Tag Archives: bratz

Bratz Pixiez Reroot notes and How I reroot hard heads

Some photos from working on the bratz pixiez:

  1. deciding on a widows peak and giving the face a heart shape by bringing the hair down at the ears.
  2. the nerve wracking moment when you put in new plugs across the forehead.
  3. mspainted hair plans for the client’s consideration based on prototype photos from toyfair and these that showed up on flickr at just the right time!

How I reroot v hard heads (aka harder than Integrity Toys). (For experienced rerooters)

The difficulties are that you get about 4 minutes at a time where the head is soft enough to work with and that the head needs to be heated without frazzling the hair if you’re using saran. [ By ultra hard heads, I mean the type that give you five minutes of pliability even straight after boiling!]

You’ll need:

  • pin vise for tool method. With a nail or something solid inside the pin vise for the needle to press against.
  • foam block to place the head on while working
  • heat pad set to high heat
  • !timer!
  • no doll grade kanekalon as the frazzle temperature is too low.
  • crocodile clips

The biggest challenge, I guess, is the double tedium of having to wait for the head to heat every four minutes and then getting into the ‘groove’ of working only to have to stop because the head became unworkable again. Do not give in to the temptation to keep working, the plastic does not respond well and can leave big holes or risk cracking open. Vinyl needs some pliability when rerooting.

When heating the head, wrap the hair as low to the roots as possible in a tissue or piece of cotton then put on the timer for 3-5 minutes depending on how hot the heat pad is. You need the head to get hot enough to work but that heat is slightly too much for the saran fibre if you go over 5 mins!

Since your time is limited, make sure that you seperate out lots of wads of hair with crocodile clips so that you can quickly grab them when you run out.
Keep it all in small amounts, brushed and secured with clips etc as you’ll be moving more than usual and that means more risks for messing up hair piles!

Draw out your rerooting lines in pencil on the head in advance to not use up “reroot time” eyeballing and calculating.
Take extra care with front lines, part lines and vunerable areas on the head (take photos before beginning the reroot of any problem zones) as the head is a lot less forgiving.

Have something to do during the heating times and budget double the time of a normal reroot (though it’ll probably be 150-175% unless you’re planning something unusual).

I recommend Nylon over Saran for ultra hard heads as the melt temperature is higher for Nylon which gives you more leeway. Doll grade kanekalon frazzles if you do a boil perm slightly too soon after the boil so I definitely don’t recommend that.

Tutorial for quickly making a generic doll into a custom to gift, donate or resell.

Especially useful around the holidays.

You’ll need

  • 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)
  • tiny scissors
  • a chopstick, a clean screwdriver, tweezers or hemostats to scrape the inside of the head.
  • 90 minutes
  • 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.

Final result:

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:

Wigs

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:

Currently available:

The main: see the ebay link for the colours and quantities

The rares: 3 pink/hotpink, 2 purple/green, 1 black/redwhiteblack, 1 black/bluewhiteblack, 1 neon/hot pink, 1 neon/rainbow.

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. =)

Things they don’t tell you about flocking in the most popular tutorials:

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.

Extra stuff

  • 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

Tutorial: ball chains necklaces for dolls

 photo tutorial ball chain.jpg

Now, most of you probably know about repurposing those little keychain/bag ball chains to make a necklace for your dolls but it can get really fiddly trying to get it on and you’re limited to silver metals that might stain.

Here’s a quick primer on how I’ve been making these:

Buy aluminium ball chains in multicolours and aluminium ball chain clasps in the same ball size (got 500 clasps and a bundle of 6 chains for $1 each free p+p from ebay china).
You then cut the chains to the right length for your doll with a wire cutter and before you add the clasp: widen both ends by pushing a round nose plier upwards so that the clasp is now easy to pop on your doll even when there’s limited space for your fingers (like in the three wrap seen above on Bélla).

As usual, if you’d like some clasps from me (I have hundreds left!) just ask me to add them to an existing order or just pay postage. If you’d like a ballchain necklace, same: 3 for $1.

PS: Bélla is named after Gina Torrès’ character in Hannibal and she’s a modified Magic Nights Out Sashabella.

Calculating reroot amounts (in cm and grams)

Here’s my own cheat sheet (for the tool method aka hair folded in half and for saran, though I use the same amount of nylon as it tends to be lossy during prep/work).

To calculate the size and number of hanks / skeins to buy :
It takes 3 + 1 half (about 40g) , cut in half , to cover a 5/6″ head with very long hair.

1 “hank” of Retrodolls saran is about 90cm and 12g therefore:
A hank can be cut in 3 = length on the doll 14cm max from roots to ends. 2 hanks per reroot.
A hank can be cut in 2 = length on the doll 20 – 22cm. 4 hanks per reroot.

1 “Skein” of Mylittlecustoms/Restoredoll saran is 46cm and 12g, it contains as much hair as a hank but it is shorter.
4 skeins for a reroot = length on the doll 23 cm.

1 “XL Skein” of Mylittlecustoms/Restoredoll saran is 76cm and 40g, it contains approx. 3 and 1/3 hanks/skeins of fiber.
1 whole reroot (Cut in 2) = length on the doll 19cm.

1 “Large Hank” of Retrodolls saran is 90cm and 50g (contains just over 4 hanks)
1 “XL Hank” of Retrodolls saran is 90cm and 100g (contains 8 hanks)

Not using dollyhair hanks any more as they were averaging 8-9g.

See https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0As0WIngBCIdZdFIzRUdFZmZONktVNzM2eUd5STczVWc#gid=2 for the colour matches between sellers.

 

If you’re looking to measure your doll’s hair in inches, please see NoNapTime’s awesome tutorial: http://www.nonaptime.com/2015/02/calculating-the-amount-of-hair-needed-for-a-reroot

How to Reroot a fringe (bangs) on a doll

  • Seperate out the front line of hair plugs.
  •  photo foffringe1.jpg

  • Cut it and save the hair.
  •  photo foffringe2.jpg

  • Use the hair folded on itself to add 1 or two lines of plugs behind that front row for a thicker, neater look.
  •  photo funkoutfianna.jpg

  • Use hot water to style the hair downwards on the forehead (using a piece of elastic fabric like tights/hose is ideal for this).
  • Use nail scissors to neatly cut the fringe/bangs to just above the eyes but covering the eyebrows.
  •  photo fiorenza_transformation.jpg

    Displaying your dolls and toys safe from dust

    I’ve tried all sorts of things over the years for displaying my tiny toys: slotted cardboard to make squares, cardboard steps that didn’t hold up, etc… Buying display steps costs a small fortune and woodworking is just not possible for me.

     photo styrofoamdisplay-vert.jpg

    These steps were made from insulation styrofoam (left over from the move) which can be bought in 5-6cm thick panels for very cheap at your local hardware store.
    I cut 3 panels: 15cm, 10cm and 5cm wide and stacked them using toothpicks and glue. Note: I used a much longer wood saw than the one shown because it was too messy with the little hacksaw. It’s very easy to saw through the soft styrofoam then rub the edges together to remove any leftover bits … but you’ll need a vacuum cleaner after as it gets very messy!
    I’ll be monitoring closely for plastic melt over the next few months as some plastics just don’t play well together, I’d recommend covering your steps with craft paper or cotton fabric if you can.

    The shelves are also protected from dust by transparent curtains made by buying those cheap storage bags that you attach to a vacuum to suck out the air and save space.
     photo tutorialdisplay.jpg
    They cost about $6-8 each from ebay shipped from china. Just cut the required amount of clear plastic from the side without the vacuum hole bit then use thumbtacks to attach it to the top of the shelves and sticky tack to keep it held down against the shelves.
    tutorial: dust protection from vacuum storage bags photo vacuumstoragebagsandpushpinsasglassdoors.jpg
    When you want to take photos of your collection you just roll it up on top of the bookcase to avoid the plastic glare. My dolls barely had any dust after a whole year untouched when I moved house because of this setup!

    Faux fur gloves to doll wig tutorial

     photo wigtutorial.jpg

    1- Purchase dollar store faux fur fingerless gloves or cuffs (or search ebay for “fur” with free shipping, worldwide, under $1.50)
    2 – Unpick the fur part from the wooly part using a seam ripper
    Note: If you’d like to save the gloves, stitch through all the open loops using a matching yarn.
    3 – Get out your doll and wrap the fur inside out around the head and pin into place.
    4 – Roll back some fur all around the head and pin it.
    5 – Put pins in place as close as possible to the head
    6 – Remove the fur from the head and turn it out and make sure to brush or pull out any fur trapped in the seams made by the pins.
    7 – Quickly backstitch the rolled back fur hem and the basic shape of the wig.
    8 – Go over and over the seam with pillowstitch to secure it.
    9 – Turn it inside out and you have a wig!

    One pair of gloves can make two or three wigs. The third wig will be made of two leftover bits sewn together and will be more messy – like the one I just made for this tutorial.
    The cheapy faux fur gloves come in white, grey, black and coffee but you can also get equally cheap arm cuffs in fancy colours like red and pink (The arm cuffs can make up to 8 wigs).

    Obviously it’s easier if you purchase faux fur fabric and use a 5/6 inch head pattern but this is for people who don’t have access to a fabric shop or don’t want to purchase a yard of the stuff. A generic pattern may not be a snug fit for your doll unless it’s a monster high specific pattern because of their unique head shapes.

     photo wig_clawdeen.jpg
     photo glove_wig_bratz.jpg
     photo wigonlivblack.jpg

    Bi-colour wigs can also be rotated to give different effects.
     photo flipwigs.jpg
     photo flipwigs2.jpg