This is the first post of a new series about reroots. Hair is a very important part of the beauty of Blythe, and there’s a lot of different materials, techniques, results that you can choose from for your dolls. I will try to make a comprehensive tour of the matter, but please feel free to add your input in the comments!
Let’s start with saran, and the queen of saran reroots, Sherri aka Shershe.
“I learned the basics of the lock loop method of saran rerooting from the Puchicollective tutorial. However, I had no luck using a crochet hook, so I decided to try using a needle instead. It worked out great for me and that’s why it’s the method I now recommend to others. I put together a saran reroot tutorial“.
Photo: Shershe. Click on the link to find the complete list of the tools you need.
“I enjoy the control I have over the saran when using a needle. It allows me to keep the plugs very neat and tidy. I also prefer the needle because, for me, the crochet hook seemed to “rip” more at the holes. A needle passes through the holes cleanly. It doesn’t make the holes bigger, which I find provides a better hold for the saran plugs”.
Wet the plugs!
“When people contact me with questions on how to approach their first reroot, the most important thing I think they need to follow, other than simply having patience, is to make sure to wet the plugs as they are working with them. If they try to thread a plug and pull it through the scalp when it’s dry, they are going to end up with a mess and that alone can be enough to overwhelm some people and cause them to quit the project. Especially when they are rerooting the part line rows, which need to be so very close together in order to create a nice, professional looking thatch with no bald spots…well, if the plug loops on the inside of the scalp have tons of stray hairs and are messy, that is going to make it that much more difficult to get those rows as close together as needed”.
Photos and reroot: Jess aka Milky Robot, who believes the same as Sherri about that technique. “I do saran, nylon and mohair reroots. I love working with saran the best, the feel of saran is just better than nylon in opinion. It’s nicer to work with as nylon tends to kink here and there, very frustrating. For beginner tips, also reroot saran wet. It not only makes your reroot cleaner, it’s far easier to work with than wet otherwise you will have hair flying everywhere”.
To fill every hole or not?
Sherri’s advice: “As far as whether or not to fill every hole in a scalp, I definitely like to fill every hole. However, all scalps are different. I’ve had some scalps that had a higher than usual number of rows and the holes were so close together that even if I had made the plugs as thin as possible, I felt the hair still would have ended up too heavy. In those cases, I have skipped holes, rooting every other hole, but only in the rows in the middle of the field. I would never recommend skipping holes in the first 4 to 5 crown line rows because you want to be sure this area is filled in well. You don’t want bald or thin spots in this important area. I also would never skip holes in the last two outer rows. This is another area you want to be sure has very good coverage. If the hair is pulled back or blows back during photos, you don’t want empty holes showing”.
Photo: Happibug. Shershe reroot.
How to create perfect bangs:
Sherri is very famous and admired for her bangs: “I can create bangs on any scalp. The stock scalp does not have to have bangs. For me, creating the bangs doesn’t have anything to do with the pattern of rerooting. The bangs are created by pulling hair forward and cutting it. I reroot the scalp as if it will have just a center part. I thatch the part the same as if it would be if it weren’t going to have bangs. But, once completed, I pull hair forward and cut it to make the bangs. Like these photos illustrate”:
Photo: Shershe. A completed, rerooted scalp.
Photos: Shershe. Initial bang cut and treatment process.
“I have people telling me they can’t get bangs to turn out well, that they stick up, won’t lay right, etc. I really do not have a magic trick to cutting them. It just takes lots of patience. My bangs go through “these look like crap” stages too. You just have to keep going until they look great. Don’t give up.
Note – The plastic wrap does two things. It helps keep water off the face during the boiling water treatments. If water were to get on the face, it might ruin makeup and it will definitely cause the eye lashes to fall out. I still hold her facing downwards while pouring the water over the bangs, and only small amounts of water at a time. The second thing the plastic wrap does is help prevent accidental scratches to the face when I’m using the scissors and comb”.
Photo: Shershe. Second round of bang cutting process.
“During the second round, I cut the bangs closer to the desired final length. I start at one end and work my way across slowly, a little at a time. Then I take the other hair out of the ponytail, comb it all down the way it will lay, do another boiling water treatment and put the band on to let the hair dry again”.
Photos: Shershe. Third time is a charm.
“Now that I have the hair all combed together, I can see that I haven’t cut enough bang at the sides. I almost always end up having this because I would rather not cut enough, than to cut too much and end up with mullet bangs.
I make the initial cuts and then again I cover the face with saran wrap to protect it while I do the detail cutting”.
Photo: Shershe. Checking bang length.
“Also something to note is that I always create a new part line. I never use the existing stock part holes because after removing the stock hair most of the holes are merged together. There is no way to root the new plugs neatly and evenly spaced using these existing holes. When I create the 4 new part line rows, I can make the plugs in neat rows and very close together and evenly spaced which provides for a very professional and tightly thatched part.
You can see below an example of how I’m creating a new part line beside an existing stock part, and you can also see what I mean by the existing holes not being a good place to root new plugs”.
“When I have a stock center part scalp and the owner wants the new hair style to be center part, I just root the new part as close as possible to the old part line and rotate the scalp a tiny bit so that it’s on center. When the scalp is a stock side part, I can do the same if the owner wants the side part on the same side, or I can move the part to the opposite side”.
How much saran and where to buy it:
Photo: Shershe. Click on the link to find a list of saran online stores.
How many strands per plug?
One question Sherri gets asked a lot is how many individual strands of saran do I use per plug: “That is actually difficult to answer because I’m not counting the hairs as I make the plugs. It’s something that, over the years, I have just developed a feel for. The plugs all vary. I normally use thicker plugs in the part line rows and at the crown than I do for the plugs in the field. The plugs in the very outer row are usually the thinnest because the holes are so much closer together. Other factors have to be considered, such as how many rows the scalp has and how close the holes in each row are to each other. My best advice for a beginner, when making plugs, is to study a stock Blythe’s hair plugs. It’s a great way to get a feel for how much to use. Also, always remember that you are folding that plug in half, so once rooted onto the scalp it’s going to be twice as thick”.
Photo: Shershe. “One row of yellow under the bangs to give just a hint of color in them”.
Saran versus nylon:
“There are many hair options to select from when rerooting. When it comes to saran or other fibers similar to saran, like nylon, I highly recommend saran as being easier to work with. I have worked with nylon and although it isn’t impossible to work with, I just found it more difficult because it had a tendency to kink. Some hairs were already kinked in the bundles of nylon I received, before I ever worked with them. Then, I found that as I rooted the plugs, more of the nylon was kinking. I would compare it to when you run ribbon across scissors or another sharp surface in order to make it curl. I believe that when I was pulling the nylon plugs through the scalp holes, some were being kinked due to the friction. I tried using boiling water to straighten these kinked nylon hairs, but it did not straighten them out completely. There would still be “marks” left behind in the hair. One thing I did find that helped lessen the kinking of the nylon was to use a much larger needle, therefore making a larger hole for the nylon plugs to pass through. The end result of the nylon reroots I’ve done have been beautiful. So, again, it isn’t impossible to work with, I just wouldn’t recommend it for someone doing their first reroots”.
“Another important thing to know is that after rerooting, the plugs will seem to be ‘standing away’ from the scalp (a fountain effect). This causes the hair to not lay right against the scalp and difficult to get it to look nice. I use boiling water treatments to tame the hair. Using boiling water will flatten and tame the saran. PLEASE, FIRST TEST A SMALL SECTION of hair in the back or use some extra saran, if you have some, to make sure that it can tolerate the heat. Some types of hair will be ruined by the heat…they will melt or frizz and kink up. Always do a test first!
Be sure to protect eyelashes and makeup. I use saran wrap and a towel. If the eyelashes get wet, they will fall out and I imagine boiling water could have a negative effect on some custom makeup.
I boil my water in a bowl in the microwave. I remove it immediately when it begins to boil and leave it sit for 20-30 seconds before pouring it on the hair or using a dipper / ladle to apply it to the hair. Once the water is applied to the hair, comb it down straight and let it dry. To get bangs to lay nicely, I will use the boiling water method and then I place a small cap on the head or a nylon band over the bangs until they are dry.
One last thing I would mention is that saran always looks better the more you wash, comb, play with it. Straight out of the bag, it has a somewhat greasy feel. Right after it’s rerooted onto the scalp, this greasiness and also the heaviness of the saran can make it separate and not lay very nice. I always like to do at least two washes using a grease cutting dish soap when I’ve finished a reroot. And I comb through it a lot in between these washes. This helps a lot, but I still recommend more washes and more combing because it’s just going to lay and feel better the more this is done”.
Photo: Rockymountainroz. Shershe reroot.
Thermal saran is hair that changes color when the temperature increases by 20 degrees. Other regular saran hair can’t be changed so. There are a few different color options, such as orange/yellow, pink/white, blue/purple, and more that can be found at the saran suppliers.
All photos and reroots: Shershe.
Saran hair for one full Blythe reroot can cost between $25 to $50. Shershe and Milkyrobot in the United States, and *jaszmade in Gemany do, among a few others, accept saran reroot commissions, and the prices are around $200 per doll.
In case you would like to see more photos of saran reroots, feel free to have a look at that group: Blythes with lovely saran hair. You will find lots of wonderful girls!
Photo and reroot: Helena aka Funny Bunny.