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Cosplay Tutorial: Wig Painting

By Kotodama
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Wow, this is probably the longest DA that I uploaded. Hell, this is probably the longest image I had ever had to put together!

This is a tutorial on painting designs on wigs with a stencil for cosplay.

When I first thought of this idea, I tested it out on an old wig that I didn't mind ruining. To my surprised it turned out really really good! (Really, I squeed for like an hour at how well it turned out.) Luckily for me, it washed off that wig too... so yay no ruined wig!

When I was ready to paint the design on the real wig, I snapped a crap ton of photos intending to make a tutorial out of it cause it came out too well not to share. :D!

I'll also make this into a video tutorial eventually for :iconsoysaucecosplay:'s youtube, since our youtube page is very very empty. :X

Also entered in :iconthecosplaygroup:'s Tutorial Contest for January. The timing seems perfect because I just finished this wig right before ALA in the beginning of January. XD

I'm not too sure how many characters have odd designs in their hair. (Other than Irabu from Trapeze, the only other one I can think of is Death the Kid from Soul Eater) but I'm sure someone will find a use for this. ^^ Good luck!

Also, please excuse the funky colors, I was totally in a trippy color mood from the Trapeze-ness that my wig oozes. <3

Funny tidbit about those sharpies: After I downgraded them from wig color-er to just stencil tracer (That'd be such a kick to the face if I was a sharpie.) I downgraded them even further to cosplay prop. FAILLLLLLL.
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anonymous's avatar
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SynSpirit's avatar
Wow I'm late to this.  But out of curiosity, would this work for Asura from Soul Eater?  I don't know any other way to get the eye shapes in his hair so painting them is my saving grace.  I'd prefer it to be permanent to save time, but it isn't an immediate deal breaker if I can't get the acrylic to stay put (I'd save him for the summer months, strategic fabric just doesn't seem very warm.  Or I'd just be a different character lol).  Anyway, this is just a shot in the dark, so no hard feelings if nothing works.  If there's any way to seal in the paint or something I'd appreciate any ideas!
roown's avatar
How did you paint the wig? Did you use a spray?
joey3311nuu's avatar
What did you wash the wig with ?
AngryPixieDesign's avatar
Great tutorial!  I recognize the pool behind you. Thats ALA right? I went to ALA for the first time last year.
Oomles's avatar
oh I would've never thought about painting a wig ^_^
is that a patapon army in the back? XD
AngelCakes-a-Go-Go's avatar
Hello! I love your Irabu cosplay and tutorial! I plan to cosplay Koko from Tsuritama next month and I wanted to know if you still had a copy of the flower stencil your made for your wig? It would help me out tons! I will try to paint the flowers onto her wig! Thank you for your help!
AlbarnCookie's avatar
Do you think this would work for Red Mist from the film Kick Ass ?
Kotodama's avatar
Hmm... I wouldn't suggest it, it might make it chunky and clumped together. With Red Mist, I think it would look better with wefts sewn into the wig. :) Hope that helps~
Kirinichu's avatar
Trapeze :D!!!!!!
cepejderi's avatar
Thank you for the information by the way.I will try this immediately...
Whispered-Promises's avatar
Finally! A way to do Jasdebi from D.Gray-Man!
HauroCosplay's avatar
This tutorial is just awesome <3 you really help me for my up coming cosplay , and there is one thing I wanna know.
How about if the wig gets wet, or if it gets dirty , is it possible to wash it ?
Kotodama's avatar
I've only washed a test swatch on an old wig, and the paint completely washed out, but the paint was only left on the wig for one night, so I'm not too sure about how stiff the paint will stay after a long time on the wig. Wish I can help but that's the best information I have. :<
Twenty-NineKnuckles's avatar
This is amazing! A quick question; when you're finished, is the wig stiff and sticky? Or rather, is it possible to comb out the stiff/stickyness without ruining all of the hard work?
Kotodama's avatar
It's stiff only in the area that you painted it in, but it's not sticky at all. I wouldn't suggest combing it though, because the stiffness is needed to keep the painted area together, or else it would keep moving around. (Which why I found out sharpies were a bad idea)
Twenty-NineKnuckles's avatar
Ooh; you're right. Thank you for the tip!
JuneHarlequin's avatar
I need a wig for one of my future cosplays I plan on doing, and I've been trying to look for wars to style my sig and such... THANK YOU. 8D
otellos's avatar
This is going to make my insane wig thing sooo much easier than having to do a bunch of stuff by hand :D Thanks!
Breik's avatar
Thank you very much very helpful and the result is cute haha
Minamori-Takihashi's avatar
I used this for my femme!Kidd wig and it came out amazing. Thank you so much!
Kotodama's avatar
I'm glad it worked out for you! ^^
watashiveracasan's avatar
Awsome and helpful tutorial! thank you!
SparkleWhiteEevee's avatar
This is great! I'm currently working on a Human Umbreon cosplay, and I just couldn't figure out how to get the yellow circle on my wig until I found this! Thank you so much!
ss-hikaru's avatar
Heya! Thanks sooooo much for this tutorial, I used it to paint pink patches on my green wig for my Nanami (Katanagatari) cosplay. I have no idea how I would have gone about painting it if I hadn't come across your tutorial >.<

Just some tips for others from my experience:
-don't use contact for the stencil, it sucks!
-if you don't know where to find wax paper (or in my case, didn't realise such things existed...) you can use baking paper instead!
-if you're painting on a dark coloured wig, do an initial layer of white (but most smart ppl would probably do that anyway =P)
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