September 14, 2020

296 Comments




 

 


How To Permanently Curl Doll Hair

Have you ever wondered if you can curl your dolls hair? Well, we've wondered that very thing and are super excited to bring you this tutorial created by @forofsuch. She's recently joined the Pixie Faire team as a contributing content creater, and she has so many great ideas for crafts and tutorials, so be sure to stay tuned for more amazing posts!  Read on to learn the process and then decide if you want to try this out on your own!

With Courtney Moore™, American Girl’s® new historical character coming from 1986, about to be released, I’ve had super curly hair on my mind! I couldn't wait for the new doll to be released so I used my Maryellen doll and transformed her into my own custom 1980s girl, and these are the steps I took to curl her hair in fantastic 80’s fashion! (Update 9/15: the doll is now available online!)

Bonus! Be sure to scroll to the end of this post to enter the Giveaway for the American Girl Hairstyle Essentials Set!

 

Hair Curling Supplies:

  • Curling rods or “perm rods” (not the pink foam kind)
  • Curling papers
  • Ponytail holder or clips
  • Room temperature water in a small dish or bowl
  • Food thermometer
  • Hot water heated to 165° F  in a clear or glass cup
  • Ice cold water in a bowl or cup
  • Comb or doll brush
  • Washcloth, towel, or paper towels
  • LOTS of patience!

Step 1:  Remove your doll’s head from her body, if you can. If your doll has neck strings, just untie the knot. If she has a zip tie, you can carefully snip the stitches keeping the fabric together at the back of the neck, then push the fabric aside to expose the zip tie. I then use scissors to cut through the zip tie. It is important that you protect the doll’s neck from the point of your scissors while doing this. When you finally cut through the zip tie the scissors may jerk forward, scratching your doll. I usually use a piece of paper folded several times to make a thick pad and hold this over her neck where I am working with the scissors. 

Step 2:  Let’s start curling! First, section off all of her hair except for the bottom two wefts of hair. I tied up all the rest of her hair with a ponytail holder, but you could use clips are whatever you have! We are going to just curl this bottom section first.

Step 3:  Curling! Take a small section of hair, or a bigger section if you want looser curls, and comb it out, then dampen it along the whole length with water from your room temperature bowl. Starting at the top, close to the head, wrap this section of hair around the curling rod, in a spiral shape, without twisting the hair into a rope first. Keep the hair wrapped flat against the curling rod. When you get to the last 1-2 inches, get a curling paper and wrap it around the end of the hair, then wrap this final bit around the rod and secure with the band that comes on the rod. (If ANY hair is left sticking out, it will be set that way when you heat and cool the hair, so it is very important that all the hair gets in the curling paper.) Continue to wrap small sections of hair until you have all the hair that is out now set in rods.

Step 4:  Time to hot water dunk! (If your wig is not on the doll, you can continue to curl all the hair in this manner, sectioning off 2-3 wefts at a time and putting small sections on the rods, and then dunk the whole wig in a larger bowl all at once. I would put the wig on the doll to do the curling so the curls lay nicely against the scalp, then take it off for the dunking. If you are curling the wig while still attached to the doll, you can also continue to curl all the hair if you have enough curlers. I used an American Girl brand set that only came with 12 curlers, so I did mine in steps, not all at once.)

When you are ready to dunk your curlers in the hot water, it is time to heat the water. Wait until this point so that you can be assured the water is the right temperature. I have found that the exact temperature is very important. I’ve read and watched tutorials that recommend boiling the water, then letting sit from 1-5 minutes, then dunking. This cools the water down some, but you never know how much. In my first curling attempts I used a curling iron set on low and used it on damp hair. This worked, the curls were beautiful, but the texture of the hair was ruined. I would say I fried it!  

The exact temp I use is 165°F. This temp gives you wonderful curl setting, but leaves the hair soft and nice to play with. I would either boil or microwave your water, then let it cool some, but definitely use a thermometer to know when it reaches this ideal temperature. 

Once you have that perfect temp, it’s time to dunk! I did one curl at a time in my measuring cup, but again, if you have the whole wig ready, you may need a larger bowl or dish. Dunk each curl in, up to the scalp, and hold it there for a count of 10-15 seconds. This is also important! Don’t just dunk and pull out quickly. Make sure each curl gets the whole time. After the 10-15 seconds, take the curl out of the hot water and dunk it in the ice cold water for a moment or two, until you feel like it is cooled throughout.

 

Step 5:  Finish the whole head! Once your curls are out of the water, I like to use a washcloth or towel to squeeze as much moisture as I can from the curl. At this point you can let them sit a bit in the curlers, or you can take out each curl. I find it easier to leave them in at least while I do the next row of curls so the rods keep the lower hair out of my way. Whatever you decide, you can now proceed to continue sectioning off the bottom 2-3 wefts of hair at a time and putting this hair in the curling rods and curling papers. 

Step 6:  Let the hair out! Once all the curls have been dunked in hot water and then cooled, it’s time to release the straps holding the curlers closed and unwrap the curls! Do this in the opposite motion of when you wound the hair around the curlers. Don’t yank or pull, be careful – you want to keep that wonderful shape intact! The curls should look like beautiful Shirley Temple-esque ringlets at this point.

 

Step 7:  Separate the curls! Once the hair had dried a bit to the touch, but was still a little damp, I began to separate the curls. I took each individual ringlet (this takes a while) and separated it into 2-3 separate curls, depending on how thick it was to begin with. Doing this inevitably creates a little chaos, but I found the little “curlettes” very easy to finger curl back into their original shape. You can do this when the hair is perfectly dry, too, but I found the hair to be maybe a little extra frizzy when I did a few curls like that. Here is a picture of the curls on the left separated, while the curls on the right are still in ringlets.

Step 8:  Enjoy your fun hair! Once you separate all the curls, your fabulous curly hair is done! I would let it dry completely before doing any playing or styling. Reattach your doll’s head either by retying the neck strings very tight, or by putting in another zip tie. Look for zip ties with very small ends on them, but still at least 8 inches long.

Thanks, everyone!

@forofsuch, for Pixie Faire

 

ENTER TO WIN An American Gir Hairstyle Essentials Set!

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Contest Details: You enter through the entry form that is embedded on this page and appears just below this paragraph, if you don't see it, be sure to visit the page from your desktop or an alternate browser such as Google Chrome. It may not appear on all mobile devices. The complete rules and entry details appear on the entry form. This is not a comment contest - in other words, leaving a comment on the bottom of this page is not an official entry method. The only required entry method is to leave a comment under this post and then confirm that you did it in the contest widget. One person will receive the PF Gift Card. You can enter once, or gain multiple entries by completing the other entry methods and increase your chances of winning. Please review all Terms and Conditions on the giveaway page before entering. While we wish we could run this contest everywhere, for legal reasons it is only open to eligible residents of the U.S. and Canada, not including Rhode Island. This contest is exclusively endorsed by Liberty Jane Clothing and Pixie Faire. 

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We'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell us - What's your favorite 1980s Fashion Trend?

Commenting below and confirming your entry in the widget above gives you one entry method, the other methods are listed in the widget above, be sure to enter in as many ways as you can to receive the maximum amount of entries to win the gift card!

Looking for sewing patterns for the new Courtney Moore™ doll? Be sure to check out our 1980's Fashions Collection!

 (This post and giveaway are not endorsed or affiliated with American Girl®, no endorsement implied.) 

 


100 Comments

Rosemary
Rosemary

September 16, 2020

eyelet prom dress

Shirley
Shirley

September 16, 2020

My favorite hairstyle was curls put in a banana clip. This was so pretty and still is.

Kelly
Kelly

September 16, 2020

I loved the 80’s! One of my favorites was the curly hair. I still get perms to this day.

Gail Beam
Gail Beam

September 16, 2020

The ruffled shirts, the oversized T shirts and jean shirts, the shoulder pads on the Anne Klein blazers, the fun colors, the goucho pants, the leather skirts, and the Bass weejan loafers were my favorites.

Kathie
Kathie

September 16, 2020

My daughter grew up during the 70’s-80’s. She loved the Gunne Sax clothes, and every Christmas, birthday and Easter I would make one for her. For myself, I loved the fuchsia and teal colors against a black background, and I liked the feminine blouses with ruffles, tucks, lace or big, soft bows.

Patricia S.
Patricia S.

September 15, 2020

Both my daughter and I have curly hair and it is only recently that curly styles were offered. Some of our “straight as a stick” dolls are overdue for a new hairstyle.

’st

Shirley
Shirley

September 15, 2020

I like the super curly hair.

Nora
Nora

September 15, 2020

I loved big hair because I had big naturally curly hair. I could finally wear my hair the way that it wanted to go. I loved the professional look with boyfriend jackets, padded shoulders and straight skirts since I was a working Mom.

Diane
Diane

September 15, 2020

My favorite trend was Vans checkered shoes.

Susan
Susan

September 15, 2020

Loved Gunne Sax but not many other styles. Loved platform and wood sole shoes. Not great for the feet or the back but made the legs look great. Thanks for the tutorial! Always wanted to try this. I think now I will.

Elaine
Elaine

September 15, 2020

My favorite trend was the big hair and sky high bangs! I used a lot of hairspray in the 80’s. I liked scrunchies too.

Jeanne
Jeanne

September 15, 2020

I like the perms, colors:teal, dark raspberry, all the jewel-tones!

Joanne
Joanne

September 15, 2020

Shoulder pads and ruffles on blouses.

Deb
Deb

September 15, 2020

I loved the stirrup pants and today I love jeggings.

Kelley
Kelley

September 15, 2020

I was in college in the ’80’s and I honestly think the fashions from back then were atrocious! But it will be so much fun to go down memory lane and sew some doll clothes with big shoulders and gaudy colors!!!!

Cindy
Cindy

September 15, 2020

Stay-at-home mom of toddler boys in the 80s, so didn’t follow or care for the styles. Do have an 80s dropped waist dress with a pleated skirt, sailor collar, and padded shoulders I still wear for 1920s era tea dances. Also found a long white 1970s Gunne Sax dress that works fairly well for an afternoon dress of the early 1900s, though I have to wear an 1860s-style corset to get it to fasten. Yes, a steel-boned lace-up-the-back one of sturdy twill, with pantalettes and all the other undergarments. Hubby and I are vintage dancers, 1800s to 1930s eras.

Tamara G
Tamara G

September 15, 2020

I was already out of college and working in my first career. I remember the big shoulder pads in just about every top, dress and jacket. Can’t say that was exactly a GOOD thing! I DO remember loving the clothing by the company ESPRIT. I loved the big ESPRIT catalogs!

MELINDA
MELINDA

September 15, 2020

I love curls! Born with naturally curly hair, which I tried to straighten in the 60"s, I lost most of the curl when my second child was born in the 70"s. I had my first perm (and big hair) in the 80’s.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

September 15, 2020

Big hair, tall bangs, lots of moose!

designdreamer
designdreamer

September 15, 2020

I’m trying to think of something positive to say about the 80s, and I’m struggling. Sorry! Not my favorite, and it was a time when I was working in Corporate America. I guess I liked Gunne Sax, but I never really wore anything like that back in the day. I mostly wore suits, jackets, and skirts. i.e., business attire.

Marie
Marie

September 15, 2020

Loved the leg warmers. tight jeans and leggings and oversized shirts and sweaters of the 80’s but never cared for the big hair.

Dorothy
Dorothy

September 15, 2020

Believe it or not, I loved the padded shoulders. I was a college student and then early in my career during the 80’s. I thought it made me look so professional. Now – I’m not so impressed by the look.

Lorraine M
Lorraine M

September 15, 2020

My youngest daughter was born in the 80’s and I remember the big hair and scrunchies and that was when Cabbage Patch dolls were the rage. I stood in long lineups many times but finally succeeded and was able to give my girls Cabbage Patch dolls for Christmas! It was what they wanted most and what joy on their faces Christmas morning! Best Christmas ever!

Jennifer
Jennifer

September 15, 2020

I had my first perm in the 80’s. I loved the curls.

Connie
Connie

September 15, 2020

I can not wait to try this!

Gianna
Gianna

September 15, 2020

My favorite 80s fashion trend is 80s does 40s & 50s, I love 50s fashion but true vintage is so expensive and 80s does 50s gives you the same aesthetic and is more affordable

J.J. Goody
J.J. Goody

September 15, 2020

I was a kid and liked the punk colors of hair, like Cyndi Lauper had.
I have curled Barbie hair for their makeovers. I used toothpicks, tissue paper, bobby pins and super hot water. Here’s one I did for a Polynesian dress: https://pin.it/2U9HqRt.
I hand sewed each of the flowers for her lei which ended up a headband because her hair came out so full.

candy
candy

September 15, 2020

It’s all about the big hair.

Susan Hebert
Susan Hebert

September 15, 2020

The mixing of wild colors: Ala: Cyndi Lauper.

Linda
Linda

September 15, 2020

I had an 18" vinyl doll (OG) given to me and the hair was a disaster. It was all sticky and nasty. Tonight I washed her hair using some shampoo, conditioner and detangler made for doll hair I bought on-line. The booklet that came with the products suggested I take stretch wrap and wrap the doll from neck down and then a piece around her face to protect the eyes. After washing, etc the doll hair I used a comb that one would used to detangle one’s own hair. I then left the doll on a table with her hair hanging over the edge to dry. Worked perfectly!! I would try this method on curling the doll hair leaving the doll intact and maybe somewhere where air can dry the hair once curled. Good Luck!!

Roxanne Perez
Roxanne Perez

September 15, 2020

I liked the bright colors and stirrup pants.

Melinda Cieslinski
Melinda Cieslinski

September 15, 2020

Loved the long curled hair, and jeans that were super stone washed that they looked powder blue. The large waistband on the jeans came up high and then folded down over a belt. And the beginnings of leather jackets. Very cool!!

Ginger
Ginger

September 15, 2020

My favorite 80s fashion was all the bright colors and the crazy big hair styles.

Deborah
Deborah

September 15, 2020

I look back a pictures of me in the 80’s and I wondered why I enjoyed the clothes and hair so much. Everything was BIG! Curly hair (I was finally in fashion with my naturally curly hair!) super makeup and those shoulder pads! I was a new mom in the early 80’s to boys, so no girls to share my love of dolls with. But I had fun with fashion anyway. Who doesn’t like matching earrings with everything!

Kim
Kim

September 15, 2020

Shaker sweaters, neon colors, LA Gear high tops, polo shirts with the collar flipped up. I graduated in 85 so anything Footloose, Top Gun, Ferris Bueller, Brat Pack, etc…

Bev
Bev

September 15, 2020

The 80’s were not my personal fashion era either but I did enjoy the Gunnie Sax dresses on children. I’m wondering how this generation will respond to this doll

Janet
Janet

September 15, 2020

I love the scrunchies and faded blue Jean . . . despise the high tops and tight legging/leotard with leg warmers exercise trend

Mae Lynn Beck
Mae Lynn Beck

September 15, 2020

I remember shoulder pads and oversized jackets and shirts. I also think blouses with puffy sleeves and ruffles down the front were in that era. My daughters were school she and I loved their denim jeans with yokesand gathers.

Sue
Sue

September 15, 2020

I liked the colours of the sweaters.

Pat
Pat

September 15, 2020

Curls!

Connie
Connie

September 15, 2020

I loved the 80’s when my daughter wanted Gunniesax clothes but we could not afford them so I sewed them trying to make them as close to Gunniesax originals as I could. It was a lot of fun and we both enjoyed the time together planning & buying fabric and patterns.

Shirley
Shirley

September 15, 2020

I didn’t care much for the fashion in the 80’s. My boys liked the computer games. I was excited for the computers for work.

Kim
Kim

September 15, 2020

I wasn’t crazy about the clothes of the 1980’s. My girls lived in overalls for a couple years -wouldn’t wear anything else! I sewed many pairs.

Angel
Angel

September 15, 2020

Caboodles, carebears, and neon colors are just a few, whats not to love about the 80’s!!!

Kristina
Kristina

September 15, 2020

Scrunchies and shirt tie things (the plastic “belts” you put your t shirt through) and the layers

Sophie T
Sophie T

September 15, 2020

I was a teenager in the 80’s, and I remember loving the ovesized sweaters, the funky bermuda pants and the long t-shirts with a belt worn at the waist… I also loved the rolled up pants! Not that I am crazy about any of this now!

Anthea Merritt
Anthea Merritt

September 15, 2020

I love the neon and fun colors! I was totally into jazz dance In the 80s and had all neon dance outfits.

Ingrid
Ingrid

September 15, 2020

I had the big hair (mom would roll my hair in curlers like above for perms), a mini skirt and other clothing. Graduated high school in 1989. Nike shoes were popular. I had not only the jam box, but the portable cassette player and cd player.
Love how to make the curls.

Gwen Moore
Gwen Moore

September 15, 2020

I loved the casual and colorful styles.

Jane
Jane

September 15, 2020

Paint splatter everything !!!

Tanya
Tanya

September 15, 2020

My memories of my favorites were high-waisted pleated slacks with cuffs, platform shoes and shoulder pads!!!!

Debra
Debra

September 15, 2020

I liked the leggings and oversized shirts

Pam H
Pam H

September 15, 2020

The one I remember the most was the big hair and pencil skirts.

Linda M.
Linda M.

September 15, 2020

My favorite 80’s style was the denim jacket! Thanks

Mich Z
Mich Z

September 15, 2020

I loved the 80’s! Fluorescent colours and acid wash were a couple of my favorites! I also remember trying to get my bangs as high as possible!😂

Pat
Pat

September 15, 2020

My favorite 80s trend was the color-block dresses & shirts. Still have my favorite shirt from the 80s that I wore last year!! The looks always come back!

Becky
Becky

September 15, 2020

Bell Bottoms!

Susan
Susan

September 15, 2020

My favorite 80’s fashion was one piece rompers for girls and jumpsuits for us older girls!

’s fashion was little and big girls in pig tails!

Christine
Christine

September 15, 2020

No particular fashion from the 80s stands out to me, but I’m looking forward to seeing the patterns Pixie Faire creates for this time period!

Des
Des

September 15, 2020

High-waisted pants are my favorite 80s trend. I also like the puffy vests and leggings, and all the neon colors!

Lisa
Lisa

September 15, 2020

I love the big hair and sweaters.

Judy
Judy

September 15, 2020

Had a young daughter in the eighties. Big curly hair and bangs.

Lisa
Lisa

September 15, 2020

Love the free style hair. Embracing the curls. The 70s were all about straight hair(ironing even) so for us curly headed girls the 80s were freeing

Lizzy
Lizzy

September 15, 2020

Thank you for sharing this tutorial! The results are great!😂

Nancy
Nancy

September 15, 2020

I love her hair

Anne C-E
Anne C-E

September 15, 2020

I don’t have a favourite ’80’s style they were all too much over the top for me. Sorry if this offends I call ’em as I see ’em. There were many exciting and delightful looks in the 20th century.

Junie Born
Junie Born

September 15, 2020

I worry about the hair. I have never tired to curl the hair. Thank you

DIanne
DIanne

September 15, 2020

Big hair! Oh yes……… :)

Leanna
Leanna

September 15, 2020

I loved the drop-waisted ruffle skirts. So many ruffles!

Judith Martinez
Judith Martinez

September 15, 2020

I love the full skirts, leggings with big shirts, hoop earrings, and the narrow leg jeans.

Jarilyn
Jarilyn

September 15, 2020

I loved the drop-waist dresses.

Claudine
Claudine

September 15, 2020

Knit stirrup pants and long sweaters were my favorite 80’s trends. I graduated from high school in 1986.

kathy
kathy

September 15, 2020

Shoulder pads and scrunchies

Cheryl
Cheryl

September 15, 2020

That was my best years!! I loved scrunchies and big puffy hair lots of hair spray and those jelly shoes!

Lynn
Lynn

September 15, 2020

Loved the wool clothing and frilly collar shirts.

sheila
sheila

September 15, 2020

leggings and oversize shirt—my favorite!

Linda
Linda

September 15, 2020

There is an on line doll supply company where you can buy a complete doll car kit very inexpensively that comes with a special shampoo and conditioner, curlers, etc. Even has special brush along with very helpful booklet.

jessie
jessie

September 15, 2020

Thanks for the giveaway! My favorite 80s trend (and I think I tried ALL of them) was bangles. Lots and lots of plastic bangles.

Anna
Anna

September 15, 2020

I loved anything neon, but I also did the oversized sweatshirt and leggings look a lot!

Linda M. Anteski
Linda M. Anteski

September 15, 2020

You can salvage the zip tie if you go through backside of zip tie with a toothpick to separate the zip tie teeth from the clip. Then leaving toothpick in place, pull the zip tie. I do this all the time.

Teresa
Teresa

September 15, 2020

Always wanted to play doll hairdresser! My daughter was born in the middle of the 80’s – what a fun new doll!

Ann
Ann

September 15, 2020

Wearing over sized jackets with the sleeves rolled up. (I had two that I used to wear like this: a man’s tuxedo jacket and a man’s wool, plaid jacket. And then, wearing leotards with vests and the 1930-40s styled men’s trousers . . . And scrunched, curly (big) hair . . . I still have some of the jeweled hair picks, velvet scrunchies with glass beads that I used to pull parts of my hair back with. And then the mix of friendship bracelets – just to finish . . . . ;-)

Simone
Simone

September 15, 2020

Opps that’s meant to say Shirt not shit lol

Simone
Simone

September 15, 2020

Ohh I had a Wham shit that had like the word good on one side and bad on the other in a really bright colours,
And the flicked back centre fridge what a nightmare to maintain that was, but I thought I was cool haha

Heather
Heather

September 15, 2020

I rocked the big hair, denim, neon, bracelets, and high tops among other things! Still have some of it!!

Cathy
Cathy

September 15, 2020

The scrunchies, leggings with over sized shirts.

Carol
Carol

September 15, 2020

Fun times with big hair and big padded shoulders.

Pam B
Pam B

September 15, 2020

I loved anything that wrapped, skirts, short, slacks that tied, and pencil skirts that buttoned up the front.

Linda S.
Linda S.

September 15, 2020

Liked the tunic tops and big shirts, wider sleeves, shoulder pads, sweatshirt fabric in many colors, corduroy.

Kristen
Kristen

September 15, 2020

I loved scrunchies! Still have some hiding away.

Amelia O
Amelia O

September 15, 2020

Scrunchies! Threw mine away and here they are back in style again.

Deborah
Deborah

September 15, 2020

I loved the oversized shirts and big hair! I had my 2 children in the 80s so their doll clothes were more important than mine! Ta, Deb.

Kathi O’Mary
Kathi O’Mary

September 15, 2020

I loved the oversized Sweatshirts worn with leggings. Also the curly hair!

Susie
Susie

September 15, 2020

I rocked the 80,s hair! Also loved shoulder pads and zubas

M
M

September 15, 2020

Can’t say I enjoyed many 80’s fashions, but I wonder if my granddaughter would let me curl her MaryEllen’s hair like that!

Sheila
Sheila

September 15, 2020

Love those curls!

HGW
HGW

September 15, 2020

I love your work customizing this Maryellen! You did a stunning job @forofsuch !

Sandra Swanson
Sandra Swanson

September 15, 2020

Lots of curls, leg warmers and shoulder pads.

Melissa
Melissa

September 15, 2020

I loved the plastic jewelry in the 80s, especially the charms necklaces.

Helene Dahl
Helene Dahl

September 15, 2020

Not a fan of the 80s. I did not like the fashions or the hairstyles. Maybe to do with my generation….

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