Sunday, September 13, 2015

Experiment: Rehairing with Curly Craft Hair

I realized awhile back that I've come into possession of about five bags of curly polypropylene "craft hair" in various colors. What to DO with it, though? Well, there's always the obvious, right?

I bought a couple of cheap knockoff Catwalk Kitties dolls on a whim, and decided that I liked the brown one well enough to try and customize. I didn't want to "ruin" her if using the craft hair didn't work out, though. As you can see, she's not going to pass for a "real" CK doll anytime soon, but she could potentially clean up nice. Both dolls had a small amount of absolutely awful hair.

Cheri has a new friend.
 The other doll I got was mint green in color, with a large splotch of greenish-yellow baby-poop color over one side of her face and a darker greyish color over the other side. Take a look at this seller photo of a similar doll to get an idea.

Photo via Alibaba.com seller


Anyway, the darker color stained the vinyl, as I discovered when trying to wipe the unwanted paint off with acetone. It left a darkish splotch, with meant it was just as well that this was my practice doll.

It's not a bad match, color-wise.

I had a color of hair that was a similar shade, so I decided that I would call it a look and coordinate my rehairing attempt with the discoloration. Here are the two shades I used, along with the then-bald doll. White overall, and a small area near the discolored spot would use the blonde color.

Hello, Phantom!

About a quarter through this project was when Phantom got to doing poorly, but she liked sitting by to collect a few brushings and pets while I worked on making hair plugs. Here she is supervising my work. I thought about leaving these pics out, but ehhhh.. she earned her spot in here. As you can see, at this point I'd only done the part on the front, and hadn't yet begun to tackle the back or sides. I used the knot method on this doll, since I was out of hair needles.


This hair does not take long to become THICK when applied to a doll head. It wasn't long before I had to douse the head with boiling water just to get the hair flat enough to be manageable as I added more plugs.


I got within spitting distance of having her totally done this week, but have not added the finishing layer of hair on top. Why?

Ouch!

You cannot brush this stuff. At all. If you try, it gets frizzy and fluffy and goes total poodle.

It's really too bad, considering that it looks pretty decent. I don't know if I'm going to bother trying to finish her up since I'm this close, or just go ahead and acknowledge it as a learning experience and total loss. Her hair's been boil-washed about three times at this point, and even though it's shiny and soft, you can't even comb it with your fingers. Additionally, due to my habit of popping her head back onto the body when I wasn't working on installing hair, the thin vinyl around her neck hole cracked almost all the way around. I was able to repair it with Loctite flexible adhesive (for vinyl, fabric and plastic), but it probably would not hold up to many more sessions of decapitation. Plus, I'm not sure what the boiling water may do to the seal. I guess my conclusion is that you shouldn't bother trying this stuff if you want anything less than poodle-hair. 

I noticed Hobby Lobby has packs of straight hair on the shelf now, I'm a little tempted to grab a pack of that and see how it compares.

8 comments:

  1. Fascinating, albeit disappointing. You've made sure I'll never go near the curly "hair" unless I definitely want never to brush it, and I appreciate being spared the frustration of learning on my own!

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    1. I was pretty let down that the stuff is so reluctant to straighten (especially since I have so MUCH of it!) I'll probably give it a few more tries to straighten out.. maybe with some weight attached to the ends, just to be sure. If any changes occur, I'll definitely update.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this experiment! I'm can be pretty lazy when it comes to hair brushing, so I might be tempted to give it a go.

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    1. I think it might be good for short, curly hairstyles especially, that wouldn't be prone to much tangling and wouldn't need a lot of brushing/styling.

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  3. It's too bad that her hair didn't work out. Ah, baby poop. Such a distinctive color!

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    1. Back to the drawing board on that idea. The colors did come out nice!

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  4. It's too bad, it's almost pretty even thin, but fixing that is the whole problem. :(

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    1. Someone suggested taking an iron to it (under a towel at low heat) and seeing if that could straighten it out. If it works, I may be adding some more plugs soon!

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