Wig Blocks and Wig Making

So, you have just seen a post or viewed a video that inspired you to make your own wig… Exciting isn’t it?

It is even more exciting to dive in and learn all the techniques used to create a great custom wig. In the beginning stages, most people tend to practice on a convenient Styrofoam wig head. However, once you decide to invest in quality supplies to enhance your learning, it is imperative that you purchase a wig block.

Why?

Purchasing a wig block is an investment in yourself and your skill!  Choosing the correct wig block will ensure that your wig is being made properly and constructed very well. If you are dedicated to making custom wigs for yourself and clients, a quality wig block should be part of your wig making arsenal.

A professional wig maker will use a wig block. A Styrofoam wig head should not be used to create professional custom wigs. Yes, I’m sure that you’ve learned that they can be modified, but why not invest in the tools of the trade, correct?  It is best to only use the Styrofoam wig head as you are practicing, but once you decide to further your art and skills, a wig block should be your choice.

Most Wig makers tend to be extremely passionate about their skills and the quality of tools that they use. So, unfortunately, the Styrofoam wig head does not qualify as a professional styling head.

We’ve learned that it may be beneficial to go back to a very crucial step in wig making: choosing the right best wig block to suit your needs. We understand that there are many new wig makers entering the field with no knowledge, and this information will be helpful!

In this blog, we will describe the features, advantages and disadvantages of each wig block so that you can make an informed decision when selecting your wig making tools.

 

THE STYROFOAM WIG HEAD

The Styrofoam wig head is designed to display different display wigs. This wig head is ideal for displaying wigs, hats and jewelry, and wig storage and display. They are mostly seen in hair salons, beauty supply stores and for personal use in homes.  This wig head is inexpensive and provides easy maintenance and disposal. The surface is clean and smooth and will not fade. However, slight discoloration may appear as a result adding markings to the surface, oil and residue from the display wig and residue from adhesive from certain types of wigs.

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Styrofoam Wig Head
 

 

Styrofoam Wig Head Specifications:

Foundation:  Styrofoam

Filling:  Styrofoam

Gender:  Mostly Female or faceless.  However, you may be able to find Male heads in certain stores.

Head Circumference:  Approximately 19 – 21 inches

Shape:  Standard / Round

Neck:  Short and Medium (Approximately 2 inches taller than short)

Nape:  Standard

Base:  Styrofoam

Use:  Designed for wig, hat and jewelry display.  Can also be used for personal display and storage at home.

 

ADVANTAGES

  • Light weight
  • Affordable
  • Not easily damaged by water or wig styling products.

 

DISADVANTAGES

  • The head is normally a small oval shape and is not shaped like a human head.
  • They are light and may tip over easily when a heavy wig is applied. The head must be mounted on a tripod or wig clamp for stability.
  • The head circumference is one size. The head must be altered to suit the size and shape of your head.
  • They take use a lot of counter space.
  • Presents a challenge when traveling.
  • Hard to style wigs with longer hair using short neck heads
  • Additional items must be purchased such as adjustable wig and table clamps, wig stands and pins.
  • You need to purchase additional items to use this stand well. Pins and table clamps are common.
  • Cannot withstand high heat.
  • Unsecure base. The base of the wig head may not be evenly cut. This will affect the styling of your wig.

 

BLOCKS (OR WIG BLOCKS)

A block is a professional template used in wig work. The block can be head-shaped (for wigs and toupees) or beard-shaped (for facial hair work). It can be malleable, wooden, or canvas. This block is available from hairdressing suppliers and wig making vendors. Wig blocks are available in various sizes. Wig blocks are used to make and dress wigs.

Wig blocks are very durable and rarely need to be replaced. For certain foundations, a covering may be added to increase the longevity

 

CANVAS WIG BLOCK

Canvas blocks are wig head stands that are filled with foam or cork and lined with a quality canvas fabric. You will typically see expert wig makers and industry professionals with this type of wig block. This wig block is typically used for styling, dressing, making and creating a wig. Great for securing wigs and foundations.

 

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Canvas Wig Block for Wig Making

 

Canvas Wig Block Specifications:

Foundation: Canvas Material

Filling:  Cork or Foam (Please check with supplier)

Gender: Faceless

Head Circumference: Sizes range in ½ increments from 19” – 26”.  However, it may be hard to find heads 25 – 26 inches. (Please check with vendor regarding size instruction. It is best to allow for 0.3” size tolerance)

Shape: Designed according to the human natural head shape

Neck: Short and Long (Tall)

Nape: Standard (Slim) or Curvier Nape

Base: Plastic Base Cap

Use: Designed for expert and professional use. Highly recommended for ventilation, dressing, blocking, and wig cap construction.

 

Tips:

  • Cork blocks are heavier than foam blocks.
  • Cover the block with Cling film to protect from oils, water, product damage and mildew.
  • It is important that the hair lace is not stretched, so selecting the correct circumference is necessary.
  • Use a chin block to build beard and moustache foundations. (Available in canvas, foam (light, hard and rubber) and synthetic leather)
  • Short neck blocks are cheaper than long neck blocks
  • Blocking pins (T-pins and straight pins) may be used on the canvas wig block.
  • Use the circumference of your head (or client’s head) before selecting the size of your wig block.
  • Can be placed into a cradle during wig work.

 

ADVANTAGES:

  • Multiple circumference sizes available.
  • The block can be used multiple times.
  • Ideal for wig making and wig cap construction.
  • Great for styling and dressing wigs.
  • Can be used for storage and display.
  • Long and short necks are available. The long necks are excellent for up-do’s and longer hair styles. Short necks are lighter than long necks. Short necks are great for building your wigs and the block can fit comfortably in your lap.

 

DISADVANTAGES:

  • They are more expensive than the Styrofoam wig heads.
  • Canvas blocks are large, bulky and heavy. Multiple blocks present a challenge when traveling.
  • Wig blocks use a lot of space.
  • The block must be covered to protect the canvas lining from oils and water.
  • They require a tripod or table clamp to stand well when making and styling wigs.
  • Foam blocks are lighter than cork blocks. However, they tend to be more expensive than cork and standard wig pins tend to bend when attempting to puncture the block.

 

Questions:

  1.   How do I differentiate the front from the back?
    • The front is flatter and the back is more rounded.
  2. Where should I place my wig on the head?
    • There are usually three seams on the canvas block. The center seam shows the location of the nose, mouth and widow’s peak.

    • The left and right seams are the location for the eyes.
  3.   What is the proper way to measure the circumference of my head?
    • Before taking the measurement, it is important to style your hair how it will be worn under the wig.

 

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Image of wig head circumference

Circumference will measure the perimeter of your head. Using soft measuring tape, begin at the center of the front hairline. Place the measuring tape flat against your head and completely guide it around your head. Position the measuring tape just above the ear, down towards the nape area and back around to the center of the front hairline.

4.  Please list the head sizes and measurements.

 

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Wig Head Circumference Reference Chart

 

WOODEN WIG BLOCK

Wooden wig blocks provide the best foundation for wig cap construction and ventilating. However, this block is mainly used by highly skilled craftsmen and artisan wig makers. Due to the high quality and cost, only select suppliers carry this item. For new wig makers, there will be a learning curve to adjust to the wooden wig block.

 

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Wooden Wig Block for Wig Making

Wooden Wig Block Specifications:

Foundation: Wooden

Filling:  Wooden

Gender: Faceless

Head Circumference: Average 54 cm – 62 cm / 21.25” – 24.40” (Please check with your supplier)

Shape: Natural head shape

Neck: Standard

Nape: Standard

Base: Wooden

Use: Designed for expert and professional use. Best use if for wig cap construction and foundation making and hair ventilation.

 

Tips:

  • Blocking points are used to fix the laces and nets with a tack hammer.
  • This block is not used for dressing. So, it should remain clean and manageable.
  • Use the circumference of your head (or client’s head) before selecting the size of your wig block.
  • Can be placed into a cradle during wig work.

 

ADVANTAGES:

  • Very sturdy and durable with longevity
  • The best block for great foundations and hair ventilation

 

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Wooden blocks are heavier than Canvas blocks and more expensive.
  • Bulky and require adequate closet and shelf space.
  • Once blocked, it can be difficult to remove the blocking points.
  • There is a slight learning curve before using this type of block.

 

 

No matter which block you decide to use, be sure to choose the correct circumference. If you plan to make custom wigs, always have a variety of wig blocks in different sizes.

 

 

Useful Terminology:

Blocking – The process of fixing the lace you are using to make a wig or facials onto a soft or wooden block. Blocking is a method used to help maintain the original size of a wig. It is extremely important to block a wig whenever it is not being used. The block keeps the shape of the wig but also protects the wig and hair lace while the wig is being dressed.

Blocking Pins – Pins used to secure a wig or any lace foundation on a soft block. (canvas). The blocking pins are made of metal and can cave a plastic ball, T-shape or flat metal top.   These pins are also referred to as T-pins and straight pins.

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Image of T-pins (Used for blocking wigs)

Blocking Points –  These headless nails are made of metal as well. One end is sharp, and the other end is flat, with no head. Utilizing a tacking hammer, the sharp edge is anchored halfway into the wooden wig block. The flat end is bent flat on side to secure and hold the wig lace down when knotting a wig or making a wig foundation.

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Blocking Points (or Wig Points)

 

Cradle – A wooden box with no top. It is constructed with curves on the side panels to allow the insertion of a canvas or wooden block for wig work. The wig head cradle simplifies the process of working with a wig block. The cradle is designed to hold your wig head firmly in place as you work. It is great in assisting with hair ventilating.

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Wig Cradle for Wig Making

Malleable block – this is a head-shaped block stuffed with sawdust. It is soft to touch but firm inside as the sawdust is packed together. The wigs are pinned on to it for washing and dressing.

Tack Hammer –  Tack hammers are lighter than a regular hammer and weighs five to eight ounces. One face of the hammer may be slotted and magnetized to start nails, as well as to collect fallen tacks. This hammer is used to anchor blocking points into wooden wig blocks.

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Tack Hammer for Wooden Wig Block

 

Feel free to leave a comment on which tools have helped you with your wig making journey!

Questions?  Please contact us!

Happy Wig Making!