Welcome to the Celestia Ludenberg Drill Curl Wig Tutorial! If you prefer video format, a Twitch video link and a YouTube video link are provided above. The text tutorial is below for those who prefer text format or would like to use it as a companion guide after viewing the video. Please note this is a very lengthy project with a lengthy tutorial to match, so I recommend looking all the way through it first before beginning your project to ensure you understand it. Since the text tutorial is easier to update, it will also likely have the most up to date information. If you have any questions about it, feel free to reach out to me on social media!
Photographer: SixThree Photography
Section 1: Materials
- A wig head. Make sure it matches your head size. You may need to pad it.
- A stand to hold the wig head. I used my dressform’s stand for this, but you can also make a cheap wig stand by putting a pole in a pot of cement.
- A black pigtail wig base. I recommend Arda Wig’s Chibi in black.
- Black wefts. I only used two packs of long wefts for the curls, and then just a tiny bit of a third pack to add in the sides of her bangs, so you could get away with two packs of long wefts and one pack of short wefts. I highly recommend getting your wefts from the same company as your base wig so you can make sure they will match. For reference if you are buying from another source: according to Arda’s website, the long wefts’ fibers are about 35 in (89 cm) long with an 8 ft (2.4 m) string.
- T pins to hold the wig to the wig head. Can also substitute any sewing pins, T pins are just the easiest to deal with.
- Packing tape. I used less than a roll for the entire wig. Make sure whatever brand you buy sticks to itself well.
- Wire. I used two kinds of wire on this, 14 gauge copper wire and 12 gauge galvanized steel wires. You could probably get away with just using the steel, however the copper will allow the bottom of the wig to have a more natural bounce to it. These gauges are in AWG. If you are looking for wires in SWG, the same numbers will work as there isn’t a huge difference between the systems and there’s no need to be exact for this project. If you’re using a different system, I do not know the values so I’d recommend just looking up the conversions.
- Something to cut the wire with. I used bolt cutters for the steel. For copper wire, normal wire cutters will work.
- Caulk. I used DAP Dynaflex in clear for this. I lost track of how many tubes I used exactly, but you will need quite a bit. If you have easy access to a hardware store, you can pick it up as you need. If not, you will want to buy at least 5 tubes probably. Luckily it is fairly cheap. Make sure to follow all safety warnings that come with your caulk.
- Hair clips to hold hair in place while working.
- Measuring tape and/or ruler.
- Foil to protect the base wig and to glue wefts on.
- Gloves. You will want to wear gloves when working with caulk
- Brushes. This makes applying the glue a lot easier, and keeps you from getting too much on your gloves, which can make handling hair difficult.
- Scissors. Plain scissors can work and are what I used when I styled my wig, but you can also get scissors designed for cutting hair.
- Wig brush. For keeping hair de-tangled.
- (optional) Snap clips. To help hold the wig in place on your head. I put some in my wig but didn’t end up needing them at all. I don’t actually use them when I wear the wig.
- (optional) Hair cutter. Helps to hide where strips of hair start and end. Can also just use scissors however it will be more difficult.
- Nylon webbing. To support the wig
- E6000. To glue on the nylon webbing and glue down tape in weak spots.
- Duct tape (black) to help support the wig
- (optional) Electrical tape. To wrap wires inside of wig
Section 2: Starting the Wig
- Calculate how long your wire should be. You can do this by measuring out the top curl in the size you want relative to your head, then multiplying by the number of curls you need. I don’t remember the exact amount, but I think my wire was around 32 feet long. The first wire should be the copper wire if you are using copper.
- Pull the base wig’s pigtails out of the way. I secured them in the back with hairbands, keeping them separate so that I wouldn’t have to separate them again later.
- Run the wire through the base wig. Make sure it comes out in about the same spot on each side of the wig. Use a measuring tape or ruler from the inside of the wig to ensure it’s just right.
- Pull the wire halfway through. I marked the middle point of the wire ahead of time to make sure it was easy to find.
- Bend the wire inside the wig in a slight curve to help it sit on your head more naturally.
- Start curling the wire in the shape you want. When looking at the wig from the front, the left curl goes clockwise and the right curl goes counter-clockwise. This will be different depending on which character you are cosplaying.
The reason I am doing the curl first instead of the normal way of doing this (gluing all the hair flat and then curling it after) is to avoid the vertical flatness that that method gives. This way I am able to give the curls a rounder shape more like how Celeste’s hair looks in the game. If you are okay with the flat sides to each curl or want your wig to look more like the simplified anime version of Celeste, you can do it that way instead.
Section 3: Taping
I recommend cutting small strips of tape in batches so that you don’t have to stop as much to get more tape.
- Sandwich the wire in the tape. For the upper curls, you will want to put extra tape as they are wider than one strip of tape.
- As you are putting the tape on, you can shape it into the curved look. For the curls that are wider than one piece of tape, if you pull the outer strips of tape tighter as you add them, it will start to curve the curl.
- If the tape on the inside is too tight to lay flat against the outside tape, add some vertical cuts on the inner tape then smooth it out.
- Once the entire curl is taped, go back through with scissors and taper the curls, starting with wider curls at the top and ending with a point at the bottom. I calculated out the difference in size I wanted for each curl, and marked how wide they should be with a sharpie so that I could keep the size decrease constant.
- Shape the tips of the curl. Celeste’s curls curve down into points, so shape the tape just smaller than the final curls you want. I recommend putting some E6000 in the tape around the wire at the tip as it has a tendency to poke out.
The math for the curls tapering should be: (width of top curl) – (width of bottom curl) / (number of curls) = (difference in width for each consecutive curl) It’s probably easiest to start at the bottom curl (Curl 1) and mark it with the starting size, then you will mark the next one up with Curl 1 + the difference in width you calculated out. The next one will then be this value with the difference added again, and so on. You can also just throw all the math out and eyeball it.
Section 4: Hair Gluing
First, put some sort of barrier between the base wig and the curls to prevent them from being glued together. I used foil. Be sure to wear gloves when working with the glue. Do not try gluing a single strand of wefts on, as it will not cover the tape completely and will look messy.
- Take a section of the wefts and fold it over a few times, putting some glue a little ways down from the top of the weft. Leave about an inch (2.5 cm) of space between the top “string” part of the weft and the glue. I used 4 inch (10 cm) strips of wefts which I then folded twice to get 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Once the glue is a little dry, you can cut off the top of the weft. The reasoning for this is to get rid of the bulk that is created by the top piece of the weft that holds the hair. I recommend using a hair cutter to create a layered end, rather than a blunt cut, as a blunt cut will be more noticeable. You can also use scissors cutting almost parallel to the hair to get a similar effect, but this will take more time.
- Make sure to de-tangle the wefts as you go. At first I did not do this, which ended up making some of my strands messy, leading to more cleanup later. Every time you remove hair from the pack of wefts you should brush out both the hair you removed and the weft pack. I recommend putting the twist ties back into the weft pack when you’re not working with it.
- Make a bunch of the flat hair bundles. I’d recommend making two full packs of them. If you do this first it will save time later, although when I made my wig I did them as I went.
- Glue the hair along the curl, starting on the top and bottom edges of the curls. The reason for starting on the outsides is you will want to pull the hair tightly there to help with the roundness of the curls. Then when you put the middle section in you can get the correct tension. If you do the middle part first, you’ll end up with some gaps between the strips as you pull the edges tight.
- To glue the hair along the curl, put a thick layer of glue on the tape then press the hair onto it. You can rub it with your finger to help spread the glue through the fibers. In some sections I also put a small amount of glue on the outside of the fibers and rub it in. I recommend avoiding doing this on the front of the wig, as even the clear glue is slightly visible when dry. Rubbing it in helps to make it less visible. If you leave large amounts of glue on the outside, it will be visible in the end.
- Use hair clips as you go to hold the hair while it dries. Be very careful when removing them so that you don’t accidentally pull the hair off with the clip. Use one hand to hold the hair down while the other gently pulls the clip off.
- Make sure not to completely glue down the strip. Leave the ends hanging free so that another strip can be slid underneath it. I left around 3 inches (7 cm) loose at the ends.
- I recommend alternating between the left and right curls to give hair time to dry.
- Repeat adding strips from the outside edge in until the curl is fully covered on the outside.
- Once you move on to a second set of strips, prepare the strips as before. Slide the strips underneath the tail you left unglued from before, then glue the tail down over the second strip. I recommend applying the glue directly to the underside of the tail to avoid using too much glue. The tail should blend in smoothly with the next strip. Again use your (gloved) fingers to rub the glue in.
- When you get to a point where you need to finish a strip earlier, that is when the curls get thinner and you no longer need as many strips to cover a curl, use the hair cutter to thin the hair out to a point like the tails of the previous strips. Glue this down in a similar way, applying the glue to the underside of the tail you just created. You can use scissors instead of a hair cutter, however be careful to not make it blunt. The blunter the cut, the more obvious it will be that your wig is in sections.
- If you encounter a part where the wig hair separates from the tape after the glue has dried, you can put a small amount of E6000 to attach the hair back to the tape. Clip it in place while it dries.
- Continue this until the entire outside of the curls is covered.
- At the curl tips, taper the hair down into a point. You’ll want to make the hair slightly wider than the tape at this point so that it can attach to the hair you’ll add to the inside and minimize the wire/tape poking out and separating at the tips.
Section 5: Inner Supports
As I was gluing the hair I came to the realization that my wire was not strong enough to support this wig, so I came up with 3 different inner supports to give my wig the shape I wanted.
- This is where I bring the galvanized steel wire in. You could probably just use galvanized steel from the start rather than the copper, however this will make your wig less flexible. The copper wire is what enables my wig to have a bounce to it rather than being very stiff. I was able to bend the steel by hand for the most part, but it’s very difficult to do so.
- Measure around the outside of the curls to see how long the steel wire should be. I measured mine to go down through about half the curls for the first support.
- Run the steel wire inside the wig in the desired shape. Make sure to bend it in the angle you want at the top where it connects to the base wig. Line the wig up with the new steel wire which will give the top of the wig a stronger shape. I brushed E6000 around the wire then put tape on top of it to make sure it is held in place well at the top. Further down you can get away with just tape. E6000 will make it sturdier though.
- The second support is entirely to help with the angle of the curls where they meet the wig. This is a short piece of galvanized steel that will only run through about a curl and a half on each side. Attach it using the same method as the other steel wire.
- The third support is a little more complicated. In Celeste’s design, the top few curls are attached, with the curls getting more spread out further down the wig. In tackling the wig my two main focuses were the curves on each curl in the vertical direction, and getting these top curls to attach to each other. I originally planned to use black duct tape but quickly found it to be too weak, so I came up with a new plan using supplies I had sitting around. This support is a set of 4 strips of nylon webbing in each curl that are glued inside the wig to hold the top curls together.
- To do this part, you will want to cut strips that are the right length to support however many curls you are attaching. Make sure they are not too short, as if they do not fully cover the inside of one of the curls it could potentially rip the tape off the hair and collapse the curl. They should be just barely shorter than the curls when held together so that they don’t poke out of the edges.
- Seal the edges of the strip of webbing using heat, then start gluing them inside the wig. You will want 4 strips evenly spaced around the curl, so at 90 degrees to each other.
- Glue them to one curl at a time, immediately duct taping the strip down on each side to hold it while the glue dries. The tape is mostly here to hold it while it dries, the strip and the glue should provide the primary support. On the first and last curl, the tape should cover both the sides and the top edge of the nylon webbing. I used two pieces of tape for each strip to get maximum coverage. Glue all four supports to the top curl, then glue all four to the next curl, and so on. Make sure to pull the curls tightly together while doing this.
Section 6: Gluing hair inside the wig
This section will make the last look easy.
- Now you need to go back and glue hair on the insides of the lower curls to cover the tape. If you wanted to you could probably get away with using matte black paint instead, but you will definitely want hair at least on the tips, The hair will give it a remarkably nicer look than if you didn’t cover the tape. This is easily the most difficult and frustrating part of the wig.
- First, go through and cut away any extra tape that extends past the hair you glued on the outside of the curl.
- For this part, I started from the bottom rather than the top of the curl. You will measure up how far the strip of hair should start, then glue it all the way down like before, except inside the curl. Be very careful not to pull the hair too tight or you can pull it off where you already glued.
- Once you get to the higher sections, you can use blunt cuts rather than trying to narrow it down to a tail point. If you try to thin it out, you can pull too tightly and undo all of your gluing, forcing you to go back and redo it. Be *very, very* careful not to pull too tightly. I frequently had to go back and redo sections I accidentally pulled too tightly. It’s okay if this happens, just be sure to fix it right away.
- Once you get all the way up to where the curls are squished together, you are done with putting hair inside the curls and can now celebrate that the torture is over.
While I will say this part is fully optional, it does make a significant difference in the look of the wig, so I definitely recommend doing it. You can always add it in later if necessary.
Section 7: Putting the Base wig up into the curls.
Now it is time to put the base wig up into the curls. You will do this by starting in small sections and wrapping it around the curls. The front of the wig will go over the outside of the curl, which is why you don’t need to worry about the wefts looking too nice at the top of the curls. The back and middle parts will be wrapped inside the curl.
- Taking small sections starting near the curls, glue them into the inside of the curls. You will want to cheat this section a bit and alternate whether the hair goes around the front of the inside or the back of the inside, as the hair won’t be long enough to make it all the way around the curl.
- Continue doing this until the hair is far enough down that you can only see hair (not tape) inside the wig when viewed from a slightly higher angle than the wig. Anything further down should be hidden by shadows and won’t be visible unless someone is directly over the wig with a light source.
- Once it’s only the outside edges of hair left, run these into the wig as you would expect real hair to go into a curl, with some on the inside following the shape of the curl, and some on the outside.
- For the front edges that will be wrapped around the outside of the curl, I used pieces of thread tied around the curl to hold it in place while it dried. I was effectively creating a temporary hair tie. I would recommend using a dark color that stands out enough from the wig that you can see it to remove it but that isn’t so bright that if you have to leave some in that got caught in glue it will be very noticeable.
You do not have to worry very much about visible glue in the crease where the curls attack to the base wig as Celeste’s headdress will cover this.
Section 8: Bangs and Cleanup
- If you used the Chibi wig from Arda for your base: using more wefts, fold them together to make a thick enough lock of hair and sew them into the sides of the bangs on the base wig. If you used another wig, the side bangs might be long enough.
- Now you will be able to remove the wig from the wig head. I recommend leaving the wig in place for a week between gluing and this part just to make sure that everything is completely dry.
- Using the electrical tape, wrap the wires on the inside together to make them one piece. This also makes a convenient carrying handle for the wig. At this point you shouldn’t have issues with the wires moving at all due to all the hair being glued in place.
- Sew some clips around the wig to help it stay on your head. This is optional, you could also just rely on bobby pins, however I’ve found these clips to be very useful in the past for heavy wigs. Make sure to distribute them so that the weight of the wig is evenly distributed around your head rather than focused on a small spot. I found my Celeste wig balanced very well on my head, so I had no need for the clips sewn into the base and don’t use them. You might have a different experience with your wig depending on how it’s made and the shape of your head.
- Now, style the bangs. Cut the side bangs you sewed in to the length you want, then cut her bangs straight across. Make sure to keep them as long as the longest point. I recommend always cutting bangs while wearing the wig if possible to make sure the length is correct for your forehead size. Just be very careful as you are using scissors near your eyes. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, you can style the bangs on a wig head.
- Shape the bangs. The side bangs should taper into a point. You can use the hair cutter to thin them down to a point, or use scissors using vertical cuts.
- Her actual bangs have a subtle V shape put into them that is more pronounced in the anime version. Starting in the middle, cut the bangs up into the V shape. Make sure to use plenty of vertical cuts with the scissors to keep the bangs from being too blunt. You should never hold your scissors perpendicular to the hair when doing the final shaping as this will create blunt cuts.
- Now all that is left is general cleanup. Use your hands or a pair of tweezers to pick off any spare flecks of glue, cut out stray hairs, glue smaller strips of hair over sections that didn’t get fully covered. You can also use some very light hairspray to help smooth out the hair on the curls. Black paint can also be used to help disguise any visible tape in the middle of the curls. Cut out any remaining bits of tape peeking out of the curls.
At this point you will have already put many hours into this wig, so make sure it looks nice. A few hours of cleanup won’t be much compared to the rest of the time on the wig!
Thanks for reading!
That’s it for the tutorial! I hope this helps with your Celeste wig, or any other wig project. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have!