Rooting, Gluing on or Baking On Hair

Sorry I don't have any photos yet.  Next time I make a sculpt, I'll try to remember to take photos!

SECTION ONE - ROOTED HAIR

Needed: 

Forked needle (make one by cutting half the eye off a crewel embroidery or other largish needle with a pair of wire cutters.  I then wrap some clay around the sharp end and bake it to make a nice handle).  You can use a regular felting needle but it makes rougher holes as it pulls some clay out when you pull the needle back.    Mohair or other fiber for rooting hair.      Saran Wrap.

You root hair before you bake the sculpt.  First, cover the face, neck and ears with saran wrap.  Gently lay it down so that the plastic doesn't mess up the unbaked clay too much.  Next, pull off a small amount of mohair, about 1/2 inch wide and thin enough spread out so you can easily see through it, to pull each strand of hair.  I cut my mohair about 3 inches long for a newborn baby. 

Lay the hair across the head where the crown would be.  Poke the forked needle into the clay THROUGH the strands of hair so that a couple of strands get pulled into the clay.  Push down no more than 1/4 inch--or til you hit your armature.  Pull the needle out.  Take one of your smoothing tools and gently pat the clay around the hair.  Repeat in a circular motion until you have a nice spiral crown started. 

As you work, you can begin to lessen the curvature of the hair out towards the hairline.  Make sure you keep the hairline even all the way around.  You can use a needle to mark where your hairline goes so you don't go over it.

Continue to root the hair into the head and make sure once you're done that you go back over the entire head with a roller or smoother so that there are no globs of clay sticking up and also that the clay has closed around each strand.  Take your time!  This is VERY time consuming.

Then you can trim as needed, and remove the saran wrap.  You may need to smooth any spots that the plastic wrap has marked before baking.


SECTION TWO -  BAKED-ON HAIR

I mostly use this technique on smaller babies and minis. 

Needed:  Mohair strands cut to fit the head.  Smoothing Tool, Clay Softener or Translucent Liquid Sculpey (or similar product).

With this method the clay is UNBAKED.  I don't usually cover the face with saran wrap, but you can if you want.

Start by separating several small thin sections of mohair, trimmed to go from the crown area of the dolls head to the hairline.  Just a few strands at a time is all you want.  I lay out several of these little sections of hair before I begin so they are ready.

Smooth a SMALL amount of Translucent Liquid Sculpey or Clay Softener (one drop or less) all over the head where the hair is going to go.  Rub it gently til the clay is sticky. 

Pick up one section of hair.  Lay it from the crown area down to the hairline on one side of the head, working it around the ears.  Gently smooth it down with a smoothing tool, pressing enough that the hair becomes partially embedded into the soft clay.  If you get too much hair, pull off the excess.  It takes practice to learn how much is the right amount.

Next do the other side of the head and smooth it down. 

Next, do the back of the head.  This hair will be shorter and ends at the nape of the neck.

Last, apply the hair to the top of the head.  These strands will be a little longer and should overlap the back and side starting points a little to create a natural appearance. 

Smooth it all down one last time, removing excess hair.  Bake as usual.


SECTION THREE - GLUED ON HAIR

I use this technique with mini sculpts.

Needed:  same materials as above, except substitute a non-shiny clear drying waterbased tacky type glue for the clay softener or Liquid Sculpey, small paintbrush.

With this method the clay is already BAKED and cooled. 

Lay out your thin sections of trimmed hair exactly like in Section Two.

Apply small amounts of glue onto the baked head with the small paintbrush, painting on only a small section at a time.  I start with the sides, do the back and then the top last.  Quickly apply each small section smoothing the hair down onto the wet glue with a smoothing tool.  It's best to wipe the tool between each smoothed section so glue and hair don't accumulate on the tool.

When all hair is applied, allow to air dry.  Trim as needed. 

 

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