The thing with dolls is, you always want them to have the perfect hair for their character, don't you? And finding the right wig is near impossible sometimes (particularly if your character has pink hair *cough*Maxim*cough* or a white stripe from an accident *cough*Kirill*cough*). Which is why I wanted to learn to make my own doll wigs instead. And, thanks to the wonders of YouTube and Mozekyto's doll wig tutorials, it turns out it's not quite as hard as I thought.
Well. It is, but not quite in the way I thought.
Full disclaimer: this isn't my first attempt at a wig. It's actually my fourth hard cap (don't ask about the first attempt), my third go at brushing and then straightening wefts (Maxim was my first), and my second go at actually gluing the wefts down. My first was Kirill...
It turns out the problem I have isn't so much the sticking down of the hair (although that's certainly problematic enough). I just have zero talent with actually cutting hair. I'm sure I must have a natural aptitude for something somewhere, but hairdressing ain't it. Given my approach to hair is to have as little of it as possible this isn't really a surprise.
So the thought of making Paradigm's wig wasn't so much a fear of the making of it, I've done that before. It was the cutting of it. So with great trepidation, I got cracking on the fiddly bits. Because the longer it takes to do the fiddly bits, the longer I can put off cutting it, right?
And there are quite a few fiddly bits to do. I wound the lengths of 100% acrylic yarn around the notebook longways, then cut at top and bottom. I then grouped them into sets of three and knotted them into the rings of the book so each side was approximately the same length. These were tied the whole length of the rings, and then vigorously assaulted — sorry, brushed — with a metal-toothed brush. Once all the wefts were smoothed out and combed until there was no longer any yarn loss, they were smoothed over with a hair straightener, resulting in a noticeable difference in texture. They're also super-soft at this point.
For reasons I've never quite worked out, my hair straighteners have an odd habit of turning the yarn funny colours when it's warm — briefly green, in this case — which you can kind of see on the leftmost picture, but it wears off as the wefts cool.
They're then cut into sections and glued onto a sheet of still-wrapped clear acrylic I no longer remember why I own, and once the glue has set (which takes forever) I peel from the board and trim the tops and edges until they're neat but still useable.
Then comes the 'fun' bit.
Yep, time to glue the wefts down. I started with Mozekyto's method of laying down the parting first, which later proved ... interesting when one of the two wefts used for his parting actually vanished. I have no idea where it went and luckily it wasn't too difficult to replace it at the late stage of, you know, having almost finished.
I'd done my wefts in colour batches, with the lightest grouped together and then a set of increasingly dark ones. (I still have a lot of yarn; I need more brunet characters) The lightest went into the parting, and I then started properly at the bottom with the darkest in an effort to mimic natural hair.
Yes I'm aware the bottom of his wig cap went crump. It was a challenge to get the weft to stick to it, but I got there in the end and you can't see it now. I moved up in rows, trimming the back into a rough, short 'V' shape as I went and setting aside the wefts cut "just in case." When I reached the ears I started moving all the way around the wig cap, and stopped trimming. Obviously I reached the parting on one side faster than the other, so I added more hair to the other side until I'd filled up the cap with fairly evenly-spaced wefts.
...Which left me with a second doll equivalent of Cousin It from The Addams Family. Only this time I couldn't really get away with just leaving him like it. Wellll, I could, but it wouldn't get me anywhere, so out came the scissors and off went chunks of Paradigm's hair. But it's not easy to style hair that's trying to stick out like a chimney sweep's brush so the cling film that'd so recently been under his wig cap went back on over it instead in a desperate effort to tame it, and it got left overnight.
Then it was onto the finer scissors and lots of very cautious, very nervous upward snipping and... well...
There's a spot of Leon Kennedy about his hair I never noticed before and my iffy cellphone photo made it (and him) look a lot lighter than it is in person, but I'm happy with it. It's scruffy, but intentionally — no intergalactically-wanted spaceship thief would stop off and get his hair professionally trimmed every six to eight weeks.
The biggest challenge was getting it to look like my really old drawings of him. He's a character I've had since at least 2007 and he's amassed a chunk of artwork dedicated to him (although depressingly the best stuff is from 2007 and not really the later stuff of him I did). I sat there for a while staring at his hair in the drawings and thinking "you utter moron, why did you draw it like that?"
(Because in 2007 I never thought I'd have a doll version of him, that's why, self.)
Not much to say, but I finished Lirio's faceup a week or so ago and somehow I forgot just how gorgeous the sculpt is, even while I was working on it.
And now it's done and I just keep staring at him. He looks so nice even with my terrible faceup skills!
I swear, I can't recommend Doll Family H enough. The Lingfeng sculpt is adorable and the ~62cm body is an amazing poser. I really need to buy Scott one — and this gets more vital as time goes on; his hands and feet are nearly glowing now. They look terrible. Lesson learned, I guess: don't buy a whole doll because it's discounted from a bit of an iffy company with a habit of it, buy one from a habitually lower-priced company instead. I really wish I'd just bought Scott's head and found a hybrid for him.
Christ knows what I'll do with his body though.
Photos of Lirio inbound when I've actually made the poor little assassin some clothes and his own hair (he's borrowing Gabrys's spare short hair) — ah sod it, have a bad cellphone photo instead. I couldn't resist taking a photo of the pouty l'il boy.
A noodler with a doll obsession.