how (not) to make a Ben Franklin wig


Maybe you're a big fan of the Founding Fathers.  Maybe you've got a kid who loves electricity and lights and would love to dress up as the father of electricity.  Or maybe your kid has been assigned to dress up as a Founding Father for school and you're thinking you'd rather not do two costumes this year and so you decide to convince your son that going as Ben Franklin is the patriotic Halloween choice.  Whatever the reason, trick or treating as an adorable Ben Franklin is a great costume decision!

The good news is since we're 4 days out from Halloween, this is a quick, easy costume to make.  You can go one of two ways:  You can order a child size Ben Franklin costume on Amazon here.  Depending on size, the costume runs from approximately $13-$15.  It comes with the coat, vest and neck cloth.  With Prime shipping it should get to you by the 31st. Alternatively you can get more bang for your buck by putting your child in your husband's suit/sport coat and pinning a white cloth around their neck.  If you don't have a suit/sport coat, you can pick one up at a thrift store for cheap.

To complete the look, my son wore his church pants and some glasses from his Harry Potter costume a couple years earlier.  Additionally, we made some simple "shoes" by covering his his tennis shoes with mens' black ankle socks.  I created buckles for the shoes by cutting squares out of some gold cardstock and gluing them onto the socks:

But how to make a Ben Franklin wig?  My friends, I will show you the sad, sorry tale and will offer tips to avoid my epic mistake.  We'll call these next photos, "Learning along with Shannon," shall we?  Ha!

Supplies:
1 pair queen-sized nude-colored knee length pantyhose
Beacon's Fabri-Tac Glue  (This is important.  This is the best glue for this project because it has a very fast grab and dries flexible)
1 cotton mop head refill

Here's what I did:

Sit your child in front of you and pull the pantyhose over the top of his head.  Your son will like you better if you do this in front of the tv or give him some sort of electronic device to distract him during this process...trust me.  After you pull the pantyhose over the top of his head, there will be pantyhose leg leftover. Glue that to the back of the pantyhose that's covering his head.  Then cut up the mop:
And start gluing the mop strands to his head like so:
He looks thrilled, doesn't he?  That's my boy!

Once you have the mop strands glued all around your child's head he will be very thrilled to have you pull it off...until you both realize that the glue sunk through the pantyhose and your amazing Ben Franklin wig is now glued to your child's head.  That Beacon's legendary fast grab I was talking about?  Yep, it's not coming off.  Your child will scream during this process.  That's completely normal and to be expected.  Ahem...

The next step is to call your friend who cuts hair and beg her for an emergency haircut intervention.  When that friend takes mercy on you while laughing at you at the same time (in a very kind way), it looks like this:
Note her daughter in the background, who also had to dress up as a Founding Father for their class.  See how she does not have a mop glued to her head?  Lucky girl. 

Remember how we used a big blob of glue to stick down the back of the pantyhose?  Yep.  Here's that big blob of glue in my son's hair:
 

After a nice haircut for your child (who, let's be honest, was overdue for one anyway), step back and consider what you could have done differently.  For example, you could have purchased a foam head from Amazon on which to create your masterpiece.  Or, a more budget-friendly option would be to cover your child's hair with a tightly woven scrap of fabric or wrap their hair in saran wrap before you put the nylon on their head.  Both options will save you a trip to your favorite hairdresser.

Once it's all said and done, however, look at how darn cute the wig is!  Old Ben could only dream of such a fabulous 'do, am I right? 

One final note:  The nylon will most likely be too tight for your child's head.  You can ease the tightness by clipping into the elastic top of the nylon.  Clip it underneath the mop strands so the cuts can't be seen.  Don't cut into the elastic too deeply, however, as you don't want the nylon to start to fray apart.  Just clip it along the edges, maybe an 1/8" to 1/4" into the elastic.

Happy Halloween!  (or alternatively, I hope your kid gets an A on his Founding Father's report due to your fabulous Ben Franklin wig-making skills!)

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post Shannon! I laughed out loud reading this! Great tutorial too...it seems like every kid has to dress up as a historical figure at some point or another, so it's good to know! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! School has inspired most of my costume creations...or should I say desperation because of the school's assignments have inspired most of my costume creations!

      Delete
  3. Oh Shannon! This is hilarious! Thanks for the tutorial - there is a very good chance that some day down the road I'll have to make a wig and now I know exactly how to do it (and how not to). :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I told my son that it was very important that I make mistakes like this so that he has horror stories to tell his children about their grandma so that they can all have a good laugh together!

      Delete
  4. Oh dear what an adventure for sure thanks for the great laugh and he dose look dang cute

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is my "funniest post of the week" - ooooo, I should start that as a feature! My favourite bit is the photo of your lads face part way through and your friend the hairdresser's expression.
    As I was reading I was thinking - won't that soak through, have you got him wearing a swimming cap or something- - then I carried on reading and found out No, not so much with the swimming cap! I love it when we get to see the "little" problems as well and the lovely finished project thanks

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well this was an endearing and instructive tale and the outfit is charming. The mishap as an added bonus will probably cement the experience as a lifelong memory, so that years from now you'll get to have the pleasure of hearing "Hey Mom, remember the time..." :)

    ReplyDelete

Tell us what you think! We'd love to hear from you!