How to Make a Yarn Wig: A Step-by-Step Guide

Whether you’re attending a costume party or just looking for some dress-up fun, making your very own yarn wig is a great way to level up your costume. In fact, you can pull together an entire costume with a wig alone! You can personalize and style it as you need or want, and the best part is it’s easy to make!

In this article, we’re going to walk you through making a yarn wig step-by-step so you can complete this project with ease and confidence. So let’s get started.

1. Gathering Supplies and Preparing the Workspace

First, you need the following supplies:

● Knit or crochet winter cap or beanie

● Skein of yarn that is the same color as the cap or beanie

● Crochet hook or, alternatively, a bent paper clip

● Chalk

● Scissors

● Pillow

The cap or beanie will serve as the base of your wig, where you’ll be attaching the yarn. Make sure that the colors match so your wig looks uniform. It’s also important to pay attention to yarn weight. Different weights will vary in thickness, so find one that matches the look you’re going for.

If you want thick locks on your wig, you need a yarn weight of medium to chunky. But if you want thin, spaghetti-like strands, you can opt for super fine to light yarn.

When you’ve found all the required supplies, gather them in your workspace. Because you’ll be working with several strands of yarn, we recommend finding a large surface area that gives you plenty of space to move and can accommodate long strands of yarn.

2. Choosing the Right Wig Style

Wigs come in various different styles. There are short wigs, long wigs, curly wigs, straight wigs, and even those that use braids and ponytails! Each one of them will call for a unique way of working the yarn strands, so you first have to identify what type of wig you’re going for.

This ultimately depends on your intended look. If you’re making a wig to complement a character costume, for example, you should be imitating that character’s locks as much as possible. That means a straight black wig with bangs for Cleopatra or luscious yellow locks up in a bun for Cinderella.

3. Creating the Wig Cap

As we mentioned, you’ll be using your cap or beanie as the foundation of your wig. Your chosen knit cap should fit your head snugly or a little loose if you’ll be working with thicker yarn. A cap that’s too loose will cause your wig to fall off, especially as more weight is added to it as you lock yarns through.

Using a beanie saves you the hassle of having to create your own wig cap. But if you don’t have one to spare, you can also make your own wig cap with an old knit sweater.

Measure it by putting the sweater arm over your head and mark the area around your hairline with chalk. Cut a couple of inches below the mark, then sew elastic on the bottom edge so it stays secured on your head.

Alternatively, you can use other stretchy fabrics, such as an old pair of tights or a mesh net. Just make sure to measure your head accurately and secure the ends with elastics.

4. Attaching the Yarn
Now that you have a wig cap, you’re ready to start measuring your yarn strands and attaching them. First, decide how long you want the hair to be — this can depend on your preference or to match the specific character you’re dressing up as. Take the measurements for your desired length.

To help you create your strands, you can use common household items like a chair or a throw pillow, depending on the length you’re going for. If you want your locks to reach shoulder length, use the short width of the pillow and wrap your skein around it 30 times (or more, depending on how thick you want the hair to be). End your wraps at the same point you started them so that there are two pieces of yarn sticking out of one side of the pillow.

When your yarn is secured to the pillow, take those two loose ends and tie them together. Make sure to do a double-knot to secure them tightly. Next, cut through the yarn on the opposite side of the pillow. This will create a bundle of yarn secured with a knot in the middle. To cover your full wig, you need at least 11 of these bundles.

When you’ve created all your bundles of yarn, you can begin attaching them to your wig cap. Take your chalk and draw a line from the cap’s crown to its brim. Using your crochet hook or paperclip, poke through the very top of the hat to the right of your marker. Take one bundle of yarn and pull one of the small pieces you used to tie the ends together through the cap.

Poke through the top of the cap with your crochet hook again. But this time, bring it through the left of your marker. Then pull the other piece of yarn through it. Tie the two ends together securely from inside the cap.

Basically, you’ll be doing the same thing for each bundle of yarn you create. But you have to pay attention to placement so the hair is balanced throughout your wig. Here’s a cheat sheet:

1. Attach 3 more bundles down the center part of the cap approaching your hairline.
2. At the back, attach three bundles horizontally, aligning the center bundle with the first one you attached at the crown.
3. Using your rightmost bundle at the back as a basis, attach another bundle an inch to the right below it. Do the same for the leftmost bundle.

If your design incorporates bangs, you need to create shorter bundles of yarn. Similar to what you did with the pillow earlier, you can use a small box or cardboard piece to measure the length of your bands.

As a standard, they should be around 5 to 7 inches long. But you can make them longer and trim them later to achieve your desired length. Use the same processes as the other hair bundles to attach the bangs to the front of the wig.

As for placement, they should be just under your last center bundle. If you want the bangs to be side parted, attach the bundles to the side instead of straight down the middle.

If, at this point, you feel like you need to add more bundles for a fuller wig, just repeat the same process and attach them as you’ve done thus far.

5. Styling and Customization
Feel free to make your wig your own! If you’re using it to dress up as your favorite movie or book character for a costume party, style your strands to imitate the character’s hair as closely as possible. If you’re wearing it just for some dress-up fun, you can also personalize the wig to suit your style.

Some things you can do to customize your wigs include:

Trimming: Trim the hair to achieve your desired length. This can also be helpful in cleaning up the ends of the yarn and achieving a polished look.
Cutting layers: Layering the hair will add more texture to the wig. You can do this by cutting the ends, ensuring the front is slightly shorter than the back strands.
Adding bangs: Bangs can make your wig look more realistic, hiding the cap on your hairline. To add bangs, you just need to attach shorter bundles of yarn under your last center bundle near the hairline.
Curling: A yarn wig can also be curled by winding each strand around a wooden skewer or stick. Secure the ends with a clothespin or simply tie the end of the yarn to the skewer. Then brush the yarn with a mixture of powdered cornstarch and water. Leave it to air dry for about 24 hours and carefully unwind the yarn.
Braiding: Braiding yarn is similar to braiding actual hair. Just take three sections of yarn and cross the right section over the middle section. Then, cross the left section over the new middle section. Repeat the process until all the strands are braided together.

6. Maintaining and Caring for Your Yarn Wig
Maintaining your yarn wig so you can wear it at every year’s costume party requires regular care and attention. To prevent tangles, you can use a wide-toothed comb to brush through the strands. Don’t brush too strongly to prevent the yarn from felting.

When you’re done using the wig and want to store it for later, you can mount it on a wig stand to stop it from tangling. Or lay it flat on a storage container. Don’t place heavy objects on top of the wig so you don’t end up flattening the fibers.

Should you wish to wash the yarn wig, you can safely do so by swishing it in a basin filled with lukewarm water and mild shampoo. Rinse it thoroughly with cool water and then let lay it flat on a towel to air dry.

7. Troubleshooting and Common Issues
Making your own yarn wig is easy. But if you come across issues during the process, here are tips to troubleshoot and resolve them:

Loose yarn: Secure your yarn to the wig cap with a double knot. You can also use fabric glue to keep the strands in place.
Uncomfortable fit: Before you even start making your yarn wig, you need to measure your head circumference accurately. It’s also safer to use a stretchable fabric for your wig cap to accommodate different head sizes. If your wig falls off when worn, sew an elastic band along the edges to keep it in place.

For maximum longevity and durability, make sure to use the right yarn for your wig. Your best options are acrylic or synthetic yarns that have strong fibers. When working on your project, use reinforced stitching or double-knotting techniques to attach the yarn to the wig cap.

Whether you’re dressing up as your favorite character or having a customized costume party, take a couple of minutes to make your own yarn wig that can bring your costume to life. There’s plenty of room for you to get creative here — style your wig as you wish and play around with embellishments!