admin | Oct 20, 2011
Time: Two to three hours start to finish.
Things you will need:
1) Wig head
2) Duck clips
4) Curved needle
5) Thread that matches your wig
7) Short wig and two Matching Falls
Recently my best friend and cosplay partner in crime Lady Ava and I decided we wanted to cosplay Macross Frontier. In the past I had merely borrowed a friend’s wig, but with conventions plans working the way they did, I wasn’t going to be able to this time around. “Well, I’ll just buy one off of eBay! Why not?” I thought. It’s a Ranka wig, only one of the most popular cosplay characters, right? Can’t be that hard!
I have learned that in cosplay, my famous last words will always be “this shouldn’t be this hard.” It’s a curse. “Oh this costume is plain yellow or plain blue. Finding the fabric I want won’t be that hard!” FALSE! “Oh it’s a really popular character, finding a decent quality wig won’t be there hard!” FALSE. “Well it’s a really popular character, finding a tutorial won’t be that hard!” False? Yup…False. I was unaware that the art of Ranka wigs were guarded tighter than Fort Knox.
So here it is guys— my Ranka wig tutorial.
What you will need:
1) Find a wig head or something similar to put your wig on. You will have to pin things directly into the wig/head so make sure you are able to do so. (As in, don’t use another person’s head. While I admit at time’s this can be a useful styling technique, friends can only do so much.)
2) Duck clips, Bobbypins, hair pins, ect. Whatever method of clipping wig hair out of your way you need.
3) Brush, because you’re working with hair.
4) Curved needle. I suppose a strait needle might work, but trust me when sewing onto wigs curved needles make your life so much easier. If you don’t have one fear not! They can often be purchased at places which have even the smallest of sewing sections, such as mega-marts and grocery stores.
5) Thread that matches your wig.
7) Short wig and two matching falls (make sure to remove the clips that come in the falls, you won’t be needing them). These are not hard to find at all, they come in a wide array of colors both on eBay and domestic online wig shops.
First, start off by pinning your wig to your head. Try your best to make sure it’s on even; otherwise, Ranka’s “dog ears” will be lopsided. Once it’s secured, pick up a bit of hair off the crown and pin it back. You only need a little bit here, and the further down the sides you go, the lower the dog ears will be. Also think about how far forward or back you want them to be. I always imagined them as covering her own ears, so I put them pretty far forward, but this is all up to you (and you’ll get a big of a preview before you stitch anything down, so don’t worry if you aren’t sure.)
Now that the hair is back, take a fall and open up the netting on top. Place it on the wig so that the netting sits over the crown and the hair is falling to the opposite side of the head from which you are working on. Pin the part of the netting (along the hair line) which is closest to you as close as possible to the part which you created on the crown of the wig. The point of this is that when you flip the fall over to the correct side of the wig, that overlap will cause the fall to stick out rather than lay flat.
When it’s secured and you’re happy with the placement, flip the fall over to see how it lays. The fall may be a little messy, but you’ll be able to get the general idea of the shape. The great thing is that this step of the process can be done over and over again until you get the angle to your liking; if you don’t like it, just remove the fall and try again.
Once you’re happy with the placement of the fall, start stitching it down where the pins are. Before tying off the needle and cutting the thread, flip the fall over and lightly brush it to really see how it lays. I found stitching the netting of the fall together and lightly (only two or three stitches) to the wig gave me a bit more of the shape I wanted.
Once you’ve completed one side, hop over to the other. The biggest thing here is to make sure the falls are even. You can’t pin them at the same time because they would get in each other’s way, so whichever side you start on you need to finish first, and match the other side to.
Once both are sewn on, give them a nice brush out as all that flipping will have cause a bit of a mess. Don’t worry too much if you’ve been brushing the wig a lot; if the ends get a little messy due to so much fiddling, you’ll be cutting them off anyway!
Now that everything is in place, unclip the hair you pinned back, and simply let it fall over the falls! Style that upper bit of hair so it lays in a way you like. You may have to use a little bit of product to keep the hair styled over the falls in a nice way, but not much is necessary. (Of this I can assure you. To test this theory my mother found great amusement in brandishing the wig, while on the wig head, around and upside down as though she had just slain an enemy. Each time the hair fell back perfectly into place.)
At this point the majority of styling is cutting. Style the upper portion of the wig however you like, and then trim the bottom. I’ve seen these wigs styled a varying number of ways, so It’s really all up to you and how you see Ranka’s hair. I ended up cutting almost every section of the short wig underneath, including the back and sides, but you may not need to dependent on your wig and your face shape. The falls are very thick, so it’s going to take a while to get them to look smooth and not chunky. I took a blunt cut off of them leaving a bit of extra length to soften and shape them how I liked.
So there you have it folks! A Ranka wig! Please ignore the fact that it looks crooked on my wig head, I can never manage to get a wig looking straight on those things. I’d really like to know why they are all packaged with that “What! Me? I am so confused for I am but a wig head and have no thought!” expression. I know wig heads are easily bewildered, but they would serve their purpose better if they didn’t show it quite so much.
(Thanks to CyberBird for the photo!) Personally my favorite part of this technique is all the extra hair you have left over so in case you choose a version of Ranka where she has some crazy sort of styling going on (like a random braid out of nowhere for no reason) you’ve got plenty of extra hair to use! With that, good luck and happy styling!
FeliciaCat is a cosplayer from the NJ/NYC area. She has been cosplaying for 4 years and has a love for anime, manga, videogames, comics, and of course cats.