Saturday, April 13, 2013

Curly Doll Hair At Last


I have struggled with creating curly hair styles for the doll's for years.. I tried everything under the sun to get yarn to curl permanently, but nothing seemed to work long term.. 

At one point, I was using a stiffening product intended for ribbon and then rolling a few strands at a time with perm rods.. This process was very, very time consuming and MESSY... It required the doll to sit in front of a fan for days so that all the yarn could dry... But worse than that, the curls didn't stay indefinitely...Sometimes I'd get all done, dry their hair style only to take out the perm rods and discover the "perm" hadn't taken, so I'd have to start all over..  To top it off, the product I used has been discontinued...So there went the only way I'd found to curl yarn.. 

I've been determined to figure out a good way to create curly hair styles.. After all, I'm a curly head!! I wanted my dolls to have the choice to be curly heads, too..

Finally, this past December, while recuperating from Christmas orders (lol), I finally found a tutorial on "boiled yarn".. I don't even remember if it was a tutorial for doll hair, all I remember is that it gave a way to curl yarn.. I tried it, it worked, I was amazed, started boiling yarn left and right and have created a whole bunch of ready made Lil Kids with cute curly hairdo's. 

It's such an easy process, I'm wondering why I never figured this out before now!! The yarn is wound around something like a metal knitting needle, or small wooden dowels.. It's best to wrap it tightly and scrunch it up so you can get as much as you can on each needle or dowel.. The end is then slipped through the last ring of yarn and pulled tight to keep it from unraveling.. From experience, I can tell you the knitting needles are a bit easier to deal with.. When scrunching the yarn up on the wooden dowels, I ended up getting a couple of slivers..ouch...





You then take boiling water and pour it over the wound yarn... I line all my dowels of yarn up in the kitchen sink and then douse them with boiled water from my tea kettle...I let them sit for a few minutes so the extra water drips away, I squeeze any excess out (which has cooled enough by now to touch), then I place them on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.. I use the pizza pan pictured below because it has little holes in the bottom of the pan which seems to speed up the drying process.. 




I then place the dowels of yarn in a preheated oven (185 degrees) and set the timer for 40 minutes.. When it goes off, I turn the oven off but leave the yarn in the oven while it cools off... After an hour or so, you can remove the knitting needles or dowels of yarn and start pulling it loose.. You'll have a bundle of curly yarn!!  I've found that it takes about a dozen needles worth of yarn for each head of hair..


 I used a mohair blend yarn for this kiddo.. Her hair turned out soft and bouncy..
 This cutie's hair was done with Simply Soft yarn.. The tiny little curls turned out so cute...
 This little guy has curls all over his head.. This was done with Red Heart classic yarn.. His sister, shown below, has the same curly head of hair made from the same yarn...


This seems to work with pretty much any kind of yarn, however, I have discovered that mohair yarns or yarn with a mohair mix in it seem to curl really well and are super soft. However, I think the curls turned out pretty with all the yarns I tried.. 

26 comments:

  1. Thank you for this idea. The dolls look wonderful.
    You might also want to make the dolls hair by knitting a square of wool, wetting it and then iron it under a cloth. The heat will set the wool into curls. Not quite the same as yours but pretty good. Think of what unravelled wool looks like and you'll get the picture.

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    1. Wow! Great idea... I'll try it.. Thanks for the suggestion :o)

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    2. Will this work with embroidery floss? I need to curl embroidery floss....any suggestions thanks

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  2. can you use acrylic yarn?

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    1. I've used Simply Soft yarn, which I believe is 100% acrylic, and it works great :o)

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  3. Karen, I need some advice from you. I am making a doll from scratch and I am having a hard time finding hair. I need the type of hair texture they use on Barbie, Brats dolls etc... Any ideas how I can find that type or make that type? Im not sure if you would know but please get back to me. :)

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  4. It sounds like you need a doll wig... You can find a lot of them sold on ebay or doll supply websites, like Antina's Doll Supply. I have a few styles available on www.karenskraftkloset.com You'll need to measure around the dolls head, where the natural hairline would be.. How ever many inches it measures, that's the size wig you'll need... For instance, an American Girl's head measures 12", so they would need a 12"/13" doll wig...
    Hope that helps :o)

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  5. Love the curly hair and wanting to attach to a calico doll I purchased, I am new at this and was wondering how the hair is attached to the doll, would appreciate any advice thank you :-)

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    1. I crochet a cap to attach to the doll's head, then loop the curly hair through that.. My dolls aren't Waldorf dolls, but I've seen hair tutorials for them that are very similar to the way I do my dolls hair.. If you do a search for Waldorf Doll Hair Tutorial, you can find some good pictures of a dolls hair being done..

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  6. I love this idea! It looks so cute. I was wondering if this is washable? I make crocheted amigurumi dolls (largely for young children) and I was wondering if the toys end up being washed, will the hair uncurl?

    Thanks!

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    1. I suggest people wash my dolls with baby wipes instead of a washing machine, so I really don't know for sure about the hair, but I would really suspect the curls would wash out if the doll was washed in a washing machine or dunked in water...

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  7. This was really wonderful and just the information I needed for dolls that I'm making for my granchildren. Thank you so much!

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  8. i just started to make dolls for my grandchildren 6 + how do you attach the doll hair to the doll?

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  9. Thank you for all of this valuable information. I always wanted curly hair, but mine isn't, so now I'm putting it on dolls. I was referred here by the Ravelry group "We Make Dolls".

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  10. hi, im off to try the "hair" mrthod...im going slightly mad with all the attempts lol....one more question tho....how do you create your beautiful eyes? They are so lovely, I tend to stick to the wardorf kind of eyes and im not happy about them but don't feel ive found the right instruction to create such lovely eyes...thank you

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  11. This process works GREAT! I've tried it a few times with my Raggedy Ann dolls. Love it. Thanks. Janet, Northern California

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  12. Hello Karen
    I am going to make a dark skinned doll I need the black curly hair. Can I adjust this to a boy's hair or try something else?

    Thank you,
    Angela aangoncape@aol.com

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  13. Hi Karen...I have been sewing since I was 14. I have made everything from boat cushions to bridal gowns. I have recently decided to take my sewing in the doll direction. I have found a fabulous site for doll patterns and your method of making curly doll hair is fabulous! I have to say that I admire you so much and the wonderful dolls that you have made for special needs children. I am an RN by trade and have worked with many children and adults of varying disabilities and special needs. You are certainly an angel on earth for all that you do for those special needs children.

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    1. Thank you very much for the nice words.. Best of luck with your doll
      making.. I hope you end up loving creating dolls as much as I do :o)

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  14. Nice blog and so informative thank you for sharing us.

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  15. Will this work with cotton yarn?

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  16. I used this to make hair for my son's wax museum project, using dowels instead of needles. I have to say that when I unwound it at first, the hair looked straight. But once it piled up on the floor it was curly! Strangest thing ever. Regardless, it turned out exactly as described and the kids were suitable awed! Thanks for the tips!

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    1. I've had it do that same thing, especially if I use large needles for loose curls. It reminds me of human curly hair.. As soon as you cut it or set it free, it curls :o)

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  17. Will the curls stay if the yarn get wet again? Like being out in the rain. I'm thinking about doing this for a scarecrow, but I don't want to take the time to do it if it's just going to fall.

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    1. Sorry to say, but I think if they got wet it'd be just like hair. The water would ruin the curls..

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