- Sewing: how to make dolls hair

Categorieën: Reacties: 84 woensdag, 27 februari 2008 22:22

Part 1: how to sew girls hair : pigtails

I want to show you how I make doll’s hair out of knitting yarn.

First you need to draw a line on your doll’s head, starting from her forehead all the way over her head to her neckline where you want the hair to end. Measure that line (e.g. 15 cm). Then take some Scotch tape (= the same length as the line you’ve just measured) and put it with the adhesive strip up on your table.

Now measure how long you want the hair to be, e.g. from her left shoulder straight up over her head to her right shoulder (26 cm in this example).

Now place the yarn one thread at a time on the tape (don’t cut them!), as shown in the picture. Make sure they lie neatly next to one another.

Place a piece of paper tissue (I’ve used toilet paper) on top of the centre line.
Carefully turn everything around and start sewing over the tape with the paper tissue at the bottom. (Use little stitches!)

Remove the tape and the tissue. Do this very slowly and with extreme care to avoid moving any hair. You might want to use tweezers for this.

Place this ‘wig’ on the line you’ve drawn earlier on your doll’s head. Make sure you keep the right and left side separated so the stitched line is still visible. Now pin and sew it manually in place, starting from the forehead and ending at the neckline.

Once you’re done with this, you can use some fabric glue to keep the hair in place if desired.

Now draw a line on both sides of the doll’s head, as shown in the picture.

Take the first 4 threads and sew them on this line. Then take the next 4 threads and do exactly the same.

Repeat this until all threads are sewn in place.

There she is: one side is already sewn in place.

Once you’ve done both sides you can make pigtails and sew on a nice ribbon to render the stitches invisible!

You can make all kinds of hair using this method. You could make bangs (in this case you have to sew very short threads of yarn on the Scotch tape and sew it on top of the doll’s head before you sew the long hair!). Or you could use ‘ribbon-yarn’ or strips of fabric. I guess I must try that one out on my next doll.

part II: how to sew boys hair

For the boys I use the same method, but I sew the wigs in another direction on the head. Because you need more wigs, to cover the head completely, I use a quicker method to sew the wigs. This is how it goes: 

1. Measure the dolls head from ear to ear (over the back of the head). This is the length of tape you need. I use no longer the Scotch tape, but I use masking tape, which is less strong, and easily to remove from the yarn. Also important: you can sew right onto this tape and there is no need for tissue paper any more.

2. the length of the yarn = 2x the length of the desired hair. For a boy I usually take 5cm, so you need to cut threads of 10cm. As you see on the picture, I use a little book for quick and easy cutting the yarn. Now place the yarn one thread at a time on the tape. Make sure they lie neatly next to one another.

3. Start sewing over the yarn with the tape at the bottom. Use little stitches, and press the yarn down with your fingers so it won’t get stuck under your presserfoot.

4. Remove the tape. Do this very slowly and with extreme care to avoid moving any hair. You might want to use tweezers for this.

5. Place this ‘wig’ horizontally on the backside of your doll’s head. Now pin and sew it manually over the stitched line of your wig.  When you’ve done this, you fold the hair down and the first row of hair is done. 

6. You make as many of these wigs as you need and sew them at 1cm above eachother on the dolls head. Make sure you sew the last one a little over the seam of the head (which means: on the forehead).  Notice: the shorter the hair, the more wigs you need.  This is how it looks before the haircut:

7. And this is after the haircut:

8. You can use this method also for a girl with loose hair. For example, the last ‘wig’ of this girl is sewn not at the center of the threads, but a few cm on the right side:

84 Reacties »

  1. Thank you for this tutorial!!

    Kuky donderdag, 28 februari 2008 11:13

  2. you do very good tutorials my friend …

    raggyrat donderdag, 28 februari 2008 11:21

  3. Brilliant!!!! The only sewing I was allowed to do at school was for 6 months when is was 11. We made a rag doll and to be different I was the only one to do a boy! We used the sellotape technique then but I have never been able to remember exactly how it was done so THANK YOU!!!!!!! I can’t wait to try it out again.

    Lucy xxx

    Lucy Locket-Pocket donderdag, 28 februari 2008 14:18

  4. hilde – I love you – thank you!!!! :)

    Katy vrijdag, 29 februari 2008 15:49

  5. Thank you, thank you. I have been wondering how to do this. Thank you for taking the time to photograph it and write up the directions. Why do some things have to be such a mystery? I love people like you who are willing to share their knowledge. Thanks again.

    Jenn vrijdag, 7 maart 2008 22:03

  6. thank you!!

    meg woensdag, 12 maart 2008 05:12

  7. Hello!!!
    I love this tutorial!!! I made my doll with this kind of hair!
    If you want to see it, go to http://www.artlocrafts.blogspot.com!
    I put there one link from your blog!!!
    thanks a lot!!!!

    Eloisa maandag, 21 april 2008 22:09

  8. Thank you so much for this tutorial !

    tukta maandag, 20 oktober 2008 12:09

  9. merci beaucoup

    claire k zondag, 14 december 2008 15:03

  10. Thanks so much… this was just what I was looking for to finish the Christmas doll for my daughter’s best friend!!

    Mairi maandag, 22 december 2008 08:25

  11. Thanks so much for your clear instructions – I have 2 bald headed cloth dolls waiting for a big head of hair!

    Connie zaterdag, 21 februari 2009 20:01

  12. Thanks for the sweet and simple hair instructions!!! I usually dread doing hair because I put it in piece by piece, this is a great way to do it without all the struggle. Yeah!!!

    UmmLayla dinsdag, 10 maart 2009 17:27

  13. Thnx thangs so much it really helps me becuse i im gonna make a plastic doll and maybe i can make a yarn hair for it the plastic im gonna make is called casein out of milk a vinegar im gonna tried i don’t know if its gonna work but thanks any way

    Ardita zondag, 12 april 2009 08:09

  14. [...] Yarn hair tutorial from Tantehilde [...]

    Pingback One Crafty Place » Doll Pattern Round-Up for Craft Hope dinsdag, 28 april 2009 19:38

  15. Thanks so much for this. I am making a rag doll for my 2 year niece and this is the perfect hair for it.

    Lyla woensdag, 29 april 2009 18:09

  16. Thank you so much for this info – great instructions :)

    Ali zaterdag, 9 mei 2009 12:34

  17. [...] on the sites linked by the original post, cutting out these shapes instead.  And we are using this tutorial to attach hair.  And yay for cute Japanese fabric with hedgehogs and mushrooms (Japanese [...]

    Pingback dollyface » Tokyo Bambi: Starfruit Cafe Blog woensdag, 3 juni 2009 20:35

  18. This site was sooooooo helpful. First time I’ve ever attempted to make a doll and I had no idea how to do the hair. These are fantastic and easy-to-follow instructions ( the pics helped a lot) and my doll’s hair went smoothly and turned out just like the photos. Thank you so much!!!

    Kelly maandag, 29 juni 2009 01:35

  19. Thank you for posting these instructions. Been a long time since I made dolls and I always avoided doing the hair because it never looked right. Had a hard time just finding the hair and it came with no instructions other than to glue on. Thanks again. Cindy

    Cindy vrijdag, 14 augustus 2009 19:57

  20. These are very good for a girls heair bu what if it is a boys hair? Can you help me please!

    Hannah dinsdag, 29 september 2009 15:43

  21. [...] Find the tutorial here: How to Make Doll’s Hair by Tantehilde [...]

    Pingback Softie Making: resources for making handmade softies » Blog Archive » How to Make Doll’s Hair by Tantehilde dinsdag, 6 oktober 2009 04:06

  22. Thank you!!! Hrm…one more thing to add to my To-Do roster. :-D

    Aunt LoLo dinsdag, 6 oktober 2009 15:18

  23. [...] Tantehilde shares a tutorial for making yarn hair for cloth dolls.  Get the how-to. [...]

    Pingback Tutorial: Yarn hair for cloth dolls · Sewing @ CraftGossip dinsdag, 6 oktober 2009 16:19

  24. Great information! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


    Anne Weaver dinsdag, 6 oktober 2009 16:19

  25. the tape is a great idea! love it! thanks so much for sharing!

    Rachel dinsdag, 10 november 2009 18:56

  26. thanks, im making a haunted ragdoll and needed her hair in pigtails, so thnx!!!

    gaby zaterdag, 28 november 2009 12:26

  27. Thank you so much for your very clear instructions on making yarn doll hair.

    My doll gets the braid on each side but she also gets bangs. Can you tell me an easy way to do the bangs?

    dot maandag, 28 december 2009 23:22

  28. @dot: I would make the bangs first (just some short threads of yarn) and sew it on the dolls head before the braids

    hilde dinsdag, 29 december 2009 00:14

  29. awww thank you for this tuto! I’ve been searching for it everywhere :)

    Lia woensdag, 6 januari 2010 05:38

  30. Thank you for this tutorial, the pics are excellent. I’ve done half my dolls head (with backstitching) but, it seems like it may be able to be pulled out from it stitches any suggestions?

    umma maandag, 18 januari 2010 05:26

  31. @umma: once you’ve sewn the hair on the side of the head, it can’t be pulled out anymore. But if you do a doll’s hair like this: http://www.tantehilde.be/wrdprss/?p=277 you sew over the tape as shown on the pictures, then remove the tape, then fold the hair on the stitched line and sew again at 2mm from this line and then sew it by hand on the head. For this type of hair I place the wig on the dolls head not on the vertical line, but horizontally. And I make like 4 or 5 of these ‘wigs’ and sew them on the back of the head starting with the lowest, and ending on the top of the head. Finally just one more little ‘wig’ that you place horizontally on the forehead. I hope you understand this without any more pictures?

    hilde maandag, 18 januari 2010 10:04

  32. Hi

    Thanks for a great tutorial, i wondered if you could help, i have been asked to make a gran and grandpa cloth doll, could you help me with their hair. They want the gran to have her hair in a bun.

    Hope you can help



    Mandie maandag, 1 februari 2010 12:17

  33. @Mandie: there are 2 options for a bun: you make a ‘wig’ with this tutorial, and sew it in a circle (just like your own hairline goes: on top of the forehead, behind the ears, in the neckline). Then you gather the hair at the centerpoint of your circle and make a knot.
    Or you could do it with fabric, like i made this doll: http://www.tantehilde.be/v/tantehilde/poppen+en+knuffels/Afbeelding+126.jpg.html . I could make some drawings if you tell me which option you prefer.

    hilde maandag, 1 februari 2010 12:26

  34. [...] Date : März 17th, 2010Category : Spielzeug / KuscheltiereAuthor : AnnaNo comments Haare auf Puppenkopf [...]

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  35. Obrigada pelas explicações, comecei a confeccionar boneca de pano agora e me foi de grande valia.

    Renata Cavazzani – Ribeirão Preto – São Paulo – Brasil

    Renata Cavazzani vrijdag, 9 april 2010 04:15

  36. Thanks for the great tutorial! Are you using any type of special thread or a special needle to sew the yarn hair?

    Tracy donderdag, 10 juni 2010 21:22

  37. I just spent an hour searching and searching for exactly this. I am so glad you wrote this. Thank you so much!

    Jenny woensdag, 30 juni 2010 05:31

  38. This tutorial is excellent and just in time. I’m at the hair stage and now I have the confidence to finish it! Thank you.

    Martina Masini woensdag, 4 augustus 2010 20:16

  39. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I was looking for this so I could finish some dolls my grandmother had started.

    Johanna zaterdag, 14 augustus 2010 23:16

  40. i was recommended by a person i bought hair from she is brilliantly nice and cause i am new at making dolls she recommended i have a look at your site i will definately keep this and use it to place hair on the dolls i make thanking yu

    lorena zondag, 22 augustus 2010 00:02

  41. shame my local needle shop didn’t know of the tape.
    Managed by my own with gud guidance.Thanks!

    samantha woensdag, 22 september 2010 18:53

  42. This is the best tutorial I have seen for making rag dolls hair, thank you very much for making it so clear and easy to follow.

    Jenny zondag, 21 november 2010 21:05

  43. Yes, brilliant tutorial. Exactly what I have been searching for for the past 2 days. The pics are great.
    Thank you for taking the time to post this.

    Shalene zaterdag, 27 november 2010 02:59

  44. This looks brilliant, I can’t wait to renew the hair on the rag doll I made for my daughter 30+ years ago and give it to my new baby granddaughter. Thank you.

    Pauline donderdag, 13 januari 2011 17:09

  45. Thank you very much for this. Now I can make doll hair myself. Fantasties!!

    Salome donderdag, 20 januari 2011 21:40

  46. Great tutorial! Beginning to make “dotees” and while they are small, think this will be one more way to make hair for them!

    Susan vrijdag, 28 januari 2011 20:08

  47. Thank you for this tutorial on attaching hair to dolls. I’ve made a few Raggedy Ann dolls for my daughter in the past from a McCall’s pattern where you had to sew the hair on little by little and it took such a long time. I like the way they the dolls looked, but it’s good to know different way of applying hair to the dolls. Look forward to trying your method.

    Juanita zaterdag, 29 januari 2011 06:20

  48. Thanks for taking the time to give clear instructions and photos on making doll’s hair. I’ve only made one cloth doll and she ended up with a “bad hair day” but I don’t want to change her.
    My grand-daughter has nearly finished her first doll and we are hoping to give her a better hair-do. Now that we have your helpful hints it just might be possible.
    I’m also looking forward to making more dolls.

    Thanks Tante Hilde

    Simeona woensdag, 9 februari 2011 11:27

  49. This is the most helpful hair tutorial I have seen! So much better than the last wig I tried to make. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Ann Hibbard vrijdag, 20 mei 2011 23:03

  50. [...] Helpful Things I Found Online: How to Make Dolls Hair [...]

    Pingback Dolly Donations for Japan II « Wit&Wonder's Blog zaterdag, 21 mei 2011 20:27

  51. Hi, Tonte – I am making my first rag doll, just making it up as I go along, but really needed some help for adding hair. Thank you for this clear, well illustrated tutorial. (I had a Tonte Jo who made pajamas for all the children in the family)

    Dolores Monet woensdag, 8 juni 2011 16:02

  52. Awesome tutorial! Thanks so much for posting it! Maybe this was already mentioned, but I found using Painters’ Tape worked the same as masking tape, but since it is not as sticky as masking tape, it’s easier to remove after the wig has been sewn.

    Nancy dinsdag, 12 juli 2011 20:14

  53. [...] As you’ll notice, George has a bit of a widow’s peak, so I think I’ll be using this method of making doll’s hair with a light greyish-brown yarn, positioning the hairpiece in the first way shown (supposedly for [...]

    Pingback One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Spy | Frog It zondag, 2 oktober 2011 20:03

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    my blog woensdag, 23 november 2011 00:50

  55. I was looking for a hair tutorial. Thanks for sharing. I've just started doing rag dolls, so far I have used felted hair, but now I decided to make one with wool and I was not sure how to do it. Thanks for sharing :)

    Manuela woensdag, 8 februari 2012 20:28

  56. Thank you for this tutorial

    خياطة وتفصيل woensdag, 22 februari 2012 11:59

  57. Thank you very much for sharing. This tutorial is great!

    1curiouswolf zaterdag, 28 april 2012 03:12

  58. [...] Short pony tails in fingering weight. And even a pony mane. Inspiration for my technique was found here. She tells in better detail how to measure the head. I just eyeball it. Enjoy your wig making! [...]

    Pingback Doll Hair – A Quick and Dirty Tutorial | Wool and Chocolate vrijdag, 4 mei 2012 01:12

  59. Great tutorial. I do a bit different – but with similar effect :)       See at my site

    Kukliki maandag, 4 juni 2012 22:27

  60. Hello everyone! I made a mistake. I made this hair for my crocheted doll and you can find the doll here:www.artlocarftsmiami.blogspot.com. Thank you and sorry for the confusion!

    Eloisa maandag, 25 juni 2012 02:01

  61. [...] And if you need a quick tutorial on making dolls hair, look here. [...]

    Pingback A Big List of Patterns/Instructions/Tutorials for Sewing Dolls and Doll | The Dolls Site vrijdag, 29 juni 2012 02:35


    NANA ANNA zondag, 12 augustus 2012 10:01

  63. Thank you so much. I made a rag doll for my little sister who is turning 5 years old, and had no idea how to make hair. But this helped me so much. Her party is today and i can't wait for her to open my present. <3 <3 <3

    Destiny zondag, 12 augustus 2012 11:53

  64. Hoy he encontrado este maravilloso tutorial, muchas gracias, está muy bien explicado y fotgrafiado, lo andaba buscando tiempo. Repito, muchas gracias
                           Maria Antonia

    Mª Antonia woensdag, 21 november 2012 22:49

  65. Que bueno que la encontre,estaba buscando como hacer el pelo a un muñequito y aqui esta.gracias por su aporte .ya se donde encontrar cosas fabulosas…

    isabel arana donderdag, 22 november 2012 17:55

  66. So thoughtful to share–beautiful dolls!  Thank you very much!  :)

    KarenB zondag, 16 december 2012 20:03

  67. So thoughtful to share–beautiful dolls!  Thank you very much! 

    haha maandag, 17 december 2012 11:44

  68. I’m from America
    Thank you very much benefited greatly enjoyed very

    Rose sad dinsdag, 30 april 2013 21:14

    I love dolls since I was small

    Rose sad dinsdag, 30 april 2013 21:16

  70. This is wonderful. I am actually using your instructions to make a wig for a costume. After three failed attempts finding your method is going to save my costume. 

    Lauren woensdag, 18 september 2013 20:43

  71. Pretty dolls and very good idea for hair sewing !

    VéroO zondag, 11 mei 2014 19:04

  72. Pretty dolls and very good idea for hair sewing.


    VéroO zondag, 11 mei 2014 19:20

  73. My english is not very good….

    VéroO zondag, 11 mei 2014 19:21

  74. Thanks for the very clear and simple instruction on how to sew on dolls hair
    on some dolls that I have made and I have used ur method to apply the hair on the doll.

    One question how to u cut boy hair in a way that when done it looks like a boy doll thanks. U know thst u show us a before and after the haircut but cud I see photo of the actual cutting process thanks acualuttinpriceess

    Kimberley vrijdag, 1 augustus 2014 19:19

  75. This is by far the best method of sewing on doll hair. I was going to knot each piece but I knew it would take forever. The only problem I had was that I think my tape was to sticky and it was hard to get the yarn off…a little licking helped, love the taste of yarn and tape:) Thank you for providing this tutorial. It’s been bookmarked.

    Debby Lauber zaterdag, 22 november 2014 02:05

  76. […] http://www.tantehilde.be/wrdprss/?page_id=80 […]

    Pingback Sara and Sally | Comfy Posy maandag, 12 januari 2015 18:23

  77. Awesome tutorial!

    Cathy donderdag, 5 maart 2015 23:01

  78. Thank you so much.   This was the best doll hair tutorial I have ever seen.   Much easier than the way I was doing it.  

    Kathy Curtis zaterdag, 4 april 2015 23:56

  79. Thank you very much for sharing. This tutorial is great!

    chane maandag, 27 april 2015 08:48

  80. […] tem dificuldade de fazer os cabelinhos. Espero que gostem e aproveitem! Bjs e bom trabalho.   http://www.tantehilde.be/wrdprss/?page_id=80           […]

    Pingback TUTORIAL: COMO FAZER CABELO DE BONECA! | Florença Atelier maandag, 4 mei 2015 20:44

  81. I just finished a raggety ann doll and instead of using tape(the first hair was a disaster) I used my tear away stabilizer that I use when I machine embroidery. Worked like a charm.

    Ann Ryan donderdag, 14 mei 2015 22:05

  82. Pretty dolls and very good idea for hair sewing.

    betery vrijdag, 12 juni 2015 03:17

  83. Thank you so much!  You must be some sort of instructor because you explained this so well even I feel confident about trying this!  I have MS and have some cognitive deficiencies so I know good instructions hen I see them.  Bless you!

    Rhonda dinsdag, 17 november 2015 14:26

  84. […] some tutorials I used to create her: Rag Doll Tutorial:  Miss Gioia Doll Hair Tutorial:  Tantehilde & Crafty Sheep The rest of it, I just improvised.  And since it took forever to […]

    Pingback Coraline Rag Doll zaterdag, 23 januari 2016 23:29

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