Hey guys,

I'm just about to start making a character for my short film and I'm struggling to think of how to I'm going to do the hair. It's a female character with big messy hair but it doesn't need to be animatable, I would really like it to be real or synthetic hair though, not sculpted. I'm most likely making the head out of sculpey (baked clay) unless i can't find a way to attach the hair. Has anybody had experience and have any tips? How can I attach it and how can I keep the hair fixed?

Thanx heaps :)

Donna

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I know a few things that can make hair, but the downside is that if you touch the hair while animating it tends to twitch about.  If it's a fairly rigid hairstyle (like Maggie Thatcher) that needs to hold it's shape I sometimes use watered down PVA glue to stiffen it up.   It's like a heavy duty hairspray or hair gel effect.  I wet the hair, shape it while wet, with cloth or netting to hold it in shape, then let it dry. 

For shorter hair I use fur fabric as a wig.  I cut the backing in an oval, then cut 2 notches out in the front, back, and 2 sides, so it's like a Maltese cross.  This helps it to close up and shape around the head.  Some long fur fabrics work for female characters, but need to be coloured with acrylic paint -  it might be black with white tips, or weird colours, but brown or black paint can make it ok for non-punk characters.  Sometimes I mix that in with the PVA glue so it's coloured and stiffened in one go.

For wavy hair I've used a piece of sheepskin with long "natural black" wool on it, the same way.  You can see the sheepskin hair on Eve after the transformation in L'Animateur starting at (02:35).  And Adam has the fur fabric hair.  Before the transformation, as puppets, both have sculpted hair, but it is made separately and cast in liquid latex like a rubber "wig" so Eves can have some flexibility.  

URL for film:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lfqTk_v5Kk

Actually I should be able to embed it on this new message board  - 

For long flowing hair, I have bought the really cheap costume wigs at $2 stores, but it is quite stiff and hard to style - if punched in, it wants to stick straight up.  It needs heat to style it, maybe heated rollers or other tools I don't have any experience with as a scruffy bloke.  I've tried boiling water, but that barely does it.  The same is true of the hair on dolls, which can look a bit shiny and usually has curls in it that are hard to remove.  I got a doll from The Reject Shop in Chadstone for $4 - a big headed, cheap Bratz rip-off.  It had a usable costume, great eyes that only need filling in the back to make them full spheres, and a wig which looks terrible as is, but could be fixed by re-shaping in hot water and dried, then coloured by dipping in a wash of brown acrylic paint.  (I don't see those dolls in the shop any more, wish I'd bought 2 or 3.)

Silk tops, which are a bunch of straight individual fibres, are great if you want to scale down the individual hairs.  It's soft and manageable.  I have some in a natural, blond colour, but found I couldn't dye it by soaking it in watered down acrylic paint, it just matted together, so it needs to be the right colour to start with, or you have to get the right sort of silk dye.  I bought one hank of Silk Tops that was dyed a different colour every 6 inches or so, at a place in Daylesford I think, but lost it when we got home, and haven't found anything other than blonde in Melbourne.

I have a full sized wig from an Op shop, which has strips of hair sewn onto a mesh cap.  I cut the strips off to stick on a head.

As for attaching it,   I glue bunches of hair around the back and sides, starting low and working up. If there is a centre or side part, I would cut a V groove in the head and stick rows of hair in that, so it could then fall to each side.,so it would cover up the layers underneath.

Somewhere there is a tutorial on doing a doll's hair in a similar way, but without cutting the groove in the head...  the final hair on top is glued on, then folded over, to make the part.

Ah - here it is, using Tibetan lamb's wool cut from the skin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdcuq81qO1k

Having said all that - the easiest for a really hard and shaped hairstyle is probably to sculpt it, and accept the sculpted look.  At least it doesn't twitch when you handle it.

Great post, Nick!

I haven't really got much too add... I used UHU glue to attach the hair to the sculpt. Because it's thick enough, you can put a little bunch between your fingers, snip off the ends evenly and put it upright in the glue. Or if its thin enough (the glue) you can also lay it on the glue and it won't show through the hair. 

If you're going for realistic hair, I would advice using real hair instead of synthetic, because it is thinner, and so look a bit more in proportion to the puppet in closeups.

Thanks heaps for the tips, this is really helpful.

I'm gonna have a go at a few of the ways you guys suggested and see what works best. I'll post the results here afterwards. And that short film was great nick!

Another idea, I've had pretty good luck taking apart cotton rope, dyeing it and gluing down the fibers. I've also used hair extensions.

Jeff

Madsculptor made a good tut on how to put hair on a (sculpey) scalp too, and I guess you could combine it with the PVA technique to style it: http://madsculptor.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/hair-tut.html

This is something I was wondering about for some time for my own project. Nick opened my eyes :) Great post full of helpful solutions and tips. Thank you!

Agree with you. 

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