Tag Archives: hair

Guest Post: smoothing pony hair (nylon) in general by Tiffy

Cross posted from https://imreadydollparts.tumblr.com/

I’ll try to get this all together in one go….

How to get from:




Most important

is that your flat iron has multiple heat settings.

That is 100% my secret. I lucked into the right flat iron about 15 years ago.

If it’s just on-off it’s most likely too hot. If it’s low-high, also tends to be too hot even on low.

Mine has 30 temp settings, but they are 1-30 not the actual temps so I can’t give any advice as to what temp I’m using on what hair, just what flat iron setting.

I generally stay on heat setting one (which on my particular iron is low enough to not melt Kanekalon, while also high enough to smooth nylon) unless a hair is particularly stubborn, then I will turn it up by one dot on the dial at a time, testing it every time it reaches temp again.

Very rarely does my iron melt hair but it has happened with the color-change streak on a Splash n Color Teresa and with Creata doll hair*. Nylon can handle a little more heat but is also very willing to take a shape, so doesn’t need much.

Mini Tip:  I’ve found that wet hair smooths out more easily than dry. The steam, I guess. As long as your flat iron is set right for your fiber the hair will not melt, so you can do it dry if you want, but wet goes better.

Second biggest tip is that Amazon thinks I have a cat and a dog but I don’t.

That’s because I use pet combs and brushes on doll and pony hair.

Metal tines, as long as they are smooth (I had some combs that were punched from a sheet of metal and the tines were squared off and sharp) are best for plastic hair fibers because plastic combs have seam lines on the tines that can snag and tear hair.


A cat slicker brush like this is best for regular brushing because, just like a detangling brush for people, the wires will bend and let go of a knot instead of ripping out the hair.


@firespirited? told me about this type of steel comb and it is amazing. The tines don’t bend [on mine] and the comb hasn’t warped at all even with repeated use and some heavy tangles. You can turn the comb on it’s end and use the last tine as a pick when needed.


And this exact flea comb has been MVP. I picked it up relatively recently and have been amazed by it’s durability (only recently have the tines started to bend a little and that’s after roughly 300 dolls and ponies and pulling pretty hard on some of them). It also does some kind of magic on doll hair.

The spacing on this comb is also so fine that it can pull out more dirt than a soap and water wash did. It’s excellent at removing lint, bug parts (had centipede legs and dead ants that were falling apart in pony hair recently), and most animal hairs as long as they aren’t aligned with the fibers. Have to get those with tweezers.

Often I’ve gotten through the rough comb out with the steel comb and the fibers felt like they might need hit with the flat iron, but after making a few passes with this flea comb it’s perfectly smooth and doesn’t need heat anyway.

Leading the flat iron with this comb (as in having the iron right behind the comb while flattening and combing at the same time) has helped a ton with smoothing out the tips of the hairs. Without doing that, there’s usually an inch or so of bad scruff left over after flattening. This takes it down to about a quarter inch which is a lot less loss after trimming.

(Amazon affiliated links to the brush, steel comb, and flea comb.)

Third biggest is conditioner.

Even if the hair doesn’t feel very dry, a little time in some conditioner will make it flatten more easily.

Any conditioner will help, but some do work better than others. I ran out of some Herbal Essences conditioner and bought a GALLON of Mane n Tail. Mane n Tail has been kind to MY hair, but wasn’t as effective on doll/pony hair as the Herbal Essences. Suave is another brand that’s worked well.

I’ve also had very good results from an after-coloring treatment mask from Garnier and tend to save that one for the worst feeling hairs.

Also important:

Realistic expectations.

The hair won’t feel perfect after flattening. Most of it will feel really great, but the ends will generally still be crinkled up a bit. That means the very ends of the hair will feel bad, still, and so will any shorter hair with the end being up in the main uh….. I don’t know clump of hair? You’ll be able to feel it if you run your hand down the hair. You can ignore those, pluck or trim them, whatever you want.

You may also have to condition and flatten multiple times to get the results you’re looking for. Don’t be discouraged if the first flattening doesn’t get you there.

Here’s a badly matted Disney Animator’s Collection Rapunzel with the left side combed out:


And after the first run through the flat iron:


And here after three or four conditionings and flattenings (I don’t remember exactly how many):


As for how

The order in which I do things changes depending on the state of the hair. If it’s very tangled and matted I usually won’t try to wash it until I’ve detangled it with the steel comb, because it’s difficult to rinse again and I don’t like working with soapy-wet hair.

If it’s particularly gross and dirty, though, I’ll go ahead and wash it because I also don’t like to touch nasty, or sticky hair. I use dish soap. It’s effective on a lot of different kinds of yuck and won’t harm the doll/pony or it’s hair.

Assuming the hair is too icky to touch comfortably:

– Wash and rinse, followed by a towel drying (or laying out to dry if I’m doing a LOT of them at once) and then set to work on the tangles with the steel comb.

– Starting at the ends comb the hair, slowly working your way up to the root, very carefully, gently picking apart mats with the wider-end of the steel comb or the end tine on a metal-tined hair pick or rat-tailed comb (there weren’t any rat-tailed combs when I went shopping for one so I got a pick and it works fine) until all of the major tangles are gone.

– Tip to root, very carefully with the finer end of the steel comb.

– Tip to root, very carefully with the flea/nit comb.

– This is where I generally apply conditioner. You can either apply it directly or if I’m doing a lot of Barbies all at once, I like to put some cool water in a dish, mix in some conditioner, and lay them so their hair is all in the same dish. That saves some product. Then let that sit however long you want. There is no too long, don’t worry even if it dries in the hair. It’ll rinse out fine. Then rinse well when you’re ready.

Mini Tip: Some people will tell you to flat iron the hair with the conditioner in. You can do that if you want. I haven’t found it makes much of a difference unless the hair is desperately dry, and in that case I’ve found it more effective to apply a very thin coating of petroleum jelly (put a little-little bit in your palm, rub it around until your hands are just a bit greasy but not very, run the hair between your hands a few times) and heat that in, as opposed to regular hair conditioner.

– Towel dry, and while it’s still damp, section it out and hit it with the flat iron. BE CAREFUL flat ironing wet or damp hair because you will drop boiling hot water into your own lap. Just be cautious. Keep a towel in your lap.

I generally flat iron from root to tip, leading the iron with the flea/nit comb. This works out fine if you’ve detangled properly.

– Repeat conditioning through flat ironing steps as needed. The first flat ironing is generally not enough when the hair was badly matted.


*For Creata brand doll hair, carefully detangle, comb, and wrap with your curlers, put the head in a plastic baggie then- or directly into- a mug of water, and put it on a candle warmer for a few hours.

Tiffy restores dolls and ponies at https://imreadydollparts.tumblr.com/

Trial and error with déco flocking. Part 1

Barbie “Wonkette”: Success! Décoden caulk in plain white with AB coated 1mm glass beads and 2mm “micro diamonds” sharp facetted AB coated glass. Doesn’t shed. The shimmer effect is *~*amazing*~*. Kept.

Draculaura: Mixed. Décoden caulk white with a drip of red which ended up clashing with the face and not looking like icing at all, fixing caulk errors once it’s begun to dry (and it’s fast) is messy. Flakes don’t stick unless pressed in. Back to bald.

Barbie Desirée: Nope. UHU glue leeches the colour from painted glass beads which discolour in patches (no photos of this step sorry) and stains the plastic. Second attempt with E6000 does not grip the glass beads which shed upon touch. Back to bald.

Bratz Sharidan: Mixed. UHU glue works well with both glitter and plastic diamonds. Very nice and solid. Scalp needs painting first & the shiny showgirl helmet makes the eye makeup look dull. Back to bald.

Removing the hair from a vintage doll who’s hair has felted/melted together and rerooting a swiss cheese head safely

  • Cover the faces with tissues when ever you’re working with them as friction from your hands could damage the vintage paint
  • Alternate between tough nail scissors and thinner sharper blades to pracically shave the hair as close to the head as possible: any plugs melted together will rip open a hole so slice between partings and clumps until you can see each individual plug. This is really messy, there will be hair dust everywhere but it’s worth it. You can’t compensate for all the holes the vintage rooting will have left but you can avoid making any more.
  • Resist the urge to use your hemostats and tweezers to yank on the hair: prefer scraping motions even if it takes longer for a cluster of hair (glued of felted together on the inside) to dislodge from the vinyl.
  • Take detailed photos of problem areas before boiling just the tops of the head on a thick chopstick [and again do not touch the face, let it dry off naturally.]
  • The top of the head can be wiped with acetone just don’t put huge amounts on the cotton wipe so it won’t drip anywhere near the face, take as many wipes as you need to do this slowly and safely.
  • wiping the faces with water + a plain cotton wipe is enough to remove the grime. repaint work is done after rerooting.
  • If the plastic tears are too wide, put a layer of UHU glue down inside the head and let it dry for 48 hours as a sort of second coating of plastic.
  •   fill the head with tiny pieces of sponge to avoid squishing anything open and wrap the facial area in tissue before beginning rerooting work (obviously do this AFTER you’ve drawn the new hairline, not like me who had to undo it all then redo it LOL)

Braiding kanekalon for rerooting info

1/ If it’s dip dyed they used something idye poly and it smells like formaldehyde when heated

2/ Don’t strain yourself trying to straightening it: go for the higest setting on your iron (or notch it up little by little until you find what doesn’t burn). That’s a temperature of 200° Celcius on my iron (329° Fahrenheit)

3/ This applies to braiding kanekalon for human braids only! Glow in the dark kanekalon, Toyokalon, doll grade kanekalon and poly types will frazzle so always test the hair end before starting in the middle! Reminder that saran takes upto 120°C & no more.

4/ glue solidily into the head and wait a full 48 hours or it can come out while brushing or just moving the head.

Rerooting tips (a walkthrough of my latest reroot)

This was my latest comission, I was sent the anime picture and was told it was going to be a Star Darlings Sage so I measured everything on my own Sage (from @dollsahoy thankyou! – they didn’t get a release in france outside of disney stores as far as i can tell) then was asked if I’d reroot a MTM Curvy yoga (the strawberry blonde Neysa) which I turned down //which is huge for me// because they have the worst screening then was sent a photo of a WITCH doll which seemed 1/6th to me, I figured they were MyScene size on 11? bods… so yeah sure!

Anyway she arrives and I have a small freak out because the head is bigger than expected and I’m not sure if I have enough black, it’s been precut for a doll with a different head size and i’m not sure how to space the plugs. She’s a 6? head size around the edge but quite a deep dome so at least an hours extra work than a LIV (slightly smaller head size and flatter dome).

The original has horrid nylon that needs nail scissors to cut without choking so no going on the original plug layout. Thankfully we’re not working over the original parting because that’s swiss cheese. I’ve been having an ongoing anxiety attack for days so this is just an unexpected set of calculations that makes my head spin and BSOD for a while. She’s cute, that helps me visualize an end result and feel better about this. The Liv she’s been sent with is slightly too dark (a beach doll?) so i’ll discreetly swap it out for one I have in my To Sell pile from back when I was angling to save up for a Pullip Batgirl (tan version) – her price skyrocketed after release so I’ve put that grail firmly in the “buy only if spotted under x price” pile, as you do. OK OK, back to the process…

I take photos of problem areas and put the head in the microwave submerged in a mug of water for 4 minutes. don’t touch until she’s fully chill. Do NOT do this with Integrity Toys, vintage dolls or latest fashionistas: the ITs have pearl/shimmer finishes that go dull under heat, vintage dolls and 2019 fashionistas have decals or ink that can be altered or melted by heat, you’ll want to put your doll head on a stick and dip only the dome into a pan of boiling water until the vinyl reshapes. This is a sturdy playline doll with solid facepaint and I still won’t touch it until everything is completely cooled down.

Then apply black acrylic paint and pull my brush in one direction only to keep part of the plugs flesh toned (ie visible), then apply undiluted acrylic matte sealant (anything else gets tacky). Leave to dry for two hours.

Scratch in the markings for the partings with a needle (middle and fringe/back of hair). As you can see, these got adjusted as the head came together.

She needs to look asian not caucasian with dyed black hair so not too thick on top and a rounded heavy parting. I decide on a large curved shaped fringe area – it’s 1.50cm long and extends to the edges of her eyebrows. I do not like triangle shaped bangs (as seen on Draculaura), they are too easy to mess up, same with flat (two row) thatched bangs on Bratz. To be fair, I avoid bangs whenever possible, I don’t like static un-restylable dolls, I hope they get played with. A curved fringe can at least get put back into place quite easily instead of having to lay out the individual hair plugs just right in a messed up triangle fringe, tie it all down then boil it back into place then gel. nuh uh.

Unsure of how much hair to use on this head size, I rooted in rows of plugs 5mm apart, 8mm between lines then went back at the end of the reroot to fill in empty areas as it wasn’t thick enough. ended up with a criss cross design of about 5-7mm between plugs with very tight edges along the front lines and partings.

I’ve taken overexposed photos to show the plugs, it looks neat enough to not be thatched with the black paint. I don’t thatch unless paid extra to.I’m a perfectionist but not “two+ extra unpaid hours” perfectionist LOL.

Now to heat seal the shape of the hair without damaging the water soluble acrylic paint/sealant: you tie up the hair just right, pop the head in a baggie, put a chopstick in the head to push down because or else it’ll float and put it in boiling water, the elastics will snap but the bag sort of sticks to the shape of the head so it keeps the shape.

Finally, the WITCH head hole is slightly large on a Liv bod so I made a washer from the vinyl scalp of a clone, squeezed it over the anchor then pushed it all into the head. Full movement without wobbles. Thankyou for your sacrifice ugly barbie clone, your neck went to humblezombie and your scalp’s bald patch to this commission.



This my new reroot tool handle, nicked from a broken kitchen tool ^___^ so it’s a pin vise wrapped in washable stretch fabric stuffed into a proper rubber handle now. Finally getting comfy =p (not that my shoulders aren’t screaming at me for this).

How I reroot dolls with very fragile heads

* boil the head to make the holes smaller

* glue the head split with superglue and avoid it during the reroot

* optional: add a thin layer of e6000 to the inside of the scalp for extra heft

* stuff the head with foam

This foam was left over from a nail buffer block. I cut off thin slices, rolled them and stuffed them into the head carefully with hemostats until the head was completely full – it took all but 1cm of the foam!

The idea is to keep the head split from reopening by making sure that the head doesn’t bend during a tension reroot.

When the reroot is finished, I’ll gently pull out the foam and put in more glue than usual so that the head doesn’t split open when the hair is brushed or the head squished.

I’ve done this before with clone or vintage dolls with super thin vinyl that threatens to tear and will keep you posted on this greyscale lady.

How to make a pastel rainbow Licca!


Here are the measurements if you’d like to make your own.

(This will work with castle/new gen Licca heads with a slight redraw of the front line of hair for a more modern hairline. See side picture of the bald head.)

  • 10 bands at the front: 6mm each
  • 10 bands at the back: 5mm each
  • 5 bands across the 3cm parting: 6mm each

So far each colour band (front + back) has taken me 1h30 with the tool method.

The pencil rubs off during the reroot so I recommend doing alternate bands of colour.
The fuzzy no-flash collage is the closest colour match to the real thing: pastel yellow, lavender, a peachy pink and minty/seafoam green.

She’s not as pastel as I’d hoped to make her (the client wanted true pastels but that would mean purchasing 5 different nylon packs including some from the USA) because saran doesn’t have a pale blue that isn’t very green. I tried to dilute the “teal” blue but the blends looked very grey against all these full colours. So instead I darkened the mint with some seafoam so it was approximately the same darkness as the rest.

I’m torn between loving it and hating that it’s not right.
The stripe design worked out great with triple rainbows at the pigtails and options for lots of different hairstyles that show the single or double rainbow. Very very pleased with that! I can see it working with a gradient reroot such as red, celtic red (tomato soup), orange, yellow, golden blonde…

Monster High yellow glue staining

Monster High Catrine de Mew I’m currently working on with serious yellowing from seeping yellow head glue/goop.

You can see where various plugs/plastic tie holes are stained more from where the glue seeped out, how it came down the hair onto the forehead and right side of the neck where the hair was tied.

You can also see the vinyl colour compared to a Spectra with the china white glue and a Spectra with the indonesia yellow glue (see those earholes!).

The difference between unstained Spectra and Catrine’s skin tones in person is even more pronounced than the photos washed out by flash.

Magic eraser attenuated the edges of the stain very slightly but I’m still stumped as how i’m going to proceed. I could use pastel chalk to try and ‘paint it white’ but I don’t have any MSC.

Peroxide bleaching needs sunlight which accelerates yellowing so that’s out.

Here’s white glue Spectra vs yellow glue Spectra

and a yellow glue stained Twyla who’s hair has gone yellow

Glue removal for Monster high or other Mattel dolls with glue in their heads using talc

 photo tutorial_stickyglueremoval 1.jpg

 photo tutorial_stickyglueremoval 2.jpg

 photo tutorial_stickyglueremoval 3.jpg

 photo tutorial_stickyglueremoval 4.jpg
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.
  • Repeat
  • 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!