Saturday, September 5, 2015

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Background photo: 1960's iconic supermodel, Samantha Jones in Maidenform Bra ad, Vogue 1967
I LOVE fashion dolls with short to medium length hairdos. In my opinion, nothing is more chic. For some time now, I have toyed with the idea of creating hairpieces for my dolls that can be added to their own hair to change up the look, then removed without their having to be bald. I'm not talking about re-rooting (something our friend Sarah does so well), nor that of shaving the the poor doll's head then slipping on a wig. What I wanted were hair fashion accessories: the ability to change up the doll's look through the addition of a braid, chignon or "fall" to her current 'do. For this, I decided to go back to the 1960's, an era where supermodels Jean Shrimpton, Samantha Jones or Verushka ruled the fashion landscape with their super beautiful, almost goddess good looks topped with mountains of hair.
While I know this post will have limited appeal--after all, I'm sure most of your dolls already have long, flowing locks, consider this post as allowing for more style option for our short-haired fashionistas. Back in the 1960's everything was super short or super long. Girls who chopped off their hair and opted for the kicky pixie made famous by Twiggy could optimize their options thanks to add-on hairpieces great for romantic looks or dramatic night time glamour. With this project, the challenge for me was to create hairpieces which could be easily be attached and removed. Once I began exploring, I discovered the possibilities were far reaching!
On a Streak!
Background photo: Verushka
Funny, you'd think two-toned hair is a fairly modern style, but look at this photo of supermodel, Veruschka taken 50 years ago! Here, I've translated the look into one with blonde extensions.
1. You can use either human or synthetic hair. I cut a tiny lock of hair from a full "track" of hair. Take this small cluster of hair, pinch then dip one end (1/4 inch or 7mm) into craft glue (which will dry to clear).
2. Let completely dry.
3. Tuck in close to the  doll'sscalp and cover with her existing hair.
4. Hold in place while you brush it to incorporate into the existing hair. And yes, I am using a toothbrush. (Great for brushing dolly's locks.)
For the 12inch doll, you really don't need to adhere these extension with any sort of pins. They usually stay put. But for a larger doll, you might want to use a bit of wire or a hairpin cut down to size to hold everything in place. Consider colored hair for your streaks or even braided locks,
So Much Tress
Braids are another fun and easy way to transf a short cut. From time to time, we see braids for the model's coifs on the runways.
Here I took a chuck of synthetic hair, wet it thoroughly then formed a braid. Both ends are secured with a bit of superfine wire.
Find the midpoint of the braid and place it at the midpoint of the doll's head in the front. You can use straight pins to catch the braid to the doll's own hair (but not the scalp) while you work.
Bring the hair to the nape of the neck in the back and secure with a twist tie or wire.
You can either leave as is or unbraid to this point and form one single, big braid with everything caught near the end with a twist tie.
This is a cute look with the braids falling over each shoulder.
Take it one step further and wind both braids into a chignon, held in place with hairpins.
Hot Cross Buns
Of course dolly doesn't have to have the braid around the front of her head to get the look of an Eva Peron. You can tie a braid into two knots and attach to the back of her head!
1. Beauty supply stores are the perfect source for hair. Even if you don't have one near where you live, chances are there are stores selling inexpensive hairpieces. At beauty supply stores (including those online), however, hair is often sold in "tracks" or rows. Though you can use any form of hair, here I've cut small width of hair.
2. Wind it into a tight coil.
3. I use a twist tie or bit of wire to hold the hair together.
4. Braid the hair then secure with another twist tie or bit of wire at the end.
5. Note--as you are braiding the hair, incorporate a length of fine wire into one of the meshes of your braid. This will help you to control your braid later on.
6. You can tie the whole thing into a loose knot then form other "knots" around the core one.
7. Make "doll sized hairpins" by cutting regular hairpins in half and squeezing the wire.
8. These hairpins will help anchor each braid to the rest of the mass. Be sure to tuck both ends so they fall underneath.
9. Here is my completed chignon. I used 1/2 inch (1 cm) quilters' straight pins to anchor the chignon in place. This is quite easy when your doll has lacquered hair like Tamron.
Here is my lovely Tamron showing off her red carpet look. She started out with a short chic coif and now it's a regal dramatic 'do!
Falling for You

Left Photo: Jean Shrimpton by David Bailey for Newsweek
The 1960's was the era of the big hair. Jean Shrimpton and her colleagues had everybody took the fall....literally! The "Fall" was a "demi-wig" of sorts that attached either on top of your existing coif to add length or it slid under existing hair to add mountains of volume. For this project, I looked at numerous videos on wig making. The main difference between what I've done here and the traditional wig is that a) the hairpiece takes into consideration the circumference of the doll's head with hair b) it doesn't have to be finished at the top because other hair, hairpiece or even a scarf or headband will be covering it and c) it can be made in a variety of volumes depending on the desired effect.

1. I used the head form I created to make my Easter hats. If you can't do this, you will need to find a small ball roughly the circumference of your doll's head with hair. We begin by making a wig cap. Cover the head form with plastic wrap and tulle. Hold in place with a rubber band. Dilute craft glue with a bit of water and brush on a layer. Let dry and brush on a second layer.
2. When completely dry, remove from form, peel away the plastic and cut away the excess tulle.
3. Try this on the doll to see where the ears fall in relation to your cap and mark with pins. Then cut the hair from the track to make the first layer, starting at the bottom of the cap.
4. Now place the next row over the bottom and sew in place.
5. Continue until you have covered the form.
6. When you have finished it will look something like this on the inside.

Now that you have created your Fall, let's attach it to the doll. Again, I use 1/2" (7mm) straight pins. I try to catch the doll's hair to the hairpiece without piercing the doll's head.
Once secured, you can wrap a softly twisted lock of hair, a braid, even a scarf or headband to cover the front.

Free Fall
Half Verushka half Amy Winehouse, the secret to this wild and crazy lioness is a full blown Fall worn underneath the doll's already long locks.
1. Part the hair from side to side near the front of the head.
2. Pin in the hairpiece
3. Brush the hair over the hairpiece
4. Move over Verushka!!!
Note: super long hair isn't the only game in town here. You can make the hairpiece in shorter lengths (chin or shoulder length) as well. This is also a good way for your doll to temporarily roll with a new trend without totally commiting. (Ombre coifs, for example!) Though you can use synthetic hair, human hair affords more flexibility. You can use a variety of irons: curling, flat, crimp to style. And when she's exhausted the look, you can shampoo, condition, flat iron and start all over again! All this without disturbing dolly's original 'do!

Everyday Fashionista
Perhaps your doll's tastes are a tad more discreet. More "good girl" than "wild child."
Katoucha went from wearing a short Afro to long locks in an instant! Micro butterfly clips are found in most US pharmacies, beauty supply stores & dollar stores.
For this look, I used a "half wig cap" which has less volume but may be easier to work with.
1. I start off the same way as with the full cap described above.
2. After you have trimmed away the excess, fold the cap in half. Then cut off about 1/4 inch (7mm) from around the bottom.
3. Sew on a strip at the bottom. Then add more layers until you reach the top edge. You should use no less than 3 layers.
As you can see, I've put this fall on a variety of dolls with short hairdos. The existing coif (suitable for edgy fashion) is instantly transformed into a romantic expression!

Curly Fries
Here's what we did with a curly version of the same fall on another Barbie with medium length (soft) hair.
1. Billie is an S.I.S Barbie with a cute medium length, layered cut.
2. I combed most of her hair towards the front, leaving about 1/4 of it down.
3. Here is my demi-Fall. I curled it using pipe cleaners.
4. I pin the Fall underneath the top section of hair.
5. Then brush the hair over the fall.
6. Billie's hair is caught up at the back, twisted, then held in place with pins.
7. The result is a super long cascade of curled tresses.
Eye Spy!
And what would 60's hair be without lashes! After all, we're talking about an era of big hair, big eyes and pale lips! Frankly, some of my girls have been mighty jealous of those newer dolls with lashes. (For this project, I had a line of dolly volunteers stretching out of the door!)
Carla in natural lashes
In spite of my dolls' insistence, I discovered that lashes don't suit everyone. They tend to "shut" the dolls eyes somewhat (making them look a bit sleepy or tipsy). So it's up to you to decide on what's best for the doll's overall look. Also worth noting, I am using the normal eyelash glue instead of craft glue. This is because I wasn't sure I wanted to make it permanent, at least not just yet. (After all this is about temporary looks that can be easily changed.) However, if you decide on permanent lashes, a craft glue that dries clear is best.
 1. Eyelashes come in a variety of styles. I started out with "natural" wispy lashes because I felt that when cut down, they would be in perfect scale with the doll. These "natural" lashes are more pricey. On the other hand, the fuller lashes on the right were only $1 which was cheap enough to allow for several mistakes and mishaps.
2. You will need to cut off about 1/4 inch (7mm) of the width of the strip. Immediately reduce the length of the lashes. (About half is okay.) It's best to angle your scissors while you're clipping to achieve a more uneven cut.
3. Instead of having to buy an eyelash curler as some folks use, I bent my lashes around the narrow point of a toothpick and held for about a minute.
4. The glue that's already on the lash is enough to help you with positioning. I place the lash from just in front of the doll's iris to the edge of either her eye or the eyeliner (already drawn on the doll). Use the tip of the toothpick and press down at each corner.
5. Trim a little more off the lashes to get the look you want.
6. If need be, here is where (using tweezers) you can remove the lashes and add a tiny dab of eyelash glue to the strip. Wait until the glue is tacky then reapply to the eyelid. With the toothpick, hold the lash in place until it sets then gently lift up the lash, again, pressing down at each end of the lash to the eye.
7. Even though there were lashes drawn on my dolls' eyelids, that's okay. It adds to the super lashy effect of the look. The best thing--if you (or her) don't like the lashes or tire of the look--simply remove them with no damage to the eyes!
I added lashes to a number of my dolls (including Barbies). It glams up the look and adds a bit of "headiness" to the face. It also "relaxes" the eyes of those dolls with wide-eyed stares.What I do like about them is how they add dimension to dolly's eyes. 
Background photo: Samantha Jones by Bert Stern
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  1. Hi April! Great looks, I love the braids and the chignon look very much. As you say, some dolls don't benefit from eyelashes, but when they do, they look so good! Your girls are looking fabulous :-). xxx

    1. Thank you, Linda. This project was a pure flight of fantasy for me and I had a good time trying to figure out how to bring this about. I had been very apprehensive about doing the eyelashes, but with a little practice, it's not as hard as it first looked. The surprise, of course, was discovering that not all dolls benefit. (But they're still begging!!! LOL)

  2. Wow, what a fun post! Some of my girls have been wanting temporary highlights, no re-rooting involved, so I may have to give this technique a try.

    I especially like the false eyelashes, though. Simply gorgeous, and more natural-looking than rooted ones. The rooted ones can look so heavy, not to mention, none of my dolls are keen on having needles poked into their eyes! Not even itty bitty beading needles.

    Thanks for the mention, by the way. I loved your suggestion for a re-rooting tutorial, and I can see myself doing that soon. <3

    1. Thank you, Sarah. I've been thinking about this for a very long time. Once I actually sat down and began to work on the technical side of coming up with temporary hairpieces and how they could be attached, I really began having a great deal of fun with this. And no, NONE of my dolls wanted rooted eyelashes. No one wanted needles in their eyes either. And frankly, no one wanted their hair plucked out just to change up the hair style. So everybody in my household is most happy. Still there is a very real need for re-rooting and I'd love to see your take on how you succeed so beautifully with your dolls.

  3. I loved this article! Even though most of my dolls' hair is on the long side, I thought of adding coloured streaks and dreadfalls to them. Thanks for all the tips!

    1. Thank you, BlackKitty. I did this post just for the pure fun of it. I don't expect many will have an actual need (or desire) to do this, but I thought everyone would enjoy seeing that it is possible to do temporary hairpieces and that there was a time when changing your hairstyle from one extreme to another was a real fashion trend. Aside from making the hairpieces, my next favorite part was researching the images of the 1960's supermodels.

  4. Replies
    1. Welcome to my blog, Ladonna. Glad you enjoyed this post. Come back anytime! (We're just full of ideas!!!)

  5. Bardzo ciekawy pomysł z dodawaniem włosów! Świetnie to się prezentuje! Dziewczyny z rzęsami mają urocze spojrzenie! Dziękuję za te porady!
    Pozdrawiam serdecznie!

    1. Olla123 wrote: Very interesting idea of adding hair! Well it shows ! Girls from lashes to look adorable ! Thank you for the advice !
      Best wishes!

      Thank you Olla. Glad you enjoyed this post. It was most fun to put together. See you soon!

  6. This is fascinating!

    I'm thinking that with some of my longer-haired gals, putting a wire in their hair when I braid it, even though the hair's attached to their heads, might make styling easier. Your experiments open up a lot of options for long-haired dolls that are just kind of hanging around being long-haired with not much style.

    1. The wire doesn't have to be attached to anything, so your idea of adding in wire to already rooted hair should make it easier to work with braids. You're so right about looking for options for the long haired dolls. I have been winding or twisting the hair atop the doll's head and securing it with bobby pins or hair pins so it's not always this "princess." I suppose that's why I tend to jump whenever I see a doll with a short or medium length style. But the idea of exploring options for the long haired dolls could be an interesting subject for a future post.

  7. Hi April! I'm amazed! The hairdos are very fashionable, now the girls look like real models!
    The most incredible thing is that this way you don't have to reroot the doll. In fact toupees has been part of femal coiffure since ancient time!
    This was real fun to read! I wonder how you come up with such original ideas, you're so crafty and inventive!

    1. To be quite honest, Billa, I never understood why a doll had to lose her entire head of hair just for a change of hairstyle. OK, so she can't grow back her hair if you cut it, and we do have to worry about bulk, but still, I never understood why there wasn't some sort of styling accessories available which would allow you to change up the doll's look slightly. When I bought the doll in the opening photo, her previous owner had taken down her updo only to find her hair had been cut in these extremely uneven layers. I bought her for her crooked hair which gave me to try something more modern. And yes, wigs have always been an essential part of women's beauty regime. My mom had a wardrobe of wigs and hairpieces. I too, bought hairpieces for the time I lived in the Caribbean because the humidity was so bad--and as a fashion person, I needed to maintain a "fashion" look. So for this post, I only had to look on my own shelves to figure out how to make the hair accessories!! The trip back to the 1960's via vintage magazines also helped. Glad you enjoyed this post.

  8. This is great information. I never thought about a 'weave' for my dolls. I've see wigs, but I like the idea of the braids and adding some removable color through bits of additional hair. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. First of all, welcome to my blog where ideas flow continuously! Hairpieces have always been part of my own wardrobe so it seemed logical that my dolls--avatars of my inner fashionista--should also be able to add a little something to change up the hairdo they came with!!!


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