ROOTING HAIR ON A RESIN HEAD by Don (CTC) Chisolm
Materials: -resin head -pin vice and one of the larger bits -superglue or 5 minute epoxy -hair
Getting proper hair can be tough. Not a lot of places stock doll hair, and those that do don't often have a wide variety. I usually buy a cheap costume wig, and use that. The resilience of the hair will affect how it lies on the head. A cheap wig is usually thick plastic fibers and will boof out when applied. (Sorta like a `70s comic character.) Finer fibers will lie flat on the head. If you're lucky there's a craft shop near you that stocks doll hair. You can buy all sorts of styles and thickness' all ready to go. If you're REALLY lucky there's a craft shop near you that stocks Japanese dolfie wigs and you can dispense with this whole ordeal.
You're gonna have a zillion loose strands pile up while doing this; so make sure you work in an area that's easily vacuumed.
1) First, you have to drill the holes for the head. It's probably best to paint the head AFTER you've drilled the holes. (But BEFORE putting the hair in...) That way the paint doesn't flake. Check out an actual doll head if you can to see the general pattern. Start with the lower edge of the hair. (You can pencil it in if you'd like.) Drill the holes along this edge, about three or four millimeters apart. Place another row of holes about three millimeters above the first. When adding extra rows, ALTERNATE them with the ones below. So, each hole of the second row will be about three millimeters above the first; but the holes will be set between those of the first. This overlap is important. It'll cover up the spaces between sprigs of hair.
After this mark where you want the part. Drill two alternating rows to either side of this. Once this is done you can add extra rows along the part or lower edge to fill out the head. Ultimately you should have a lattice of holes all about 3mm apart.
NOTE: Drilling the holes straight in will create a hairdo with a lot of body. For straighter hair, drill the holes at a 45 degree angle, pointing downward. Drill in about two mm. You don't want the holes running into each other.
If you're feeling really daring, drill the rows to either side of the part at a slant facing each other. When rooting the hair you'll cris-cross them. It's actually a lot more work, but it'll make a more realistic part.
2) Once the holes are drilled in, you can paint the head. Seal it; and then start gluing in hair. Superglue is probably your best bet; but be careful, it'll "frost" some plastic hair. (That is, the glue will fade the colour of the strands.) 5 minute epoxy negates this problem but because it's a lot thicker than superglue it's a lot harder to use. Use a toothpick to get it into the holes.
The easiest way to apply hair is to cut strands of hair that are about three or four times longer than you want them. Fold them in half and twiddle the end to a point. Put a SMALL drop of glue in the hole and work the hair in. It takes FOREVER.... Start with the lowest row of holes (the hairline) and work your way around. Then do the next highest row. This'll let you see any bald spots early. You can then drill some more holes and add more hair as necessary.
Once all the holes are filled you can style it. Superglue will hold it in pretty good, and you should be able to brush it with a thick toothed doll brush. You'll want to cut it no doubt. That part's easy...
Some hair styles better than others. The really cheap stuff is resistant to all but a supreme effort. More expensive and real stuff can be styled like real hair. Unfortunately this isn't my area of expertise (I don't have hair any more...) So I usually try to find wigs pretty close to the type of style I want. (Curly, straight, or whatever.)
The whole process is pretty simple; but time consuming. It takes a fair bit of practice, so you might want to try a few throwaways first.
MANGA HAIR: Japanese characters often have big, pointy doos, and the above method really doesn't work. What DOES work is using fake fur. Cut it like a hat for the figure, sew, and glue on with epoxy. When cutting and sewing fur, remember to brush it AWAY from the seams. That way you don't trim off or mat down any fur. (Doing so leaves a visible seam.) Fun fur clumps into points on it's own, so no styling is required.
SHORT HAIR: If the character's doo doesn't go below the neck it's probably best to putty it in. Make a wad of epoxy putty roughly the shape of the desired hair and slap it onto the head. Use an exacto knife (dipped in water every so often so it doesn't stick) and carve in the part. Roll the knife through the epoxy to make the strands. Always carve front to back, starting with an edge or the part, and keep the strands going in roughly the same direction. (But not parallel.) Roll the blade a bit to vary the strand thickness. Paint the hair in a colour a bit lighter than the one you want. Do a wash over this in a colour a bit darker than you want. Once dry, drybrush the desired colour. This'll provide highlights and depth.