Betty Grable, an iconic American actress, was famously known for a pinup pose during World War II. To be honest, I had never really heard of her before. But then again, I didn’t watch too many movies from the 1940s and 1950s.
Prof mentioned that I should do a Betty Grable photo for my Not Betty series. I thought, “Hmmm..sounds like worth a shot.” After perusing different images on Google, looking for an appropriate pose that I would feel confortable reviving and remaking, I found one photo that would work for my final analogue photo assignment. So for your tutorial learning enjoyment, you can make your own Betty Grable paper wig.
- Styrofoam head bust (optional but highly recommended)
- Yellow raffia ribbon
- Double-sided tape
- Masking tape
- Pen/Permanent marker
- Plastic grocery bags
- Photo of Betty Grable’s hairstyle
Step 1. Cut plastic grocery bag into a large square.
You may need two and tape them together in order to create a square large enough to cover the circumference of your head. (I taped two pieces together, so that I could make sure my hear wig covers back to the nape of my neck.)
Step 2. Using masking tape, create a headpiece that fits to your head shape and size.
I pulled a long piece of masking tape, and then I placed the plastic bag on top of my head. I wrapped masking tape lengthwise around my forehead. Then I pulled a second long piece of masking tape around the back of my head, making sure it wraps around the bottom/close to the nape of my neck.
Step 3. Create the head shape/hairline to match that of Betty Grable’s photo.
I outlined the shape of the head/hairline using a permanent marker. Then cut the head bodice carefully, making sure to not cut away too much. Remember, it’s always easier to cut little by little then to add to the shape of the wig.
Step 4. Create hairstyle.
Working from the edging of the headpiece, cut raffia ribbon to create a pulled back bun shape. I used masking tape under the bodice of the headpiece. Note: Make sure that the natural curve of the raffia ribbon follows the curve around the headpiece.
I created a tiered hairline from the top and sides of the headpiece and wrapped it to the back of the hair, so that it looked more natural. This also saved on raffia ribbon.
With double sided tape, sandwich the other end of the raffia ribbon to the headpiece. Then add more double sided tape on top of the raffia ribbon already on the headpiece.
Hair bun piece should now be complete.
Step 5. Create soft, high curls at top and front of headpiece.
Cut about 4 inches of raffia ribbon. Unravel the ribbon so that it is completely open.
Using a pen, pencil, or fingers, curl raffia ribbon. To keep the shape and style of the curl, use double-sided tape to maintain the shape. Use more double-sided tape to carefully place curls matching the hairstyle in the photograph.
Note: A few of the curls were not completely open to give the illusion of thinner on some and thicker curls in other places.
Step 6. Voila! Project Complete!
Place your finished Betty Grable paper wig on, and look like the iconic actress for a party or class project of your own!
From my hometown to yours,