The Marie Antoinette Wig

I took a number of photos while making the wig, so I thought I would share them as a post.

This wig was made following the 1770’s Pouf tutorial at Demode Couture.  It was a great tutorial and really explained things well.  The portrait I was trying to imitate was this one:

Marie Antoinette, Dagoty.  Versailles, France.

Marie Antoinette, Dagoty. Versailles, France.

I started with a “Grandma” wig from Lacey Wigs.

"Grandma" 22 inch long wig.  $12.99 at Max Wigs.

“Grandma” 22 inch long wig. $12.99 at Max Wigs.

I sewed 2 toupee clips into the front of the wig to help hold it in place on my head.  Then I attached the wig to my hair styling mannequin head using T-pins after measuring the head dimension and making sure it was close to mine.  I spread the hair all around to try to even it out in the front and back.

Then I made a cage out of floral wire and stitched it to the top of the wig using a curved needle.  A curved needle is hugely important, because it makes things go much faster.  Then I put a loofah in the top of the wire cage and wrapped some tulle around it.  I put the loofah in to smooth over the top and to have something solid on top to pin into.  The end result looked like this:

I used upholstery thread to sew on the cage.

I used upholstery thread to sew on the cage.

Then I started taking sections of hair and ratting them and pinning them at the top.  I left a little bit hanging all around to smooth over the top.  I liberally applied Aqua Net about every 5 seconds.  It was a little strange buying Aqua Net after 20+ years….  I put in lots of bobby pins and in the beginning I overlapped them.

Then I started smoothing the remaining hair up over the ratted sections.

Smoothing the front section over.

Smoothing the front section over, side view.

I realized very quickly that while there was a lot of hair in this wig, there was considerably less in the back than I have seen on most other wigs.  There also wound up being a gap over the ears.

Everything smoothed and in place.

Everything smoothed and in place.  Very Bride of Frankenstein.

Because of the gap over the ears I wound up taking some loose hair I had purchased (in more of a black and grey color from Variety Beauty for about $.88) and sewing through the middle of it with my sewing machine, making some wefts.  I sewed the wefts in place over the ears and smoothed the top part of the wefts up onto the top of the head.  I took the bottom part of the wefts and put them in curlers.  Then I hit them with the steam iron until they were too hot to touch.  When they cooled down, I took them out and pinned them into place to cover the rest of the empty spot over the ears.


You can see the curls on the side from the wefts.  They are in the much darker color.

You can see the curls on the side from the wefts. They are in the much darker color.

I took some additional loose hair and made some more curls by wrapping it around a dowel and hitting it with steam, and wrapping them around curlers.  It was taking much longer than I really wanted to take to make the wig, so I resorted to scavenging from other hair pieces.  I had an old Southern Belle Attachment from Lacey Wigs that was beyond using anymore and took the large curls from that.  I took shiny tight curls from a bunch of loose curls I had also bought from Lacey and cut them into manageable sections and clipped/pinned them into place to cover the back.  The end result was rather colorful.

A LOT of hair.

A LOT of hair.

At this point the wig was essentially done.  I took it into my garage (where I had a spray painting station set up) and proceeded to spray the crap out of it with silver colored Krylon paint for plastic.  It blended most of the colors together and made the wig look powdered.  I missed the very bottom of the wig, so it still had some red showing through.

Finished front of wig.

Finished front of wig.

Finished back of wig.

Finished back of wig.

I trimmed any loose pieces hanging about.  I also sprayed some long sections of loose curls to attach as love locks.  They wound up with a more mixed appearance that I really liked.  After they dried I sewed toupee clips to them in order to attach them to the wig.

Love locks.

Love locks.

After everything dried I re-pinned some curls and gave the entire thing a good going over with Aqua Net.  I transported the wig to the Con by packing it in it’s own box wrapped in tissue paper.  I included a foam head for the wig to sit on at Con.

When I arrived at Con I set the wig onto the foam head and attached the hat via ribbons and alligator clips.  Then I attached the pearls to the front and back of the wig with open bobby pins that I crossed with regular bobby pins periodically for stability.

As it looked on me before it was decorated.

As it looked on me before it was decorated.

The wig wound up rather larger than the photo displayed it, but it helped me to play up the ridiculousness of the outfit.  Because it really does look rather like a cake.

The wig was surprisingly light on my head.  My neck got a little tired of holding it up, but the worst thing about it was all the pins I used to hold it on.  I had two French braids on either side of my head that were pinned at the nape of my neck, and this held the bottom of the wig in place.  The toupee clips and bobby pins had it very secure.  I was able to dance and bend over somewhat without feeling like it was going to fall off.  It did take another person to help get it off my head at the end of the night, but it really felt comfortable otherwise.  I do advise sitting in a chair against a wall if possible, as you can rest the wig there and give your neck a bit of a rest.

Pondering the guillotine.  Some of the red hair is peeping out.

Pondering the guillotine. Some of the red hair is peeping out.

It was a lot of fun to wear with the entire outfit and I really want to make more.  Maybe not quite so tall, though.








12 thoughts on “The Marie Antoinette Wig

    • Laura says:

      Thanks! It was ok once I got used to it, but the bobby pins were the part that hurt. Apparently I need to build up my neck muscles for wearing this sort of thing!

  1. Laura Morrigan says:

    It looks fantastic! I know what you mean about a sore neck! the last time I did a bouffant hairdo for a Bride of Frankenstein outfit, I got a sore neck, keeping my head rather stiff, even though, with a can of hairspray in there, the hair was NOT going anywhere.

    • Laura says:

      Sitting with my back against a wall really helped, as did periodically leaning forward and resting the wig on a box. A woman at the masquerade had hair almost as tall as mine and it was her own! She had put the cage in and everything. I did not envy her taking it out at the end of the evening.

  2. Sheryl ND says:

    That was me in the masquerade room. It took a while to get my hair down because of the 60! hairpins holding it up. And a lot of shampoo to get out all of the beeswax pomade and Aquanet. 🙂 I finally got to see your performance on the DVD I bought — VERY FUNNY!

    • Laura says:

      Thanks – glad you finally got that stuff out of your hair! It looked really good, though! And your performance was also really great.

  3. Heather Carpenter says:

    I read your post about a dozen times. It was by far the best and most detailed tutorial on the internet. I am pleaseed to say …I did it! I made a fabulous wig very similar to yours with a couple of wigs, hair extentions and a chicken wire frame. Not to mention TONS of hairspray! It came out Fabulous!!!! Thanks a sooooo much for the tutorial, I could not have even began to fathom how to start or what to do it it wasn’t for this blog! I would love to send you some pics. THANKS AGAIN SO MUCH, YOU HAVE MADE MY COSTUME COMPLETE =)

    • Laura says:

      Heather – I would love to see photos! However, I cannot take all the credit for this tutorial, as I got my info from Kendra at Demode originally. It is nice to build on information from others and make something fabulous! Can’t wait to see your wig!

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