Doll's Hard Cap Wig Tutorial
There are definitely better, easier, faster ways to do this, but this is how I made several wigs for some of my girls. I figure parts of it might be useful for various people.
Sometimes you just don't want to (or even can't) take the head off a doll for a reroot. Or maybe you like to keep your options open? In either case, here's my method for making hard cap wigs where the hair is secured with more than just glue.
Thermoplastics are excellent for this because they are easy to sculpt, they retain shape well even in thin layers and they are pliable enough that they don't break easily when handled often. Worbla is great stuff, but a bit expensive. There may be more options out there now, but back the last time I shopped for some, I picked up some Wonderflex, which has a threaded backing so it stays somewhat uniform in thickness and doesn't stretch out so much so you can make a more stable "canvas" if you will.
Fortunately the store is still there, but if I were to buy again, I'd shop around for a while. You can find them at Cosplay Supplies here:
The glue wig tutorial that I used to link to is gone, so I don't have a good one to link to at the moment. I feel like stuff used to stay up forever as long as it didn't break some copyright law :/
For this tutorial you will need:
paper towels or something similar for padding
Wonderflex or some other thermoplastic
some kind of glue, will talk about details lower down
Needle and thread (if doing rooting method)
Step 1: Pad and/or protect the head:
This full step is not actually pictured because I thought the wig cap might be ok without too much padding, but I was wrong... you're much better having padding for any kind of rooting method. If you are only gluing hair onto a hard cap, you only need to fill the head cavity om CAM heads with a papertowel or something similar to keep a rounded head shape at the back and avoid having a flattened or caved area there, and then stretch some plastic wrap over the head. If you are doing the rooting method, you also need to put at least 2 layers or paper towels or something eles over the head below the plastic wrap layer to make sure there is enough space between your wig cap and the head for the knots.
Step 2: Make and cut out the wig cap pattern:
Take head measurements and create a pattern for your cap. It's hard to explain, but you'll see the picture below and hopefully that will help a lot. Measure for a strip down the center of the head and then the profile pattern for each side. You'll need notches around the curved areas to keep wrinkles and bumps out of your cap:
Step 3: Heat the Pieces and Form them to the Head:
Pictured above, this step is pretty self-explanatory. Use a hair dryer or heat gun to adequately soften your chosen thermoplastic and form it to the scalp. It adheres to itself quite nicely.
Step 4: Determine your hair pattern and punch holes for rooting:
Decide if or where you want your hairline to part and arrange your rooting pattern accordingly. You can use an awl or thicker needle to punch the holes for your rooting pattern before hand, or as you go.
Step 5: Rooting around the edges:
Rooting around the edges is different than rooting the rest of the wig, because in order to keep the edges of the plastic from showing around the front and the sides, you need to glue the under side of the cap all around the edges (except for the back) so that the hair comes up around the edges to cover it. The picture below should explain how hopefully. These edge plugs need twice as much hair as the other plugs since half of the hair goes for wrap around and coverage. Fold your thread in half. Thread both ends of the thread through your needle. Pull the needle and ends of the thread through one of the edge holes. Pull the thread through, leaving enough of a loop to thread your hair plug through. Thread an inch or so of one of your hair plugs through the loop and pull it through. Now take the side that was pulled through and pull it out to the mid-point, so that the strand is the same length inside as it is outside. If you like, you can glue each individual strand one at a time, but I prefered to thread and then glue about 5 strands. Lay your glue on the inside of the cap below your hair strand and pull both sides of the strand so that you're pulling it to press tightly against the inside of the wig cap and glue. Put a little more glue on top of the strand on the inside of the cap as well to make sure the strand is secure all the way through. It's good to have a fan to hold this up to and help speed the drying a little.
Step 6: Rooting the Rest:
You can use any number of other rooting methods for this, just search the internet. This particular method knots 2 plugs together and secures that anchor to the scalp with glue. Thread both ends of the thread through your needle. Insert your needle into the scalp from the outside and pull the thread through, leaving enough of a loop to thread your hair plug through. Thread your strand through so that it folds at the half way point in the loop. Pull the thread through the scalp so that the loop of hair comes through enough for you to tie it to a 2nd loop that you make with this same process. Tie the 2 loops together. Double knot them. Cut off the excess string. Put some glue on the underside of your tied loops and pull the strands back out from the outside so that the knot lies flush with the scalp. A little update with modern technology... UV cure resin makes a fantastic "glue" for this, because it is super strong and if your lamp is strong enough it dries in seconds.
Once you do all that around the head the whole cap you're all done. Here's that particular wig I was working on. It's imperfect, because I did not adequately pad under the hard cap when I was making it and I didn't make the edge strands thick enough all the way around.
This one that I did with the glue rather than rooting. I was impatient though and used hot glue which was problematic with the thermoplastic and the hair as well really. Now again, we have UV resin which could help make quick work of this with a much stronger result.
But this is the hot glue/thermoplastic wig I made back in the day:
I'm so sorry that was such a rough tutorial. I think it would be a lot easier to understand if I made a video, but I can't say for sure when or if I'd have time to make it.