Pour approximately 1 Tablespoon of dye powder into bag. Add 1/4 cup HOT tap water. Close bag and swish liquid until powder is dissolved. (I used powdered Rit, but liquid could easily be used by simply skipping the water and the swishing.) Open bag and drop in mohair. Close bag securely after squeezing out most of the air. Gently knead the mohair and dye liquid for at least a minute or two. Remember that the longer you leave the dye on the mohair, the more significant the change in color. Once the mohair looks darker than you want it, remove the mohair from the bag but do NOT pour out your dye. You might decide you want to put the mohair back for a longer dye session. With tepid tap water, gently rinse the mohair to check color. If it's too light, return to bag, and repeat kneading process. When the mohair reaches it's desired color level, rinse only until most of the dye is out of the mohair. It isn't necessary for the water to run clear. Gently "open up" the mohair and allow to dry on several layers of paper towels. Voila! You now have a different shade of mohair to use on your dolls!
I have found that with a few supplies, you can slightly alter the shade of your mohair for subtle differences in the hair color. This will allow you to make the most efficient use of your mohair. Below is a photo of the before and after mohair. I began with a gold/blonde color and then used two colors of Rit...dark brown and tangerine...to darken the blonde to a golden brown/tawny shade.
Here is Brennon after his full facial repaint.
For tutorial purposes, I used a white glue in the photographs, but I used hot glue on Brennon's head. While we are on the subject of glue...make certain you use a glue that will dry CLEAR and will not have a flaky residue. You will also want to use a glue that dries quickly. It's a tricky thing because you need to be able to touch the hair/glue, but you don't want your fingers or other tools to become permanently affixed to the doll's head! This would be a hard design to sell. (insert giggle) I wanted to use E6000 because it really holds, but it doesn't dry fast enough. I think I might attempt to use an instant glue in the future if I work up the courage.
Begin applying small swatches of mohair to the head along the outside hairline, all around the head. I chose to leave the mohair quite long for this doll. Remember, you can cut if off, but you can't reattach it. So, start longer than your desired final length. Work consistently all around the head, continuing to move towards the crown until you have the scalp fully covered.
Let's Get Started!
I am using a 12 inch, 1/6 scale, male action figure for this tutorial. Formerly a Chow Yun Fat doll, he will become the character Brennon from my EverRealm series. I chose to apply mohair to this doll's head because the head is very hard and, more importantly, I couldn't figure out how to get the head off the body without completely destroying the entire doll.
The first thing I did with the doll was remove his face paint. Since this figure has molded hair, it was necessary to remove the plastic on his forehead. This was accomplished by carefully shaving off the plastic with an exacto knife or similar blade. Shave off as much as you can without digging into the face plastic.
Pretty exciting stuff, huh? Each "bunch" (highly technical term) is supposed to be enough to do two dolls. I think each should do at least four 1/6 scale dolls. I have already used part of the brownish mohair to do the doll in this tutorial, and it took me two attempts to get it the way I liked it. As you can see from the photo, there is plenty of the brown mohair remaining.
Mohair...it's been around for ages; now it seems to be the "new" thing in 1/6 scale doll wigs/hair. Being the information junkie I am, I have been doing quite a bit of reading up on the subject. I have a good friend who has been raising animals, harvesting and spinning their wool etc. for years, but it never interested me too much until mohair was "discovered" in the doll world. I think I'm probably slow to jump on the bandwagon, but hey, at least I jumped.
Mohair is a silk-like fabric made from the hair of the Angora goat. Mohair is durable, light and warm. It should not be confused with the fur from the angora rabbit which is called angora. That should probably be a no-brainer, but for me, it was a new piece of information. I try to learn something new every day. Mission accomplished. If you want more in-depth information, there are many sites out there. I like this one: http://www.mohair.org.au/fibre.htm
I'm sure you've seen wigs and doll hair in a rainbow of colors. I've been amazed by some of the dazzling creations I've seen. I haven't seen too many rainbow colored Angora goats though. So, where do all those incredible colors of mohair come from? (Yes, I ended a sentence with a preposition.) The simple answer is that the mohair is dyed. It's not rocket science, but it's a process I have chosen to leave to the experts. It can be done in your kitchen with Rit dye. One day I might try it, but for now, I'll buy it. Hey, I made a rhyme. Ahem. But I digress...
Okay, so I took the plunge and ordered some mohair. I chose to order online from http://www.dollyhair.com/ because I know Tina Amantula by reputation and some shared doll lists. Tina has a great supply of mohair in a rainbow of colors. Her prices are, in my opinion, very reasonable. Tina also carries a wide array of saran and other types of dolly hair.
Here's what my 4 mohair colors looked like upon arrival:
and OSS Unlimited for Doll Art in 1/4 Scale
Once you have sanded down the molded plastic so that it matches the level of the forehead, paint the remaining molded hair and the area you have sanded the color of the mohair you will be using. It doesn't need to be perfect. You simply want the "scalp" to blend into the mohair, not stick out like a sore thumb. Paint down onto the forehead ONLY as far as the mohair will cover. Use acrylic paint for this step. You will see in the next photo that Brennon's scalp is dark brown.
(Before painting this doll's scalp, I toned down the orange skin color with some acrylic paint I blended to more closely match the body color. This doesn't have to be exact since this particular character will be wearing a shirt. Males can also have a ruddy complexion, so again, full coverage isn't necessary.)
After you have shaved off/cut away all of the plastic that you want removed, it's time to get out the nail files. I used boards in three grains. Start with the coarsest grain and move to the finest grain. I didn't worry about removing the skin color because I wanted to tone down the orange anyway. If your doll has skin paint that you don't want removed, just be very careful with your sanding.
Wild and wooly! Allow the glue to dry/harden/cure before you attempt to cut or style.
Brennon's hair will be pulled back over the top of his head. So, after the glue had cured, I drew back the hair along the forehead and glued in some shorter mohair strands that will hang forward to camouflage the hairline.
Here is Brennon's new mohair "do" after styling. I pulled back the hair and wove it into a fishbone braid that uses two strands of hair instead of the traditional three. I'm not quite certain how I'm going to "finish" the style, so I simply anchored the braid with an elastic band similar in color to the hair.
When styling the mohair, use a gentle touch. The glue will hold, but the mohair strands can tear and break. I used a comb with small teeth and my favorite doll hair styling tool...a tiny metal knitting needle. It really helps when large human fingers only get in the way!
Neither D.D.'s One Sixth Sense nor the artist has any affiliation whatsoever with any doll company or manufacturer.