Posted on 27 Comments

Dying Wigs with Ink

I’ve been dying wigs for about 3 years now and I’ve finally took the time to write down my general information on how to make a good dye. This technique also works great for dying synthetic furs as well.


70% Isopropyl Alcohol (found in any health wellness section of anystore)

Acrylic Ink (Personal fan of Dr PH Martin’s Bombay Inda Ink. Found in Hobby Lobby {After a good hunt around, the current confirmed Hobby Lobby that carries it all the time is located at 80th and Wadsworth} or Amazon)


Roughly 8 droppers of ink for every 1 cup of alcohol

Variations/Lessons learned:

Want a lighter color? Less ink

Darker/richer color? Add more ink

Red and blue easily overtake other colors. (IE: after a pale green? 6 droppers of yellow, 1/2 a dropper of blue (maybe even less), slowly add more blue if needed.)

There is no such thing as black ink. It’s normally a dark green/red/purple. If you’re after black, you’re going to have to get Katie Bair’s wig dye (even then, I’ve never tested the black, so I don’t know if this is true)

Application types (GLOVES!! DON’T FORGET GLOVES!!):

Soak – Basic and easy. Fill a sink/bowl with the color (Note: Plastics WILL get dyed. Stick to metal or be willing to sacrafice a container), add wig or fur to the container. Swish around, pull out, let set somewhere to dry .

Spray – Fill a spray bottle with the dye (note: that bottle is now stuck for that color {or close variations} for the rest of its life. If you’re going to do this, go to Sally’s and get a cheap bottle from there) and spray wig/fur with the dye. (Note: This one can end up with spotty affects if it’s not saturated enough). For a wig, comb through. For fur, rub through. Let dry.

Paintbrush – With any brush (personal fan of foam brushes), apply the dye, section at a time (good for streaks, layers, blending, etc etc). Comb through material, let dry.

Drying information:

THE LONGER YOU LET THE DYE DRY, THE BETTER IT’LL STICK TO THE MATERIAL. I cannot stress this enough. If you add the dye, then rinse it off, it won’t have time to stick. It’s good for insanely pale colors, but if you want the color you see (or close to), let the material dry COMPLETELY.

Rinsing information:

Stick the fur/wig in running water until the water runs clear under. I prefer cold water since it doesn’t affect the material (hot water can alter a wig if it’s too hot, etc etc) but do what you like.

Personal step: Use shampoo and conditioner on the material. The shampoo pulls the last of the dye out and the conditioner seems to help reduce the damage the alcohol does to the material. Also gets rid of the alcohol smell.

Again, let try completely. Use/style as preferred.

Some Completed Wigs:


27 thoughts on “Dying Wigs with Ink

  1. Is there a way to make a black wig with a all over red tint? I’ve seen red streaks in black hair but never black with a red tint. Is this even possible?

    1. Best answer is “not easily.” Black wigs are black. Period. No way of dying them to have a tint. Ontop of that, there is not such thing as real black dye. Most black inks are a dark green, blue, or purple. So you’d just end up with a dark blue/green/purple wig. If you were willing to try (and possibly sacrifice that wig) you can try to dye a red wig with black ink, but remember what I just said. There’s no such thing as black ink. So you’d end up with a dark colored wig with red undertones.

  2. I “forgot” the gloves (I didnt want to go downstairs to get them) and I had black hands for almost a week. Please use gloves.
    I’m dying my wine red Ariel wig black, and had to repeat this process twice before the shades of red were completely gone. I also had to hand-color some red streaks with black Sharpie.
    My advice: do this outside if at all possible. The mess and alcohol fumes will be less of a problem. WEAR GLOVES!!!

  3. I am looking to dye a light gray wig to a very faded rainbow, similar to the pale rainbow wig in your examples. I was wondering what ink concentration you did for that, or what methods to keep it so light? I was planning on using Sharpie ink to color it, but I was still curious how you got such nice pastels!

    1. I used 70% isopropyl alcohol and acrylic ink (Dr Martin’s India Ink is my fav). 1 cup of alcohol with about 6 droppers of the ink. Normall, for darker colors, I’ll use 8-10 droppers.

  4. Do you know if you are able to redye the wig a different color later on or wash the color out? Like since it’s alcohol based, will straight alcohol wash it out again?

    1. I didn’t see this message until now. Sorry about that. The answer is: Not without heavily damaging the wig to the point of not being usable. My personal opinion is once they’re dyed, they’re permanent.

  5. how do you make them ultra shiny after

    1. A strong flash on the camera. No joke. Any shine is due to the flash.

  6. I’m going to wear my soon-to-be ombre wig in Mardi Gras parades. Will the colors run if it rains? i would presume not since I will have rinsed, shampooed and conditioned.

    1. So long as the water ran clean after washing, you’re good to go. If not, try another wash and make sure it runs clear.

  7. I’m realy curious about the last rainbow wig. Did you dye all colours at once or one at a time, if so, did you rinse it at all between each colour?

    1. The colors were placed in once at a time. Once a color was dried, I would move to the next one. Once all the colors were set, then I washed the wig. They colors didn’t bleed since they were completely dry ahead of time.

  8. If I just want to dye two streaks in a silver/platinum blonde wig, will the ink bleed out into it after it dries and washes out ?

    1. Nope! It hasn’t for me. Just keep the sections clear of the lighter color while drying.

  9. What happens if you use a 91% alcohol?

    1. Your wig becomes really crunchy and may not take the colors as well.

  10. […] had made a tutorial on how to dye wigs with ink and since then, I have learned another technique on dying wigs: Using Synthetic Fabric […]

  11. This does work for synthetic wigs, right?

    1. This is a recipe FOR synthetic wigs. I never use human hair wigs for my cosplays.

  12. This is perfect, thank you so much for your help! I plan on trying this for a blonde doll wig that I have.

  13. Hi! I’m trying to achieve a warm brown color- dark brown with a red tint. I’m thinking with the white wig I have, dye it a light red/red purple (by not letting the pigment dry all the way), rinse and dry completely. Then dye over that with a dark brown. Or the opposite way- dye the white wig brown first, then go over with the red to tint it. Which one of these ideas would work better do you think? Or something else entirely?

    1. The dye only sticks when it has a chance to dry 100% so your first idea will not work. Once a wig takes a color, it’s hard to change it to another color so the other idea will not work as well. The best answer is to purchase a brunette wig and add some red wefting between the sections to help blend it all, or hunt for a wig that’s the color you’re already looking for.

  14. This is so helpful, thank you! To take the shine and tangles out of the wig, I was going to try soaking it in fabric softener for a few days after seeing a few tutorials on this. Would this be best to do before or after dying please? I know you can wash the wig once the colours are completely dry, but I wondered would soaking it for a few days take some of the dye out? And if soaking before dying, I’m not sure if it would make it harder to dye as the conditioner kind of “coats” the wig? Thanks!

    1. I’ve never used the fabric softener method to remove shine. The dying process tends to kill a bit of the shine after the process is done, so you may have to test and see what works best, or if just dying it was enough.

  15. I tried the water and dye method in a bucket for my wig but it doesnt seem to work

    how do i fix it

    1. I’m afraid I’ve never heard of a water and dye in a bucket method for coloring wigs.
      If you mean using a polyester dye to color a wig, be sure to follow all instructions on the package like you would with dying fabric. This includes keeping the water hot the whole time (so a pot of hot water on the stove, not a bucket of water that can cool over time), stirring constantly, and rinsing with cold water until the water runs clear once it’s a shade darker than you need it to be.

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