How to Make Reborn Baby Dolls
Step 6a: Rooting the Hair
Rooting the hair of reborn babies is a much more complicated and time consuming process then wigging. So if you’ve chosen to do it this way, congratulations! To begin with, make sure you have the correct hair color. After all of the painting and detailing, you might find you need or want a different color than you originally selected. Of course, you can use a few closely related but different shades of mohair together to make an even more natural head of hair.
You’re going to need the blow dryer, some needles, either a makeshift rooting tool (a grip you can make from rubber bands) or a purchased variety, a towel to keep you and your spot clean and a comfy chair. To start with, you want to cut a strip of mohair that’s one inch wide and about double the length that you want the hair to actually be. I use a strip that’s about 5 inches in length, and it’s better to start longer, because you can always trim later.
Heat up an area of the head with the blow dryer for a few seconds to get it ready. Now place the mohair strip vertically along the head, and get a good grip of it with your fingers, keeping it in place along the head with your thumb. Use the needle to apply the hair to the heated area of the head, poking it down and avoiding straight lines. You want to aim the needle at an angle, not straight in, so the hair itself is what ends up laying flat.
A baby usually has rather sparse hair, so you don’t want to apply too much to any small area. The rule remains true – less is more – because you can always go back and add more later. When you’re finished with an area, just remove the strip of mohair and all of the hairs you just rooted in will remain, leaving you with the extras for the next stop.
Now you have to master the process of repeating and staying focused! Heat up the next area, and begin the rooting process all over again. Be ready for broken needles, however, keeping the head as heated as possible can help minimize that. As you move along, when you’ll notice the hair getting more sparse or out of place, that means its time for a new strip of mohair to give you plenty to work with.
Move around the head, following the same steps of heating and rooting and paying close attention to the lines of the head as a guide for the hairline and where you should stop or start applying. As you move through the process, I see reborn baby dolls with mullets, monk haircuts and everything in between, until finally the baby has a complete head of hair.
Now that you’ve done all the rooting, take a step back and examine the head. You’ll undoubtedly see some areas that need to be plucked for having too much hair or areas that don’t have enough hair and need more rooting. Fix those spots and don’t worry if the hair doesn’t look quite right, after all, you haven’t styled it yet! Just focus on making it even, not too thick or too thin in any one spot.
We mentioned earlier either rooting or applying a set of eyelashes. If you chose to root the eyelashes, do so now. Take a one inch wide strip of mohair, but make it only 2 inches or so long for the lashes. Root along the entire crease across the eye. After doing the entire length of both eyes, you’ll go back and pull out any extra thick spots and also trim the length of the lashes to whatever you feel is best. Remember, eyelashes aren’t the same length all the way across.
The next step is applying the glue to both the hair and the eyelashes. You can try to use Q-tips or maybe popsicle sticks, or even the opposite side of a paint brush. Really, anything can work as long as you can reach the inside of the head. Apply the glue all over the inside of the head, anywhere there is hair. Use plenty, and be sure to have a fan close by and open windows for ventilation because the glue is powerful.
Once the glue has dried you want to wet the hair and use just a few drops of regular hair conditioner applied to the hair. Use the old pair of pantyhose to place over the head, holding the hair down as it dries. You’ve officially rooted the hair of a reborn baby doll!