Tonight I am finally getting around to writing the tutorial on rooting doll hair that I promised a couple entries ago! I read about this somewhere on the web, possibly on the Prilly Charmin blog, when I was researching my repair of the Revlon doll recounted in the Fifties Fashionista entry. Above, you can see the doll on the left has choppy hair which has been cut. The doll on the right is a Revlon ponytail with her original haircut.
In the past, I re-rooted doll hair by taking a few strands of hair, knotting them, and pushing them into the doll's head with a mushroom rooting tool. As you can imagine, this was incredibly tedious! With this new method there is no knotting; the felting needles knot the hair inside the head for you. It is much easier and faster. The materials you will need are felting needles, sharp scissors or hair cutting shears, and doll hair or human hair extensions.
|Materials: felting needles, hair, scissors|
In this case, I could not find any replacement hair that is an exact match. This doll's hair is extremely thick. I had some vintage Saran hair saved from a different doll. The Saran hair was a little lighter, but was a better match as far as texture. I mixed it with human hair extension hair from Sally's. This hair was the right color but a finer texture. To begin rooting, cut a bit of hair off the weft if you are using wefted extensions, or take a good pinch of loose hair. You will have some loss as hair falls away after you root it.
|Hold the hair taut over the hole and stab several times with the felting needle.|
For a doll with rooting holes already perforated, such as when you are replacing hair like this, hold a good pinch of hair over the holes and pull it taut using your thumb and forefinger. Stab through the hair into the rooting hole using the felting needle. Stab several times until you have the number of strands rooted that you want. Pull the excess hair away, regather it, and place it over the next plug. Tug on the finished plug to make sure it is secure and to help it fall in the right direction. When you are finished, trim the new hair to match the existing hair or cut into the style you wish.
If you are rooting a doll with no rooting holes, first warm the doll's head over a light bulb or with a hair dryer. Do NOT use this method on celluloid dolls, as heat can cause the celluloid to explode. Then poke holes in the warm head using an old broken felting needle or a mushroom rooting tool. Then root the hair as in the other method.
Here is the doll with much better hair! I have read that you can also use this method on cloth dolls, which opens up a whole world of possibilities for my felt dolls! One of the things that has frustrated me the most is the limited range of possibilities for styling the wigged dolls' hair. As a girl, I always wanted to style my dolls' hair over and over! I have two felt heads ready to paint, so maybe I will try rooting their hair this time instead of wigging them! Enjoy re-rooting your doll's hair!