Sharpie Dye Tips and Guide

January 20, 2012

So I finally had a chance to try out wig dyeing! In an effort to save money I took my old Mintaka wig and colored it purple to be used as my Rarity wig for this upcoming May.

What Didn’t Work

Wanting to avoid unnecessary mess and spending I attempted two other methods before trying the Sharpie & Rubbing alcohol dye mix.

My first attempt was just coloring the wig with Sharpie markers. This was effective but a long process. This would be ideal for creating a streak that is a darker color on a lighter wig. This might also be a good option for a short multicolored wig.

My second attempt was the paint method where you heavily water down acrylic paint and use the pigment to dye the wig. I had the most perfect color of paint for the hair and it would have been cheaper than sharpies, and I used this method previously to dye spandex with success. Unfortunately the wig would not take the color. After drying I rinsed the wig and the color ran right out.

Sharpie Dye – Spray Bottle Method

The method that worked was using Sharpie ink and 70% rubbing alcohol. This is one of the commonly suggested methods for wig dyeing!


  • 70% Rubbing Alcohol (Approx. $2 at walmart in the medical section)
  • Sharpie Markers (Available individually at craft stores. For a good color I suggest 4-8 markers)
  • Spray Bottle


You start by opening the Sharpies. I did this with a pair of pliers and wiggled the colored tip out. Don’t cut the grey end of the marker since it will be hard to get out the ink and you might cut the ink cartridge.

Once the Sharpies are opened you can cut the cartridge along the side so it can mix much easier. This is optional but I found it reduced the waiting time!

Pop the ink cartridges into the spray bottle and then fill with the rubbing alcohol. For refrence, I used 3 sharpies with each 250ml (1 cup) of alcohol. I used almost 500ml (2 cups) for the entire wig. Make sure to shake it so it can be mixed well!

Let your mixture sit, and shake it a bit. I let it sit for about an hour before I sprayed it on the wig.

Spray your wig! This stuff stains and gets everywhere very easily, it also drips off the wig. I suggest doing it outdoors if possible. If you must do it indoors make sure to cover your area including any close by walls that might be splattered from the spray. Alcohol evaporates quickly but it still takes a fair bit of time. Go slow and work your way through the wig, you will want to take care to get it to the roots of the wig and to color both sides. I did several applications of color.

Once it looks how you want it to, run it under cold water to wash out excess color. You may need to do another coat or two  to touch up areas you might have missed so repeat as necessary.

– You can use different colored cartridges in the spray bottle to create different colors, you can also use different colors for each application to create highlights and lowlights. I colored blue streaks on the wig for lowlights before spraying. I also used blue in the second application to darken the purple a little bit.

– If the color moves away from the roots you can touch it up later with a sharpie marker.

– Use light applications to avoid lots of dripping and wasting your solution.

– Rather than using a spraybottle you can create a dye bath and let it sit in it, such as in this tutorial.

Entry filed under: Article / Guide, Wigs. Tags: .

FAQ Monday – Can I change the color of a wig? FAQ Monday – Can you cosplay outside of conventions?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tara  |  July 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Hi! The color on your wig is gorgeous! I’ve been trying to achieve this exact shade on a light purple wig I have, but I can’t seem to get it dark enough! What color sharpies did you use? I’ve. Been using purple, and very strong mixes, but its like half as dark as yours; did you use black sharpies? I’ve read that they turn purple but I’m scared to try!


    • 2. CosplayTutorial  |  July 26, 2012 at 4:08 am

      Hi Tara! The base of the wig was white, and the sharpies used were the regular purple and the regular blue. I believe there were about 5 purples and 2 blues of the regular size used, mixed with a low concentration of alcohol. The trick is to keep re-applying and making sure you cover all the sections of the wig.

      Black ink in markers is usually a combination of colors, which usually includes a purple or blue. You can see color separation when you mark on a piece of paper and get it wet! Though applying it to the wig probably won’t give you the results you are looking for – but if you would like to give it a try you can do a test patch on the underside of the wig where it won’t be visible.


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