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!

To enter this week's contest, simply click the link below and then enter through the giveaway widget at the bottom of the blog post, there are many things you can do to earn multiple entry points!

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.) 

 


96 Comments

Katherine E Ackerman
Katherine E Ackerman

September 15, 2020

I liked the leggings and oversize tops.

Gayle Bollinger
Gayle Bollinger

September 15, 2020

I liked leg warmers, all the denim , even crimped hair also. Mainly – when my children were born

Sally
Sally

September 15, 2020

Why remove the head?

Janine
Janine

September 15, 2020

I really liked the big hair look.

Carrie
Carrie

September 15, 2020

Oversized sweater and leggings with lots of the rubber bracelets!

Tina
Tina

September 15, 2020

I enjoyed the baggy sweatshirts.

Feriba
Feriba

September 15, 2020

Dolman sleeves

Mary
Mary

September 15, 2020

Definitely the over sized shirts with leggings

Florence
Florence

September 15, 2020

Side ponytails were a favorite at our house and Gunnesax dresses.

Annie F.
Annie F.

September 15, 2020

Nice idea! I like how the doll looks like Courtney Moore

Amanda
Amanda

September 15, 2020

I love, love scrunchies and wear them even to this day! I have super thick hair, which make a scrunchie ideal for supporting my heavy ponytail .

Mary Hughes
Mary Hughes

September 15, 2020

My girls were all born in the eighties. Curly hair for some, pony tails were a definite. Some liked Laura Ashley and some liked jeans and oversized sweaters. All were glad to see them go, however, now their girls are all about the very things they disliked. LOL

Chris
Chris

September 15, 2020

Leg warmers and neon sweatshirts.

Karen
Karen

September 15, 2020

I’m not really a fan of the 80’s, but I do love leg warmers! I wish they would come back in style.

Cheryl
Cheryl

September 15, 2020

Yep, big hair and baggie sweaters for me too! lol

Marian Peoples
Marian Peoples

September 15, 2020

I was teaching high school home economics in the 80s and I saw the fashions of teens up close. My children were school age and of course I was educated on WWD ( Women’s Wear Daily) so I got a kick out of all the fashions. AG has gotten this era correct, probably because of the videos, tv, movies and print article still available. I think the curly, big hair is cute, even if I didn’t like it on me (because I was born with it).

Phyllis
Phyllis

September 15, 2020

Lace yokes and collars

Candy
Candy

September 15, 2020

Wow I like so many of the patterns! I like your mamas overalls, the off the shoulder tee, the wacky and wild sweatsuit, the joy jeans and the joy skirt.
The designers do such a fantastic job. Thank you for the opportunity to have these patterns available for dressers to use!!

Joanne
Joanne

September 15, 2020

this worked great on my Granddaughters dolls hair and I love the dresses from the 80’s

Sandra
Sandra

September 15, 2020

I have to say, I loved the wide shoulders! That was such an easy way to cope with wide hips!🤣

Brenda J Ward
Brenda J Ward

September 15, 2020

My favorite trend from the 80s would have to be the curly hair, workout clothes and big sweaters….

Teri Stevens
Teri Stevens

September 15, 2020

Having narrow shoulders, I loved shoulder pads and I had high heels in about every color of the rainbow. Why didn’t I keep them?

Heidi
Heidi

September 15, 2020

I especially liked Gunne sax dresses. I sewed several for me and for my daughters when they were very young.

Marietta
Marietta

September 15, 2020

Tight perm

Angeline M Kaminski
Angeline M Kaminski

September 15, 2020

Curly Permed Hair and Denim big legged jeans!

Linda
Linda

September 15, 2020

Big hair and lots of it!

Tari Samples
Tari Samples

September 15, 2020

Jean jackets and curly hair!!! I was too old for it at the time, but my step-daughter was into it all!

Karen L
Karen L

September 15, 2020

Shoulder pads, for sure! Loved the neon colors, too.

Cindy
Cindy

September 15, 2020

I loved the big hair and oversized sweatshirts. I also loved the music.

Sharon1220
Sharon1220

September 15, 2020

It must have taken all day to do her hair. I remember my daughter wanting that hair style—the first time (7th grade) it took about 3 hours at the hair place; the next year it took about 6 hours. My husband stayed at home and started calling every hour to see if we were still there and how much longer. Then we saw her girlfriend with the same hairstyle, but she had naturally curly hair. The following year my daughter got her hair cut into a simple,bob and looked 5 years older—that’s when people started remarking how beautiful she looked.

Natalie Hartmann
Natalie Hartmann

September 15, 2020

I love the slouchy socks, tons of bracelets, fishnet gloves and over the shoulder shirts

Ramona Adams
Ramona Adams

September 15, 2020

Denim and velvet or lace

Michelle
Michelle

September 15, 2020

I loved stacked swatch watches and all the different colors of Reebok high tops. My favorites were bright yellow.

Allison
Allison

September 15, 2020

Definitely curls. I’d get a perm in my grandma’s kitchen every few months.

Betsey
Betsey

September 15, 2020

Scrunchies to control that big hair!

Connie Winr
Connie Winr

September 15, 2020

I love the colorful baggy pants.

Sue
Sue

September 15, 2020

I was very busy raising my family at the time and didn’t pay attention to the fashion at the time.

Catherine Thomas
Catherine Thomas

September 15, 2020

My favorite things were prairie dresses. I loved Gunne Sax dresses and the entire romantic look.

Jan
Jan

September 15, 2020

The fashion style as it changed in the 80’s

Cheryl
Cheryl

September 15, 2020

Hip Hop fashion: very colorful leather bomber jackets, graffiti airbrush denim overalls and jackets,

Kathy m.
Kathy m.

September 15, 2020

fashion of the 80"" young adult too what did i wear jeans and big shirt" and long hair sometime with curl !!

bethann
bethann

September 15, 2020

curly perm hair

Bethann
Bethann

September 15, 2020

scrunchies and leg warmers!

Tammie Harris
Tammie Harris

September 15, 2020

Super fun with curls!! I loved seeing the new 80s themed doll this morning!

Kara
Kara

September 15, 2020

It’s got to be neon and leg warmers

Lauren
Lauren

September 15, 2020

Big hair and unisex clothes

Holly
Holly

September 15, 2020

This was my tween/teen decade but frankly I hated the way I looked in that stuff! I guess if I had to pick I’d say the Jackson look

David
David

September 15, 2020

My grandaughter would love this!

Candace
Candace

September 15, 2020

Feminine and lacy looks, I made my daughter so many beautiful things then. Now I do the same for dolls… And curly hair is a favorite in this family! Of course red or strawberry blond is the best color!!!

Aimee
Aimee

September 15, 2020

Colorful leggings, for sure!

Carol Adams
Carol Adams

September 15, 2020

The leggings and oversized sweaters.

Katie
Katie

September 15, 2020

Permed hair! Can’t forget the side bangs too!

Cheryl
Cheryl

September 15, 2020

the boots—probably the only time I loved them

Esther
Esther

September 15, 2020

The bright colors and over-sized shirts

Maryann
Maryann

September 15, 2020

My favorite fashion trend was hot pants.

Martha Reese
Martha Reese

September 15, 2020

I liked the skirt suits.

Diane
Diane

September 15, 2020

I love the curly hair tutorial. I have some OG dolls that need some re-styling desperately. I wasn’t a girl in the eighties, I was a high school teacher, so I was a first-hand witness to eighties fashions. My grandkids have trouble beliieving I was even the sponsor of a break-dance troupe at our high school. Just trying to keep some folks coming to school every day. My own fashion sense (little to none) seems to be stuck in the eighties as well.

Marci
Marci

September 15, 2020

leggings

Rebekah O'Neill
Rebekah O'Neill

September 15, 2020

I loved the big hair, high waisted pants and skirts, wide belts, big shouldered jackets, stiletto pumps and the happy pop music.

Dorisanne
Dorisanne

September 15, 2020

I really didn’t like the 1980s fashions and was happy when they passed.

Paulette
Paulette

September 15, 2020

Loved it all, good times. Big curly hair, oversized clothes was a fun time.

Alice Denny
Alice Denny

September 15, 2020

My girls were in just starting Middle School (Junior High School for all us seniors) in the 80s.They loved their jean jackets and the “level” hair styles. My youngest started a new fashion fad in her school by using a Mork and Mindy metal lunchbox for her purse. Soon everyone was carrying them.

Linda A C
Linda A C

September 15, 2020

I liked the colorful leggings and oversized denim shirts and curly hair.

Cynthia
Cynthia

September 15, 2020

It was not my favourite era, but I did like the “anything matches” free style of fashion. You could layer leggings, skirts, shirts, lace, bandana and jewelry in any colours you liked.

Mary
Mary

September 15, 2020

Oversized shirts were so comfy and loved the longer length of them.

Allison C
Allison C

September 15, 2020

I can think of more that were not my favorite (LOL)…I didn’t have cool hair, so that’s out. I think it would have to be the pegged jeans—fold over and up (twice)!

Leann
Leann

September 15, 2020

I loved Jessica McClintlock /Gunne Sax dresses!

Nancy G
Nancy G

September 15, 2020

I loved the big hair styles and the “wings”, also the princess style dresses that buttoned down the front and were flared at the bottom, really classy.

Natalie
Natalie

September 15, 2020

I loved the Laura Ashley floral skirts with a higher waist and blouses with lace and puffed sleeves. This is a great tutorial!!

Donna Deters
Donna Deters

September 15, 2020

Picture are very nice to look at.

Dorothy
Dorothy

September 15, 2020

The big shirts with big hair was the best!

Stacey Hadley
Stacey Hadley

September 15, 2020

I loved being able to were cute knits all the time.

Kristina
Kristina

September 15, 2020

I loved all the fun, brightly colored jewelry! And the perms. So easy to take care of your hair!

Stacey
Stacey

September 15, 2020

I really loved the Jessica McClintock’s line. I could do with a little less sleeve but I love the lace and ruffles.

Audra
Audra

September 15, 2020

I love Benetton and Coca-Cola shirts, jean miniskirts, and hair with volume!

Marcy Mahle
Marcy Mahle

September 15, 2020

I love this hair tutorial. We need more of them for styling all our girls hair.

Patricia
Patricia

September 15, 2020

Love the curls. So cute. I have always loved curly hair. Unfortunately my sister got it and not me. She hated it and I loved it.

Brianna
Brianna

September 15, 2020

So beautiful, both my girls have curly hair

Nicole Larsen
Nicole Larsen

September 15, 2020

BIG hair

Nancy
Nancy

September 15, 2020

My favourite trend of the 80’s was the boots. I love boots!

Pam
Pam

September 15, 2020

I liked the big hair.

Carol J  B
Carol J B

September 15, 2020

My favorites — oversized shirts, big shouldered jackets, and the Barbra Streisand curly hair. Such fun!

Lavern
Lavern

September 15, 2020

I loved the oversized shirts. They covered many things.

Francoise
Francoise

September 15, 2020

I loved the wide pants but also the leggings with large shirts.

Karen
Karen

September 15, 2020

Loved the oversized shirts.

Karel
Karel

September 15, 2020

My favorite part of the 80’s was Blue Jean anything and the big shoulder pads

Holly
Holly

September 15, 2020

Loved longer length jackets with big shoulder pads, and larger earrings

Sandy
Sandy

September 15, 2020

I loved to dress my kindergarten daughter with 80s fashion, like Cyndi Lauper and Madonna, but I stuck more to classic fashion for myself. Thank you for the great hair tutorial! Question though, you say the curls are permanent, but since they’re only set with water, can’t they be washed out? just wondering.

Denise Darby
Denise Darby

September 15, 2020

I liked the leggings and the over sized shirts.

Pamela
Pamela

September 15, 2020

Well, I didn’t read the directions, but the hair was my favorite! My hair is dark brown, but I had long hair in big curls!

Pamela
Pamela

September 15, 2020

Thanks so much! I have a red wig that I purchased new, thinking I would just love it. NOT! I can’t wait to try this. I will purchase perm rods today!!!

Katie
Katie

September 15, 2020

Lace mini skirts and o-ring bracelets!! (Think Madonna and Cyndi Lauper!!)

Gay Fronek
Gay Fronek

September 15, 2020

This will be so much fun to try. Thank you !!

Dawn
Dawn

September 14, 2020

Leggings and oversized shirts

Dawn
Dawn

September 14, 2020

This would be so fun!!!

Kimberly Chidsey
Kimberly Chidsey

September 14, 2020

I loved the oversized sweatshirt, ponytail to the side, and chunky jewelry.

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