Inside the Collection

Tutorial: How to make a simple paper wig

This method of making wigs for display mannequins has been used in museums for over 20 years.

It is a great way for small museums and fashion students to create elegant wigs cheaply and easily. We have used white paper for our tutorial, but you could use anything you liked; ribbon, fabrics, unusual papers. You are only limited by your own imagination!

Mannequin head, scissors, paper tape and sticky tape.

You will need some double sided tape, scissors, and a wig material. This could be paper, ribbon, material, or synthetic fabrics.

Double sided tape, being stuck to the back on paper stripes

Cut your material into strips (we used 2.5cm x 10cm) and place a piece of double sided tape at the top of each strip.

Stripes of paper being placed on top of mannequin head

Stick your paper strips down each side of the mannequins head, creating a part.

Stripes of paper being placed on top of mannequin head

Secure the bottom of the strips to the mannequin with some double sided tape.

Stripes of paper being placed on top of mannequin head

Don’t pull the strips too tight, let her have some body to her wig!

Stripes of paper being placed on top of mannequin head

To create the back of the wig stick on four more paper strips.

Stripes of paper being placed on top of mannequin head

Stripes of paper being placed on top of mannequin head

Stick the back of the wig down with some more double sided tape.

Paper stripes being rolled up to create curls

Take a strip of paper and something to roll with, we have used a paintbrush, a pen would also work!

Paper stripes being rolled up to create curls

Roll the paper tightly around.

Hands stretching the paper roll out on either end of the strip

You can then stretch your roll open to start creating the hair tendril.

Stripes of paper being placed on top of mannequin head

Using double sided tape place a tendril on each side of the wig.

Side view of mannequins head with paper stripes on top of head

Our wig has three tendrils on each side, you could put as many as you like.

Folded paper being placed on top of mannequin's head

Take a longer piece of paper to begin to create the bun.

Paper being secured together with double sided tape

Loop the paper over to create a few loops, and secure together with double sided tape.

Top view of mannequin's head

Attach the bun to the wig using double sided tape.

Back view of ,mannequin's head with paper hairstyle

The side view.

Back view of ,mannequin's head with paper hairstyle

The back view.

Complete hairstyle on mannequin with a golden dress on

The finished product.

Display case with four mannequins with dresses and paper hairstyles

Photography by Sotha Bourn.

Post by Suzanne Chee, Conservator.

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