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Sharpie Wig Dyeing Tutorial by FireLilyCosplay Sharpie Wig Dyeing Tutorial by FireLilyCosplay
I know there are a few others out there, but here is my tutorial for Sharpie dyeing a wig! This works best with Kanekalon and other premium synthetic wigs. Eleora and cheaper synthetic wigs may not dye evenly. Make sure to check your wig fiber content before attempting to dye!

I've had a lot of practice with this method, and this is the formula that works best for me, so I hope it can help you dye your wig the custom color you are looking for!

Many thanks to my friend Envel who helped me with my first Sharpie dyeing experience. Tutorial and all images therein are Copyright Fire Lily and FireLilyCosplay.com.

EDIT: Since so many people ask this question, I'm addressing it here. "How do I dye a wig black?" Since Black Sharpies are concentrated purple, you will have to use FW Ink, India Ink, or another Artists Ink and follow the FW Ink Dyeing Method: [link]

Another method is to color/sharpie the wig by hand using a black Sharpie. This will give it a slightly purple sheen, but it will come out black.
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:iconr1thisak:
R1THISAK Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

I have a question! How can you dye a black wig? Would fabric paint or even dipping the wig over and over into the sharpie ink work or would it make it shrivel up..?
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:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
You can't dye a black wig.  Just like you can't dye anything black to a different color.  You can try to paint it, but the wig fiber will suffer.

Now, are you asking how can you dye a wig to a black color?  Just get some black ink and go for it :)
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:iconr1thisak:
R1THISAK Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

Aw..alrighty then. But thanks! I was going to dye a black wig..but thanks so much though!!
Here , have a free cat.
( = ^ • w • ^ = )
Reply
:iconselparda:
Selparda Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hello, do you know a way to dye a wig, but that you still can easily remove the color when you are finish cosplaying? I want to buy a rapunzel wig and dye it green for a palutena cosplay, and later use it for a rapunzel cosplay. So do you know a possible way? :)
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:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
You can do that using this method, but not all of the color will come out - you may still have a tint or wash of the color you dyed to.  I do not know of a way to temporarily dye plastic and return it to its original color.
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:iconchaoticallyawkward:
ChaoticallyAwkward Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Um, I have a question. Is there any way I can dye parts of the wig? Like dyeing strips of the wig darker? I have a part cat character who has stripes, and I couldn't find a wig in the color I needed with them.
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:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Yes, just separate the hair and spray dye it.
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:iconchaoticallyawkward:
ChaoticallyAwkward Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Alright. Thank you. ^^
Reply
:iconkellywoeshxd:
KellywoeshxD Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I have a black wig, but i need the ends of the hairs to be dark green. Is this possible?

and what if i put the ends in bleach first?
Reply
:iconsageoftwilight56:
Sageoftwilight56 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
In that instance, may I recommend perhaps buying a dark green wig and dying the top part black?
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:iconkellywoeshxd:
KellywoeshxD Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Well.. Thanks for the tip, but i want to cosplay a certain character with black hair and the top part green.. So i can not turn this around
Reply
:iconsageoftwilight56:
Sageoftwilight56 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
No, I know, I'm just saying you could buy another wig, that might be the easier option.
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:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Not likely to happen - you can't really bleach plastic. You could get some green wefts or a green wig and dye the tops black, but not the other way around.
Reply
:iconkuromiko68:
kuromiko68 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2014
Can this work also for just "tinting" a wig? I have a reddish wig I need to get to a red-brown
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:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Yes, it can tint a wig to a slightly different color.
Reply
:iconjelly-yuu:
Jelly-yuu Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Hey! Great tutorial. But let's say I want to go from a orange wig to a dark blueish? Would that work or be a little bit harder?
Reply
:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
It needs to be in the same color family. Mixing orange and blue would likely turn brown or green. You can always try on a swatch of wig hair, but to make it blue I recommend starting with a light blue or pale wig.
Reply
:iconjelly-yuu:
Jelly-yuu Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Oooh okay. Thanks! That;s too bad, haha 
Reply
:iconhetalialover4ever:
HetaliaLover4Ever Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Student Filmographer
can i dye it in black, if its originally...blonde-ish white-ish colored?
Reply
:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Yes, but it may take multiple dyeings to get it truly black.
Reply
:iconhetalialover4ever:
HetaliaLover4Ever Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Student Filmographer
oke, thank you.
Reply
:iconsilentcherubim:
SilentCherubim Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Is it possible to get the wig lighter instead of darker? Like just soaking it up in plain rubbing alcohol for a good moment?
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:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
No. Not unless you are stripping the ink/dye out of a previously dyed wig, then soaking it in rubbing alcohol will remove some of the dyed color.
Reply
:iconsilentcherubim:
SilentCherubim Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Aww, bummer! Thank you very much for the answer!
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:icondynamicat:
DynamiCat Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Will the dye bleed into human hair? :(
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:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
It's not actual dye. It's ink. Even if it rubs off on your hair or skin you can just wash it off. It can stain clothing, though.
Reply
:iconxletmelive267x:
xletmelive267x Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Student Digital Artist
This is so awesome!! Will this remove curls from a wig? The wig I want to purchase is super curly and I like it that way, but they don't make it in the color I need. What do you think?
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:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
It shouldn't do anything to the condition of the wig fiber except to color it.  The state of the fiber (curly, straight, etc) should remain unaffected.  I have dyed a curly wig before and it remained just as curly when I was finished. 
Reply
:iconxxyamikonekoxx:
xXYamikoNekoXx Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2014  Student Digital Artist
honeeey D: i have a question, if iwant to UNDYE it later, with this method i'll can?
i mean, i tried with permanent markers and it worked out the "undye" thingie >-< with this one will work too?
Reply
:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
You can generally strip the dye out using plain rubbing alcohol without problems :)
Reply
:iconxxyamikonekoxx:
xXYamikoNekoXx Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Oh i lav chu so mucho (?

thanks!!
Reply
:iconsilver-bluewind:
silver-bluewind Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Student General Artist
Will it work using wigs that already have color (brown, blonde, red, etc.) or does it blend the colors together/not get dyed well. How saturated is the color and how well does the wig sustain it (or does it depend on the kind of fiber the wig uses)? Is this a better method compared to using others (like the FW Ink and such).

I'm actually a bit hesitant to try since I draw often and use Sharpies to ink, and seeing them used this way kinda makes my inner artist scream in horror at all the wasted drawings. ^^; But it seems the easiest (and cheapest) compared to FW Ink or Copic markers...
Reply
:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
You have to think of it as staining the plastic wig fibers rather then "dyeing."  If you have red plastic, lighter colors won't show up at all, and darker colors will only affect the red but not necessarily completely re-color the red.  As long as you let the ink stain the fibers for long enough at a high enough concentration, you should be able to obtain a good color.  And as long as you was our the excess thoroughly, the wig won't bleed everywhere (though some run-off is to be expected with red-based colors).

I haven't tried the other methods, but this one works fine for me.  Some others prefer FW inks due to the different colors available.
Reply
:iconicekitsune13darkfire:
icekitsune13darkfire Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
do you know if going from light purple to grey, what colour sharpie should i use? :3 i was thinking maybe black but i don't want it to turn out dark, (or more purple) should i use like silver or grey? idk if those would just wash out...sorry so many questions >.<
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:iconsjham:
sjham Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
THANK YOU FOR THIS TUTORIAL *0*!!! Should I style a wig (with heat) BEFORE coloring it, or color it and THEN style it? Thanks!
Reply
:iconkitkatty:
kitkatty Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for this awesome tutorial!! I'm hoping to get that light pink like you've got showing (bottom left), and I'm wondering how many sharpie's you used? I'm debating between using the sharpies or the FW ink, but it'll basically come down to which option is cheaper. The wig will be about chest length, for a goddess Madoka cosplay :3
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:iconthatfuzzyfeeling:
ThatFuzzyFeeling Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014
Hi! I'm dying a wig and I want it to be a dark brown... what would I use to get that color?
Reply
:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
You'll probably have to use artist inks or FW inks in dark brown. Sharpies can't do a dark brown as the browns are red based and the black is concentrated purple.
Reply
:iconthatfuzzyfeeling:
ThatFuzzyFeeling Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014
Thanks much!
Reply
:iconflamingchibi:
flamingchibi Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2014
Can you heat set the colors into the wig so they dont run everywhere?
Reply
:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Not that I am aware of, but you can try...?
Reply
:iconnoiz-bleu:
Noiz-Bleu Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Student General Artist
I have a question, do you know if this will also work with highlighters? 
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:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Not that I'm aware of.  Highlighter ink is very light and may not make much difference.
Reply
:iconnekonamicosplay:
NekoNamiCosplay Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Hey, I was wondering if it is possible to dye half of a wig using this method.  I've got a wig that I want to dye half bright pink, half bright blue, and I was wondering if this would work for that case.  Thanks!
Reply
:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Yes - just separate the wig fibers for the different colors.  It's easier to spray dye them.
Reply
:iconnekonamicosplay:
NekoNamiCosplay Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Awesome, thank you!  :)
Reply
:iconnekonamicosplay:
NekoNamiCosplay Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
For specific colors, I'm looking for the electric blue in the picture where you're wearing glasses and a more bright, neon-y pink in the picture with the yellow glove.  
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:iconcatzmoney:
CATZMONEY Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Student General Artist
Could this possibly work to dye parts of a Black wig blue?
Reply
:iconfirelilycosplay:
FireLilyCosplay Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
No.  You have to use a lighter color wig and dye to dark.  You cannot dye a dark wig a lighter color.  That's common sense :)
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