Friday, January 2, 2009

Tutorial - Awesomely Luxurious Doll Hair

How do you make good dolls hair? It's something that I've been experimenting with for a while, trying different things and the other day I re-discovered an awesome way to do it. Weirdly enough it was something I first used in about year 7 to make a judges wig from carpet strands. But now, with a little more thought, it works beautifully for dolls hair.

To your left is a doll I made for my niece for Christmas. She's a big fan of pink, so that was the theme of the doll. She's a smaller version of the portrait dolls I've been sewing recently, and she came out really well I thought. Plus, my neice loved her. There's nothing better than a personal present that goes down really well. Makes the heart sing.

So without further ado, here is a tutorial for Awesomely Luxurious Doll Hair!


You'll need:

Yarn in various colours*
sewing needle
thread
scissors

*I've found that the hair looks better if you use more than one colour, or shade of the chosen colour. For this doll I wanted pink hair, so I used all my shades of pink - 2 pale pinks, a bright pink, a dark pink and a fluffy light pink yarn too. It makes a more interesting visual than a single plain colour.

Step one: Measure one strand of yarn across the bottom of the dolls head near the neck (we'll call this the WIG STRAND). You want the WIG STRAND to be long enough to trail down both sides of the head longer than you picture the finished hair. Tie a knot in the WIG STRAND at either side of the head so you'll know where to tie the hair on.

Step two: Cut a number of HAIR STRANDS of yarn of different colours double the length you want the doll's hair to be, and start tying them in between the two knots on the WIG STRAND. A single knot is sufficiant as you'll be stitching them tightly in a minute.

Step three: once there's a good number of yarn HAIR STRANDS tied to the WIG STRAND (see above photo), stretch the WIG STRAND back across the dolls head. Stitch the WIG STRAND to the doll's head, making sure that you stitch through each knot to ensure they don't unravel in the future.
Step four: Continue making and stitching WIG STRANDS until the dolls head is as covered as you want it to be.

Step five: When you come to stitching the final WIG STRAND on the head, place it with the strands falling over the face rather than falling across the previous hair and stitch it on.
Then smooth the hair away from the face. This ensures that the knots and the WIG STRAND cannot be seen from the front of the doll.

Step six: give your doll a hair cut, cutting the strands to the length you want. To ensure you don't end up with a weird looking straight line, gather the hair into a horizontal line and cut across the ends. Then when you let it go, the hair will fall and look better than a straight line

And that's it. Your doll's coiffure is done! Long, thick luxurious hair that any doll would be proud of.


You can put this hair up in a pony tail, but it is quite thick (it can look a little like a ponytail of dreadlocks) so if you want your doll to have her hair up, you could try making the WIG STRANDS spiral around the head instead of straight across it, and leave the middle of the head bald. You wont be able to see it when the hair is up, and that will eliminate some of the bulk

Go forth and hair my children!

10 comments:

Chrisy said...

....looks good...gives it a fullness...thanks for sharin...

Sayraphim said...

Thank you! I've just done another doll the same way, and I'm really happy with the style.

Plus, I love the multicoloured strands. It looks ace!

Emerald Arts said...

Thankyou so much for making this tutorial. I found the link to it on another blog because I'm making a doll with hair like that at the moment, but I wasn't quite sure how to go about the hair

Sayraphim said...

You're more than welcome! I'd love to see a photo when you're done, feel free to email me!

Ulla said...

Your method sounds great! I make rag dolls for Unicef with their given pattern, and my dolls usually have bald parts under their braids. Next time I do like you do, thank you for the tutorial!

Sayraphim said...

Hi Ulla
That's an awesome thing you do. My grandmother spent years making dolls for charity, I think it's wonderful. I'm glad I could help!

I'd love to see photos of your dolls!

belle-vivre said...

this is brilliant! I'm making my first doll and have been completely dumbfounded on how to do the hair (it's a doll of my mom, so we can take 'her' on our trip to Scotland with us- going to make her a roving gnome-style album for her birthday, so the hair has to at least somewhat resemble her own inimitable Dorothy Hamil coiffure... lol I'm going to follow your direction, but with embroidery floss instead...

Sayraphim said...

Howdy! I'm so glad you shared your story about your mum doll :) It was heart warming to read... I'd love to see pics of the doll when she's finished. And have a wonderful time in Scotland, it's a beautiful place!

Tori said...

Thanks for this,
i am making my very first doll at age 42!(silly old woman that i am) and was pretty stumped on how i was going to put hair on her. i will send a photo this way when she is finished

Sayraphim said...

Hi Tori! I think that's great that you're making a doll, it's one of my favourite things in the world to create (aside from puppets :) and so I'm honoured to hear that you're using this tute. I'd love to see pics once she's done.

I hope you're having a lovely time sewing her :)