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Cutting & Curling Doll Wigs

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

Ideas and Methods of Curling and Styling a Basic Mohair Doll Wig.

EDITED BY Janet Irvin and Eva Oscarsson

Styling doll wig
Long-Face Jumeau reproduction. This mohair wig and the wig extensions were set witt alternating large and small perm rods.

Source: Curl Talk 1997 • Jones Publishing, Inc., Pages 11-13


Styling a wig is as simple (or as compli­cated) as styling your own hair. Mohair has the same structure as human hair and responds excellently to all kinds of curling techniques. There are a few sim­ple dos and don Js, hints and ideas that have been worked out through the years. The best source for help with cut­ting and styling your wig is your hair­dresser. Chances are he or she would be delighted to advise you.

Cutting the Bangs

For cutting bangs on wigs that are not to be set in curlers, have ready

• 1 fine comb and 1 wide-toothed comb

• Spray bottle and water

• Small, very sharp scissors (Perhaps you can get a pair of hair dressing scissors from your hairdresser.)

• Basic, unstyled mohair wig

• Doll with foam pate or wig stand

• Glass-headed pins

• Pin curl clips

1. Place the well combed-out wig on the doll or wig stand.

2. Fasten the wig onto the doll, (or wig stand) checking very carefully that the wig is placed exactly as desired. If the wig is askew, you may end up with a crooked haircut! Pin the wig down onto the pate firmly, using at least four pins.

3. Pull back all hair except the first row and hold with clips.

4. Spray the first row thoroughly with water, and comb neatly.

5. Cut the hair as desired, keeping in mind that this will be the shortest row. Each subsequent row will be cut about 1/8" (3mm) longer than the row before. This prevents getting a thickly cut edge of the bang.

6. Pull down the next row of mohair. Wet-comb and cut about 1/8" -1/4" (3 -6mm) longer than the previous row.

7. Proceed like this until all rows have been cut. Wet and comb again. Neaten the bangs. Taper the sides a little.

Don't make the bangs too long - they should not cover those eyebrows. (If the eyebrows are not to your satisfaction, do them again!)

Don't be afraid to cut the hair. As with people, a good haircut does wonders for your doll.

8. Lightly spray with water, then comb the remaining wig. Cut off any frizzy and uneven ends; shape the base of the hair. Scrunch the hair with your hands to re-form the curls. Place a hair net over the wig to settle all the fluffy and stray hairs and let dry.

9. Carefully comb out with a wide-toothed comb, should it need extra combing.

NOTE: Never cut a wig and then decide to set it - always curl it first, then cut the hair.

Curlers Suitable for Mohair Wigs

Many hair curlers are suitable for mohair. Keep in mind that mohair sets very easily, so the finished curl will be similar in size to the curler used. Many doll makers like to use perm rods, main­ly medium size and large size for 10" to 16" (25 to 41cm) wigs, and small ones for the smaller wigs. Steer away from any curlers that have little spikes on them. They can tangle the hair badly and cause a fair bit of frustration.

Spiral curlers are the popular choice at the moment. They are particularly good for modem dolls and should be used mainly with long mohair.

Bendable curlers can sometimes be found in retail department stores. These are foam-covered wires, about 8" (20cm) long. You wind the hair around the rod and then bend it over to hold the hair in place. Try cutting these into three pieces and using them to achieve the woolly look.

What about using drinking straws on small wigs? If you can manage to keep straws in place they are fine. However, many people find the smallest perm rods to be easier, as they have the elas­tic and clip to hold the hair.

Hair clips are excellent when making lit­tle love curls or just curling the ends of the mohair. Some doll makers avoid using electric curling irons because the tongue, which holds the hair while it is wound around the iron, causes a small ridge mark on the finished curl.

Straightening Mohair

Very large curlers can be used to straight­en frizzy-looking mohair. After setting and combing, you will have to place a net over the hair to settle it down.

If you own a little "Puff-Iron," use it. This looks like an egg on a pole and is about the size of a duck's egg. It gets clamped to the table and is designed for ironing cuffs of sleeves, frills and other bard-to-get-at items. It is also very use­ful for straightening mohair. Rub the mohair over the heated egg-shaped piece in a see-sawing motion. It works well but is not fast. You can also iron mohair with a conventional iron, but the result doesn't look as good. The round­ed shape of the puff-iron gives the mohair a more natural look than the flat iron. Be careful, though, not to burn your fingers!

Angel-Hair Curls and Waves

Crimping irons work quite well on long mohair, especially if you can find one with interchangeable plates and a small crimp. An even better result can be achieved by braiding the wet mohair into several thin braids, letting these dry, and then undoing and combing the braids - instant angel hair. Of course, a lot of mohair has a natural angel hair curl already.

You can buy butterfly clips that are designed to sculpt waves into the hair. These are also quite successful on mohair. Wet the hair, apply a little set­ting lotion or mousse, comb well and place the clips into the hair. Let dry, then very carefully comb the waves.

Hints on Curling Mohair

If you want a sharp and defined curl that holds its shape, use a little setting lotion or mousse on the wet hair. Use your spray bottle to wet the hair with water. Fasten the wig securely with pins to the doll. Comb a small section of hair with a fine comb. Use an end paper to hold all the end hairs together and roll the hair around the chosen curler. It is important to position the curl carefully. Once it is set in a certain way, it can not be shifted. If you want a curl to hang down, as a sausage curl, position the curler in just such a way.

Important! Do not put too much hair on one curler. It is hard to dry and will be shapeless.

In a symmetrical style, place a curler on one side, then repeat on the other side. It is easier to keep the style symmetrical, if you work on both sides simultaneously. For the wild and woolly look, try using the cut-up, bendable curlers mentioned previously, and cover the entire wig with loads of curlers, using setting lotion and end papers. Let dry thor­oughly. Carefully undo the curlers.

Don't comb, but use your finger to divide each hair curl into three or four

sections. Use a small amount of hair­spray to hold the hairdo in place. Now cut and shape the hairdo as needed.

Should you still need to cut the bangs, proceed in the already described

method but do not wet the hair. Just comb each row, then cut.

If you have made a wig with extensions, curl them before they are stitched to the

wig. Place the curls as you stitch the extensions - in a spiral fashion. Stitch the extensions to the wig after you have dried the hair and removed the curlers.

Separate the curls with your fingers for a lovely, curly look. You need, of course, to curl the wig as well.

You can achieve n very interesting and natural look by using a fat and a thin curler alternately. Use a large and a medium sized perm rod for large wigs, and a small and a medium sized rod for medium to small wigs.

French braiding is also lovely on dolls. This takes a little practice (probably your teenaged daughter can show you, or borrow someone else's teenaged daughter).

You can braid from the back forward, or from the front to the back. You can also make two braids, one on each side of a parting, or you can braid a wreath encir­cling the entire head.

Drying Mohair

Now, to dry the hair. You can let it dry naturally or you can use a hairdryer. You can even place it in an oven on a very, very low setting.

Or you may even use the microwave oven. (Do doll people ever actually use their ovens and stoves to cook on? You mean to say that is what they were really designed for? Amazing!)

Check carefully that you did not leave any pins inside the wig or you will smell an awful burnt-hair odor and find charred bits of hair and fabric on the wig. Make sure you have used no metal curlers or clips. You can not use the bendable curlers - they have metal wire inside them.

Place wig on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on medium for one minute. Let the wig cool down completely. Microwave for another minute on medi­um. Let cool again. Check the hair and repeat. Depending on size and wetness of the hair, it will take three to five min­utes. Be careful! Always cool down the wig and check it and the curls. Do not rush it or you will burn the hair. The entire process takes barely thirty min­utes. That is not much.

The steam that is generated through the heating process really sets the curl exceptionally well. This method of set­ting a wig is one of the best.

Finishing Touches

Use extra fine hair needles to hold curls and hair in place. Cut off the ends with wire cutters, bend one end of the hair needle back, and it will never fall out again.

Flowers and ribbons are lovely to use for giving the wig its final touch. If the doll is to wear a hat, design the wig with this fact in mind. You would, for exam­ple, not make a pulled back style, as it would be squashed by the hat.

Well, hopefully these pointers will give you some ideas, and inspire you to real­ly finish your wig creatively. Just use your imagination. Check hair styles in the books and magazines at a local styling salon to get inspiration.

None of the listed above ideas were checked by Doll Kingdom. We are not responsible for any of the described processes. Please use your own judgement before trying any recommendation.

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