It’s time for the second part of my Little Personalities tutorials. This time I am covering hair rooting.
My girl has rooted hair. Rooting your dolls hair can take a long time. It took me several months total to completely finish her hair style! However, there were several points when I would put her down and not work on her for weeks. The rooting hair is great for situations like that, where you only have a little bit of time to work. You can work for a bit, stop, and then pick it up whenever it is convenient for you.
Continue below for the tutorial!
Rooting Hair of your choice.
Dollfie Scissors or other small, sharp scissors.
Wooden Chopstick or other small, blunt, straight object.
You should already have some kind of a plan for your hair, but if you don’t you might want to take a moment to do so now.
Having a plan before you start rooting your hair, and writing or sketching it down, will help you to more effectively place your rows, and know where to place parts and the like.
I have decided to give this girl side parted bangs and a side set ponytail. You can see where I drew her part line in with Make Pen.
Next I am going to give you a short explanation of how to use the Rooting Needle and Rooting Hair.
When you first open the Rooting Hair it will be twisted into a long skein. Unfold it and gently untwist the strands from one another. The Tenshi-no-Hairbrush really helps with this and it helps to keep your hair untangled as you work as well.
At Volks USA, we really like clipping the hair up by the rubberbanded end with a binder clip or similar.
Once your hair is laid out or hanging up straight you can seperate a few strands from the skein. I would recommend anywhere from 4-8 strands. However many you choose, you will need to make sure that you stay relatively consistent with it throughout.
Once you have your strands, wet one end slightly and cut them off straight. Wetting them will keep them together, and cutting them off straight will help them pass through the needle easily.
You can see the strands have passed through the eye of the needle.
Tie a knot tightly at the end and cut it off short, but not too short. You want it to be short, but not to slip out of the knot.
After you are done you will have a loop of hair on your needle. It will be much longer than the one pictured. I used a short strand in a dark color to make it easy to illustrate my points for this example. The lood in the sample also needs to have it’s end trimmed. Ideally it would be shorter than pictured.
You can see from the picture above that I started in the back. I usually just follow the line that is around the doll’s head. It is a good point for the hairline, and so it’s marked for your convenience.
When rooting the hair you will push the needle up in through the neck, and out of the soft vinyl. Try to angle it to where you want the needle to come out. Since the vinyl is soft it can be pushed and manipulated to help you get the needle where you need it to go.
Now, you don’t have to root your dolls hair the length it comes out of the initial rooting. Depending on the length you want to end up with I recommend using the same initial strand two or three times.
How do you do this? First you will pull the initial strand all the way through until the knot stops it from going any further. Then, you will tie a knot in the strand, either at the halfway mark or approximately the thirdway mark.
Cut the strand so the the knot is left with the needle and the hair that has been rooted falls free.
I intend to curl this particular girl’s hair, so I have used each initial strand twice.
You can have larger spaces in between your strands in the back, but you don’t want them to be too far apart. However far apart you choose to have them make sure that it is as even as you can get it.
You can see that I have already started to tailor my rooting pattern to the style that I ultimately want to end up with. I want a ponytail set to the side with full, side parted bangs. I am keeping the ponytail in place with a little bit of Tamiya Masking Tape. You can choose to do this however you like.
Because of the style I chose her hairline is going to need to be filled in as completely as possible. Place your strands as close together as you can get them, trying not to leave bald spots.
While you’re doing this you’ll need to be careful as the holes you are making in the soft vinyl can make the material easy to tear, acting like perforation. You can repair small tears with a little bit of glue, but larger tears may not be able to be fixed.
It’s normal to still see some of the scalp during this first layer. Once you root more hair into the head the scalp will be covered. So, even though you want to fill in her hairline, don’t worry about it if you can still see her head a bit at this point.
Start your next line a little bit up from your first, and so on. Try to keep every line as even and evenly spaced as possible.
Your lines will be closer to each other in the front, and farther from each other in the back.
Her scalp is well covered by now. She has three lines of rooted hair all layered on top of the other.
This is a shot of the top of her head.
For styles such as ponytails or pigtails you can use a little “cheater” trick. They only need enough hair to cover their scalp, and for whatever style you like. When her hair is up no one will be able to tell that she is bald on the top.
To finish all of the parts we recommend using a meshing technique. Where you want your part the hairs on either side will cross over each other, effectively covering the head and giving them a clean looking part.
Please ignore my horrible computer drawing skills and focus instead on the idea which the drawing is trying to represent. Say you have a doll whose hair is parted in the middle. The pink lines represent the hairs which will be on the right side of their head. The blue lines represent the left side. In the middle where they crossover is an example of what the hair meshing at their part line should look like.
Once their hair is rooted to your satisfaction it’s still not quite ready. You may notice that it is sticking up from the head and won’t lay down flat. It needs to be heat treated before it can be finished.
I’ll be covering techniques for finishing the hair, and talking about completing your doll in my next and final post.
Please look forward to it!