Yami Yugi Wig
As of posting, it's been one year since I made my Yugi wig, so I don't remember a lot of what I did. But, I'll do my best to describe a step-by-step technique (more or less) on how I did it, in case it helps.
First is a shot of the inside of the wig cap of the base wig I used. I started with a hot pink bob-cut wig (I believe the cosplay.com brand name is Alice N) but I knew it would have nowhere near the volume to create Yugi spikes, so my intention was to add wefts from a second, longer wig. In the shot below, what you see is the wefts from the inside - I decided to add wefts in between each of those wefts in the wig (the white lines). They would be sewn to the same lace netting that holds those wefts in place (the vertical lacy strips).
Wefts are the long strings of hair that, layered, make up a wig. They run around the wig horizontally, from one temple to the other. I don't have any shots of me in the process of coloring the wefts...if I find any, I'll put them up. But for now, this is what a weft looks like when cut out of a wig.
In order to create the black-to-pink-tip look of Yugi, I realized it was easier to color a pink wig black than to make a black wig pink. I ran into a dead end with wig dye, so I was left having to color the wefts with Sharpie. I will post pictures of this when I find what I did with them. It was a very long, tedious, time-consuming exercise, but it was the only way to do it and get it to look right. I went through about three or four Sharpies, too. I laid out the wig on a piece of cardboard, separating it so I had one weft lying flat at a time, and sat in front of my TV coloring the roots of each weft with the Sharpies. It works easiest to just spread the hair out on a color-able surface and color on top of it, it's fast and easy and you get the ink everywhere. I colored about halfway up each shorter weft (from the bob wig)...I had to color much more of the secondary wig's longer wefts to get them to match. In the end, the wig was distinctly black-rooted with pink tips.
Next, I had to add volume. I did so by snipping the wefts out of my secondary wig (a "Jesus" hot pink wig from witchwigs.com) off the netting that held them together at the temples. It came apart really nicely, with no fraying or falling apart. The picture below is a blurry closeup of me doing just that, before coloring the wefts. They were eventually colored black at the roots FIRST and THEN sewn into the base wig, between the other wefts.
I noticed that both wigs tended to have the longest wefts at the back of the head, and they got shorter as they went further down toward the nape of the neck. So, when I took wefts from the second wig and added them to the first, I kept them in their proper places - so the longest wefts at the top and back of the head were being sewn into the top and back of the base wig.
Now the fun part! The coloring and adding of wefts took the longest and was sooooo boring...but necessary. Styling only took me a weekend, for the most part. I hung the wig upside down from my easel, having to invent some kind of contraption to do so. It does have to be securely upside down, though, and pinned to the wig head.
I began teasing (backcombing) the roots of the wig, from the bottom up towards the wig head, spraying it with hairspray as I went. It made for a nice tangled mat of hair.
I was a little concerned that the netting and the wig head were showing while I did this, but it turned out not to make a difference in the end. Particularly not with my dark hair and a black wig cap underneath. But, as you see, I did not tease the very lowest, shortest layers of the wig, which had only been colored and not had any volume added. They work well for the nape of the neck, where Yugi's hair tapers down to his neck.
I kept teasing and spraying, teasing and spraying, until the wig was very securely matted into a big, stiff fan shape. It didn't look bad, even hanging upside down. The shot below shows how long the extensions added from the Jesus wig really were, compared to the rest of the wig.
The real test came when I took it down and stood the wig head upright. All the hairspray and the teasing stayed, making a huge fan shape.
I began to carefully separate the fan into five distinct sections, making Yugi's characteristic star shaped hairstyle. The one thing that bugs me the most about other peoples' failed attempts at this wig is that they don't put enough spikes in it. He has, count 'em, FIVE main spikes, and two smaller spikes at the very bottom, near his neck. The five main ones were of the most importance to me, I did the two last spikes a different way. This shot is the progression of the spikes - three of them have been separated from the tangled mess, and I used my comb and more hairspray (and maybe a little glue by this point) to separate them from each other and keep them going into the spike shape.
Naturally, the extra length was a little too long, so while I shaped the spikes into their true shape, now liberally using hair glue to hold the spike shape, I trimmed off the excess. What you see now is three perfectly formed spikes, and two more half-formed spikes (no glue yet), with whatever excess hair had not been used yet hanging down behind.
With the hair still sticking out in the wig being mostly in the back, I decided to just let it do what it wanted, and formed the lowest two spikes to be sort-of visible from the front, but mostly from the side and back as the low bottom spikes on the nape of Yugi's neck. This pic is all spikes, all done.
To make absolutely sure the spikes were going to stay, I hung the wig upside down again and shaped the spikes with hair glue, and left it this way to dry overnight.
To add the blond bangs, I did it the cheapest, easiest way I guessed would work. I bought a third wig, another "Jesus" wig from witchwigs.com in bright yellow, and cut the netted "skin cap" from the front of the wig. I left it completely intact, and just sewed it on top of the flattened/spiked crown of the wig, so I could use all of the hair sewn into the skin cap part to make Yami's many spikes and bangs. To be fair, there is a LOT of hair there, and I may have made it a bit sloppy in order to get it all to go in one direction or the other, but no one seems to notice! Pic is of the underside of the skin top of the yellow wig - showing which part I cut out from the rest.
Once it was sewn onto the other wig, I separated the yellow bangs into all the individual parts of Yami's hair - the top and side "lightning" streaks, and the main bangs. The only difference between Yugi and Yami is this step. Yugi has no vertical/outward streaks, instead he has a little forelock that falls over his forehead (in that adorable way! *squeee*). Otherwise, his bangs are the same as Yami's - three on the right side, one of which goes more out and back over his ear while two hang straight down next to his face, and two on the left side that go sort of outward.
I used elastic bands to kink the individual locks of hair into their unique zig-zags, and liberally hair-glued the bends and kinks and left it to dry for a while. Working from the top down (or, the scalp out, in the case of the vertical streaks), I applied more and more hair glue until I could trim away excess and form each one into a tapered shape. The Jesus wig had the added bonus of already being sort of wavy, so I turned the natural wave into the kinks on the bangs that hang straight down. I did end up having to attach the one right and two left outward-going bangs to the spikes of the wig, with a little white glue, as well as the tips of the vertical streaks where they meet the black/pink spikes.
This wig held up fine as it was through all the abuse I put it through at Otakon, but on my way home I left it in a closed-up hot car from sunup till noon, and all the hairspray wilted. The spikes were still matted but drooping. I had to take it home, wash a little of the hairspray and glue out and then re-spray and glue all of it while upside down. Once it was back in satisfactory shape, I used clear-drying shellac and clear silicone caulk to set the wig and the spikes, respectively, permanently. It still droops and requires repair on occasion, but that's on account of there still being a lot of hairspray holding it up, which evaporates and lets go after time. But, in the construction stage, you don't want to use the permanent goop. Wait until you have it the way you want it, no mistakes, no changes, and THEN permanently set it.
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