Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Saving a Bad Hair Barbie -DIY Rerooting Attempt #1

Last year I picked up a thrift store doll that was in poor shape and gave her matted hair a quick braid here to see if I could save her... Not so much. So I replaced the head and the blonde was tossed into a box of misfit toys. For some reason I've had hot pink hair on my mind, so I grabbed a play hair band from Dollar Tree and watched a couple videos about re-rooting doll hair. Quickly decided that project might be a little too tedious for me. But I thought maybe I'd just pry the braided piece off of the headband and glue that around the doll's head, perhaps that would be a quick fix...

Since Plan A was to glue the hairpiece all around the head I just took scissors to my doll, didn't bother thinking about how I cut her original hair off, just needed it off. Now, I wish I had $1 for every time someone said "I wish I didn't cut Barbie's hair off, or I wish I had cut it differently"... Um, yea. Once I looked at my doll with very short hair, she was still beautiful! I love the idea of a Barbie with short hair, that's something rarely seen in mass marketed dolls.
In the pic above, I was very fond of the look on the left side, I like the way the hair is shaped and love the little wispy tufts coming down in the front. Since her original hair was swept to the right (in looking at the pic) I decided to work in that direction. Also, there were bare spots on that side that needed some covering up...

The glam shot😉

I don't have a re-rooting tool, so I pushed a small bunch of strands through the eye of a large sewing needle, pushed the point through the top of her head, and pulled it through the neck hole using small pliers. Then stuck scissors into the neck opening and cut the hair off of the needle. Repeat-many-times. By the time I added the three pieces in the pic above I knew I wouldn't have the patience to do the whole doll's head.

So I decided she'd look cool with short blonde hair with long hair in front, swept to the side at the part. I added the hair plugs densely along the part and then added a few sparsely down the side of the head, towards the front hairline.

If I had a re-rooting tool the hair plug ends would not be very long on the inside of the doll's head and folks then add a glue to the inside to help keep the hair in place. Since I pulled the strands all the way through the head, my inside is full of hair, and I did not add any glue. But then, the only person playing with this doll is me, so I think the hair will be fine since she'll only be posing for pictures (total diva). The before and after:
I love the way the pink hair makes her eye color pop!

My best tip: You'll want to make the hair lay down and look more natural, you can see in the second pic, this plastic hair wants to stick straight up. Some folks dip the head in boiling water, some place a damp cloth over the head and gently iron it... I placed a hair band around her head and used a blow dryer. The blow dryer was too hot and kind of melted(?) the pink hair. It lost some of it's pretty shine on top. It also curled what was left of her original hair. So next time I'd either try a different technique, or hold the hair dryer further away from the doll and use short blasts of heat.  
A ponytail look... 
While removing the rubber band, I learned that the ponytail actually looks good if the band is lower,
maybe around her shoulder, creating a looser look.

The hair band I used: 

If there's one thing you can say about hair styles today, it's that anything goes. And I have to say, I love the new look of my thrift store doll😉 So overall, this was a fun project that only took a few hours, but I don't think it's one kids should do themselves. It takes some serious pulling to get the needle through the head and that can be a little dangerous (she says with a bandage on her finger).

Barbie says-
Don't be afraid to change it if you think you can make it better, and...
Have a happy day!

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  1. Hmmm, definitely daring, and great result. I think that it would definitely be fun to add some streaks or GRAY hair to a few dolls. Definitely wish there were more mature choices of dolls. Great idea to just do partial hair. Hugs, Sandi

  2. You did an amazing job on Barbie's hair, Lynn! I like the two-toned look and the pink really does make her eyes po.


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