Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Re-rooting Dolls - part one, The Preparation


This is a guide on how to re-root dolls hair. It is a time-consuming process and you have to be patient!
There are a few different methods for re-rooting, I use the knot method as I find it the easiest.

The tools you need:
1. Tweezers, any kind will do, a basic pair from the chemist should be perfect.
2. Doll Needle. You can see the packet below, I use the smallest size for Sindy dolls. You can get this on ebay very reasonably.
3. Small bowl of water, this is for wetting hair.
4. Pair of sharp scissors
5. Pair of long handled tweezers.
6. Hair!

Types of Hair
There are a few types of hair available and you can buy it from a number of specialised shops online, I usually buy from as the price is very good, the range of products is excellent ( you could pass a few hours lost in choice!), the amount of hair you get is very generous and the service is excellent.
Saran is a lovely soft hair, very easy to use. I would recommend this for a beginner. It comes in a vast range of colours. It is harder to curl than other types of hair.
Nylon is the other main type of hair. It holds curls and styles very well. You can use very hot water for styling without fear! It is thicker than saran to the touch, a smaller amount can be used. The first doll I rerooted I used Nylon and put far too much into each plug (hole in head) so having learnt my lesson I use a lot less now. Nylon comes in so many colours.
Kanekalon is similar to Nylon , comes in a smaller range of colours. Is lovely and shiney!

As you can see the hair comes in many colours. The choice is really endless!

Step One: Remove old hair
1) Your first job is to remove the old hair from the doll.
All dolls have their heads attached to their bodies in different ways. Some dolls like Sindy(70s and 80s) or Dawn you can literally just lift the head off. The 1960s Sindy doll heads are attached into the body of the doll at the bottom of neck.
Some Barbies the head can be lifted off but usually not. So you have to be very careful in removing the heads off these types of dolls as don't want to break the attachments inside. It is recommended you soak the doll in hot water to loosen the head before attempting to remove it.
I am just going to use two Sindy dolls and a Dawn doll so there is no worry about breaking anything.

2) Cut the existing hair as close to the head as possible.
Head on the left is finished, head on the right is a work in progress.

3) Using either tweezers pull the hair from the inside of the head. You will find some come out very easily and others seem practically glued in. Be gentle as you do not want to cause a split in the head.
This make take awhile! Once done, wash and leave to dry.

Step Two: To Paint or not to Paint
Next step is to decide whether to paint head or not. Of course this might just depend on whether you have paint in your house or not! I have a supply of acrylics from craft projects that is perfect for this.

For these dolls, I am not going to paint the head as the colour is fairly close to the colour of the dolls head.
If you are using for example black or maybe purple then it would be worth considering painting the head in a colour close to the new hair colour as possible. I think it looks much better when the hair is finished as you won't have bits of pale colour visible underneath.
Having said that, I have done plenty of dolls without painting so its a personal choice to make. But if I was to do a darker colour now I would paint first!

Sindy is ready for her makeover

I will return with part two in the next few days.

Hope this was helpful!
All the best,


  1. Very detailed explanation! I didn't even know it was possible :D

  2. I only discovered it a couple of years ago, I think its great for giving old battered dolls a new life!