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Cosplay Tutorial: Wig Painting by Kotodama Cosplay Tutorial: Wig Painting by Kotodama
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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roown Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015
How did you paint the wig? Did you use a spray?
joey3311nuu Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014
What did you wash the wig with ?
AngryPixieDesign Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Student Artisan Crafter
Great tutorial!  I recognize the pool behind you. Thats ALA right? I went to ALA for the first time last year.
OEmilyThePenguinO Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh I would've never thought about painting a wig ^_^
is that a patapon army in the back? XD
AngelCakes-a-Go-Go Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012
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 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Student Artisan Crafter
Do you think this would work for Red Mist from the film Kick Ass ?
Kotodama Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012
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~
Kiribby Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2012
Trapeze :D!!!!!!
cepejderi Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you for the information by the way.I will try this immediately...
Whispered-Promises Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Hobbyist
Finally! A way to do Jasdebi from D.Gray-Man!
HauroCosplay Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
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 Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2011
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 Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2011
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 Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2011
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 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2011
Ooh; you're right. Thank you for the tip!
JuneHarlequin Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2011
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 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2011
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 Featured By Owner May 11, 2011
Thank you very much very helpful and the result is cute haha
Minamori-Takihashi Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Student General Artist
I used this for my femme!Kidd wig and it came out amazing. Thank you so much!
Kotodama Featured By Owner May 2, 2011
I'm glad it worked out for you! ^^
watashiveracasan Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2011
Awsome and helpful tutorial! thank you!
SparkleWhiteEevee Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011
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 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2011
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)
animeluvr999721 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
wow, thanks for the tip about contact paper, that was my first thought too.
Moro-Sama Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2011
Very nice! You look great!
RanulfKitty Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2011
Thank you so much for taking the time to make this, it is very helpful. Your cosplay is lovely, too.^^
Morrigan-Price Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2011  Student
Sorry, but i'm not sure that i understand how you made the wax paper stencil and what the tape was for exactly... i just don't get it.
Kotodama Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2011
For the wax paper stencil, it's just basically strips of tape going over each other so they create one sheet. The tape stencil is so you can stick it onto the wig and hairspray/paint it neatly so only the part you need colored is stiff and not the other parts of the wig. :) I hope that helps~
Morrigan-Price Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2011  Student
do you mean, you just creat a layer of tape slightly overlapping and then pull it off the wax paper? Couldn't i just take the wax paper and tape it to the wig? OR, use double sided tape...

Question: could i put a really light color on a darker color... like White on black.

I'm asking because i want to cosplay as death the kid and i didn't want to buy a wig because they all suck, and i was wondering if i could just paint the white strips on a black wig instead of the other way around.
Kotodama Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2011
You don't stick the wax paper onto the wig. XD; The wax paper for you to make your tape stencil. You pull the tape off the wax paper and stick it onto the wig. For Death the Kid though, you can probably skip the wax paper step and just stick tape directly onto the wig since his stripes are straight.

I'm assuming white would work, but you just need a better quality paint that isn't runny.
Morrigan-Price Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2011  Student
awesome, i was thinking along the lines of just skipping the wax paper but i didn't know if there was some hidden science that would make my wig suddenly catch fire if i skipped the wax paper...

with my luck, stuff like that actually happens to me.

But about the paint i have some pretty good stuff to use.

But hey thanks anyway, I'm definitely going to add you to my watch list now.
PenguinwithClothes Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, this is such a good idea! I'm definitely going to try this for colouring the back of my Ronald Knox wig. xD
radioactivebanana922 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks so much for this tutorial! i'm going to be cosplay death the kid soon and i was wondering how to go about making his wig. thanks bunches! 8D
ztinizz Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Is this working on syntetic wigs?
Kotodama Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2010
yess! the wig i used this on was synthetic!
phantomofsarcasm Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2010
the method of painting, could that work if your'e trying to like, style it spikey and change the color? Like, I've got a black and red wig that I need to spike and make dark blue... xD, do you know if it would work to just paint the color on? I don't have time to dye it well before the con I'm going to... I'm going as Road Kamelot from D gray man~
Kotodama Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2010
I'm not too sure how well it would work on the entire wig. For all the wigs I worked with on this tutorial, i've only colored small sections. If you did use this method on a wig, I think it'll turn out very stiff and the color might not be even. Especially if you're going to paint the dark blue on red. :/
switchboxroxrox Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010
Wonderful tutorial! I myself have cosplayed Irabu, and I ended up sewing fabric to the wig. This looks so much better! I may have to consider making another wig!
weirdamazinglovable Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2010
Thanks! I really needed this, Death The kid is a pain, if you ever try to paint his hair... I practically died.
Agrotera-Thanatos Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This looks like it'd be useful for full wig coloring......Hmmm....thanks. ^^
Kotodama Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010
I'm glad you found this useful! ^^
Agrotera-Thanatos Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist

Because all I need now is a pink/purple wig and then my Boris Airay costume is perfect! : D
FailedFuri Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2010
You are such a great Irabu cosplayer. >u> Thank you for the tutorial~
randomlyd Featured By Owner May 30, 2010
Very helpful tutorial, thanks :D
Will this work if i wer're to use paper? xD
Or cling film? xDDD
Kotodama Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2010
I'm not too sure about paper or cling film, since I haven't tried it myself... but I think anything could work as a stencil. :D
randomlyd Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010
ahaa, Thankyouu C:
KlownCat Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i was guna do kid as a matter of fact, this comes in handy a lot. do you know where i could possible find a good wig??
Kotodama Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2010
I'm glad it helps~ ^^ For my wig, it was a powder yellow wisp wig from cosworx. ([link])

I found this wig after I already got my wig, I really like the style on it but the color looks a bit too dark for me. It doesn't seem too bad though ([link])

Good luck!
KlownCat Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks your so nice :) although i didn't see any black wigs er something close for my kid cosplay, but i'll keep looking xD
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Submitted on
January 19, 2010
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