Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wig Dying for Dummies

I found this method for wig dying on cosplay.com and tested it out when I was doing a Stormer costume. It worked great, so I'm sharing the knowledge. Because you never know when you'll have a wig color emergency.

Before and After.

The hair in a wig is generally made of plastic. Unless it's an expensive human hair wig, which I know nothing about because they're too expensive for me to have. So presuming that you're poor like me, and working with a synthetic wig, regular old hair dye isn't going to work. Being as it's designed for regular old hair that is not made of plastic. Here's what you need instead:

1. Acrylic ink. (Ink, not paint - this is important! You can find this at your local craft store. Or online.)

2. A cup of rubbing alcohol. (You can find this in your medicine cabinet.)

3. A spray bottle. (The dollar store is your friend.)

Some of the inks come with a dropper inside the top. I used two brands: FW and Speedball. The FW had a dropper, the other didn't. The dropper does make it easier to use, and you may want to pick up some disposable pipettes if you don't have the dropper. Otherwise, just rely on your best guesstimation. If you have a dropper, the recommended ratio of ink to alcohol is 8 full squeezes of ink for each cup of alcohol. Obviously this is not an exact science. Just mix the ink and alcohol in the spray bottle until it seems to be the shade you want. You can use different colored inks to tweak the color. And testing it out on lock of your wig's hair wouldn't be a bad idea.

For my wig I used 3/4 cup of alcohol and about 6-7 squeezes of ink, and I ended up with leftover ink mixture. But I was also turning an aqua wig blue, so I wasn't worried about total coverage, and there are some spots where the old color is still visible. The amount you'll need really depends on how much hair you need to cover.

Please note. You can't dye a wig lighter. So for instance if you started with a red wig you wouldn't be able to turn it pink, and if you started with a black wig you wouldn't be able to turn it any other color. The color you have underneath can affect the final color somewhat so for the purest color you want to start with a white wig. Blond will also take the color well, and medium colors like my blue wig in this post will also take the color but they will only go darker. Always start with a lighter wig and dye darker.

After you have your mixture, set your wig up outside. I used the ultra fancy method of putting a broomstick in a jug of water and propping the wig on the broomstick. This is not the best method if it's windy. Also it looked like I had scalped a muppet and hung it up as a warning to other muppets. (Muppets need to be kept in their place.) Once you get your wig propped up somewhere, somehow you can start spraying.

Make sure you're either somewhere that overspray and runoff don't matter, or you have something on the ground to catch the mess. It WILL make a mess. The ink got all over my hands, but if you wash it right away it doesn't really stain. (It doesn't stain HANDS, for clothes there could be more of a problem. Don't wear your favorite white shirt.)

Let the wig dry. On cosplay.com they said something like 8 hours, but I did more like 2 with no problems. Rinse the wig out with water. Let it dry again. And brush it out. If you use a lot of ink you may have to rinse and brush more than once to get the crinkliness out; but even before brushing, I was really happy with the texture and shine on mine. There was some minor stiffness before brushing, but not too much.

And there you go. A few easy steps and you too can have a hair color not found anywhere in nature.


ETA: I've been getting a lot of questions in the comments, so let me just stress a couple things.

1) YOU CANNOT DYE A WIG LIGHTER WITH THIS METHOD. You can only dye a darker color than what you're starting with.

2) RIT dye does not work better than acrylic ink. There's some info about it in the comments where I tested it out. And granted the quality of the wig I used was terrible, but it didn't hold the color as well at all. Just so you know.

3) This is not an exact method. This is all based on guesstimation. If you want to play around with the mixture or you want to try something besides a spray bottle that's fine. Just try to test it out on a little bit of the wig first if you can. That's your best way to figure out how it's going to work.

4) I AM NOT AN EXPERT! I really can't tell you which colors you need to use to get a specific effect, and I've never tried to do highlights or dye with two different colors or anything complex like that. While I think a lot of things are POSSIBLE with this method, I haven't tested most of them, so it's really going to be up to you to play with the possibilities and use a little trial and error.

I don't mind trying to answer any questions you have, but I can't give you much more information than what's in this post. Your best bet to find out what's possible and what you can do is just to experiment.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this info!!! i work at a costume shop and im alwasy geting asked how to dye wigs!! i have my own that i want to try 2!!! nice costumes by the way!!!

May 27, 2008 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

can this be done not all-over? I'm debating between buying a blond wig and dying it orange with leaving blond tips or just buying an orange wig.

June 24, 2008 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

I've never tried to do just part of the wig. I think it'd be possible, but it'd be harder to control the coverage because a spray bottle isn't that exact.

I think the way I'd try to do it would be to get myself some plastic gloves, prop the wig up outside on something, and dye it in chunks. I'd hold the part I didn't want dyed in my gloved hand to shield it from the ink. You'd have to be sure not to overspray, otherwise it's just going to drip down the hair so I'd probably do a bunch of light coats. It think it'd be a bit time consuming and messy, but it seems like it'd work.

Depending on how long the wig is you could also probably put some saran wrap or something around the ends and then put a rubber band around that to seal it off. Which would be much easier.

Either way it's going to be more work than just buying an orange wig, but I do think you can get the affect you want as long as you figure out a way to keep those tips from being sprayed.

July 10, 2008 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Carrie-san said...

Thank you for this information! This looks like a really reliable method!

I have a question for you, though, if you don't mind. I'm likely going to be getting a wig that's white, probably around 40", if not just a little shorter. I'm hoping to dye it a periwinkle color. I'm a little at a loss as to how I might go about achieving this color because I'm not too terribly familiar with the range of acrylic ink colors.

I rather absentmindedly did some looking into dyes and I saw that there was a periwinkle Rit dye that seemed pretty close. I have no clue if that would work, but the color at least seemed closer. Would that work, or am I just totally out in left field here?

I suppose what I'm trying to ask is: do you have any input on how I might go about getting the color I need (and how much might be required for something so long?)

Thanks in advance for your time~!

August 27, 2008 at 4:31 PM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

>> I suppose what I'm trying to ask is: do you have any input on how I might go about getting the color I need (and how much might be required for something so long?) >>

Sorry it took me a while to respond, I've been recovering from Dragoncon.

I've never done anything that long before. I think you would still be able to spray it, but you'd probably need to at least double the standard cup of alcohol etc. There should be enough ink in 3-4 oz acrylic ink bottle to do more than double. And since you're looking to do a lighter color, you can probably use less ink. I think what you're going to have to do to get the color in acrylics is mix some white with a bit of blue and purple. (With FW ink I think probably indigo blue and purple lake plus the white). Or you might be able to keep the blue and purple diluted enough that it'll go on really light to your white wig. You're definitely going to want to test this first. If you can spare a couple different hanks of hair that would be best so you can test a couple different things on it.

Because the wig is so long, I think you may want to get a disposable foil baking pan or something of that sort and mix the ink and alcohol there so you can dunk the whole wig at once instead of spraying. I'm not sure how much ink and alcohol this would take, but I'm thinking you may need a couple bottles of alcohol. Since you're doing a lighter color, you can probably still get just one bottle each of your ink color. You may have to rinse and brush the wig more because if the ink goes on really heavily it'll affect the texture of the wig more. But I think with enough rinsing and brushing you can probably do this without compromising the quality of the hair too much. (This does depend somewhat on the quality of the wig too.)

I had some red RIT dye at home (the liquid kind) so I tried this out on a wig I wasn't using. The thing about fabric dye is that it's usually used with super hot water. You don't want to put your wig in hot water because it could melt the plastic hairs. So what I did was dilute the ink with cold water instead of hot and then I let the whole wig soak in it (stirring it occasionally) for 30 minutes. Then I rinsed it out and let it dry. It did dye the wig, and the texture of the hair seems about the same as before I dyed it, but I used a very dark red and the color came out a medium pink. This was not a good quality wig, so I'm not sure how much better results you would get with a better quality wig. Or if you let it soak longer. But I think since you're trying to end up with light color this may work for you. You may have to use a darker color of dye to get a lighter color on the wig though instead of using the periwinkle color dye. I'm just not sure so I think, again, you're going to want to test this or whatever you decide to do before you put your whole wig in it. Oh, and be careful with the fabric dye because it stains a lot of things (including plastic) worse than the acrylic dyes do.

Here are before and afters with the RIT dye I used so you can see how it turned out.


This is when it was in the dye so you can get an idea of how dark the dye was.

After rinsing and drying.

September 6, 2008 at 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay so i want to dye this one wig blue but it has multiple colors...would it make it harder to dye a single color because of it or do you think it would work?

October 7, 2008 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

It'd definitely be harder to dye it all one color if you're starting with multiple colors as a base. If the colors you're starting from are all light colors (white and blond are best) it might work. But if not then you're probably going to end up with a few different shades of blue because the underlying color of the wig can affect the final color. This doesn't mean it would necessarily look bad depending on how the originals colors are placed and how dark they are, but if you want it to be all one solid color with no variations it's better to start out with a wig that's all one color.

October 7, 2008 at 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


October 8, 2008 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

This seems a really great way to dye. I need a dark-almost forest-green wig and am just curious if you noticed any issues with the color running or smearing if you sweat. I'm assuming no considering the wig is rinsed of any additional color but just wondering.


October 19, 2008 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger Danita said...

the Muppet-scalping bit made me laugh out loud!!! :D thanks for that.

October 21, 2008 at 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for posting this! x)
I was wondering what the ratio of the ink to alcohol should be if i want to dye this wig, http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f80/ExTsukiyomi/Wednesday%20random%20Reborn%20shot/DSC02637.jpg

darker. (so it looks black with a hint of blue normally and more blue under the light or flash)

Thanks a lot!!!

October 21, 2008 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

becca: I haven't had any trouble with ink running on any of the wigs I've done. As long as you rinse the wig throughly I don't think you'll have any problems.

October 26, 2008 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

Joyce: I'm really more about the guestimating than the exact ratio. I'd probably start with half a cup of alcohol and 4-5 ink squeezes and then you can adjust it from there depending on how it's looking. If you want the color to be mostly black with hints of blue then I think you'll probably want to mix some black in with your blue ink to darken it.

October 26, 2008 at 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks!! xD btw, I gotta admit, your costumes are really nice, even though I really don't like American comic art style...XD;;;;

October 27, 2008 at 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there! i have a short redi wig (bob styled) and i want to dye it black because the fire-engine colour really doesnt suit me.

Can i just go nuts with the ink ratio cause its gonna go as dark as you can get (black) or should i still stick to the ratio of what was t 8 drops per cup of alcohol?

November 11, 2008 at 4:17 AM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

I'm not sure if you'll be able to go from red to black. I tried to go from red to dark purple once and it didn't really pick up the color. Of course black is darker so it might work, I'm just not sure. You can play with the ratio, and you may need it to be more ink to cover the red anyway. But the main reason for the ratio is it helps maintain the texture of the wig. So if you go with almost straight ink, your wig could possibly end up stiff or crunchy.

November 11, 2008 at 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I want to dye a blonde wig to have chunks/streaks of hot pink, neon green, neon blue, and black ends(scene style). What would the best way to do this? :)

February 27, 2009 at 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I need to style a black wig but I'm so poor that I have to make wefts out of a wig that one of my friends just so happens to be cutting short.

Problem is that my wig is black and hers is brown. Would I be able to use this method on the wefts?

March 12, 2009 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

Monica: I'm pretty dubious that this would work when you're doing that many colors. Definitely using the spray bottle would just get the colors everywhere. You could try making cups or jars of each of the colors you want and then soaking the wig a piece at a time. But I'm afraid you'd still end up with the colors bleeding while they dry or rinse.

My suggestion would actually be that you might want to try looking for a blond wig with the black tips already in it, and then using extensions or something to put the streaks into it that way.

Anonymous With the Wefts: If the wig is dark brown then probably that's going to affect the final color. I would guess (and this is just a guess cause I've never done it) that you'll be able to turn it black. But it may not match the black of your other wig exactly. When I did a dark purple over a darkish silver, it did go purple but the silver definitely affected the final color.

March 12, 2009 at 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the helpful info! I'm going to be cosplaying in about six months and I need to put streaks in my wig. How would you get the blue that you got on a black wig?

March 25, 2009 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

If the wig is black, you won't be able to dye it. It's basically impossible (at least with this method). The only thing I know of that you could do for streaks is to add some blue extensions into your wig.

March 26, 2009 at 1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, then I guess I'll have to buy some from a store. Thank you anyway! ^_^

March 26, 2009 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Interesting yet simple technique! I was debating on if I should purpose a wig that is *almost* in the color I want and style it from there, or if I should buy the wig pre-styled and just dye it. After reading this method---and seeing your results---I'm thinking I'll just buy the wig that's already styled and dye it to the specific color I want. The color I'm looking for is a lavender shade anyway, which is difficult to find.

I'll be starting with a light blonde wig to get the desired light purple/gray. What would you suggest for a technique to get all-over coverage? When you go through the rinse process, does the color fade slightly or does it keep the saturation?

Also, from observing your before and after photos, this method will not mess up the "natural" style of the wig? Mine will have a flip already and I definitely want to keep that. Regardless, I will probably be doing some modifications after it's dyed.

March 31, 2009 at 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah... I'm a bit disappointed it doesn't work from dark to light. I'm going to do a Yokune Ruko cosplay, and her hair has a blue streak in it. That means I'd have to get a blue wig and dye everything black instead of simply dyeing the streak in her hair blue. Might as well just use blue extensions then ^^; Thanks for sharing your knowledge though, I'm sure lots of people find it helpful.

April 7, 2009 at 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm dying this wig to be more of a Natural lighter color...
But I am not sure how much alcohol I should mix with the rit or what..
I don't want it super dark..
I just want to tone the brightness down some..
>_< Please give me some ideas


April 8, 2009 at 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is completely different from most of the posts on here, i got to this site from google. but anyway, i purchased synthetic hair extensions for prom. "hairdo" from jessica simpson. well my shade was 99 dollars, and the shade a little too light for me was 33 (which would you choose?) i only need to go down a little bit, and i really dont want to use the acrylic because i'm afraid it will ruin the texture and make it seem unreal. will rit dye do that too?? and do you think i'll be able to get it down a shade or two with rit?? please please please post back soon, i dont have much time!! thanks!

April 26, 2009 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

Amanda: If it's a shorter or medium length wig then I think you'll be fine to use a spray bottle because I've done more than one "coat" in the past to make sure I got good coverage and it didn't seem to hurt the quality of the wig. If it's a very long wig then you may want to dunk it instead. I don't really have experience with that so I don't know the measurements but I know people have done it successfully. Basically as long as the ink's not too thick and you rinse the wig throughly I think you shouldn't have much change in the texture.

The color does fade a bit when rinsed. But if you need to spray and rinse it more than once to darken it, it shouldn't affect the texture/shine much.

It shouldn't affect the wig styling at all. Or no more than it would be affected by a normal washing.

Anonymous with the Orihime wig: If you're trying to dye the wig lighter, I don't think you'll be able to do it with this method. This really only works for dying wigs darker. It MIGHT be possible to tone the brightness down by darkening the orange some? But I'm honestly not sure which color combo would do it. Sorry!

P.S. If you do try it don't mix the alcohol with any RIT dye! Only with acrylic ink! I experimented with some RIT fabric dye for someone else, but that was diluted normally with water and NOT with alcohol!

Anonymous with the hair extensions: Honestly, I think this is a better method for colors like blue or pink than it is for really natural looks. I mean, I think it's probably possible to do if you can get the ink color combo right, but I've never actually attempted a natural brown or anything like that and I think it could be tricky. I'm afraid the color could end up being kind of flat and one dimensional.

As far as acrylic versus RIT. In my opinion, acrylic is the way to go. I tested the RIT out of curiosity, but the wig DID NOT hold the color very well with the RIT. The acrylic does change the texture of the hair SLIGHTLY but RIT will do that too and in my experience as long as I gave it a thorough rinse the wigs I used acrylics on still kept its shine and the changes to texture were very minor. Remember that we're talking about acrylic INK not about acrylic PAINT.

April 26, 2009 at 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the hair extension girl:

i really want to change it only slightly which is what you described the rit would do. im a little bit afraid to use the ink because like you said, it'll probable make it flat and not look like real hair. worse comes to worse i'll dye my hair to match it lol but do you think that the rit will change the color at all?

April 26, 2009 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

Oh okay. Yes, I do think the RIT will change the color. The problem is, it's kind of hard to predict what color you're going to end up with. Like it'll definitely be a lighter color than whatever dye color you use, but it's hard to say what shade you'd actually get.

Also, I didn't wear the wig that I used the RIT on, so I'm not 100% sure that it won't run at all if you get sweaty. I mean that's why you rinse them, to get the excess dye out, and the ink is not going to come dripping off or anything crazy. But for example, if you had a high neck dress and you got sweaty it's possible that the ink could rub off some on the collar of your dress. Probably if you rinse enough it'd be fine. But since the RIT didn't stick as well and I haven't tested it, I can't be totally sure.

April 26, 2009 at 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok. yeah, i bareeeely need it to go down. almost like a light stain which shouldnt be too hard. im definately gonna rinse it like three times tho, because i spent 350 dollars on my dres. way to much, i know, but it was the first expensive thing i purchased since i started working and it's GORGEOUS. it hasnt come in yet tho, so it might not be too bad. i also bought a slight lightener for my hair so i think i should be pretty set. thanks for your input!!

April 27, 2009 at 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Leekaara said...

This was very, very helpful and saved me the many months of research I thought achieving the perfect wig color would take! Thank you!

But I do have a couple questions. I'm a bit unsure on what base color wig would be perfect for reaching the color I desire. It's a bit of an odd color, that even I have trouble describing.

I've searched online everywhere for a wig of this color, and have resorted to dying because I can't find one. http://xutomu.deviantart.com/art/Grey-Kuroshitsuji-106407260
What Sharpie's would you suggest? Should I begin with a white wig, or a grey one?

May 1, 2009 at 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this helped so damn much you will never know. and yes, muppets DO need to be kept in their place. You see, I'm working with a Matt(from Death Note) wig, that does not come with any colors remotely close to the actual burgundy hue of his hair. As if just plain finding the wig wasn't enough. But, since i get off topic a lot and tend to ramble, i will just say thank you, compliment you on how YOUR wig turned out, and walk away. not before glomping you that is. *glomp!*
p.s. i think it is truly hilarious that people think you can dye a wig lighter. I mean, perhaps if you took a solid pastel shade and dipped the wig into a vat of it but even then your chances are slim. just get a white wig. see how mean i am? truly, i lack tact.

July 17, 2009 at 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, would you look at that? The person right before me was a Matt cosplayer too! ^-^ Matty pwns! (As does Death Note!)
Thanks so much for the info! I found a brown wig that was just about the perfect style, and I'm planning on trying to add some red to it - I figure that it doesn't have to be completely red, and even tinting will do.
Also, I was wondering if the dying and rinsing and basically getting-wet-over-and-over will change the wig any, like take the curl out at all? I'm not too worried about it, since I'd actually LIKE my wig to be a bit straighter and less curly, but I was just curious.
I've been wanting to do this cosplay for quite a while, and yesterday I FINALLY found a proper wig! Hooray for Goodwill! Now, to the art section of the university bookstore in search of ink! Away!

Thanks again!

October 11, 2009 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Nadia said...

Thank you sooo much for the info! I got the ink at Hobby Lobby and I had a blonde shoulder length wig. I didn't do the spray method because I didn't have an area where I would be allowed to spray ink everywhere. So i used a cheap plastic mixing bowl and I used about 1 cup of Rubbing Alcohol and about 10 full squeezes of the ink. I swished it around in there till it was good and covered, then I let it dry for about 3 hours. I did this about 3 times and each time I added more of the ink. I ended up using the whole bottle on the last go around, then I let it dry for about 2 days. ( just because I didn't have time to mess with it) I rinsed it out very well, combed through it with a pick and styled it. It came out perfect. I am going to be Coraline this year for halloween here is a link to my flickr page where you can see the finished wig. http://www.flickr.com/photos/nodzilla/4006418895/

Thank you so much! This method is messy and i recommend wearing gloves!! my hands were blue for a few days and my tub is stained but I think it will come out over time.

October 13, 2009 at 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i tried Rit dye. I bought a Jessica Simpson synthetic extensions and tried to dye blonde to black. NO! It didn't work at all. THen i bought some acrylic ink and rubbing alcohol. It worked perfectly!! thank you so much!

November 2, 2009 at 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how many times did you have to spray your wig to get it that bright blue? i been working on making a platinum blond wig a brownish shade. so far its going well but still not the med brown i want and its been 4 times already lolol so i was just wondering how many times you did it :) thanks!

January 31, 2010 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Cookie said...

I'm so glad I came across this technique as it sounds like I will have more of an opportunity to the the colour I want by mixing paints rather than hunting down the right hair dye (which is what I've been trying to do for a while now). I am really excited to try it and was glad when you mentioned above that the technique shouldn't run with sweat etc.. My one question is: Have you ever had a problem with patchiness when dying a wig? I am trying to go from white to a very pale green/mint colour and can't afford to have any dark patches (because I can not afford to buy another white wig!). Also have you ever noticed any damage to the wig as a result of this method? I am worried about the combination of alcohol + synthetic materials and just want some reassurance. Thanks!!

February 9, 2010 at 4:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a kinda dark wig, I need it redder. I know you said a ton of times you can't dye lighter, but will it get even darker if I have to add the red? Cause it is already kinda too dark.

March 9, 2010 at 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello I Would Like To Ask You, My Wig Is A Blue Wig, Thats About A Dark Teal Colour, Almost Teal, But A Tiny Bit Darker, I Guess A Blue Green :P HArd To Explain, Anyways, I Was Wondering Do You Think This Blue Green Wig Id Be Able To Dye It Blood Red?, It Dyes Purple Fine, I Would Love Your Opinion


IF You Can Get Back To Me, Tye_Harvey@hotmail.com Or Reply On Here, :) Thank You

June 7, 2010 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger gaelicwolf said...

Thanks for the helpful article; I've got a long, neon yellow wig that I'm planning on using for my AWA costume this year. I thought about using it for my Shiek costume, but the yellow is just too bright to be toned down into the dull blonde that I'd need. So, I'm going to dye it black and style it into a Vegeta wig. Wish me luck! ;)

July 10, 2010 at 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a HOT PINK wig, could i dye it white and make a lighter pink?

July 30, 2010 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

this was SO helpful, thank you so much for doing this

July 30, 2010 at 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wig is currently drying outside, but so far, it looks amazing! Took a blonde with dark highlights wig and dyed it a cobalt blue. It's a little lighter than I anticipated, but I'm going to go over it with a darking ink for other highlights.

Thanks for posting this tutorial!

October 25, 2010 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Would the "Shimmering" kind of ink, like gold or silver, still look shiney after it's mexed with alcohol and sprayed on the wig?
I'm doing Disney's Rapunzel and her exact hair color is a bit darker/golder than the wig that I plan on buying is.

January 5, 2011 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

Cathy: I've never used a pearlescent or shimmering ink so honestly I'm not sure, but my guess is that it wouldn't keep the shine very well. If the "shine" of it is coming from glitter, metal flake or other little particles in the ink I'm not sure how well those would adhere to the wig fibers. If you do try it, I would definitely experiment on a little bit of the wig first to test it out before spraying the whole thing.

January 5, 2011 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

hey, need help on dyeing synthetic hair from a light red to a mahogony-dark red-brown, tried henna mahogonymixed with sable brown and let it sit over night and it did NOTHING. i'm thinkg of a brown marker, any one who knows how to get this color and what to use,a big ASAP!!!! thanks, pame
running out of ideas ya know? anyway where do you buy liquid acrlyic ink? arts & crafts?

January 14, 2011 at 4:51 PM  
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February 19, 2011 at 5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank u so much for the info! i was wonderin how many drops of ink/how much rubbin alcohol is needed to dye a very very short light blonde wig turqoise =) if anyone knows, id appreciate the help! its my first time doin this and i dont want to mess up the wig..thanks so much!

February 22, 2011 at 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Brett said...

i was wondering if it would be possible if i could dye a yellow wig red
like this in the picture

February 26, 2011 at 7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure if you could answer this one, but if you dye a heat resistant wig, does it affect the heat resistance at all?

April 17, 2011 at 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Corine in Virginia said...

Most Excellent Technique for dying a wig! I had to do a wig for my daughter's cosplay as Edward Elric and I tried to just find a wig that was already the right color but any of those was extremely expensive. I found a really good quality wig for a good price in a pale champagne blond. I used your advice here and got Speedball Gold. Mixed it up by just pouring what I felt was the right amount of ink in the spray bottle with cup of alcohol (70%). Took the wig outside and used a hanging plant stand to put the wig on. Gloves and cover for me and started spraying away. Woohoo! Perfect color for Ed. I may have to use a blow dryer on cool to finish it off as it has to be ready to travel by tomorrow. Still it looks really good and better than those I saw on cosplay sites! For the long wig it took the whole bottle of ink and whole bottle of alcohol to finish - overall - spent less than $30 for a finished wig. Thanks so much!

May 23, 2011 at 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a dark blond wig, this one to be exact


and I have no use for it any longer so I want to dye it dark brown for Olette from Kingdom Hearts II.

Could you give an estimation on how much dye and alcohol I will need?

May 28, 2011 at 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great tips, thanks!

I have a question, would the ink come off if I were to go swimming, because of the little amount of bleach in a swimming-pool?

Would be very embarrasing :(

And when I washed the wig, will it then come off?
If so, gratually or all at once?

Or is this permanent? (hope so...)

Hope someone can help me with this question.

Thanks in advance!

July 7, 2011 at 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

HI im doing a osplay of Yubel from YuGiOh GX.


I was planning on getting a long white wig and using your method to dye half that purple/blue colour.
Any tips?
THanks so much,
Bec :D

January 10, 2012 at 2:33 AM  
Blogger Owsi <3 said...

Can you tint black wigs using this method? Like it doesn't have to obviously appear as that colour. For mine, i still want it to be black, but with a greenish tint/shine in the light. As this possible?

February 20, 2012 at 1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anna K said...

Found this article recently, and am using a tweaked version for a custom multi-color wig. I'm using the same mix formula (acrylic ink + rubbing alcohol; rinse with water), but instead of using a spray bottle, I'm applying the mixture with inexpensive craft paintbrushes. So far, so good. Thanks, funnypeculiar!

July 26, 2012 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

sooooo/. i definitely saw ur post a tad too late and i just used fabric dye. so now can I out the acrylic dye over it?

September 29, 2012 at 3:14 AM  
Blogger terriergal said...

If you want to try only dyeing part of the wig (like highlights) do what the beauty shops do, use a highlight cap. You basically put the wig on a foam head, tack it down, and put a plastic highlighting cap over the wig and pull little bits of hair through the holes in the cap with a little latch hook or crochet hook.

April 2, 2013 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger DarkPhoenixInnocent said...

Did you use FW Artists Ink or another brand of Acrylic Ink? I really need to know this I'm trying to decide the best method to get the wig I need (front/back two tone) The methods I have are; dye it or cut two wigs in half & make a franken-wig.

Unfortunately it seems my local craft stores only have black FW Artists Ink & I'm running low on time (new to cosplaying, making plenty of mistakes, mostly time related)

April 13, 2013 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

@darkphoenixinnocent - Yes. I use FW artists ink, but any brand of acrylic ink is OK for this. Speedball is the other brand I've used, and it's basically the same thing just without a dropper so I think any brand should work. I order mine online at dickblick or misterart to get access to the full line of colors, but if you don't have time to order anything then I would just use whatever brand you can find.

April 13, 2013 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger DarkPhoenixInnocent said...

I've gotten some ink & am currently in the process of test dying a really cheap wig I have to see if I can even do two-tone like I need and it's not going well.

No idea if it's cause the wig is just THAT cheap or I'm wig dying, retarded.

Probably gonna have to go the franken wig route but I found two good candidates from the same seller.

April 17, 2013 at 11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is such a GREAT tutorial! :3
I was just wondering if using this method on a longer, tight curled wig would ruin or loosen the curls?
I really want to cosplay as Pinkie Pie from MLP: FiM, and as most know she has super curly (poufy too) magenta-pink hair. I found a really nice curly pink wig for really cheap on eBay, but it's more of a light peachy pink, kind of cotton candy-ish color; I'd need to dye it, preferrably with this tutorial, more of a magenta/rose color.
Thanks so much! c:

August 10, 2013 at 7:02 PM  
Blogger funnypeculiar said...

Re: Pinkie Pie Wig

Using this method is basically like washing the wig with cold water, which shouldn't affect the styling of the wig. (You do want to rinse it with cold water not warm or hot.) So if your wig is curly, dyeing it this way isn't going to take the curl out. The only thing I did differently when I was dyeing a curly wig instead of a straight one is I didn't brush it much after it was dried because I didn't want to mess with the curls. It ended up being a little bit stiffer/crunchier than when I first got the wig but not much. Less than if you used hairsprat. And if you look at the "after" picture at the top of the post the curls were basically in the same condition as before I dyed it.

Oh, one other thing about curly wigs. It's harder to get full coverage with a spray bottle on a curly wig. It shouldn't be that bad for you since you're going for a darker version of similar color which means any of the old color that shows through will be subtle and look kind of like highlights or something. But if you don't want any of the old color showing through, the quickest/easiest way to make sure it's all covered would be to submerge the whole wig (you can use a pan or a big bowl etc.) instead of spraying it. I've never done it, but several people have told me it works fine.

August 10, 2013 at 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question: Did you need a special brush for the wig? I know there are wig combs and brushes and was wondering if buying one was really necessary.

October 9, 2013 at 12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you had any luck dying brightly colored wigs, to a darker shade? For instance, I've been dying a fuchsia/purple wig to black using the acrylic ink, and it still is not covering completely. Any tips?

November 25, 2013 at 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a blond wig to black. will it turn out grey or black how I want it?

December 8, 2013 at 1:44 PM  
Anonymous lily said...

so good!

December 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow that's very great method. Thank you for this information! Wigs are generally used to increase the beauty of hair style through the unnatural arrangement. Those are very effective for the synthetic hair and make the hair style different and stylist.
Human hair extensions

January 3, 2014 at 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Kerra_Soran said...

I have a light pink/mint colored wig that I want to make all mint for a con coming up shortly what colors would I use on it?

May 29, 2014 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is just a suggestion but if you're trying to dye more than one color using the sponge method would probably work better. You dip a sponge into your dye mixture (not dripping) and section some hair using your free hand to hold the hair slide the sponge from root to tip or how ever far down you want. Then roll that section of hair and pin, move on the next section of hair and color repeating process. When you are finished let the dye dry for about a couple hours then rinse well and let dry thoroughly and brush.

June 20, 2014 at 6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would you do to dye streaks? I'm trying to dye my blonde wig to look like Paige from Dhmis. I've tried the sharpie method but got the dye every where. Ps: I have to dye the hair using 3 different colors, while leaving blonde bits sprinkle throughout.

December 1, 2014 at 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this method affect the heat resistance of the hair? For some reason I feel like it would start a fire if put ink on it and then used a curling iron. Lol

What has your experience been?

February 4, 2015 at 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering how permanent the color is, does it get lighter after washings?

May 27, 2015 at 11:29 PM  
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