Monday, November 8, 2010

Wig Dying: FW Ink and Nia formula

As a huge Gurren Lagann fan I can say without a doubt that Nia is probably one of the prettiest characters I've ever seen, period. Even next to Yoko, my wifey, her design just jumps out of the screen at me whether it be just her ~PRETTY CLOUD HAIR~ or ~FLOWER EYES~. I just really like the way she looks even if I'm not her biggest fan.

I've been cosplaying Yoko since 2008 and I've seen tons of people struggling to get her wig right. Ultimately I feel as if it comes down to "Do you want to be accurate or look good?" A lot of sharpie dyes on blonde wigs will turn the fibers a more green-teal tone rather than light blue. My group of friends has cosplayed Nia multiple times and here's our method:

First off, we use white wigs- not blonde. Oh goodness no! But Nia herself has very pale blonde and if you've ordered uber-platinum wigs before you'd know that they can be unforgivably shiny and gross. So already we are going down the path of 'Look more like the character than look accurate.', so if you want to be the most accurate Nia like no one ever was, then maybe you should stop reading.

Our white wigs always come from cog_marc, a quick search under 'white' may bring up a number of curly/wavy wigs. The exact one we've purchased over and over doesn't seem to be in stock but this may be where you experiment with other shops.
While their wigs appear more wavy than curly this is about what you can expect!

cog_marc's wigs are very well priced and if you can afford it, I might suggest buy two white ones and wefting them together. From here we essentially just throw the wig onto a wig head and get to painting. Painting? Yes, painting.

Things you need:

1. Sponge brushes, preferably 4-5. These are about $0.50 at Joann fabrics.
2. FW Ink, Get one in white and one in blue, go for Process Cyan. A little pricey but if you're cosplaying Nia you're probably already spending a good chunk on this costume anyways.
3. 70% Isoproyl alcohol, $3 drug store. Grab a 90% incase it becomes too blue, soaking the wig in it will take out some of the pigment.
4. Also some paper bowls to pour the mix into, this stains plastic ware.

Our formula for Nia is usually 3 parts white, 2 parts blue but that's for making a very subdued blue. If you'd like to go a tad brighter throw in a few more drops of blue. You can deposit this straight into the alcohol, when you've added the ink, shake it up and go at it.
Outdoors, no flash, shade/low sunlight. Point-and-shoot camera.
Indoors, no flash. Terribad lighting.
Outdoors, sunshine, no flash.
Outdoors, harsh sunlight, point and shoot.

Sorry having trouble finding indoor flash photos! But you get the idea. This is a very light, subdued blue that really comes across well in person and certain lighting situation but not always on camera.

I used the same FW Ink method on my Mieu wig except with 5 parts blue, 3 parts white:

Outdoors, no flash, point and shoot.
Indoors, flash, point and shoot. Demon face.
Indoors, no flash, point and shoot.
Outdoors, no flash. D-SLR. See the difference a nice camera can make?

For those looking for a bright blue pop to their wig might was to opt for 3 parts white and 4 parts cyan but make sure to test on a lock of the wig's hair first! Pour the mix into a bowl, dip with your sponge brush and just paint it on.

TL;DR, mix your own damn formula however you damn well please. Snip off a lock and do test strands if you're super paranoid about ruining a wig. Or just come up with your method for a Nia wig, this just happens to be ours!

Hope it was helpful, if you have any questions I can answer in the comments!


  1. that's pretty neat. Also that is such an adorable mieu asfjlasf

  2. THANK YOU!!! I'll go check out the place and my finances.

  3. WOW, your Mieu cosplay is amazing! I'm totally blown away!

    Btw, is that Tsuna's dying will flame on the Nia wig? o.o

  4. I like your wigs! Nia is my favorite girl in Gurren Lagann too.

  5. I'm jealous you got FW Ink to work. I used it to dye a Euphemia wig and it turned out to be a horrible crunchy mess.

  6. Good tutorial :D

    I've seen the Sharpie method floating around - would you recommend one method over the other? i.e. are FW inks better than Sharpies for dying wigs?

  7. @Ada I totes prefer FW Ink, I've always felt Sharpie is good for maybe tinting a wig a different color. If you're looking for something a bit more drastic like the Mieu wig then I'd go with FW Ink

  8. What's the risk of this dye coming off on things you don't want it to during wear?

  9. Looks like you did a good job! Still 'mirin your wig stylin' skillzzzz

  10. @Craig I haven't had this problem at all and some parts of my Mieu wig I couldn't wash off the excess dye! If you're doing a full wig I would wait for it to dry then gently rinse it in cool water until it runs clear.

  11. Good post! Looking forward to reading you next one

  12. Thanks for posting this method, I was about to use the sharpie method, but I think this produced great results. I'm making a Kneesocks Wig and your tutorial helped on what ink to used. The only thing I changed was I used a spray bottle and brushed the ink solution through the wig instead of using a sponge brush. Still came out with nice results, thanks for the info