Tag Archives: rerooting

How to cut reroot needles

 

  • Put on protective eyeglasses or sunglasses. Just do it.
  • Sit down in good lighting
  • Stick needle point down in sturdy foam
  • Cut needle eye with wire cutters
  • Stick second small piece of foam onto the resulting needle fork
  • With wire cutters and both hands, cut about 1.5cm (or whatever your reroot needles’ usual size is) down the needle
  • Find the needle fork end with the piece of foam stuck to it that went flying across the room
  • Get out metal nail file and hold fork part of the needle with pliers, sand down the biggest fork prong until it’s not sharp anymore, this will wreck the metal file within about 4 needles. Worth it for not ripping your fingers up.
  • Dispose of unneeded needle points + eyes after wrapping them in tape

 

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…

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: