I wrote out this tutorial a few years ago for Your Wardrobe Unlockd, but it seems like it might be useful, so here is a tutorial for a quick and dirty, super-easy way to curl a wig.
We're going to start with this synthetic wig by New Look. It looks like pretty, shiny hair, but it's really just plastic. Synthetic wigs are my favorite kind of wig to style.
Supplies for this are:
1. A wig that you want to curl.
2. A wig head. (Mine is canvas, but styrofoam is fine.)
3. Some way of holding the wig head in place while you style. Mine is stuck on a stand attached to the shelf, but you can just hold it with your feet if that works for you.
4. A comb or wig brush.
5. Hairspray. (Just get the cheap, strong stuff. Your wig is made of plastic, it doesn't need micronurients or whatever else goes in fancy hairsprays. AquaNet is great.)
6. A steamer or hair dryer. (A steamer can be travel size or full size. Any sort of hairdryer will be fine.)
7. Hair rollers you can pin through. The size and placement of the curlers will determine what your curls look like. Bigger rollers will give you fatter curls. Skinny rollers will give you tighter curls. (For very tight curls, perm rods work great.)
8. Pins. T-pins are best, but any kind of pin will work. It should be long enough to pin through your roller and into the wig head.
9. End papers:
These are end papers for curling hair. Any beauty supply shop will have them. I always walk in and ask for "rolling papers," and then everyone laughs. These papers let you curl the hair without getting wonky straight bits at the ends of your curls, which are ugly. If you don't have these, maybe bits of tissue or toilet paper will work. But these are very cheap and easy to pick up at any beauty supply shop.
OK, then let's go. Start with your wig on the stand. Section out a piece of hair.
Put a paper behind the hair.
Fold the sides of the paper over the hair so the hair is encased in a little tube of paper.
Hold the roller behind the paper tube.
Drag the tube and roller together down the length of hair until you get to the end. Now is a good time to give the strip of hair a quick spray of hairspray.
Start rolling the hair up around the roller. Don't twist the hair; keep it nice and flat as you roll.
When you get to the top, pin the roller to the wig head. T-pins are great for this. To make sure you do not get ugly bumps in your curls, make sure the bar of the T-pin is going in the same direction as the hair, like this:
Do not put the bar of the pin across the direction of the hair, like this:
Finish setting the whole head that way. Then give the whole head another generous dousing with hair spray.
Now apply heat. Using a steamer or a hair dryer, make sure each curl gets at least 30 seconds of heat. The hair should feel hot to the touch, but it should not be hot enough that you cannot touch it. If you can get it to the temperature of hot coffee, that's good. Move your heat source around over the curl, because you want to make sure the whole curl is hot, not just the surface. After you have curled one or two wigs, you will have an instinctive sense of when the hair is the right temperature.
Do not allow your heat source to get close enough to melt the wig. If the fibers suddenly shrink and get frizzled looking, it has melted. If you are new to wig curling, you might want to start from the bottom to get an idea of how far to hold the heat source from the wig. I hold mine about six inches from the hair.
Now allow the wig to cool completely. (If you have used a steamer, make sure the wig also dries completely.) If you are impatient about getting your wig finished quickly, you can put it in an easy DIY wig oven, which I will show you how to do here.
One the wig is completely cool and dry, take out all the rollers.
And now the wig is curly and ready to be styled. If you want smaller curls, use perm rods or smaller rollers. If you want big waves, use bigger rollers.
For an example of a wig style that I did with this kind of curling, check out my tutorial for how to make an 18th century pouf.