Wednesday, July 10, 2013

More Wigging Out

The serious business of doll play (as Limbe Dolls so perfectly describes it) sometimes requires hands on creativity to achieve a desired end result.

I wanted dreadlocks for Jon and briefly considered having a wig made, but this shouldn't be too difficult to accomplish, I thought.  I have made wigs and wig caps before, but I knew a dreadlocks wig would require more time and effort than the others I have made.

During the long Fourth of July weekend I took a trip to the local beauty supply store to purchase the hair.  After browsing what was available:  a package of locked strands versus a package of short "lock twist" hair for braiding, I opted for the latter because of the kinky texture and because it can be twisted to the desired size.  The texture of the pre-locked hair is not coarse and the locs are too large for a doll.  I was also afraid that twisting would disturb the prefabricated locs.

At the store I also purchased a mesh wig cap with a plan to scale it to size, pull the hair through, and glue it to the inside of the cap.  At checkout, I was asked by the clerk if I needed needle and thread.  I'm not sure, I said, and then explained my plan to create a dreadlocks wig for one of my dolls.  This led to a series of questions from her.

How many do you have? (Several.) Do you have any pictures?  (No.) What started your collection? (....)  Oh I remember you told me you collected another time... (This was when I was there looking for toe rings to use as a playscale doll necklace; she suggested adjustable rings and asked some of the same questions about my doll collecting).  She continued,  Everyone has something they like... at least you're not spending your money on something foolishI know a girl who "collects" make-up.  (Raised brows from me.)  Yes, I went in her bathroom and she had all kinds and about 1000 bottles of nail polish, and a lot of it was the same color!  (She went on.)

(Everyone needs a passion, I told her, as I exited with my locking materials including the weaving needle and thread she suggested.)

As it turns out, I didn't need the weaving needle and thread, or the mesh cap I purchased because I made a wig cap instead.  After the wig cap was made, I twisted the strands of "lock twist" hair and dipped each into a cup of boiled water to maintain the smaller twisted size.  I twisted then dipped four braids at a time until all hair was twisted and dipped.  The dipped braids were allowed to hang dry on the shower curtain rod before attaching them to the wig cap.

Here's what I did (mostly) in pictures.

A plastic food storage bag is doubled, placed snugly over Jon's head, and held securely with a rubber band at her neck.


Jon is shown with most of the items used to create her locs:  plastic bag (on head already), scissors, brown scarf, Aleene's Clear Gel Tacky Glue, rubber bands (two).  Not shown:  hair, marking pen, regular sewing needle and thread.
A piece of fabric (brown scarf) is placed snugly over the plastic bag that is already on Jon's head.  The fabric is held with a rubber band at the neck.  The hairline is outlined with a white ink pen.  Aleene's Clear Gel Tacky Glue is placed over the entire area that will become the wig cap.  (Some people use "flesh" colored fabric for the wig cap to give the appearance of a scalp.  I like to use fabric that matches the hair color.)
Another view of the fabric on top of the plastic bag, secured with a rubber band at neck with Aleene's glue applied to the wig cap area   
Jon stands in front of an oscillating fan to expedite the glue drying process (this step is optional).
The glue has dried.  The excess fabric has been trimmed away using the premarked outline as the cutting guide.

Jon, standing alongside the bag of #30 short Lock Twist hair, holds a twisted strand of it.

What I did not photograph is the process of adding the twisted strands to the wig cap.  Instead of gluing each in place, I tacked them with brown thread using a regular sewing needle.  Each strand was folded in half to create two adjacent strands.  Beginning at the nape of the neck area of the wig cap, the folded area of each strand was tacked to the center of the wig cap.  This process was continued upward toward the crown of the wig cap.  Finally, the crown hair, which consists of four locs that I had sewn together to create a side part, was stitched to the top of the wig cap.  After all twisted locs were sewn to the wig cap, a few were tacked together to close in any gaps where the wig cap was exposed.   Below are images of the end result:

Jon wears dreadlocks wig that matches her "natural" hair color.

Why are they so long? My husband wondered after showing him Jon in her new wig.
They had to be long enough to cover her hair because I do-not-want-to-cut-it, was my answer.



Jon models a back view of her locs, which were created in various sizes because real locs are never uniform in size.  I placed the loosely twisted ones in the back. 
Another back view with the locs pulled to the sides illustrates what I have done to better conceal Jon's original hair -- it is banded with clear rubber bands.
 
Is she Jamaican? my daughter asked after seeing Jon wearing her new wig? 
No, she's just Jon wearing a wig that I made.   

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16 comments:

  1. Thanks for the shout out. I have a friend who keeps wishing I would make a people-sized wig for her. Maybe I should refer her to you. :-) Jon looks great!

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    1. Thanks for my first laugh out loud for the day, Paulette!

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  2. Cool tutorial, DBG!

    Although Jon looks a little hot today ;-D Ouch! Bad punning.

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    1. Thanks, D7ana!

      Yes, Jon is hot in more ways that one.

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  3. Great job! She looks wonderful with her new wig. I had to laugh at the makeup collection.

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa!

      That's a lot of nail polish, but everyone needs a "legal/harmless" passion; some form of enjoyment and self-indulgement.

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  4. What a wonderful idea and the finished product is FABULOUS. I've had my eye on Jon for a while. I think she'll be my next doll purchase. Thanks for sharing your art!
    ;-)

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    1. Thank you, Ira. Jon is a beauty. The basic version, like mine, was discounted at the Tonner website recently; perhaps it still is.

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  5. What a fabulous Idea, What a fabulous wig. I just sent 3 eight inch antique dolls to the Doctor for new wigs at $20 a piece on Monday on a whim!!! If I had waited just a few days, I could be playing in doll wig heaven. Some antique Black dolls have coil wigs. Can you imagine locks on an old doll, way to cool
    Thanks for the pictures.
    Bev

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    1. I'm glad this post was helpful to you Bev and I appreciate your comment.

      With antique dolls, period appropriateness and style are the norm to preserve their authenticity especially for resale purposes; but if the doll is one you intend to keep and cherish for yourself, it's yours to do with whatever you so desire. I think locs would look great on an antique doll.

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  6. Okay, that's just too cool and I like that it covers her original hair without having to shorten it.

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    1. Thanks, Muff. I have an aversion against cutting doll hair unless it is damaged or otherwise flawed. Perfect hair will never be cut by me. I just can't, won't do it. It won't grow back. LOL! What I have done here is the next best thing for me to achieve a different hairstyle that cannot be achieved with the doll's original tresses.

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  7. Debbie, you did a great job on the wig! Jon looks pretty. I was hoping that you demonstrated how you were going to glue it down, but after reading that it was sewn down it seems like it was a easier process. Thanks for a great tutorial. Looking forward to more : )

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    1. Thanks, GG. I was amazed that I chose the sewing option, but I determined that gluing the strands in place would have been a "sticky" job because of the weight of the strands and the time allowed for each to dry would have lengthened the process. Surprisingly, I did not get impatient while tacking the strands to the wig cap (probably because I was determined to make this wig!). I should have photographed the strand placement, but I was so "in the zone" once I began tacking the strands in place that I forgot to photo document.

      If I do another one, the locs will be smaller and I'll photograph the placement onto the cap.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!