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How is doll hair rooted?


Did you love combing your doll's hair as a kid? Rooting the hair is pretty easy too.
Did you love combing your doll's hair as a kid? Rooting the hair is pretty easy too.
Purestock/Thinkstock

Ever wanted to put new hair on a doll? Or wondered how in the world they get doll's hair to stay attached so tightly that your child can carry her around by the hair without damaging it? Or maybe you want to build – or rebuild – a doll. There's a whole subset of hobbyists who customize dolls by repainting their faces and re-rooting their hair. Painting can be challenging, but rooting a doll's hair so it will stay put? It's actually pretty easy.

If you want to root the hair on one doll or just a couple of dolls, you can do it using a needle, with the hair as the thread. If you're looking to get into the customizing biz -- and some customized dolls can command hundreds or even thousands of dollars -- you may want to invest in a tool similar to a sewing machine, called a rooting machine. That's what the pros use. Either way, the process is essentially the same.

Typically, you cut the existing hair close to the scalp and remove the doll's head from its body to get access to the inside. Then, use a combination of a crochet hook and tweezers to remove the existing hair. Tie a knot at the end of a hank of the doll's new hair. Using a needle, thread the other end of the hair and push it from the inside of the doll's head through a hair hole. Pull the thread through until the knot stops it. Repeat for all of the holes in the doll's head. You may have to experiment a time or two to get the right amount of hair for the size of the holes.

The rooting machine used by manufacturers pokes the holes in the doll's head and pulls the hair through in one step. The result is the same as the by-hand rooting method, doll's hair that is secure enough for a child to play with and looks natural enough – depending on the type of hair you choose – for a collectible doll as well.