Tag Archives: reroot

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.

1969 Barbie Julia

Saw this 1969 Julia Barbie on ebay in a TLC lot and knew I really wanted to try and fix her up.



Her hair was so frazzled that it was crumbling to dust and someone really had a good ol slash at her, I have no idea why. I rerooted her with foam in her head and then used enough glue to make the top of her head solid to avoid any further tearing.

I decided to go with inky blue instead of the usual red, black or ruby. The last photo is the closest match to how she looks IRL but still much too red.

I’ve noticed that most Julias have their eyebrows printed lower than the little brow bumps on her sculpt. She looks nothing like Diahann Caroll but she does have the cutest profile!

Her neck is smaller than your classic TNT/belly button body size (Repro Julia has a normal neck size) and I can’t possibly get my hands on a body dark enough and small enough here in france. I’d recommend finding a Francie body or maybe DCHC Bumblebee she’s a very close match to the 90s-2000s Nikki “light black”.

Monster High Gradient Reroot- WIP pictures

Catrine gradient reroot – work in progress photos:

Paint the head with acrylic + seal with acrylic matte. The acrylic paint chips off in tiny little flakes where you reroot each hole but leaves plenty enough colour at the end. I regret painting over the front line as I couldn’t see some tightly packed original rooting holes that ended up splitting open. I was so worried about the parting (which went fine) that I forgot about that danger zone of a front line.

Sectioned off 5* zones for 5 colours: I made a pencil mark at 6mm along the front line and 6mm along the parting then drew semi circles.

*A parting doubles the sections, ears double some of the sections and every section switch means breaking the rerooting routine and starting over with the hair piles and braids etc. Think of it as patchwork: more pieces, more sewing. If you’re planning a gradient/ombré reroot, keep in mind that it’s much easier to do 3-5 sections as opposed to tHiRtEen. Yeah, I’m a total idiot but it’s going to be so prettyyyyyy!

reroot check list and gradient reroot on barbie measurements


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

  1. remove original hair
  2. photos of bald doll’s problem areas
  3. optional/ wash doll if glue head
  4. boil head. do not touch with anything until cool as it will scrape the paint decals.
  5. optional/ glue areas that can be fixed, wait 24h
  6. optional/ paint scalp (acrylic)
  7. optional/ seal scalp with matt varnish (for acrylic)
  8. measure, cut and seperate hair hanks with twist ties and crocodile clips
  9. bulk reroot
  10. detail reroot (front line and parting)
  11. check for thin areas
  12. add glue, wait 24h
  13. recheck for thin areas
  14. trim

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.

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:

No ear reroot

  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.

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

More Saran hair comparisons: Retrodolls.uk

New Lush lilac Saran batch from http://retrodolls.uk :
 photo lushlilac.jpg

New Clover (no longer high denier, beautiful grassy colour) from Retrodolls vs “evergreen” or “seafoam” from other dollhair vendors:
 photo clover vs evergreen.jpg

As always the weights per hank were 11g-12g with a very generous 14g and 16g for Envy and Vapour blends. The hair arrived fast considering it was shipped from the UK.

 

Here’s an older photo of Pink Gin (which I use a lot) vs Cupcake Pink:
 photo cupcake vs pink gin.jpg
It’s very slightly more orange but turns out gorgeously cutesy pastel pink when rerooted.

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