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07 April 2007 @ 01:17 am
wig coloring  
Feel free to skip to the pics on this one; I need to keep notes on process so that I have it for when I do my write-up at the end since this is for school also.

The whole wig dyeing issue is something I've followed for a while and generally wanted to stay the heck away from if at all possible. I had a bad experience with Sharpie dyeing which resulted in me having to wear an AYA wig to meet PLC the first time. >< There was brutal Sharpie slaughter involved, and direct application, and so help me I DID rinse that thing. But it STILL came off on everything.

So this time I tried the acrylic ink method. Except apparently I bought the wrong kind of ink; the consensus on cosplay.com is that you must use "FW" brand ink, and I bought "Bombay". I will add to this statement that the "c.com consensus" is not something I trust as far as I can throw it (which is impossible, since it's virtual, so you can imagine that's not very far). But I tried mixing the Bombay ink, 8 drops to 1 cup of 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, and applying it to some braiding hair. Now, there were some other variables - it was textured braiding hair, green, with blue ink. I tried the same thing again, this time with red ink on pink hair, higher quality silky braid. Better, but the vast majority of it still rinsed out.

Someone said that Bombay doesn't work as well because it has a different binder; I looked at some very boring chemical documents and it does NOT use a different binder. I'm also highly confused why you would mix acrylic ink with rubbing alcohol since that's exactly what you use to take the exact same thing OFF stuff you don't want it on. At this point I got annoyed with popular wisdom and was not interested in driving 45 minutes to purchase a different brand of ink on the basis of information that did not appear correct anyway.

So I went digging on the internet about what kind of anything works to dye acrylic fibers. Dylon said sorry but no. Several places claimed Rit, in spite of considerably more threads on c.com (going back ages) which claim it can't possibly dye anything non-natural. Unfortunately, there are all kinds of dyes that work on acrylic - including acrylic BUTTONS for crying out loud - but all of them require fairly high heat, the kind of heat that damages wigs. (Particularly, disperse dyes are recommended for synthetics.) But, at long last, I found a thread on the Jacquard forums (they make Procion dyes, the popular standard for textile art, among other things) that suggested trying Dye-na-flow to dye kayak covers. Dye-na-flow is primarily for silk painting; it's a paint, but a very thin one that behaves more like a dye. I had some in red which I think I used on Amano Guibu's feathers. So I tried THAT on the pink silky fiber.

This is where I start to try and make a long story short XD; I threw everything I know in a blender. I brushed the Dye-na-flow on, let it dry, rinsed it, let it soak in vinegar overnight (vinegar WILL help set some dyes), rinsed and washed it, and then let it dry again. It's now only losing color to a paper towel if I drag it through with a LOT of force. I also spent some quality time last night standing with my hands in purple Rit dye working on the punky wig for the headpiece; the two wigs are two different brands and not the same color. The New Look wig is now almost exactly the same color as the longer Sepia one (Rit doesn't stick to acrylic, huh?) and does not appear to be losing any dye at all. Basically, the Rit solved one problem, and I think the Dye-na-flow may be a better answer to the second - getting some color gradation at least in the top wig. The top wig won't be in contact with anything white it could stain. I wanted to add some color gradients to the longer wig also, but I'm not sure I should risk it.

Here is the before and after with the Rit dye on the New Look punk wig. The lighting conditions were similar when both photos were taken. If you just look at the New Look wig, it looks the same color; but against the Sepia wig, they now look much more similar in color, mainly because the Sepia wig looks less pink-based. I used a recipe from the Rit site to mix my violet - using purple and fuschia. I think that it did make the New Look's bluish tinted purple come closer to the redder Sepia color.


This is a test weft I made when I was doing the falls for my crack lolita costume; Kanekalon hair. I did red Dye-na-flow over the ends, let it dry, and then rinsed it.


First layer of work with the Dye-na-flow; purple, brushing out from the roots. I just used a regular paintbrush, a fairly soft, wide one.


Second layer of color - blue over the purple. I didn't let it dry between colors.


Third layer - I went back over some of the sections with more purple, including over some of the blue at the roots. I didn't get a photo of it, but I also used some red at the tips, though it doesn't show like I'd like it to and I may do a bit more with a custom-mixed color.


Wanted to get a pic in daylight, but I didn't so . . . this is the wig "finished". The dye was let dry, I washed it, THEN set it with vinegar, then washed it again, in a sink with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and dish soap (ghetto Synthrapol substitute, the detergent preferred for post-dye washing of garments).
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Zetsuboutenshinoitami1 on April 7th, 2007 06:39 am (UTC)
I never thought of setting teh dye with vinegar on a wig o.o
I've dyed a few wigs with Sharpie and FW. The one I did with FW I was my first so I probably f'ed it up, it rubs on things but I believe I used the wrong strength of alochol anyway. maybe I could set it with vinegar? I did recently rinse it out since I think I may have skipped that the first time >>
The other wigs I have colored, one was ALL HAND COLORED so yeah it rubbed off but it's in a permant style now that it doesnt touch things so no mess no problems. I did another of the same style but actually made a dye for it of sharpie. but again it was styled so I dont know about rubbing off.
Now the third wig I dyed was white and we wanted it slightly silver/grey, I dont believe that rubbed off any but at the same time its worn on a dark costume and it was a light application of dye (also sprayed on rather than soaked in).
Now the last wig I tried to dye was a PAIN IN THE ASS. did a sharpie dye for RED, turned all orangey at first and took 6 TIMES in the dye mix of drying it and redying. Of course it rubbed off on my skin like nuts and I had to wear it at the Duel Jewel panel at Katsu...oh wells. I've recently rinsed it more so hopefully i wont have the problem of turning red again, we'll see when I wear it next week @@

If it does indeed turn me red I think I may try setting it with vinegar. I have some sharpie on a coat I need to set with vinegar anyway.

Next time, since you say it works decently, I might try Rit dye though. However I wonder if I could control the custome coloring to what I want. I was planning to use sharpie on it and I know how to mix the colors I want if I use sharpie.