Wiggler Head Cosplay Tutorial

5 min read

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ZanCats's avatar
Wigglr by ZanCats

  • Upholstery foam, 1/2" and 1" thickness
  • Dark grey fleece
  • Light grey fleece
  • Colored fleece (your choice)
  • Black fleece (for eye detail)
  • White felt (or color of your choosing)
  • Light grey chiffon
  • Black extra bulky yarn
  • Colored polymer clay (your choice)
  • Armature wire
  • Floral wire
  • Flexible support rods (thin dowels, pvc piping, etc)
  • Gloss Varnish
  • Sand paper
  • Hot glue gun and a LOT of hot glue (contact cement might work as well if preferred)
  • Sewing machine (for optional detail work)

STEP 1: Creating the tube neck base. First, I used the 1/2" foam to create a cylinder around the wearer's head, then cut a window for the face and two indents on either side so that it rested easily on the shoulders. The 1" foam can probably also be used here instead, but I figured the thinner foam would allow for more potential movement in the neck.
Wiggler Tutorial1 by ZanCats

STEP 2: Forming the head and adding support.  At this point I added three support rods inside the neck, two in the front and one in the back, to keep it stable while working. To form the head, I started with one central strip of 1" foam with an armature wire attached to the interior to hold the shape. The wire ran down the length of the back as well and could be bent to give the neck a more serpentine appearance. I glued on additional strips of foam as shown to complete the head shape and added in more armature wire to areas that needed adjustment or support. By the end the head got pretty heavy, even with all the support, so I added two circular pieces of foam inside the length of the neck to keep it from collapsing.Wiggler Tutorial2 by ZanCats

STEP 3: Cutting and applying the fabric. Here's a very rough template of how I cut the fabric, probably not entirely accurate but fairly close. I used two layers of fleece for both colors to help hide some of the imperfections in my foam structure. I glued on the lighter fabric first, leaving some length at the bottom for the "cowl". Unfortunately with the darker fabric I had to make a seam on either side of the head to avoid excess bunching and folding at the cheeks and mouth, but luckily most of it ends up getting covered by the head frills. For the stitch detail along the edges I cut the top layer of dark grey a bit larger in areas (as pictured) then folded it over the bottom layer and sewed it together. I then glued this fabric in place on top of the lighter fabric. 
Wiggler Tutorial3 by ZanCats

STEP 4: Adding the details. For the frills I made paper templates to mock up the correct size and shape then traced and cut the pieces out of felt. In total I cut out 8 larger frill shapes and 8 smaller frill shapes. On half of the frills I glued a bent length of floral wire, then glued another felt frill over it to conceal the wire and add thickness. I also cut 16 small segments out of the dark grey fleece to form the points that attach the frills to the head, and on half of those I added stitching detail. I attached the detailed segments to the front of the frills and the plain segment to the back, then glued all 8 completed frills to the head.

The colored fleece circles are also doubled layered. I cut twelve small circles, four medium circles (for the cheeks), and four large circles then sewed them together in pairs. For the black segment near the eye I only used one layer but added stitching detail along the edges. I then glued these all into place on the head and neck.

The eyes are made of pre-colored polymer clay (like sculpey or fimo) that I shaped by hand then baked as directed. After letting the clay cool sufficiently I sanded it down to get rid of any bubbling or imperfections then coated it with acrylic gloss varnish. 

For the yarn, I cut eight even segments then tied the ends off to prevent unraveling and fraying. I glued 6 of these segments along the mouth seam and used two for the eyes, tucking the knots into the button holes then securely gluing the completed eyes to the head.
Wiggler Tutorial4 by ZanCats

STEP 5: Making the mask wearable. In order to allow the wearer to actually see and breathe in the mask I cut a hole in the light grey fabric where the face window had been cut out of the foam. Between the fleece and foam I then added a segment of grey chiffon and glued it into place (I found two layers of fabric gave the optimal amount of concealment while still allowing adequate vision and ventilation). Finally, for comfort, I lined the interior and bottom edges of the neck with whatever spare fleece I had lying around. 
Wiggler Tutorial5 by ZanCats
And that's it! You now have a completed Wiggler Head!
© 2018 - 2021 ZanCats
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TheDrowWolf's avatar
This is awesome, my brother and I just made a wiggler hat after seeing this. You were the best one I found for sure!
ZanCats's avatar
shistal's avatar

How many yards or meters of fabric for each color did you have to use? I want make this for some friends. Same for how much wire?

ZanCats's avatar

Unfortunately I'm not really sure anymore since I didn't keep proper records of that stuff :( I want to say maybe 2 yards of each the light and dark grey fleece? And for the armature wire, it generally comes in large spools so I just bought one of those and still have a ton left that I use for other things.

yuvvi1234's avatar

now I'm being this for sure on Halloween

yuvvi1234's avatar

thanks for letting me know

yuvvi1234's avatar

can u get that stuff at fabricland

ZanCats's avatar

I don't now what fabricland is but probably! it's all very readily available materials and colors.

DaokanGames's avatar
How much did all this cost you?
ZanCats's avatar
I think around $150+, but I had basically nothing to start with so I had to buy EVERYTHING (like even the hot glue gun) and I also ended up having a lot of mats left over. 
Ysulyan's avatar

Comic con is around the corner (26-28) and I don't know if I have enough time to do this. Is this possible to accomplish this on one sitting, say, an afternoon after work or something?

Cheers for the tutorial! You are an hero

ZanCats's avatar
Thanks! I think it took me a solid 3 day weekend to do though >_<
DrakeVincent's avatar
Amazing tutorial but I have a question >.< how did you attach the clay buttons on the mask? With glue? (Haha probably not) It’s my first time building a costume and I’m gonna be a staff for my con and it’s acceptable because it only covers my head! :D also try to answer ASAP >.< one month away too
ZanCats's avatar
I attached them with hot glue! Basically everything is attached with hot glue.
DrakeVincent's avatar
And the button held on? Dammmmm so you must of used alot for the button haha cuz im so afraid the eyes will just fall off. Thank you!
ZanCats's avatar
I also glued the fabric on pretty tight underneath where the eyes sit so the weight of the eyes didn't make it sag. And yeah dude, I used SO. MUCH. GLUE. 
DrakeVincent's avatar
Thank you so much for the tutorial but I have one problem (and it’s during the con qq) the head is tilting forward all of a sudden (after leaving it in the staff room) and now it feels too heavy to wear. Everything inside looks fine unless it’s something in the head that needs fixing.
ZanCats's avatar
Could maybe just need more interior support? I used a lot of wooden/plastic dowels and thick armature wire on the inside of the neck, otherwise the foam does tend to cave in a bit since the head is very top heavy. Hope that helps a bit! 
DrakeVincent's avatar
Ahh ok I will prob do that if I can, I was happy that I finish it cuz of ur guide but the the head/neck part just caved in. Made me a upset that I didn’t do it properly qq
gamemasterj1989's avatar
Very nice tutorial!
ZanCats's avatar
gamemasterj1989's avatar
How did you attach the armature wire on the interior? 
ZanCats's avatar
Lots of hot glue. I burnt my finger tips a bunch >_<
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