Saturday, 24 November 2012

Density and Grey Percentage Tests

I have begun thinking about my next hairpiece.  I still haven't finished cutting in the first one, but due to the problems with density and colour, I am eager to move on to the next one.  I have been experimenting with different densities and colour/grey combinations, and I think I'm getting closer to what I'm shooting for.  The first step was to dye the hair.  My hair naturally is a dark ash blonde, which is what I was trying for in the first piece.  However, it seems to be getting darker as I get older, so I have progressed to a very dark brown-black (which I think would be a 1B in the standard colour system) and it seems to be working, at least at the back and sides.  The hair on top of my head is still more ashy brown, so I might try to vary the colour throughout the piece to more closely approximate what's left of my real hair.  We will see how things go... :)

Anyway, here is what I have been working on.  I have ventilated a couple of small patches, both with different densities and grey percentages.  The first is 66% density with 50% grey:
The test patch sitting on my arm.

The second is 63% density with 21% grey.  If I decide not to vary the colour throughout the piece, then this is the one I think I will use:

An interesting accidental discovery:  The grey synthetic hair I'm using is longer than the dark human hair, so when I ventilate them together I get a beautiful fade from dark to light grey.  Unfortunately all the light grey will be cut out in the final piece, but it's something I might try to incorporate in a future project.  The one thing I really don't like about the synthetic hair is that the pressure of knotting in onto the lace causes it to develop a kink near the base of each hair.  Although this does straighten out a bit with time, it never really disappears completely.  I made the mistake of trying to wash the first patch with hot water to see if it would relax the kink.  Unfortunately it only loosened my knots!  If you look closely at the first pic you will see some large loops in the hairline.  I definitely won't use hot water again!

This last pic show my process of bleaching the knots.  Rather than spread the bleach on the back of the lace as I have seen many people do, I prefer to cover a styro head with plastic wrap and spread a thin layer of bleach solution onto the plastic.  I tie up the hair of the piece to keep it out of the way, and lower the lace into the bleach, pulling it tight and pinning it down so that the bleach oozes through the holes a bit.  I find it easier to control this way:

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Ventilation Pattern & Inside View of Hairpiece

This is the vent pattern I used for the hairpiece.  Here the solid dots represent the ash brown hair, and the open dots represent grey.  I found this to be too dense, so next time I will stick to just the open hexagon pattern, essentially eliminating the positions where the grey hairs are tied.

Here is a shot of the inside of the piece.  It took me a while to figure out where to put the pleats.  I'm still not sure these are in the best place, but I think the most important thing is to keep them away from the front hairline.  I was worried that they would be really visible once the piece was attached, but the actually disappeared quite nicely (even though I only attached the piece over my own hair.  I'm sure they would be completely unnoticeable if attached over bare skin.)


Well, I finally plucked up the courage to start the cut-in.  As I expected, this was much harder for me than the actual making of the piece.  I really need to get someone to show me the basics of hair cutting. However, I have made a bit of progress.  It's a bit rough around the edges, and still needs a lot more work to thin it out and get it to blend properly, but so far so good.  I really wanted to see how it would actually work on my head, so I (maybe foolishly) decided to cut off the excess lace and try a quick application with water-soluble glue, just to give me an idea.  As you can see, by the time I took the photos, the piece had started to detach, but I have to say I'm pretty happy overall.  I have learned a lot in the process of making this piece.  I think my next one will be much better...

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Artsy Mirror Shot

Can you tell I'm procrastinating because I'm terrified of cutting the hair?  So many hours down the drain if I mess it up with a bad haircut...!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Bleached Knots

Here are a few shots after I bleached the knots.  The images are a little deceptive, as the fabric of the head block underneath is showing through, but the lace actually disappears quite well against skin.  Some of the darker knots are still slightly visible, but I didn't want to over bleach and have them turn crisp and yellow.  I'm pretty happy with this...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Welcome to HairSay!

This blog is about my attempt to teach myself the process of creating wigs and hairpieces.  There doesn't seem to be a great deal of information out there on this subject, despite the fact that there seem to be a lot of people interested in learning wig making.  I'm hoping that this will be a place to share ideas and information with others who are interested in the process.

I have just finished the ventilation of my first hairpiece, and I'm pretty happy with it.  Unfortunately, I didn't take many photos before the piece was finished, but I decided to start documenting my progress.  I encountered so many problems along the way, which I will detail as the blog progresses, but for now I would just like to post a few photos of the piece.

The unit was made using a single piece of lace (which was sold as 'Swiss' lace, although it is much stiffer and heavier than other Swiss lace I have found subsequently.  That will be the topic of a later blog...)  The hair is a combination of Brazilian Remy human hair (ash brown) and Futura synthetic hair (white).  The entire piece was ventilated using single hairs, and single knots.  The photos show the piece before the hair has been cut, and also before the knots have been bleached.