Wigging a ventriloquist figure can be a challenging task. The first thing you must try and do is find a wig that is small. Most wigs that you can purchase in the stores are for adult heads. Ventriloquist figures use a small child’s size wig. If you have a wig shop near you many times they will carry wigs for children that have cancer. These wigs work rather well but depending on what they are made from they can be expensive.
You first lay a piece of clear plastic on the figures head and mark with magic marker the exact line for where the from hair will sit then go around the ears and then around the back of the head. This will form a plastic template of the figures hairline. Now you place that inside the wig and start to cut. I always cut a bit over the line because you are going to have hair loss due to unraveling of the wig.
Once you have cut away the excess of the wig you can place it on the figures head and you will find it fits rather nicely at this point. Now depending on what your figure is made from you can decide how to attach the wig. I like to use carpet tacks in the wooden heads but in resign heads I will use staples and hot glue. Hot glue is a must for the front hairline to really keep it in place and it works very quick so make sure you have the wig placed in the exact spot. Gluing the side burns also eliminates them from not lying flat to the head.
Once you have the wig on the head then you can brush it to where you like, use thinning shears to eliminate some bulk and use very sharp scissors to trim. I prefer scissors with a very short blade for the trimming.
Paula Young wigs sells a model named Abbey which comes in a mini petite size and I have used this wig many times but it still requires quite a bit of cutting to make work but after a few times you will get the hang of it.
Remember this is not rocket science.
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2010 by Dan Willinger
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Thanks SOOOOO much for this info! I still want to try building my own figure one day, & have always wondered how to do the wigging. None of the few small books on building had this info. all they said was “get a wig & cut it to fit”. Not much help in THAT statement! HA! As for the glue, I wonder if Hide glue would work. This is the glue they use to attach the fretboards on guitars, etc. It keeps them in place, but from what I’ve read, if the board needs to be removed for repair/replacement, all you need is a hot knife. That way, the wig could be easily removed for repairs, etc too. Just a thought. Thanks again.
I would cut with wig in place because templates almost always fail with me andcan’t go wrong using small velcro strips sides and back but a tack in front to prevent forward movement of wig when figure has fright wig.
I’ve used the Paula Young catalogue, but around Halloween there’s also a whole store that sets up on one of the malls here with all sizes of costumes and wigs, including child-size. The crepe hair wigs (which are actually wool) aren’t too useful, but there are some high-end artificial fiber wigs that are still pretty economical. I tend to buy two identical wigs so I have one for the future.
I agree with Lee. Every time I carefully build a paper template, the resulting trimmed down wig is always too small!