast’s hair it is obvious her dreads are not tight and neat and so the simple back-combing method seemed best with the goal of keeping some dreads loose and some tighter.
Starting from the bottom I got to work. I found the best way to work was to sit down with my legs out in front of me, holding the wig head between my knees. I sectioned out the hair and backcombed and rolled each section until it formed a dreadlock. This took roughly 10 minutes per dread which meant hours of work in front of the TV. It was useful to take the wig with me when visiting friends so that I could continue working while socialising.
After many hours work, over a few weeks the wig was finally finished! The perfectionist in me can see things I would love to improve but for a first attempt at building a wig, almost from scratch and creating dreadlocks I am very proud of this little project.
Here’s a look at the wig with the full costume for the full-effect!
Do you have a wig project that seems to difficult to do yourself? Give it a go! I guarantee it’s not as hard as you think and the pay-off of knowing you did it all yourself is worth it!