Sunday, June 10, 2012

Custom Monster High Tutorial- Hair and Wigs



This post will be about doll hair, and the options you have for your dolls.  It will include wig making, and non-traditional re-rooting with different things.

Feather Wig


These are dyed cock feathers.  I bought these at a yard sale, but you can find them on ebay and etsy.
For Monster High dolls, these are the largest size you want to use for wig making- smaller feathers than these would work as well.  I am only using the tips of these, the red fluffy part is mostly discarded.


You will need to double wrap your head in plastic wrap.  You can even triple wrap- but use at least two pieces of plastic wrap- and tape each securely after you do.  Pull the wrap towards the face, so that the part of the head where the wig will be is as smooth as possible.
I put my head on the end of large handled paint brush before I wrap it.  Then I can hold onto it when I work and even place it in a jar or cup while waiting for the glue to dry.



This is the glue I use.  It can be used for lots of things.  It dries fast, and it stays somewhat flexible, which makes it perfect for this type of wig making.  You can also use liquid latex.  Liquid latex is costly, and you need to be careful not to use too much- as it will make your wig lumpy.  For small heads, I use Fabri-Tac.
I apply the glue with a toothpick- but some I have seen put it directly from the bottle to the head.  I need more control, so I use the toothpicks.

For the first round, put a small amount of glue on the head where the wig will be and let it dry while you pick out the feathers.


Next, cut some tips off of your feathers and try them out next to your head. You will notice that the feathers will often have a left or right twist- they will look better on one side of the head than they do on the other.  This feather would point backwards on the other side of the head.  You will start gluing along the baseline of the head, working your way to the crown.


There is a bit of red fluff on this one I have decided to leave attached.  It will be under other feathers, and will add a nice touch.
I use shorter feathers at the nape of the neck when I begin, then longer ones over the top.  This gives it a fuller look.


Halfway there.  At this point, I set her aside and clip more feathers to use.  I look at the wig for any bald patches or odd patches- and if it needs editing, I do it now.



Now I am piecing in the bangs and the top of the head.  There are lots of small feather tips cut and waiting.  It is at this point you may wish to use tweezers to place you feathers- depends on how you do with your own fingertips.  Have them ready if you think you might want them.  No heavy sighing- your feathers will fly all over :)


I think I am done here.  The glue is dry.  It is time to unwrap.  Cut the plastic wrap and peel it away from the face.

Pull it completely off of the head.  It may turn kind of inside out- that is okay.  Get out your scissors and VERY CAREFULLY trim the excess plastic wrap so that none shows.  You don't want to trim the feathers you so carefully placed- so take your time doing this part.


Here is the wig finished on the doll head.  This is a Draculaura sculpt from Sweet 1600.  The wig will look different on a Ghoulia sculpt or a Cleo sculpt.  This head is rounder and so the wig looks kind of tribal - imagine it on say, the skeleton head...or the dragon...


Monster High Dragon Head


You can somewhat arrange the feathers too- gently.

It is best you make the wig for the head you want it for.  The head sculpts do vary- and it will fit best if you do it for that particular head.
You can use this method with other things- like paper, yarn, fabric- even mohair.



Mohair Re-Root

This method we will work with what is traditionally called mohair.  With this method you can use any other fiber textiles like Cotswold lambs hair, Tibetan lambs wool, and even some yarns. 



Here is how to re-root, with a rooting tool and
some mohair bought on etsy:

First, stuff your head with fabric scraps.  I cut up strips from my husband's old polo shirts.  The strips are easy to insert- and easy to remove later when its time to put the head back on the doll.  You are stuffing the head to protect it.  The last thing one wants is to be pushing on the rooting tool - too hard- and then the head collapses and you have made a hole in the head in a place you won't like- maybe the cheek?  Middle of the forehead? Take this step and you will not be regretting later.


This is hand trimmed wool that has been hand dyed.  I liked this pink- and there is enough here to do many dolls.



Because it is hand dyed, the colors are varigated.  Start by gently pulling out locks.  You may see some flecks here and there of hay and grass.  I remove most of that by holding it up and blowing on it- what does not leave I pick out with tweezers. 


Keep pulling out locks, looking for both color and shapes.



This is my rooting tool.  I have had it for 20 years- my brother made it for me from a wood carving handle and sewing needle.  Now you can buy re-rooting tools on ebay or from dollyhair.com. 


Place a small hank or lock of the hair and start pushing it into the holes with your tool.  You do not have to catch every hair- the mohair sticks to itself- so this is a gentle job.


Begin at the outside hair line and work your way to the crown.



By holding up pieces you can find the best places for the locks you have selected.  I like this for the bangs.


I begin by picking some hairs at the back of the lock to root.  I keep doing this along the back edge.







The lock is now in place.


Starting on the other side.


I keep going around and around, adding locks.





This is the still bald spot on the top and back side of the head.


No longer bald.  5 locks were added.


Top of head.  I like this type of hair to look a bit messy, but you can make it more uniform by spending some time on the size and shape and placemment of the locks.  It is all up to you.


Finished.  Meet Candy.  You will be seeing her come to life right here.

Notice all of the hair that is left behind her.  Plenty to make wigs, do more re-roots.


Here is another example of a re-root with blue hand dyed Cotswold mohair:





And a re-root done with vintage black mohair that I set with end papers, water and rollers made from soda straws:


Valentinia's hair was rooted traditionally with needle and thread method.  It took a very long time.



While Cherry Bomb's hair was done just as Candy's was done:




There are still other methods for adding hair to your dolls, but I will stop here, as I have run out of time and runway for the evening. 

If you want to know how to re-root with a traditional needle and thread and buy synthetic doll hair, go here:



Dollyhair has the best selection of hair and tools.

Next Post up will be Candy's face paint.

UPDATE:

I have been asked 2 very good questions by readers here. 

Question:
Do you glue the hair inside the head after you finish?

Answer:
 I only glue on the inside of doll heads that have hair the new owner can brush and style.  The mohair I use cannot be messed with- and since it has a rougher texture, it stays in the holes it is poked into- much better than synthetic hair.  It usually stays put without issue.

The only exception- when a head has really big holes from the previous root. Some of these dolls have gaping holes after you remove the original hair- those I glue regardless of what kind of hair I have used- unless it is glued on top of the head to begin with- which is a whole other tutorial...

Question:
Can you play with the doll after the re-root, or will the hair fall out?

Answer:

If there is rough play, yes, it will come out.  Light play should not effect it staying in.  When in doubt- GLUE.










 




34 comments:

  1. I love the feather wig, it's perfect!!! and that kind of mohair just looks so cool with the messy curls like it is. keep up the good work, PB!! :D

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  2. Wow! I never thought feathers would work that well! They look super cute, and very tribal-chic on the skeleton head :3

    Again, great tutorial, and I look forward to seeing more!

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  3. PB, you are my HERO. What a genius idea to use the plastic wrap! These are such great tips, I for one really appreciate all the work you're putting into these posts :)

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  4. Hello from Spain: thank you for showing all these wigs. The first feathered wig is really wonderful. I like the feather wig. Congratulations on this great work. Keep in touch

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  5. PB, these are truly Amazing tutorials - you have us Totally hooked on MH now - I agree, that feather wig is incredible - and Thank You for all this Inspiration!!!

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  6. Hey PB, I was wondering something. Do you pour glue into the dolls head after you reroot using your tool so that the hair doesn't just pull back out? Thanks :)

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  7. This was super helpful! I've been dying to make a custom angel MH doll but didn't want to buy a wig and re-rooting sounded impossible. But the way you showed it make it looks fun and easy! But I have one question, if you root the hair is it okay to still gently play with the doll, or would this likely end in the hair falling out?
    Thanks again for the tutorial!
    -Reece

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  8. I have a question, where did you get your feathers? I've been looking around a lot for them and the only ones I ever seem to find are either too big or they're flat on the end. I like the ones you used here.

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  9. I guess I need to start collecting the feathers off of my chickens, mainly my roosters. very good idea. thank you.

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  10. Wow, that pink mohair wig was fab and so wear the feathers.

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  11. Where do you get the mohair? I know dollyhair.com, but what if that wasn't a option?

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    Replies
    1. I have gotten my mohair from various sellers on etsy and ebay. My new post for January 2013 will showcase a seller on etsy I especially like. So stay tuned :)

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  12. Do you know any ways to dye their hair? I read that you can use sharpies or kool aid, but I' sure you have a more professional way to do it...

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    Replies
    1. Please answer! Please!

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    2. I really just want to make a doll that can still be played with - possibly roughly - and I don't think re-rooting will work. I really want to know! (!!!!!)

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    3. If you want to dye real hair you can use Kool Aid or other hair dyes- there are hair dye tutorials on You Tube. I have never dyed hair - so you are on your own with this.

      If you want a doll for rough play and you want to re-root her, you need to use synthetic hair and you need to put lots of glue inside the head.

      Go to: http://www.dollyhair.com/kanekalonhair.htm

      http://www.dollyhair.com/reroottutorial.htm

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  13. Hello, I am wanting to use faux fur for a dolls hair. I was think I could just glue it to the head, but I have no idea how to shape it to the head. What would you do?

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    Replies
    1. I have made wigs from faux fur- from my own patterns. Generally they are 2 pieces and the diameter of the lip of the wig is the same diameter as the head I am making it for. I sew the 2 pieces together and then turn it right side out and slip it on the doll.

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  14. how do you take the old hair out to dye it then put it back in

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    Replies
    1. You don't. I would suggest a re-root of the color you want instead.

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  15. hay I customized 2 monster highs you were a big help!

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  16. where should I go to find out how to remove the face makeup

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    Replies
    1. Go here to see how to remove hair and paint:

      http://monstercrush.blogspot.com/2012/06/custom-monster-high-doll-tutorial.html

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  17. I never thought feathers would work that well. They look so cute. Thank you for showing all these wigs. Great job. Keep going.

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  18. Awesome post for wings and very creative work thank for sharing this information with us.
    Damenperücken

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  19. Excuse me! I love this tutorial, but I cannot find mohair wool ANYwhere! Not at JoAnn's, not at Michael's, or anywhere nearby (I live out in the country). Do you know of any places where I can purchase mohair online?

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  20. Um, can you please tell me where on earth I can purchase mohair wool? I cannot find it anywhere!

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    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I buy most of my mohair here:

      http://www.etsy.com/shop/StellasFiberFarm

      and Here:

      http://stores.ebay.com/mohairwig-com?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

      Stellas Fiber Farm on etsy has beautiful product and it comes clean and neatly packaged.

      Mohair Wig on ebay often has unusual colors and kinds of hair for making wigs or to re-root with. Very professional.

      (I deleted and reposted - too many spelling errors...)

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  21. Your tutorials are truly helpful,I really love the feather wig .
    Keep up the good stuff.

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