Sunday, April 17, 2016

Troll Doll Hair Tutorial. How to rehair, wig or replace the hair on your Troll.

How to rehair, wig or replace the hair on your troll doll.

 I've been selling Tibetan Lamb on Etsy  for a few years and lately more and more people are buying it for their troll doll.  I also a variety of colors and sizes on eBay

 I saw a problem immediately though.

The common hair ( fur ) used on trolls is Icelandic wool. It is what the vintage DAM trolls and others used back in the day. Many have switched to cheap acrylic faux fur, which in my opinion ruins a perfectly good troll.  I am a fan of natural fibers, and all my doll wigs are only wool products, never synthetic.

Icelandic wool is very thick and mostly straight. The hide is very thick as well. What I found people doing is buying a piece of Icelandic fur and rolling it into a tube, and then sticking the tube of fur into the head hole after they have removed the original hair. It mostly works this way.

However, upon buying an entire pelt of Icelandic wool so that I could bring my stunning and vibrant colors to the troll world and make the most amazing troll replacement hair ever....there was a BIG problem that I didn't know about. It did not dye at ALL like Tibetan Lamb.

For some reason, Icelandic wool, when dyed, shrinks and hardens like a rock. The hide gets tough and is no longer pliable and able to be rolled into a tube.  I consulted with someone who uses this fur regularly for wig making and she confirmed that I was NOT doing anything wrong, and that no matter what she tried she got the same results.

I went six pages deep On Google looking for the solution to how to dye Icelandic wool without shrinking the hide / leather. If there is a human being out there who knows this well guarded secret, they aren't telling anyone what it is. 

I now have a ton of dyed Icelandic fur here on toughened little hides. :(

So I decided to put that idea on the back burner for now. although I am determined to do this and have a plan that I will eventually try.

On to the Tibetan Lamb fur. If you want some stunning color combos and really want to make your troll super special, you may want to try Tibetan Lamb to rewig your troll instead of Icelandic wool.  However, the method is totally different from the rolled fur Icelandic method.

Tibetan Lamb fur is sold generally in 4 x 4" pieces of fur on the hide, or 4 x 6" or larger. You can't roll this up. You would be rolling up all the fur inside itself and it just doesn't feel or look right.  So, I devised my own method so that you can use Tibetan Lamb for your troll doll and get an amazing finished look once you replace the hair.

The tutorial

 You will need to start by removing all  the factory hair from your troll. If it is a RUSS troll or similar with a BIG hole in the top of the head, then this tutorial is for you. If you are trying to rehair a DAM troll, they have a different hair placement and size hole, so I'll have to cover that another time.
You will have to remove the hair, and you can do this by cutting it down as far as you can get it and then using a pliers to grab the roll of hair from in the center and just pull. The entire piece of hair plus should pull out. 

There will be little pieces of fur stuck with glue around  the edges of the head. Just pull them out as best you can. I actually used a lighter and singed them with a flame to make them shrink down to nothing, but you may not want to do that. 

In order to replace the hair on your troll doll and not waste a ton of hair, you will have to plug the hole in the head. I have two ways of doing this.

Method #1.  ( method two is shown at the very end of this troll doll hair replacement tutorial )

You will need a little square of fabric approx. 4 x 4". I use muslin because I use this for my wig caps and already had it handy. Any thin cotton type fabric would work. 
Other supplies needed are fiberfill stuffing ( or you can use cotton batting ), scissors, and fabric glue such as Beacon's FabriTac. 

 Cut as small square of fabric as shown below.

Place a bit of your batting or fiberfill inside  the fabric. Not too much. We need to be able to make a little fabric pillow out of this. 

 Now fold your fabric around the filling and using your fabric glue, glue the edges down so you have a little fabric pillow of sorts.  You don't have to be particular or super neat about this as none of it will show.

FabriTac glue dries in minutes so you don't have to wait like you would with any white glue.  See below.

FYI- my fingers are not dirty- that's staining from dye. :)

Fit the pillow down into the head leaving a little dome like area that sticks out a bit above the head. 

Use a little FabriTac glue around the edges to hold the pillow in the head as we will be gluing our hair to this and don't want it to poke down into the head and disappear. 

 Now we can start the actual rewigging process.  A 4 x 6" piece of Tibetan Lamb fur will give you more than enough, but it depends how thickly you apply the hair, and the size of the troll.  A 4 x 6" would be fine for a 5" troll, but a 4 x 4 may be enough for the 3" or smaller sizes.   

Keep in mind that Tibetan Lamb fur is softer and floppier than Icelandic, so it is not going to stick up straight over the head. It will fold down and over and look more like hair. 

 When using Tibetan Lamb to make doll or troll wigs, I always cut my hair off the leather hide and lay it down in front of me on an old towel to work with. This keeps it from wandering away.

 This stunning piece of Tibetan Lamb fur is the one I will be using. I devised a unique ( and secret so don't ask ) method for dyeing the fur in a tie dye look- see below. I use this method to make fur for my fashion and BJD wigs, as well as my custom troll dolls. 

I will be offering this for sale special for TROLL lovers...but you have to keep in mind that this fur HAS to be cut off the leather to use it. When I dye it, I start with a 4 x 6" piece and after the process it has shrink by 50%. The amount of hair remains the same, but the hide shrinks excessively due to my secret method. No way around this. It doesn't matter when you cut the fur off the hide.  

I will take custom orders and requests for this style of tie dyed fur. Pick 3 colors and what you get is what you get. I guarantee it will be stunning. I have no control over how it will look aside from the colors you choose, which will blend and create even more colors.  You can email me if you have a request.

I have a comb and small scissors, as well as my glue and paper towels. You WILL need paper towels so keep them handy.

 Cut off small sections at a time and align them all neatly. Cut the fur as close to hide as possible.

 This is what I do whenever I make a doll or troll wig. Handy hint- if you have pieces of hair that are extra pretty, save those for the front of the head. No sense hiding the best stuff in the back!

We will start by gluing the hair around the perimeter of the head on the vinyl part as shown.

 Pick up a lock of hair- not too big a section- and it will look something like the photo below. Trim the ends of the hair so it is flat and even and nice.

FabricTac glue, if you haven't already noticed, is a pain in the neck. It is very sticky and leaves stringy glue trails. However, it will NOT lift off vinyl like white glue will. 

Start gluing your hair down all around the edges until you are done.

When done applying the hair around the edges it will look something like the photo above, and below.

If you like, to finish the hair, you can switch to Aleene's FAST GRAB ( no other one! ) Tacky Glue. It is super thick and holds the hair immediately, although take some time to dry, No other white glue will work as well as this one. I have made thousands of doll wigs and I can say this with all confidence.  Or, continue using FabriTac, if you can stand how stick and messy it is. :)

 I am going to use the Aleene's cause FabriTac drives me nuts. 
No matter what glue you use, follow the procedure below.

Fill in the remainder of the head, adding glue to the ends of the hair as shown above and pressing down onto the fabric pillow area.  If you go around in concentric circles you will eventually have filled in the entire head.  Let the glue dry for several hours before playing around with the hair.

 And THIS is how the hair looked when I was done. The finished troll, although I will probably be repainting it and doing further customization.


 Head Filling Method #2