Tutorial: How to Make Your Wig Smaller

tutorial: how to resize a wig smaller

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When your wig is too large, it can shift uncomfortably and ruin the overall effect of your cosplay or outfit. But don’t worry—making a wig smaller is a straightforward process that you can do at home. With some simple adjustments, you can have a wig that fits perfectly to your head size, ensuring that your costume looks just as good in real life as it does in your imagination.

It might seem daunting at first, especially if you’re worried about damaging your wig. Yet, there’s no need for anxiety. The techniques you’ll learn, such as using adjustment straps or sewing in elastic, are tried and tested by cosplay enthusiasts and wig wearers alike. These methods are not only efficient but also reversible, should you need to alter the wig again in the future or pass it on to someone else.

If you’re like me and you have a small head, then you might find that the wigs you get tend to be too big. This isn’t such a big deal if you have a wig with bangs all around, but if you want to show any part of your wig’s hairline or create an up-do wig, then the large size is pretty noticeable. I also find that properly sized wigs are more comfortable, especially around the ears.

wig that's too big covers my ear
You can tell that this wig is much too big for me because the ear tab is almost fully covering my ear. It should be sitting directly in front of the ear.

1. Try the wig on 

The first thing to do is try on the wig so that you have an idea of how big the wig is and where it seems to be big on you. For me, the wigs tend to be big all around, but especially around the forehead. This causes the ear flaps to sit on top of my ears instead of in front of them like they should.

If you find that the ear tabs are sitting correctly on your head, and the wig is only big in the back, you can skip steps 3 and 4.

turn the wig inside out
Turn your wig inside out and get familiar with the different parts. There will be seams going down that connect the rows of wefts.

2. Turn the wig inside out

Now that you know where the wig feels big on you, we can take a look at the inner workings and edit it. Turn the wig inside out and take a look at how the wig is made. You’ll see rows of wig wefts sewn along lines of elastic. The part we are going to look at is the outer elastic on the front and back of the ear tabs. This is the area where any edits to the wig will be least noticeable.

Cut open the from seam
Use a seam ripper to cut open the seam directly in front of the ear tab.

3. Clip open the seam in front of the ear tab

The first thing we’re going to do is shorten the forehead area of the wig so the ear tabs sit where they should, in front of the ears. To do this, you will need to detach the ear tab at the point where it is sewn to the front of the wig. Snip the thread along the seam until you get to the next horizontal cross seam. 

I recommend using a seam ripper (one of these) so that you don’t have to cut the actual wig cap. Instead, you’re cutting through the threads that connect the two pieces. You can use a razor blade as well, but they’re more difficult to control and you’re more likely to accidentally cut your fingers.

remove wefts from the front
There are a couple vertical rows of wefts at the seam. Cut those off and then sew the wig back together, overlapping the front seam and the ear tab by about half an inch.

4. Remove two rows of wefts and sew closed

Now that you’ve opened the seam you want to remove some of the wig wefts (lines of wig hairs) so that you can sew the wig to make it smaller. Snip two rows of wefts that are going parallel to the seam you cut. Be careful not to cut the wig fibers in the process.

Remove the two lines of wefts and then pin the area closed again. Overlap the forehead area and the ear tab by about half an inch so that area will be smaller. Using a thread in the same color as your wig (or a neutral-colored thread that won’t stand out) reconnect the ear tab. I like to use a curved wig needle to make it easier to sew without catching the wig fibers in the thread. However, a straight sewing needle will work if that’s all you have available.

After you’re finished sewing everything up, try on your wig. Make sure that the ear tab sits in front of the ear, and check the seam to make sure the sewn area isn’t visible from the outside. You also want to decide if the back of the wig still feels too big. If shortening the front already makes the wig fit better, you can skip steps 5 and 6.

cut the back section
Cut the elastic band directly behind the ear tab.

5. Cut open the seam in the back of the ear tab

Shortening the back of the wig is a little bit easier since the lines of wefts in this area are further apart and easier to see. Any edits are also less likely to be seen from the outside of the wig, so you don’t need to be quite as careful with this part.

Like what you did for the front, you want to separate the ear tab from the outer band behind it. You can use a seam ripper to snip the threads if you want the end result to look cleaner, but you can also just snip the band about half an inch in the back of the ear tab for a quicker method.

remove the first two rows of wefts
Remove the first two rows of wefts from behind the ear tab. Then sew the wig back together.

6. Remove two rows of wefts and sew closed

Remove the first two rows of the wefts on the elastic band. If you need to make the wig smaller, you can remove 3 or 4 as necessary. I usually just snip the elastic right below the second row, then snip the wefts at the next seam in. 

Pin the end of the elastic band to the bottom of the ear tab and then sew them together. Use a thread in the color of your wig or a neutral color (such as the color of the wig cap). Make sure to securely sew them in place because this area will have to stretch a little bit when you put the wig on, and you don’t want the thread to snap. It doesn’t need to be pretty since no one will see this part when you’re wearing the wig.

Most wigs will have an elastic hook that can help with some simple resizing. You can leave it in if you want, but I usually remove it since it’s not needed anymore for my custom-sized wig.

Once you’ve finished, try the wig on to make sure it fits properly. You can always remove more wefts if you feel it’s still too big.

finished wig fits
Now that I’ve resized the wig, you can see that it sits on my head correctly, in front of my ear.

7. Repeat on the other side

Now all you have to do is go back through the process step-by-step on the other side of the wig. Try to make both sides as even as possible, but don’t worry. No one will notice if one side is a quarter-inch different from the other. As long as it fits and you’re comfortable with how the wig feels, then you successfully edited your wig for a smaller head.

orry if they’re not exact. Trust me, no one will notice.

Emily Joice

My name is Emily, and I have been cosplaying since my very first convention in 2008. Over the years, I've experimented with all different kinds of cosplay costumes, especially loving the process of creating props and styling wigs. I also delved into cosplay photography, and love exploring how to optimize costumes so they look excellent in photos. Most of the photos you find on this site were taken by me over my years at anime conventions.

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