I don’t have proper photos of the finished doll yet as she needs lips and better lighting but, here, have some work in progress pictures of Gradient Blue Mbili (aka don’t make me use the word ombré when you mean camaieu) using leftovers from the Catrine reroot. I used black as a seventh colour at the back as I didn’t have enough ink blue to do more than a stripe. I also realized about 60% through that I did not have as much cobalt leftover as i had thought (actually enough for like 3 plugs) which was the impetus to sew all of the wigs to raise money for hair to finish this which is circular craft logic insanity and happens more often than i’ll admit.
Also I have so much doll hair but I keep ending up without the specific colour for the specific design that’s already half finished.
I’m brilliant at seeing a situation and knowing within seconds how many ways it could go wrong, I can look at a product design and see within seconds the flaws and limitations and ways to misuse the product, I can tell from people’s use of language the things they are hiding or trying to say without actually saying but i can’t plan ahead for a craft project or food plans without extremely detailed checklists.
I mean I’ve done over 150 full reroots and have been rerooting since 2002 but have a checklist I now follow religiously because of too many “oops” half way through.
Here it is
remove original hair
photos of bald doll’s problem areas
optional/ wash doll if glue head
boil head. do not touch with anything until cool as it will scrape the paint decals.
optional/ glue areas that can be fixed, wait 24h
optional/ paint scalp (acrylic)
optional/ seal scalp with matt varnish (for acrylic)
measure, cut and seperate hair hanks with twist ties and crocodile clips
detail reroot (front line and parting)
check for thin areas
add glue, wait 24h
recheck for thin areas
guess “check that you have enough of all the colours” was missing LMAO.
It’s a sidepart gradient reroot using the same semi circle system as for Licca or MH (see my previous posts for the diagrams) which means that 6 colours are visible on one side of the face, 5 on the other. The middle colour (the pale turquoise) is split 4mm for one side of the parting and 2mm for the other.
I made the portions too wide at the parting which means only 4 of 6 are properly visible before the drop off – This is because monster high heads or liccas are mostly spherical and barbies are ovoid.
So please note if you’re doing a 5-6 colour gradient reroot for Barbies: 5 or 6mm at the front but the parting portions need to be 3-4mm apart.
Editing to add that I use E6000 for fixing vinyl holes and UHU all purpose (not the green version) to seal the hair in.
hair (from a donor doll, from a hair extension, seperated sewing thread or about a ¼ of a hank of doll hair),
a reroot tool (a needle with the eye cut into a fork inserted into a pin vise or a piece of wood)
a chopstick, a clean screwdriver, tweezers or hemostats to scrape the inside of the head.
glue (not white glue or super glue)
24h waiting time while the glue dries
First put the doll’s hair into a loose ponytail then gently cut the first line of hair (you can brush it out later), put your chopstick or hemostats inside the neck and scrape to pull the hair out of the holes then root in the hair. Listen to a podcast or watch some tv to not get too bored as this is a bit tedious. I like to put an extra line of plugs behind the originals to make the hair look thick. Also add a few plugs to the front of the parting so the doll will look cool with her hair down as well as in a ponytail.
Optional: You can also change the doll’s eye color with acrylic paint or with sharpie (sharpie only on the actual eye decal or it’ll bleed into the vinyl) or add nail art decorations.
This is also the method I use for restoring dolls who have worn hair from overbrushing if they’ve still got enough hair to avoid a full reroot (or don’t have glue heads!) except that you’ll need to take up to 2-3 hours gently back brushing the hair with your hands and cutting out torn, shorter strands. The area that gets the most damaged is that first line of plugs and the parting so cutting them out and replacing them after pruning the rest of the hair is a way of getting a like new custom doll.
Examples of used dolls who benefitted from a partial reroot:
I finished the wigs from the commission catastrophe*!
I angrily cut out every last piece of every last scrap of fur with tiny scissors over two nights then felt at peace again and sewed them together with loads of love while rewatching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (because it feels like going home every rewatch).
There are 80 wigs, all hand sewn with tiny backstitch so that’s a lot of Star Trek – I finished sewing at S03 e22 LOL
I’ve put 71 on ebay but you can order via my email, via tumblr or flickr or if you’d like one of the rare or obsolete ones:
The obsolete: $1 each, short pile wigs: 7 grey, 3 big floofy royal blue, 3 of the mixed khaki, 3 of the thin long pile white fur, 1 each of the other colours.
1 to 4 wigs postage cost $1.95 Worldwide
5 to 15 wigs postage $3.40 Worldwide
That’s the price of the stamp + paypal fees.
I’m no professional so these are very much *hand made* wigs, take a good look at the photos to see the type of fur and it’s thickness. I personally like to trim them once I’ve chosen a style to look less straggly and use needle and thread instead of elastics when making buns, pigtails et al to avoid ripping out fur.
editing to add that you can use these to sell custom dolls; no problems, just say ebayer saffyruth or tumblr firespirited made the wig.
*I was commissioned for make 20-30 wigs for someone in exchange for 1 doll, 1 head and a wig per colour for myself, for almost two years I heard nothing then the client sent enough fur for 5 times that and wanted it all processed and didn’t understand (or was unwilling to understand) that extra time = extra costs. I ended up cutting and pre-sewing 90 wigs before realising that the client expected all that extra work for free, thought I had all the time in the world and they were also haggling about the doll body that was supposed to be with the parcel. I was very confused as what to do and didn’t want drama so I sent them just over half the wigs, and kept half plus scraps. Left it all for six months sat under my bed in a box. Bought the full doll for myself as a treat yoself spite-present instead. =)
Some work in progress photos to illustrate how I’ve recently done reroots on dolls with holes in their heads (2 barbies with scalp holes for hair/crown gimmicks) and now a monster high clawdeen with the animal ears removed.
E6000 glue placed inside the head via the neck and from the outside of the holes. It’s self levelling so I tape over it and leave it to dry upside down for over 24-36h (anything less and it’ll stick to the tape when you remove it and you’ll have to add more glue. These aren’t thin strips of glue but probably 5 – 7mm globs. It’ll need another 24h to be safe to reroot.
I used a very sharp exacto knife to remove any excess bits on the edge of the holes as it could easily start to peel and pull off.
The glue grabs the needle just like vinyl does so it’s good for a tool method reroot.
I don’t like to layer on the scalp paint too thick (if I use paint at all) to better see the existing holes. The glue patched earholes show up as slightly darker but they’re completely hidden in most hair styles.
I recommend painting over the earholes to be totally opaque when rerooting a pale skinned doll such as Catrine, or if you’re using nylon which is slightly translucent.
If you do not have the exact same glue, do not follow the same instructions or wait times.
Watering down your glue may lead to the flocking dripping off your doll’s head slowly if it isn’t a quick drying glue
Whatever glue you use make sure that it is solid enough to not ooze. Brush it on then use something flat like a card to make sure the glue isn’t thicker in parts then let it get a little bit tacky before putting on your flocking.
If you use your fingers to tap down the flocking be very, very gentle as you’ll just push around the flocking which leaves thick and thin bits.
Waiting an hour with white school glue was not long enough., I went to brush off the flock and made a mess. If in doubt, wait overnight.
You may have to try this multiple times before you get it right so you won’t have the luxury of not collecting up the un-used flocking for re-use
Don’t use a plate, use a box with nice pointy corners or collecting your flock for re-use will be difficult. Using paper that you then fold to pour out the flock might seem like a smart idea but don’t underestimate the power of flock to go flying all over the place if you so much as breathe wrong.
Make sure to look through the flock for any particules that might have gotten in and remove that with tweezers.
Flocking a flexible head is different from flocking a hard head (such as vintage male dolls, integrity toys or ball jointed dolls)
The edges will probably come unstuck if you have to manipulate the head and depending on the style it may not withstand transport in a bubble enveloppe.
You will want to reroot first then apply masking tape while flocking as the hair roots may absorb glue if they are a porous fibre.
Different flockings will act differently so following a tutorial made for X flock may not work for what you have in mind for your doll.
The wool flock I used went white and crunchy when using multiple layers because it absorbed the glue too well so it was easier to gently apply extra wool to thin spots by hand bit by bit.
The glitter became dulled and grey where the glue was too thick. Also some glitters or flock made from chopped ribbon will bleed colour when mixed in non water based glues. (This can stain your doll)
Velvet flock usually needs multiple layers to look good.
The flock they sell in doll restoration shops is often finely chopped doll hair so you can make your own to match the exact colour of the reroot.
If using masking tape, you need to remove it while the glue is still a bit wet or you’ll tear your new flocking which has a paperlike quality
scale matters! the flock that creates a fuzzy look on a small ken head may make a larger doll look near bald. Are you going for a shaved look or a pixie cut look?
You can work with chopped wool or mohair for a fluffier look and trim any excess with tiny scissors
Flocking is too delicate to serve as a wig: you’ll want to create a hard wig cap then flock that or create something fairly solid (and bulky) with silicone glue or caulk.
The amount of microbeads/nail caviar contained in a small vial such as those in 12 colour sets (barely 1g) is not nearly enough for a Monster High sized head and microbeads get embedded in the rooting holes and take quite some scrubbing out if you change your mind or mess it up.
paint the scalp if you’re using translucent microbeads as it’ll look patchy no matter how many layers you add
This works with both the white and yellow glues but it does have to be disintegrating and therefore sticky. This won’t work if the talc can’t stick to the glue.
Put on some clothes that you don’t mind getting covered in talc and use a face mask if you have asthma.
Put your thumb over the neck hole while shaking the head or you’ll get talc everywhere.
Squish the head to break up the glue and shake some more.
Tap the neck hole against your hand to get the lumps out. You may need tweezers for the bigger bits.
You can use a screwdriver or long scissors or hemostats to gently scrape around the inside of the head to dislodge more glue but be careful to not pull hair into the head.
I used this method on my Honey Swamp (early june 2016, 4 months ago at the time of this post) and she’s not seeped anymore glue. It’s still early but now that so much glue is out, I’m hopeful that she won’t seep more and require a reroot – I don’t want to touch those gorgeous curls!
The $2 body aka “doll toy no head” or the pale fakie body without the torso joint.
Ok where to start? Well mine arrived broken and with two right lower legs so that took a classic “drill a hole with a nail drill, put in a piece of paper clip + glue it” fix and it’s kind of obvious that she’s got wonky lower legs.
The body arrived with the arms seperate so you’ll need to crack open the torso to put them in.
The torso and upperlegs are made of thin hollow hard plastic that is light enough for Licca, Kuhrn, Lelia, etc…
The hard plastic has black marks that only go away with sanding or wiping with magic eraser.
The neck knob doesn’t allow for much range of movement.
The upper legs have heavy seams that needed scraping off with a craft knife as they interfered with movement at the hip joint
The arms and lower legs are vinyl of a darker skintone with darker marks in the vinyl itself (cannot be removed), joints of a different colour and some flash on the hands. The joints hold well. The different pieces aren’t removable.
While this body is a *lot* less floppy than the fakie body with a torso joint and is an OK match for pale skintones it’s also lesser quality in terms of the hollow plastic and mismatched arms/lower legs. You’ll need a magic eraser + craft knife to prep this body for use and it’ll be discoloured. I don’t recommend it for dyeing as there are too many different plastic types and colours.
Listing image, Arrival and Pin repair:
Body after seam removal and magic eraser, Body with Lelia head
From Ebay China. A few years back a chinese seller had these black glasses at $1 per pair and I bought several for my Barbies. I hadn’t seen them at less then $4 since… until last month – twenty at once with free shipping!
They were bought on the 28th of november and arrived the 4th of january.
They all have a teeny bit of flash on the upper bridge, I removed it with a knife for all the doll photos here. The glasses fit Barbie + Integrity sizes best and can be bent to fit Myscene and Licca but they look rather unfortunate on Myscene who’s eyes are painted off center for a cute cartoony effect. They don’t fit Monster High.
The hipster Licca picture is free to distribute and edit. ?