Monday, October 25, 2010

Tutorial: How to Modify a Foam Head Version 1

The gist: How to expand a foam head to make your own noggin.
Craft level: Easy Peasy.

Most of us have larger heads than the standard foam wig head that you can buy most anywhere. This can be a problem when you're styling wigs. Even if you stretch out the wig netting as far as possible there's a good chance that you'll end up with 'Wig Butt'. We've all seen it. It's when someone puts on a wig that's too tight and the bottom of the netting creeps up to show the wearer's hair. This will tutorial will (hopefully) prevent that from happening to you.

~Foam Head or FWH (available at most beauty/costume shops)
~pen and paper
~knife (serrated is best)
~tape measure (the soft kind)
~LOTS of straight pins (I found tons at Dollar Tree)
~firm padding. I found some upholstery foam in the remnant bin.
~Optional: Fabric to cover your work and make it purty.

1) Measure your head then compare it to the FWH. Go around the eyes to the back of the head, then from the top (crown) to the back (base) as shown in the picture above. These should be the widest points on your head. Avoid putting the tape over your ears or having excessive hair under the tape as these will thrown your measurements off. If the difference between you and the head is less than an inch I wouldn't bother modding it. Personally I was two inches bigger than my FWH.

2) NOT SHOWN - Start cutting the padding into small strips. You'll need several lengths, but none should be more than an inch in height or width. Keep your measuring tape on hand because it's time to measure measure cut.

3) Start placing the strips around the head in the general area where your wig will sit. The important part is that you continue to measure your FWH. Just slapping on some foam will NOT work. It doesn't have to be pretty, just accurate. As you can see I have a thick piece at the top, and then thinner ones on the sides. You should keep things symmetrical. If you need to add one inch, put a 1/2 inch piece on each side. Fill in the holes with smaller pieces as necessary.

4) MEASURE IT AGAIN. The beauty of using pins vs. glue is that you can reposition as needed.

(an unfinished cover)

5) Optional - Cover your work with a pretty fabric or if you're so inclined, duct tape. Warning - if you use duct tape, make sure not to squish the padding. Also, the glue will eventually break down and end up on your wig pins, which will lead to glue in your wigs!

This mod should last you a very very long time. Keep on the lookout for Version 2, where I figure out how to cut a head in quarters and mod it from the inside out!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Scrap Win

Sometimes working in an office is awesome. A few days ago, while pondering with friends about how to go about moding a wig head, I realized that I needed supplies. Mostly oversized paper for drafting patterns, light packing material for stuffing, and so forth.

Since then I've done some year-end cleaning and found almost everything I needed.
~5 oversized desk calendars from 2006 still in their shrink wrap
~small boxes (6" or less)
~foam blocks used to pack computer parts made from the same mats as wig heads.
~static resistant packing paper, also used for computers but handy when working with foam
~nearly used up rolls of tape

So all I need now is a new heavy-duty utility knife and some spay sealer and I'm ready to roll!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A little life...

I would have been making this post on Monday, however I slipped on the stairs and now have a few broken toes, bruises, and sprains. Wee!!

Anyway, now that I'm back at work I was able to get my wigs. I picked up a few discontinued pieces from I guess the prices were too good (40% off) because they put them at 20% after their stock began to disappear. In any economy nearly half off high quality wigs in party colors is a guaranteed winner.

I'm a little sad that they're changing their line. It's obvious that they've switched vendors. I'll miss the 'style ready' selection. The stuff they have now looks like it isn't meant to be messed with. A lot of the cuts are very sharp. I don't think I'm making sense...It's like going from a blank canvas to a ready-to-frame print. Sure the ready-made is nice, but there's no creativity behind it. I have no doubt about the quality, I just think they'll be too hard to work with esthetically speaking. Technically though, the new line will be MUCH easier to style. You can even take a curling iron to them. I guess that makes me a crabby old person. "Why, back in my day you had to use a blow dryer on low for HOURS!!"

tl:dr Unless your looking for a wig in the exact shade and exact style, you might be screwed.

Yeah, I'm bitching for no reason. Sorry. ^_^

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A prep weekend

Almost all the prep for the costumes bits I need to do this month are done. I picked up three foam heads for my new wigs that come in tomorrow. I got lucky and found some nice crispy burnt-orange fabric for my Klingon shirt. All that's left is to make a new customized head for my wig mods and buy some black canvas for my gauntlets. Easy enough. :)

I really wish I had a sewing room. Just sewing. No sharing with storage, or a guest room, or anything else. Just sewing and crafting. I feel like I always have to fit my life into a space instead of having the space for my life. Ideally I'd like to move from my tiny apartment to a three bedroom sometimes. House/Condo/whatever. That would make one bedroom for myself and my mate of choice, a guestroom/fandom space, and a beautiful room for myself. Someday...