This month's writeup is sponsored by Rose of Battle.

$1+ April Writeup: “Arda Girls Make Do” AKA Sonia Nevermind Wig + Paint a Fake Part

Yes, in the year 2022, I’m cosplaying from Danganronpa! I made a mini tutorial while assembling Sonia’s wig prior to Ohayocon and I’m ready to share it with you.

This tutorial was born because I had thought that there was a tutorial out there for making a fake skin-top part for cosplay wigs but I couldn’t find it for the life of me, so I went with what I felt like the steps might be with the resources I had on hand.

Here's what I would use if you're looking to embark on this journey:

Let’s meet this tutorial where it started. While I received a cosplay from Amazon as a gift over winter break, it didn’t come with a wig, nor did I see one on Amazon that I particularly liked. Something seemed off. The braid was usually shown as a separate headband. Google search after Google search, I couldn’t find readily available cosplay wigs for Sonia that didn’t have this feature. I consulted the reference to figure out why it wasn’t working for me.

To me, it looks like the braids originate on the top of the head, meaning a headband or wrap-around wouldn’t reflect what I see. It also looks like the braids push back the hair almost like a ponytail before disappearing under the main portion of hair.

Now, Arda is the brand I primarily turn to, but with their perpetual wig shortages, I wasn’t sure what would be available to me. I wanted a very specific shade of blonde and I wanted a deep side part or a ponytail/pigtail braid base, and silky if possible. Spoilers: what I wanted wasn’t available. I ended up settling for a Trish, which is a layered style with a natural zigzag part. That zigzag part ended juuuuust too high for the deep part I wanted. Time to get to work. Moving the skintop? Absolutely not, even though it probably would have been easier in the end. Another compromise I made was using short wefts, as long wefts were out of stock.

The first step for Sonia-fying a Trish was using my clothing steamer and some hair clips to reset the part to be straight and as far “stage left” as possible. If you try this method, make sure your hair clips are far enough down that they don’t accidentally crimp the hair. Another key here is to make sure you let it cool down completely before taking out the clips.

Next step: In order to work around the lack of ponytail coverage on the back left side, rather than adding more wefts to add to the weight of the wig, I used the evergreen Ponytail Wig Hack method. Then covered the gap just above the place where I started twisting out the wefts with another short portion of wefts.

Here’s where you can pick up if you don’t care about the character-specific details! (Just start with pinning your wig to your wig head securely.)

Add wefts into the areas where you see gaps. When I was pulling the hair toward the back left, some gaps appeared, particularly in the back half of where the braid would sit. I added wefts on top toward where the part would sit. No need to sew them wrong-side down—let the stitching show and butt it up against the row that’s going to serve as the other side of your part.

Once the above is done, clip back all the wig fibers away from the ditch you created with the wefts. Cut a narrow opening in the nozzle of the caulk tube, then carefully lay down a line of caulk where you want the part to appear. This might take several passes of thin or short layers. With a flat toothpick, even out the caulk so that there are minimal vertical waves/peaks in the caulk. While your caulk won’t dry immediately, it will be harder to fix imperfections if you don’t do it during this step of the process. Once you’re done, let it dry for 24 hours.

This is the part of the photos where you’ll have to do as I say, not as I do. I only had white caulk on hand and it was rather old in combination with having a wide-cut nozzle, so a lot of the application was via toothpick, not just refining. Surely any of you willing to try this method will have a gentler hand than I!

When it comes to mixing paint colors, I’ll admit that I’m not an expert. My process here was to start with a white base and start mixing different amounts of red, yellow, and green until it got close to my scalp color, then to edit based on that outcome. The key to this process is making sure you let it dry between layers, especially if you haven’t tested what the dried-down color looks like before applying it. The great thing about acrylic is that it dries fairly quickly and can be layered easily. No such thing as mistakes here! I believe it took me something like 3 layers to complete the paint, but as you'll probably notice in the photos, I waffled on what the exact color was throughout.

A technique I recommend for the process of applying paint is to use a light hand and stippling (placing down one small dot at a time while moving the brush just a little). You’ll want to ensure any uneven dips in your caulk are completely covered as well as the sides (if you’re using caulk that isn’t clear).

At this point, you should have a wig with a scalp-colored caulk part and nothing else. It should look awkward. We’ve gotta add shading to the surrounding areas. Because I was working with a blonde wig, a black eyeshadow would have been both too stark and too obvious as a “shade” color. I also didn’t want to go straight to the browns I had, as it would have been very warm next to a cool blonde. I chose an olive green eyeshadow; I had a sample of it, and I realize you might not. You might choose a gray or build a brown with a green and red. Regardless of what you choose, stipple light layers of eyeshadow around the part as if you were seeing roots growing out of someone’s natural hair. If you put on too much, you can take a clean brush and dab away at what you placed. The same goes for blending line between clean fibers and the shadow.

Once you’ve applied some eyeshadow, you’ll start to notice a contrast between the scalp color and the eyeshadow that doesn’t quite blend. That’s good! Your next step is to darken the areas of caulk directly next to the weft with paint. For me, I mixed a cool brown into the existing acrylic scalp color until it looked good.

Make sure to step back frequently, as sometimes what looks like “too much” up close looks just right a few feet away! You can and should also test what it looks like under different lights, indoors and outdoors, and on your phone’s camera because it’s likely to give different vibes.

Final cleanup: once you’ve made any other necessary color adjustments, if any stray fibers or caulk peaks are sticking out, you can go through with sharp snips to clip those parts out. If you’re finishing a Sonia wig, now is the time to finalize the braids and flyaways. You may also want to brush out the back and underside, for which I always recommend a detangler (and taking your time).

And there you have it! How’d I do? Did you follow along? Let me know if you tried this tutorial—I’d love to see pics of your results!

Thanks for your support and see you in the next one.

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