Copic Marker Wig-Dying Tutorial and Tips
Disclaimer! I am by no means a professional hairstylist (nor is the picture of TOP above the finished product, it is merely the reference I used). This tutorial and these tips are only based off of my own experience. Your experience may differ slightly based on the type of wig you use, the color of dye you use and the types of hair products you use to style the wig afterward. This has been your warning.
What you will need:
- Copic Markers.
They are available from Michael’s (and Staples in the US) as well as online. It is best that you get the wide markers but not all color shades are available in all sizes so you might have to make due with a smaller sizer. Warning! Copics are pricey ($7-$8) so I try to only buy them when they’re on sale or using Michael’s 40% off coupons.
- Copic Marker refill matching the color of your marker.
This will save you tons of money instead of buying half a dozen markers.
- A light colored wig.
You can only dye your wig darker! You cannot dye it lighter! You also need to take into account how the color of the dye will react with the color of the wig. For my Shinhwa wig it appears like the wig is blonde on the top, brown on the bottom. To get this I actually used a dark gray Copic to dye the bottom which when colored over the blonde, turned a nice natural brown.
- A wig head.
You can buy these at most craft/hobby/beauty supplies stores.
- Pins.To pin the wig to the head in place and keep it from moving around while you’re dying.
- Hair clips.
These will be used to section off the hair as you dye and keep it out of the way.
- Plastic gloves.Unless you don’t mind dying your fingers purple for 3 weeks. Also recommended for people with sensitive skin as the alcohol in the markers will dry out your skin very quickly.
- A clean work space where there is no risk of anything nearby being ruined by dye. You may want to wear crappy clothes and put down plastic before working if you’re someone like me who drops pens a lot.
Pin your wig to your wig head, making sure it is secure and won’t move around at all if you rotate the head. If you have a wig stand (or something you can use as a wig stand) that you can attach the head to to keep it in place, that works even better, otherwise you have to juggle around holding onto the wig head while you color.
Test your colors! Take a very small piece of wig hair from the back, underside of the wig (aka a section that won’t ever be seen) and color a very small section of it with the color of marker you selected. If the color looks right and you’re pleased with it, carry on! If you don’t like the color you can go buy a different shade and try that instead. By coloring a very small section in an area you won’t see, you won’t have to worry about it being the wrong shade initially. It would suck to spend all that time dyeing the wig only to realize you were 5 shades too dark the entire time.
Starting at the bottom back of the wig, section off the hair with hair clips so that only one row of wefts is showing at the bottom.
Start coloring onto the wig fibers directly with the markers.
This picture shows what it starts to look like after about 4 rows of wefts have been colored, pinning the remaining wefts out of the way as you go.
Continue coloring until every single weft until you are done. This will take a lot of time. I suggest doing this in an area where you can have a window open because the fumes from the markers are pretty intense. I also suggest not trying to do an entire wig in 1 go because you’ll probably kill a few braincells that way. My TOP wig I did over about 6 days for 2-4 hours each sitting. IT IS TIME-CONSUMING.
Once everything is colored and dry, go through the major layers to make sure you didn’t miss any sections while coloring and to even out any patchy spots.
I pinned the wig up into the hairstyle I was aiming for as a finished product and as you can see I missed a small section by the ear so I went back and colored that. I also made sure to check along any possible part lines so that there would be no silver roots showing under the blue. Because I wanted the wig to look like it had been dyed (and not naturally blue) I allowed for some color variation in dying with some highlights being slightly lighter than the rest (ie I went back over sections I wanted to be bolder in color).
After finishing your wig and letting it dry (I gave my wigs 2 full days), give your wig a rinse under cold water. If no dye comes out, you’re good to go! If dye does come out then keep gently rinsing until the water runs clear. You might have to touch up some sections afterwards but I had no dye come out after I had finished my wig so there shouldn’t really be a problem.
Rinsing the wig will also get rid of the Copic dye smell. :)
Style and profit!
Before you do any styling, here are some tips!
- If you are doing intense styling that involves a ton of hairspray and product, I would not recommend Copic dyeing as your method of wig-dyeing. The more products you put in your wig, the greater the chance you’re going to end up hurting the color. Any hair products that contain alcohol in them can potentially strip the color from the wig fibers.
- If you are using hairspray, use it sparingly and DO NOT TOUCH THE WIG BEFORE THE HAIRSPRAY HAS DRIED. This is because most hairsprays are alcohol based and if you touch it, you’ll notice some of the color coming out.
- If you wash your wig out after having product in it, some color may come out, once again because of the alcohol. You can easily touch up any patchy sections after the wig is clean and dry.