Wigs are one of the best tools a makeup artist can work with because the hair does so much to a persons looks.
Even if this is the case the art of wig making is sadly enough dying out. This is because of stricter budgets in  today's theatres and a lack of experienced wigmakers in the few schools.
Today we are about 20 active wig makers in Gothenburg and unfortunately the theatres don't have the money to take on pupils. I can only hope something radical will happen so that the art can live on and advance.
Recently I have started to see a lovely trend on Instagram where new wigmakers are helping each other to create great work!
There might be hope!!

The making of a wig starts with a meeting with the actor and taking the head measurements.


These measurements are necessary for transferring the actors head to a wooden block  and then for sewing a foundation.

Ventilating technique

The foundation is sewn with cotton ribbon, cotton lace and nylon lace. When you have finished sewing it is time to once again meet the actor and do a fitting of the hairline. This is done to make certain that it will fit and give a lifelike impression. After this you have to ventilate (Wig makers term for tying a knot) in all the hair. Hair by hair!
Most theatre and film wigs are made of human hair. We mostly use European hair but also Asian bleached hair.
The choice of hair quality is based on the hair style of the finished wig. 
Asian hair is stronger and will last longer. However, for film European hair looks more natural as it moves better.

Ventilating a wig could be compared with tying a rug. The knot is just about the same but the material is much more expensive (1 Kilo hair costs approx. $2000).
The method of ventilating was invented during the time of King Louis XVI in France when he made it a fashion to wear wigs (he was ashamed of losing his own hair).
The method hasn't changed over the years with the exception for a certain adaptation in how to make the hairline look better.
As you can see on the picture above we use a small needle that looks like a fishing hook, a ventilating needle. With this one you take a couple of strands at a time and make a small knot. In a wig this is done approx. 30-40.000 times.
In the front of the wig you use just one strand at a time.


Directions in a moustache 

 As a makeup artist, moustaches and beards are an important part of male fashion history. Often you can tell from what time period a man is just by looking at his beard.
Beards are made in the same way as wigs, but you only use the thinnest lace so it won't be too uncomfortable.
When you tie a moustache the direction of the knot is very important. You shape both moustaches and wigs in the knot when you choose the direction in the lace.

Now you probably think that this sounds repetitive and boring as hell
ou are wrong! This is a very creative process which involves mixing colours and looking for good directions. When things are going well you will start feeling like it is coming to life.
It takes about 40
-60 hours to tie a wig but when you are done and it is tried on for the first time and looks real, I promise that you are willing to do it all over again......


Marianne Myrsten and Torgny Sporsen wearing wigs in the Gothenburg Opera's "Äppelkriget"

With the kind permission of Göteborgs Perukmakeri I have published a step by step guide on how to make wigs.
Click here to see it!

If you don't care about how wigs are made but would want one.
Then I recommend you to have a look in my shop:

Some pictures (c) Bengt Hjord with permission.