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DIY Dread Wig from cheap costume wig — thefashionatetraveller.com

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DIY Dread Wig from cheap costume wig

So, it’s August! Last month of Winter for us aussies & Spring is right around the corner – yeah! I just wanted to say hello to all the new alternative, goth & psychobilly chicky babes who’ve started following TFT recently – Welcome!

This month 5 years ago I did my very first dread wig, made from a cheap costume wig, so I thought I’d share how it was done. First – the finished wig:

Yes, I was into mini hats back then! And the back view:
Here’s a few shots from the club night I wore it to
With Amelia DestroyX
With Ian & Shana
With Rachel Black
Right, let’s get onto it, shall we?

How to make a Dread Wig
1. Select your costume wig
 I bought one that has little ringlets, as I’d gone all Pride & Prejudice for a fancy dress party. Ones with curls can be better than straight ones, as they’ll matt up nicely later when you go to “dread” them. If you have a foam head to put the wig on, do so now.
2. Section the wig off and start to dread the hair
Untwist the curls a bit and make lots of small sections. Start to backcomb the hair in each section.
See the thickness of my sections – you want relatively thick sections as they’ll shrink a lot later when you steam them.

and an extreme close-up – at this point it’s very loose & straggly
3. Backcomb & twist
As you backcomb each section, twist it as well, pulling hard with your fingers to make the fibres twist the same way.
4. Steam
So that the dreads tighten and stay set in place, the hair needs to have heat applied to it in some way. Some methods to do this:-
– You can boil a pot of water and hold each dread in turn over the steam hole
– you can dunk each dread in very hot water, then blow dry with a hot hairdryer while you keep twisting the dread (2 pairs of hands helps with this)
– if you have a proper steamer, of course use that!
– you can use straightening irons – but beware, this can squash and flatten the dreads if you’re not careful (and some fake hair can melt/go hard)

Pay particular attention to the ends of each dread, so that they taper nicely and are sealed off (again, dunking in boiling water is good). You WILL find the dreads shrink, so you end up with a wig that looks like it has a lot less hair than when you started (see pics above).
After each one is done, let the wig dry.
5. Add extra dreads to the wig
At this point it all looks a bit scraggy, so lots of filling in is needed. I made a bunch of dreads out of kanekalon (not very well, may I add – my forte was roving dreads). So either make some as I did, or if you have dreads lying around from falls or whatever, start adding them to the gaps.
If you look closely, you’ll see that I also added quite a few “dreads” that were in fact chunky strands of wool. You could use colinette, but in Australia here we have a wool that is very chunky and approximates a dread, so I used that. Sew each one in, or you could plait to the base of existing dreads on the wig.
I went for an edgy look that has black underneath, so it just peaks out from under the white dreads on top.
6. Fix the fringe
You may have long tresses instead of a fringe, which can be left how they are (depending on your wig). The fringe on mine was incredibly curly. If yours is too, just get your straightening iron out and straighten the fringe/bangs.Then trim it to suit – I did a nice ‘V’ shape. You may prefer to leave yours blunt across, or in a nice curve. Don’t make it too short!
Voila! The finished wig. 

So it just goes to show you don’t need an expensive one to get a look that’s hip and ready to take you to any alternative club in town! Or another fancy dress party 🙂


  1. That is one hell of a wig! You put a lot of time and effort into making that. Cool points for you!

  2. Nice blog. I'll follow you from now on. Hope you'll follow me too. xoxo


  3. Thanks, The Ghost!! I Love cool points!

    Hi, onlyfashionprincess – some good photos there in your blog 🙂

  4. Anonymous says

    Incredible. It looks very complicated. But the result is awesome. I like the bangs (fringe) too.

    And I barely got past your eye makeup. That could be its own post. Really amazing.

  5. The anonymous comment was me; I most of hit the wrong button.

    Again well done. I think I would have to buy one of these though; I can't imagine mine would come out looking so finished.

  6. I guess because I was so into fake hair at the time, it didn't seem THAT daunting, and I persevered, not knowing how it would come out. But if you've never played with fake hair or made a dread…I can see it might look complex 🙂

    Thanks about the make-up – I was just going for a black/white theme…and added a frosty white powder over my face for extra glam 🙂 I guess a tute could be in order 🙂

  7. Super awesome as per usual! I've just ordered some extensions for a tutorial I've been planning buuuut now I want to do this instead! Damn you!

  8. I love it! I've been wanting dreads for ages, but haven't had the courage, so I think I will do this instead.

  9. Ooh Violet, that will be exciting, you moving into the hair extension world!! And with your DIY skills, your wig will be super cool 🙂

    Rosie Unknown – I think that dread wigs look much more natural than dread falls anyway..and you can take it off at the end of the night, unlike braided-in dreads! Buy some manufactured dreads from Dr Locks or eBay and put them on a wig – you'll love it!

  10. How do you keep the wig from slipping around, especially with the weight of extra dreads? I am going to give this a go at some point, my hair is to thin to put in buns and support dread-falls but I can do this no problem.

  11. That's a really good question QueenP86 – I found it was the lightest wig I own though (perhaps because of the wool), and so just a few pins around the hairline sufficed.

    I find with the heavier wigs, if I make a low bun at the nape of my neck, that kind of stops them slipping off, if you know what I mean 🙂 Again, pinning around the hairline so stop it moving backwards off the face.

  12. cool! Love the pics, you look creepy but in a good way 😀

  13. sooo I absolutely love this! im making a killerclown costume for halloween and I want to make a rainbow version of this! but I dont know what kind of wig to buy… where and what kind do you think I should get?

    • I just used a cheapish costume wig…so just go to a bargain shop with a costume section I’d say. They would already have clown wigs in bright colours with curls, so you could add dreads to those. Or get a curly Marie Antoinette one like mine here and make dreads out of the curls.