Doll Hair and How To Re-Root It.
Why Re- Root Your Doll?
The most obvious reasons to re-root a doll's hair is because it has become so tangled that it resembles dreadlocks, has been given a very bad hair cut or the doll's head is missing some plugs (small clumps of hair).
Another reason to re-root could just be because you think he or she would look better with different colour or textured hair.
Here's my reasons for re-rooting my dark-skinned Little Big Eyes doll.
She was bought new in a sealed box, but when I took her out I discovered there was three things I didn't like about her hair.
Firstly, It had an almost greasy texture and was lank.
Secondly, It was very sparse, so she looked like she had alopecia in some places!
And thirdly, These dolls are made of two different plastics. The scalp, arms and legs are made of a lighter, softer type to the one the manufacturers used for the body and head.
When the scalp is attached to the head it has a seam line all around it and as it is a few shades ligther than the face this is very noticeable. Especially as the hair was too sparse to cover it.
Types of Doll Hair
And ways to use them.
Before deciding which method to use - You will need to think About what type of hair your doll would look better with.
There are several types of hair for re-rooting on the market.
The best ones for re-rooting are:
HUMAN HAIR: It Comes in a variety of colours, is most suited to making wigs for antique/ Composition and porclain dolls, but can also be threaded through a the eye of a needle so is good for re-roots too.
SARAN (also known as) KATSILK: Comes in a great range of colours; from natural shades to neon and even 'Glow-in-the-dark'!
Used on Barbie, Aston Drake Tonner and other Mattel dolls.
Works well on Sindy, Bleeding Edge, Blythe, Little Big Eyes and My Little Pony manes and tails.
MIXED: This is a combination of two or more colours mixed together to create a more interesting hair colour.
You can buy this ready mixed or chose your own combinations and do it yourself for a truly original doll hair colour!!
NYLON: Less oily than saran, but similar in the sense that it comes in a huge variety of colours from natural to neon and has a similar feel.
Used for My Little Pony manes and Tails, Aston Drake Gene Dolls and other Hasbro dolls.
Can also be used on a variety of other dolls (see list for Saran.)
PRE-CURLED NYLON/SARAN: Best left to the experienced re-rooter as it can become very tangled during the re-rooting process.
POLYPROPYLENE: - Identical in feel and look to Nylon.
MOHAIR: Comes in several varieties and many colours.
Can also be dyed to your preferred colour.
BRAIDED MOHAIR: Comes pre-plaited, to give a wavy effect. Can be rooted or used to make wigs for antique/composition dolls.
STRAIGHT MOHAIR: Usually sold in ounces and as one continuous length, which you can cut to your preferred length.
Works well on older dolls, but also looks good on Blythe and Little Big Eyes; giving a thick bushy effect.
CURLY MOHAIR: Several different varieties of curly mohair are available. Braided mohair is sometimes sold as curly too.
Curly mohair comes in 1 ounce bags and can be used for Re-Borning, Blythe sized dolls and fantasy figures; such as Trolls and Elves.
TIBETAN LAMBSWOOL MOHAIR: Sold on patch of skin called a plate.
Colours range from natural to neon. It is perfect for Re-Borning, Fairies, Elves, Blythe, Little Big Eyes and other dolls.
The plate can be cut and glued to the dolls head or the hair can be removed from it and used for re-rooting.
N.B - Use on Blythe and Little Big Eyes, only if you want doll to have 'Afro' effect hair.
ALAPACA ROVING: Comes in 1 ounce bags, in one continuous length, which works out to approximately 5 foot length!
VISCOSE: Can be bought straight or curly; short or long and comes in a variety of colours.
STRAIGHT VISCOSE: Can be rooted and styled, made into wigs or for period costume dolls hair.
CURLY VISCOSE: Can be used as hanging ringlets or for beards.
Viscose is perfect for use on miniatures (Doll's House Dolls), and fantasy dolls, such as fairies or elves.
Its one drawback is that it is very fine so is only suitable for a doll which is for display.
WAVY LOCKS: A shimmering wavy doll hair made of viscose, is fine like spider silk.
Works best when used on 1940s/1950s dolls.
Other Types of Hair Available / suitable for Doll Hair Projects Include:
WOOL: it is possible to buy wool in skeins, which can be used in the same way you would for a straight mohair re-root. Or sewn into or glued onto the dolls head in the case of older or fabric dolls.
YARN: While this can be used for re-roots it is most suitable for rag doll or dolls house miniature's hair. It's also a good type of hair to use on polymer fantasy figures.
CARACUL: A short curly fur which works well on Antique/Composition baby dolls. Although as I have never used it I am not sure of whether it can be used for re-roots or just glued in place.
SILK ROVING: Use to give a fine downy hair to baby dolls when Re-Borning. Glue to attach to head.
CURLY ROVING: Comes as a braid, could possibly be used for a re-root but more commonly glued into place.
KANEKALON FIBRE: Synthetic hair sold for Human use for Afro Hair and for hair extensions, this type of hair is perfect to use when making a head full of plaits - because of it's volume, when used for doll's hair it tends to "puff up" but this can be easily rectified if it is an issue. another plus side with this type of hair is that it is relatively inexpensive and also comes in a wide range of colours.
MERINO WOOL ROVINGS; Can be used to give your doll "Dreadlock" style hair. This comes in a huge range of colours and can be rooted into doll's head, made into a wig or glued into place.
UNSPUN FLEECE; Similar to Merino Wool Rovings in it's look but comes in more natural colours than Merino Wool. May be used in exactly the same way.
SPUN YARN; A natural wool, which can be separated and rerooted, turned into a wig or glued in place.
For a Great Range Of Doll Hair Colours And Types At A Great Price Check Out:
nylon doll hair, saran doll hair, scented doll hair, curly doll hair, Barbie doll hair, Pony doll hair.
- RETRO DOLLS
Restore And Display Your Favourite Vintage Fashion Dolls!
- Doll restoration and supplies
Specializing in Genuine Katsilk / saran Doll Hair in over 83 different colors for rerooting or restoration. Restore your doll to original or make her one of a kind.
How to Re - Root
...Tools required, Preparation and My Re-Root Methods
Now I've told you the about the different types of hair available and you have an understanding of their uses...It's time I told you how to go about it!
Tools Required for Re-Rooting
Any doll can be re-rooted providing it is possible to remove the head from the body, and is not an old painted hair type doll.
There are several tools you can buy specifically designed for the purpose of re-rooting but I find the job can be done just as easily with a Large Eyed Darning Needle,A Pair of Sharp Sissors, A Large Eyed Curved Mattress Needle, Crochet Hook, A Pair of long nosed Pliers, A Pair of Tweezers or a combination of these.
The type of tool you chose will depend on the type of hair you plan to use and the size of the dolls head...for example:
If you have a doll of 12 inches and wish to re-root in Mohair you will probably find it easier to use a Crochet hook to pull the hair through the scalp.
Note: The Crochet hook needs to have a hook small enough to go through the holes in the dolls head.
If on the other hand the doll is 'Barbie' sized, then a darning needle or curved mattress needle will do the job.
Another really important thing you need before you take on this kind of project is Patience - Re-rooting a doll even a small one, takes a long time...but if you are prepared to put in the time to complete the task the results will be well worth it!!
Preparing The Doll's Head For A Complete Re-Root
The very first thing you need to do is remove the head from the body.
If you are removing hair which you might want to use on another doll, then tie the hair in a ponytail and cut it off as close to the scalp as possible.
Store in a clear bag (food bags work well) in a box or tin.
If the hair is unusable or you do not want to keep it, then just cut it off as close to the scalp as you can and discard it.
Use the sissors to trim the remainder as close to the scalp as you possibly can.
Using a pair of tweezers, or crochet needle - work from the inside of the head and scrape out all the hair.
Make sure the inside and outside of the head are completely free of hair before you begin the next step.
* Your doll's head should look like the ones in the picture.
How to Root Your Chosen Hair
- My Re-Root Methods.
The principles remain the same regardless of the size head you are about to re-root, although you may find for a larger doll you will need to adapt these somewhat, by using a bigger needle etc.
METHOD 1) SARAN, NYLON, VISCOSE, STRAIGHT MOHAIR OR HUMAN HAIR:
For a Barbie doll sized head, use a curved needle.
If the doll is larger than that, use a large hole darning needle instead.
Thread a small amout of your chosen hair through the needle's eye - just enough to fill the hole.
Place the tip of the needle against the hole and push through, until it comes out of the neck hole.
You may need to use the pliers to grip the needle and pull it through.
Remove needle and tie a knot in the hair.
You may need to add a dab of glue to it as some hair types won't stay knotted!
If this is the case then just add a small dab of glue and pinch it dry.
Remove any excess hair from around the knot.
Pull hair back through from top of head.
Repeat until Whole head is covered.
* Picture shows partial viscose re-root and Viscose skein.
Tibetan Lambswool Mohair...My Re-root Method 1
Cut required thickness off the plate.
The end which as attached should be made into a small loop and threaded through the eye of a Darning needle.
Sew through hole.
You may need to use pliers to pull the needle through.
As this type of hair is usually quite short... it might help to keep one finger pressing the hair against the head as you pull the needle through.
Take off needle, make knot and glue it.
Trim off any excess hair from around the knot.
Pull back through top of head.
Repeat until whole head is covered.
*Picture shows Tibetan Mohair Plate.
Tibetan Lambswool Mohair ... My Re-root Method 2
Put crochet hook inside doll's head and push through one of the holes.
Cut required thickness from plate.
Tie a knot in the end and glue in place.
Place knot on the outside of the dolls head, close to the hole the crochet hook is inside.
Hold end of hair tight to head.
Take hold of the crochet hook and turn it until it catches hold of the knot.
Pull through hole.
Pull hair tight.
Repeat with all holes until the whole of the head is covered.
**The important thing to remember with any re-root method is that the inside of the dolls head should contain as little hair as possible or the head may not fit back on! **
* Picture Shows an expression's doll with partial Tibetan Lambswool Re-root.
Tibetan Lambswool re root - the finished article
Here's how she looked with a full head of extremely soft and luxurious hair.
After I finished with her hair, I designed and hand sewed her an outfit, hand painted a treat bag and made her some miniature "treats" to go inside!
If you'd like to look her over properly, she's on my Blog, here:
- Ooak Trick or Treater Expressions Doll
The Hair re-root took a couple of weeks to complete in Tibetian Lambswool Mohair. But the effect was just what I wanted, as it naturally stands up and is so so soft to the touch too!
Finished Sindy Re-root using Saran Hair
The hair I used was actually from a Hair Grow Barbie - it's a refill which I removed from the velcro strip and threaded through this "hard head" Sindy doll's head, as this doll is a "hard head" type Sindy it took a lot longer and was at times painful to re-root, as this type of head is very hard to get through but it's not impossible and the end result I'm sure you'll agree was definitely worth it!
My Little Big Eyes as bought
Here she is before I took her out of the box and decided I didn't like her hair!
Out of the Box and Re dressed!
Notice the seam around the top of her head and the way her hair hangs limp?
First "official" Re-Root
I decided she would look nice with a Tibetan lambswool re-root.
I also made her a new coat ... here she is modelling them both!
I changed my Mind!
After several days I still wasn't happy.
The Tibetan Lambswool, although lovely and soft with a slight curl to it, looked pretty good and felt really nice to the touch.
But I felt it was too short. So I decided to remove it all and re-root her again!
This time I used some nylon fake hair which is sold in bulk for use in braiding and hair extensions on human heads.
As it is made with afro hair in mind, it also has a curl to it.
It took about 4 days to re-root her head completely but I am very happy with the results.
Kurhn reroot using Kanekalon Fibre
As you can see from the photo this type of hair is very "bushy" when finished, this is due to the fact that it is a very full type of hair as it is designed to match into or be used with Human Hair and Afro hair in particular.
Kurhn Doll with Kanekalon Fibre re-root
The first picture was taken is of the hair when I'd just finished re-rooting and this one is how it turned out post "treatment"!
Vintage Scottish National Costume doll reroot in Kanekalon Fibre
She's also been given "shaved hair" using a "flocking effect" which a friend on Flickr kindly told me how to do.
Vintage Sindy Clone Doll in Pre-Curled Nylon.
This type of hair is also easy enough to use, the only thing you must remember is which way you'd like the curls to fall when done - prior to starting the re-root, as if you do not keep this in mind you could very easily end up with a doll with extremely "tussled" hair or if you're really unlucky, follicularly resembling Medusa!
Bratz Babyz with Cyber Punk Dreaklocks
Although this doll wasn't re-rooted I thought I'd include her to give you an idea of the type of effect you can achieve by using both natural and man made hair in combination.
Her Dread falls were made using a mixture of synthetic human hair extensions and brown spun yarn and unspun blue fleece.
Bratz Babyz "Dread Falls"
Using a combination of Kanekalon, blue dyed Wool Yarn and Unspun Wool I gave her some CyberGoth style Dread Falls after painting some cobalt blue highlights onto her moulded hair.
Doll Making on Amazon!!
There is a tendency for Little Big Eyes owners to customise their doll to look more like a Blythe.
Little Big Eyes are a cheaper and in some ways nicer Blythe type doll.
This video shows how one owner customised a 'First Series' L.B.E so that it looked more 'Blythe like', or as I like to put it..."Blything Up for L.B.E!!",
The L.B.E in my pictures is from the second series released and is different under the scalp.
There is no cap on the second series doll.
The button at the back of the head is pressed to change the eye colour.
My Ebay Link
Here's where you'll find out what I'm selling right now. Or you can click on my name to read my Dvd and Cd reviews, My Blog or just general information about me.
Read bubblegum-phonebox-mizuhashi's Reviews & Guides, blog, and eBay profile.