Step 12: Rooting the Hair

The final step before you can start accessorizing and decking your baby doll up is to root the mohair. Now, there are plenty of terms used in this respect such as micro-rooting, power rooting, etc. When you use 38 gauge or less felt needles for the rooting process, it automatically becomes micro-rooting. On the other hand, the use of slightly thicker needles – to avoid breakage and achieve a rather quick coverage of surface area – is called power rooting.

As a beginner, it would be wiser to stick to a moderate gauge of thickness; something around 38 or more. However, remember not to take too big of a felt needle since the larger the gauge, the larger your hole will be. Hence, leaving smaller holes will make the hair look natural on the baby’s head. Dolls that look like real babies tend to have a random but natural fall of hair. Here is what you can do to achieve the same result.

4 Stages to Perfect Rooting

Stage 1: Vision

Make Dolls that Look Like Real Babies Step 12 Every great creation begins with a vision. In this respect, reborn dolls are much like novels or screenplays; first, they begin in the head before they’re taken out to the world and become “real”. So, the very first thing you should do when getting ready to make your dolls is to decide on the color of the eyes and the hair, as well as some other minor aspects. Do not leave this for later as it makes your job a lot harder. Now, what you could do is keep a collection of mohair colors handy in your workshop or get the highest quality of mohair which are usually colorless. This gives you a lot of freedom as you can color the hair depending on the doll and the project you’re working on. As practice, most reborn artists tend to leave this stage to the end just before reassembling the doll kit.

Stage 2: Holding the Felt Needle

Probably the biggest hurdle reborn artists encounter when sewing hair onto the scalp is with how to hold that darn needle. Once you know how it works, it gets easy though. Just hold the needle between your thumb and your forefinger, and with the middle finger, you will guide the tip of the needle into the scalp. With 38 gauge needles, keep a few spare with you since you will eventually break some as you go through the entire process. Even pros tend to break one or two needles during the felting process. Just remember that the felt needle is to be pierced into the scalp in a dart throwing motion of the hand. This pricks the surface clean and leaves the mohair inside, rooted to the scalp. Experts suggest trying to perform this rhythmic motion using only the elbows while the wrists would remain steady.

Stage 3: Holding the Mohair

Now that you know how to hold and apply the needle, how do you root the hair? To get the job done, first place a bunch of mohair where you intend to root. Then, after you’ve made sure that the length is what you want it to be, pierce the felt needle on top of each strand with a rhythmic motion to push the smaller part of the hair inside the scalp. This is very different from other sewing activities, so it’s only normal if you need some time to get used to it.

Stage 4: Density

Sometimes, you may want to return to an already rooted region. In such cases, raise the already rooted mohair upwards and backwards so as to reveal the scalp, and then place a new set of mohair to start the rooting process all over again. Remember to keep it random when trying to increase the density of the mohair. In fact, a random patching of hair with a twirl here and a small tuft there gives baby dolls the best appearance. Also, baby girls tend to have longer hair but not too long either, so pay attention to smoothen girl hair more. Dolls that look like real babies need not have perfect hair, actually the more random and more unruly their hair, the more real they will look.

With that being said, shall we go on to the next step?