I love crafts works. I made my first ragdoll when I was 10 as a class project for a jumble sale and made my first rag rug when I was 16.
Making rag dolls’ hair is a very exciting part of the rag doll making craft. It is also the most rewarding task because it is an opportunity to give handmade dolls a personality, something that can be only achieved through their unique hairdos and clothing.
From gender specific hair-cuts to natural, classic, and trending styles, the hair you create for your rag doll gives it character and relays whatever you intend to about your dolls.
The is a variety of materials you can use to make rag dolls hair, but your choice will always depend on the look you are trying to achieve. Because they are handmade toys, knitting yarn (wool) is probably the best material to use as it always stands the test of time, washes well, and is easy to attach to a doll’s head.
Other popularly used materials for dolls hair are mohair, a fluffy, lightweight, and luxurious fibre known for its soft sheen, and if you will rather use something you have abundantly available in the home, fabric strips you can cut out from old or ready-to-be-discarded clothing.
Some doll makers also use synthetic hair weaves that can be securely stitched onto a dolls crown, or versatile hair attachments that can be curled, braided, or crimped at will.
Whether you are making a young doll with short or cropped hair, or one that is supposed to be of an older age, you should make sure that your doll's hair matches the character you are creating.
So, if for instance, you are making a Diana Ross doll, you’ll want your doll to have a huge afro-style and if you want a Cinderella doll, your doll must have long silky hair.
Materials Required for Making Rag Doll Hair
Before you start to make your rag doll’s hair, you need to gather together all the tools and materials you will require. You will need:
- A pair of scissors.
- A sewing needle and thread, or a sewing machine.
- Ragdoll hair materials – yarn, rags, or mohair.
- Scotch tape
- Measuring tape
- Crafting needle
- Tacky glue if you are using synthetic hair
Making Rag Dolls Hair with Knitting Yarn
Natural yarn is a fibre commonly made of sheep's wool or angora with plies spun together into thicker strands. The number of plies, single, two, or five-ply will affect the drape and feel of the rag dolls hair. For hair, use nothing less than a 6-ply yarn is you want thick looking hair that falls well.
For thinner strands of hair, you can use a skein of 4-ply yarn.
- Get some yarn, about one skein of 6 ply yarn and cut 30 strips, 6 inches long.
- Separate the ply from each of the 30 pieces.
- With a crafting needle, pull the yarn strip through the head of the rag doll, stopping the yarn from pulling out by tying a knot at the end of the yarn strip.
- Work the yarn into the whole head, putting the strands closer and closer together.
- Continue with this until you have exhausted the yarn you are working with.
- If the fullness of the hair is unsatisfactory, cut more yarn and continue to attach as in #4
- Style the doll’s hair any way you wish or simply tie with a colourful ribbon into a ponytail.
Raggedy Doll Hair Using Fabric Strips or Rags
We all have clothes at home that are ready to be discarded, so, what best way to put that old t-shirt or pillowcase to use than to create your rag dolls hair from it? Hair made from fabric strips must not end up looking clumpy and ‘hard’, so it is best to use softer fabrics like cotton which allows the hair to look and feel soft.
Only use plain coloured strips. You don’t want a doll’s head full of patterned hair.
- Cut out strips of 1” x 12” lengths from the old cloth.
- Lay the first strip across the doll’s head with the ends hanging in the direction of each ear.
- Use a regular needle and some thread to stitch the strip on the rag doll’s crown.
- Lay a second strip directly next to the first and stitch it down.
- Work towards the back of the head and continue to stitch to the scalp you reach the nape of the neck
- Add bangs to the rag dolls forehead with short strips of fabric.
- With the two distinct sections of hair forming pigtails, tie each with colourful ribbons.
- You can tack the pigtails with the ribbons neatly onto the rag dolls scalp using a needle and thread.
How to Make Doll’s Hair with Mohair
Mohair is a soft downy fibre that is known for its luxurious look and feel. It has a soft sheen and lightness and is one of the warmest fibres out of all animal fibres. Though it is more expensive than yarn and fabric strips, it is very stretchy and springing back to shape instantly.
When washed gently, it will resist wrinkling and sagging when dry and because it is so fluffy, it makes great rag dolls hair. Mohair must not be used for toys and is only used on rag dolls that serve as decorations or collections.
- Buy half an ounce of mohair to do this.
- Starting at the back of the hair at the neck, place a small section of mohair, felting it into place using a felting needle. Push the needle in and out of the doll's scalp and the mohair about 20 times (depending on the size of the rag doll’s head).
- Moving close to the first section of mohair already attached, add another section, using the same needle motions.
- Working from the back all the way to the front, continue adding the mohair till the head is full of hair.
- Create a 'parting' using the same felting needle and sew a line from the front to a point that you desire.
- You can add a small section of mohair in the front to create a fringe.
Making a rag doll is easy and a whole lot of fun. It is a craft that is enjoyed by both young and old.
If you are a beginner and just need some tutorials or a guide on how to make rag dolls, this guide will teach you how to create unusual dolls with great features. Its step-by-step instructions will take you through everything from cutting out the patterns, to painting faces, making the hair, and designing the apparel for the dolls.
Questions & Answers
Question: Is there a simple way to create hair on a rag doll without sewing the yarn by hand?
Answer: You may use a simple sewing machine or one of those hand-held types.
© 2009 viryabo
viryabo (author) on August 17, 2013:
Im glad you find it informative and helpful Morayma. Thanks for visiting and for the nice comments.
Morayma Natali Rodriguez Rivera from Lehigh Acers, Florida on August 17, 2013:
This is great advice! I make felt plush teddy bears and have been meaning to expand on other project, but never thought about doing people dolls because I couldn't figure out how to put the hair. The first time I did it, I was making a gift for a friend that was moving away and I just sawed the hair on. It work, but I never knew if it stay put or not after she left.
This is well written and very helpful!
viryabo (author) on December 19, 2010:
Thank you Craftybegonia, yes making the doll's hair can be a bit of a challenge.
I'm glad you found this informative.
craftybegonia from Southwestern, United States on December 18, 2010:
Great hub! My mom just made a cloth doll to give as a gift. She is an artist and painted a lovely face for the doll, but had the hardest time with the hair! I wish I had found your hub before to have been able to give her some help.
viryabo (author) on December 27, 2009:
You are welcome nikki1. Thanks for your visit.
nikki1 on December 26, 2009:
Awww.. thanx for sharing.
viryabo (author) on December 15, 2009:
Hi Moranna, Thanks for your visit. The first rag doll i made in school was for a school bazaar. I was so upset when someone came along and bought it for their little girl. I should have been proud that it was one of the chosen few, but was only 9yrs old, so i didn't know any better. LOL
Thanks for your comments.
Moranna on December 15, 2009:
Fascinating - and I rememeber how I loved my original raggedy Ann dol.
viryabo (author) on November 23, 2009:
You are welcome Keira. Thanks so much for these kind words.
keira7 on November 23, 2009:
Thank you so much Viryabo for your very nice words. It really touched me when you say I am one of your best friend. You are also one of my best friend in here. I have a lot of consideration and a lot of respect for you. God Bless you my dear Viryabo. See you soon:)
viryabo (author) on November 23, 2009:
I am so happy to hear this Keira. You and your 2 beautiful sisters are going to make some children full of glee and happiness this Xmas. God will reward you all richly. You are one of my best friends here on HP keira, and i am so glad for that.
GodBless you kindly.
PS i can see that your sisters are very pretty Keira.
keira7 on November 22, 2009:
Hello my dear Viryabo, the great hub you made about the Orphonage has actually pushed my 2 sisters (the uggly sisters):) I am only jokking there are very pretty, there are just next to me, so, I cant say bad things about them:)
Anyway there are so nice and generous that we decided to make a lot of rag dolls for donation this Christmas.
Thanks to you my dear friend for this very good hubs. God Bless.
You also have a big thank you, from the 2 uggly sisters.:)
viryabo (author) on November 21, 2009:
LOL! my ribs are cracking. She must have been horrified at your question.
Now decorating the dolls with fake jewelled outfits, even though to lure her,:) is a great idea. I must write a hub on that - dressing up a rag doll. LOL! Thanks for expanding my thoughts on what to write.
GPAGE from California on November 21, 2009:
viryabo! It is so strange that you wrote about this! I was in a toy store recently with my daughter and the owner happened to pull out an original Raggedy Ann doll! He held it up next to the new sensation "Ugly Doll" rack. It was a strange moment because rag dolls were like "the doll to have" when I was younger before all of the PLASTIC took over the world! ; My daughter looked at me in awe at my expression of "total oohhhh I remember mooshy look."
I asked her if she wanted one and she looked at me like "What?" It was a funny moment.......Anyway, thanks for the hub. I may try to make one with her during Christmas break! As long as I say we will sew fake jewels on the dress, she may be game! Best, G