I get asked a lot of the same questions, mostly by those who are re-rooting for the first time. It seems that many people run into similar problems when they first start so here are some basic tips that I hope will help you as you learn to re-root!
If you haven’t used a re-rooting tool before, inserting the needle is a bit of a foreign concept. The length of the needle is actually pretty important because it greatly affects the pressure that is on the needle. The longer the needle protrudes from the tool, the more pressure it will absorb when punching it into the head. Variables like creating new holes and/or re-rooting heads that are harder requires more pressure and wears down a needle faster. This is amplified if the needle is too long. The tool is designed to not just be comfortable in your hands, but also to absorb the pressure so that your tool lasts longer. I like to keep my needle fairly short and I find that I can re-root close to 5 heads before it needs to be replaced. AS YOU ARE LEARNING TO RE-ROOT IT IS COMMON TO BREAK NEEDLES. You are still figuring out how to apply pressure and hold the tool, so don’t be too hard on yourself! That is why we include a minimum of 4 needles with a re-rooting tool so that you have a margin of error. Using the photo as a reference on how long the needle should be will help the longevity of the needle. Make sure to screw it in TIGHT! If you don’t feel like you have strong enough hands yet, find someone that does to tighten it for you or use pliers. This will also help the needle life and you will find that your hands get stronger in time. It took me about a month before my hands were strong enough to tighten the tool by myself.
TOO MUCH HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can guarantee this is the #1 reason that needles break. If you are using too much hair it puts pressure on the forks and tangles the plug. It is also completely unnecessary! Nylon hair from The Doll Planet has natural volume and small plugs like the picture shows really is enough! Our Nylon has natural volume so the hair actually goes further. If you are used to a different type of hair that requires you to root thicker, just divide your “typical” plug in half and that usually does the trick. For most beginners this will resolve any issues they are having with needles breaking. If you aren’t sure if you are using too much hair or not, a tangled knot is your best clue, as seen in the picture above. Another thing that typically happens it that the needle will be difficult to punch in. You will apply more pressure on the needle, making it weaker. On most dolls, the needle should punch in easily.
Your First Re-root
Most of us get into re-rooting because we have this awesome idea we want to bring to life. It is easy to get excited and want to create our “dream doll” as our first project. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS!!! I say this from personal experience. I envisioned an epic project that was way above my skill level at the time. I believed that because I was so passionate about the project that I would achieve it. That, however…was far from reality. I made a LOT of mistakes-mostly by using too much hair and big needles- and wrecked a Catty Noir head. I ended up pulling all hair out and she is still bald to this day. So I give this advice so that you don’t make a similar mistake. In most places it is easy to find second hand dolls at thrift shops or inexpensive dolls at the store. Having a “practice” doll will make you less nervous and ease into re-rooting without worrying about making a mistake. Trust me on this one.
Your First Hairstyle
Elaborate and unique hairstyles are a big reason many people get into re-rooting. And they can be fun. In time. I enjoy the challenge of completely changing the initial style. It can be that, though. A challenge. You may have noticed the re-occurring theme is to be patient and practice first before attempting something tricky. Parts require precision and some skill, as well as bangs and pigtails. So practice first. Just follow the original hole pattern created by the factory when you start out. I re-rooted the Monster High Jinafire months before I re-rooted the Barbie in the photo. I think it is pretty obvious that she has a more sophisticated style, but I think that both still look nice even though Jinafire’s hairstyle is technically more simple.
We all learn to walk before we run. Be patient with yourself and have fun! I know you can do it if you try and take your time.
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