I’ve done a fair number of bouffant or beehive hair styles for costuming using various techniques, but I wanted to share the ultra-cheap solution I used for styling T’Pring’s wig.
Traditionally, a hair rat (the padding used to shape huge updo styles) would have been made from real hair, which women used to save for that purpose as they brushed their hair. Nowadays, it’s more common to use synthetic hair extensions. For Marguerite, I stuffed some extension hair in a hair net and used it as a support for the huge hair roll over the top of my head:
For T’Pring, however, the extension hair proved too heavy given the size of the hair rats I needed. The style required two large hair supports, which needed to be firm, but also extremely lightweight. The wig already had something like five or six packs of extensions added, plus the wire for the braid, plus the hair cone, plus the pendant… in short, the wig weighs 2.6 lbs and is very back-heavy, so I couldn’t add another half-pound of wig fiber just for invisible support.
For the back of the skull, where her hair goes up in the giant beehive, I wanted something fairly solid to support the weight of the additional hair, but also something I could stick hair pins through to secure the extension hair to it. I went to the dollar store and bought a pair of black trouser socks, the super thin kind that look like nylon stockings:
I stuffed one stocking with bubble wrap that I’d received in a package. Maximum bulk, minimum weight!
Then I tied off the end, mashed it into shape, and covered the tube with the other stocking to make it more opaque:
I shaped the form and pinned it to my base wig, then used the extension hair to wrap over it and pin up to make the beehive shape.
Here’s the wig in progress, with only the back section done (I’ve not yet added the tube-shaped arch over the top:
The top tube was a scrap of extra-large piping filler (the kind that’s about 2″ in diameter) that we had left over from another project:
I spray painted it black, then wrapped it in extension hair and pinned it over the top of the beehive, concealing the ends under large curls of loose hair:
The trouser socks cost me $1.00, and the bubble wrap was free (you could easily use tissue paper, etc. for the same effect). The bit of piping cord cost about 30 cents, and I used a small amount of paint to cover it. Both totaled no more than a dollar in materials – much cheaper than stuffing whole packs of extension hair inside!