Step 1: Select your doll, and remove her hair. This can be done easily by cutting her hair as short as possible, and then removing the head and pulling the plugs out with small pliers or tweezers, going in through the neck hole. Once you have a bald doll, paint her head with acrylic paint, using the same color paint as the hair to be rooted. I didn't paint the head for the tutorial because I wanted the hair and the head to have contrasting colors for better viewing purposes in the photos.
Here's Barbie with the hair that she's going to be rooted with. It happens to be a 38" hank of acetate hair in the color "golden honey".
Step 2) If you're rooting a Barbie or Gene doll, this site sells pre-cut hanks of hair that are specifically cut to be enough hair for these dolls' heads. However, we're going to use a Barbie doll for this tutorial (for lack of a different doll) to show you how much hair you would need to buy for a doll when you're NOT sure how much hair she'll need! I'm going to show you how to figure it out.
If you're not sure how much hair you'll need for your doll, measure the circumference around her head, in inches. As you can see, Barbie's head is 4 inches in circumference.
Step 3) When you're not sure how much hair you'll need for your doll, you're always going to buy the 38" hanks. However many inches in curcumference your doll's head is, that's how many equal pieces that you're going to have to cut your 38" hank into.
Following so far?
So, since Barbie's head is 4" in circumference, I cut the 38" hank into 4 equal pieces. 4 inches head circumference means you're going to cut the hank into 4 pieces. If Barbie's head was 5" in circumference, I would have cut the 38" hank into five equal pieces. The hank was originally 38" long, so I cut it into four equal pieces that are each 9.5 inches long.
Barbie's FINISHED LENGTH, after she's rooted, is going to be 4.75 inches, which is half of 9.5. Why? Because you're going to root each plug from the middle section of the hair, as you can see in step 4 below.
OK, moving right along, let's say, for example, that you have a doll with a 12" circumference head. In order to have enough hair for her whole head, you'd have to cut the 38" hank into twelve equal pieces, and each piece would be 3.16 inches long. After your doll has been rooted, her FINISHED LENGTH would be 1.58" long. That's VERY short hair for a doll, so if that's ok with you, then great. But most people want the hair to be longer than that. The solution? Well, one way to do it would be to buy THREE 38" hanks instead of one, and then you can cut each 38" hank into four equal 9.5" pieces. That gives you TWELVE 9.5" pieces of hair, and that's going to give your doll with a 12" circumference head a FINISHED LENGTH of 4.75", just like the Barbie in our tutorial is going to have.
Still following? OK, let's say that you want your doll with a 12" circumference head to have even LONGER hair than that. What do you do? Buy SIX 38" hanks and cut each one in half. This will give you twelve equal pieces of hair, each one being 19" long. Root your doll with this hair, and she'll have a FINISHED LENGTH of 9.5".
Want this doll with a 12" circumference head to have hair that's a FINISHED LENGTH of 19"? Then you'll need to buy TWELVE 38" hanks, and not cut them at all.
Now you see how it works. It's just a matter of math, and based on the information above, you can figure out how to cut these 38" hanks in order to have the right amount of hair (and the right length) for your doll.
Still confused? You can always e-mail me with your doll's head circumference, in inches, and the length you want her hair to be after she's been rooted. I can figure it out for you and let you know how many 38" hanks you'll need to buy.
But the bottom line here is that the WIDTH of the 38" hank is enough for ONE INCH worth of doll head circumference, and the more pieces you cut the 38" hank into, the more head circumference you'll be able to root.
Step 4) So for Barbie, a finished length of 4.75 inches is just fine, and I'm going to start my reroot. You can use any kind of rooting method you like: the needle and thread method or the reroot tool. The needle and thread method is explained in the "reroot kit" sold on this site, and we also have a reroot tool for sale on this site as well. Check the links above under "how to reroot" if you need to learn one of these methods.
I happened to use the reroot tool to root Barbie for this tutorial, so as you can see in the photo to the left, the hair has been rooted from the middle part of the hank, into the head. You can see what I mean by looking at the direction of the red arrow in the photo. THAT'S WHY I said that your finished length would be half the length of the hair.
Step 5) Here's the finished reroot! You can see how much hair is left over, as well. I always tell people that Dollyhair sells very generous hanks, because we always want to make sure that you'll have enough hair for your doll's head. As you can see, this is true, because I was pretty heavy-handed with this reroot.
But what a horrible mess of hair, right? Barbie needs some styling help!
The first thing that I always do after I finish my reroots with the reroot tool is that I put some Fabri-Tac glue inside Barbie's head and swab it around with a Q-tip. Dollyhair sells Fabri-Tac glue on the "reroot tool" page, so go ahead and buy some if you want to. It's the best glue in the world, in my opinion. It remains soft when it's dry, kind of like rubber, and once it's dry, water cannot affect it. That's an important thing, because synthetic hair needs to be styled with water.
So I'm going to take Barbie's head off and put some Fabri-Tac glue in her head, swabbing the Q-tip around to ensure that all of the hair inside the head is covered in glue.
Once the glue is dry, I'm going to put the head back on the body and brush the hair. No matter how tempted you are to brush the hair, DO NOT brush the hair until after the glue is dry! Otherwise, some of the hair could get pulled out of the head (unless you're using the needle and thread method, in which case glue is not necessary).
Step 6) Now, Barbie's hair has been brushed and she's been prepped for her part thatching.
What is that?
Well, it's what you do to her part in order to make it look like a factory-done reroot.
I rooted her head using the same holes that the factory made. If you look at a doll's bald head, you will see two parallel lines of closely-rooted holes. These holes are for the part hair.
I've separated all of the part hair, as you can see. It's sticking up, like a mohawk. The rest of the hair has been tied into a ponytail around Barbie's neck, just to keep it out of the way.
Now we're ready to thatch her part.
|Step 7) Using the pointed end of the reroot tool (or any type of similar sharp object), I'm going to separate a very small horizontal section of hair. I'm going to lay this section of hair to the left, as you can see in the photo below.|
|Step 8) Doing the same exact thing as before, I'm going to separate another small section of hair, this time laying it to the right, instead of to the left.|
Step 9) Again, the same thing. I'm going to lay this third section to the left. You see that I'm alternating, and each small section of hair is being put on the opposide side of the head as the previous section.
It's kind of difficult to get this hair to stay where you put it, so it's very helpful if you glob some hair gel on the head. This will make the hair stick down where you want it to be.
|Step 10) You see that the part is about halfway thatched now. I'm still separating tiny sections of hair and laying them on alternating sides of the head.|
|Step 11) Here it is: the fully thatched part! It's been pasted down with hair gel in order to keep it in place. Don't worry about the bald spots that are showing; they will be hidden when I do some more styling.|
Step 12) Here's another view of Barbie with her thatched part being finished.
The next step is to remove the rubber band from around her neck, and brush her hair into place.
After that, boil some water. Acetate, kanekalon, and saran can withstand rapidly boiling water, while nylon and polypropylene should be styled with water that's only at a mild simmer, since nylon and polypropylene are more prone to frizzing if they get too hot. Saran is the most difficult to style, so the hotter the water, the better. Nylon, polypropylene, and acetate, and especially kanekalon, are all very easy to style.
For this tutorial, I'm using acetate hair. So I'm going to bring my water to a rapid boil, and then I'm going to pour the water over Barbie's head. While the water on the hair is still steaming, I'm going to comb the hair and style it into place. After that, one more dowsing of hot water will set the style into place.
After that, you will want to follow-up by pouring ice water over Barbie's head. This will further set the style in place.
Now all you have to do is let the hair air dry, which will take about 24 hours..
Here's the finished reroot, and oh how pretty it is!
At this point, I could do a boil perm if desired, but I think that Barbie's hair looks pretty with her straight style, so I'm just going to leave it like this.