Sunday, March 22, 2015

Doll Make Over: Disney Animator's Mulan Update

I finally finished my Disney Animator Collection Mulan doll's re-root.
Why did I re-root a brand new doll? Read here.
It really took forever, not the actual re-rooting, but finding time to do it.
The complete reroot took about 4/5 hours of actually re-rooting.

I used Katsilk saran hair: 2 regular format each of Midnight Black, Brownette and My Sammy ( a mix of black, Brownette and a few gorgeous blonde highlights).  I have about a combined amount of one skein left, so a total of 5 skeins.

I use the tension re-rooting method which means I use a reroot tool, like this one, by Bountiful Baby, with a snipped off beading-needle in it, though I am sure their micro needle would work too. The holes, particularly around the hairline, are tiny and close together--so I had to use a tiny, tiny needle.

I learned a few things along the way so here are some tips if you are interested, if you have some for me please leave a comment --I need all the help I can get! :)


Removing the head is a bit difficult, the portion of the ball joint inside the head is fused there, meaning you will likely remove some of the interior vinyl, work slowly and don't give up.

The ball joint will probably break. Don't give up, you can fix it.

Alternatively you can leave the head on, clip the hair as close as possible and then shave off (yes, shave it with razor) the remaining stubble and the re-root it--this of course will leave all that fluff from the factory root inside the head (which bothers me for some reason) but, really -who cares, there is no where for it come out.
        Another drawback with this method is that you will not be able to add a extra securing layer of glue on the inside, but if you use enough hair in each hole it will stay very well (this is why it is called the tension method).

Dunk the head in hot water to tighten up the holes before rerooting and after rerooting to again tighten them--if the hair you use can take hot water.

Paint the head a color matching the hair you will use. I did not paint Mulan's head as it was already partially factory painted and the hair color I was using was similar, but because my re-rooting hair has much less bulk at the scalp than the original factory hair-- some scalp shows through in places particularly in the part line--as you can see below it is not painted. I wish I had painted it first--lesson learned.

The hairline/part line is very closely rooted--meaning the holes are very close together, do this part last. The bowing, flexing and denting that happens as you re-root the head will stress this area and may cause splitting between these tiny holes if they are already rooted.

The head is a bit hard, when rerooting I kept the head on a heating pad to soften it up a bit.

Reassembling--I broke the ball joint. I repaired it by running a screw through the pieces and creating the proper spacing with washers then added a bolt secure the whole assembly.
The white pin in the middle broke off--unusable. I replaced the spacing it created by using washers.

I softened up the body side of the neck by soaking in hot water and pushed the ball in. Then I heated up the head side of the neck and just jammed it straight down and back on.

I wish I had taken a photo of the repaired joint thing! But I was stressed about it working and just  wanted to put her head back on--now I don't want to disassemble her again.

She has great head movement and stability--just like the original movement.

I don't think this is the perfect solution, I do worry about the metal in the neck possible corroding or staining her some 40 years or so from now. I am thinking maybe two wooden balls attached by a proper length dowel would be a better solution--hindsight being 20/20 and all.

Her hair may not look like a large change--but for me it was worth the effort--it is multi-dimensional and styleable-it was not before,