Dyeing Blonde Doll Hair (How To?)

So in typical Saturday-night fashion, I’m sitting at home watching movies and dyeing doll hair. And questioning my life choices, but that’s a whole other blog post.

This is just a quick blurb on today’s experiment: dyeing blonde hair with acrylic paint.

It’s totally not my idea, this is all over the internet. But I stumbled across it and decided to give it a shot today because I have FAR too many dolls with blonde hair (like, five, but that’s about four too many).

I first straightened and tamed my doll’s hair. I have a tutorial on this, HERE.

After I did that, I had this:

IMG_3766

She’s a Bratz, if you couldn’t tell, and that’s probably all you need to know.

Rumor has it the finer saran hair that Bratz are rooted with doesn’t take as well to acrylic paint dye as thicker hair, like Barbie or Moxie hair, but I figured I’d see how it worked.

I used craft acrylic paint, which is not the best for this sort of thing. Actually, it’s almost the worst for this sort of thing, but here we go…

IMG_3767

I mixed about a nickel’s worth of acrylic paint with about three ounces of water. That’s about a half ounce of paint with three ounces of water?

Then I took a paintbrush and painted the paint/water mixture onto the hair.

I didn’t paint all of the hair because I was going for an ombre effect, which totally didn’t work out in the end and I still can’t figure out why.

Then I let the hair dry. To prevent the paint from drying crusty and just flaking off, I brushed through the hair about once an hour. The brushing ended up transferring the paint from the ends of the hair to the roots, so by the end of the process her hair was almost totally pink.

After several hours of drying and brushing, drying and brushing, I was left with this:

The hair BEFORE the paint mixture had been washed out.
The hair BEFORE the paint mixture had been washed out.

That photo shows the hair before the paint mixture was washed out.

THINGS I LEARNED NOT TO DO: Do not blow dry the hair at any point. Right at the end I blow-dried it and the paint just got really flaky and was a mess to wash out.

After I washed and conditioned the hair, it looked like this:

After washing the paint mixture out.
After washing the paint mixture out.

A lot of the pigment washed out, as you can probably see. That was expected, though, so I wasn’t too disappointed.

Because I was really hoping for an ombre effect, I did the whole process over again on the bottom two inches of hair, hoping it would soak up more pigment.

After repeating the process, I got this result:

After dying a second time.
After dying a second time.

Not much improvement.

As in, zero improvement. My best guess is that the porous saran plastic is done absorbing pigment at this point. I’m sure using proper acrylic paint (as in, not craft paint that cost .99 cents) would help.

THINGS I CHANGED FOR THE SECOND DYE: I added some white vinegar to the paint mixture the second time around and only applied it to the bottom two inches of the doll’s hair. Vinegar can often act as a binder between dyes and the surface they are being applied to: I always used a bit of vinegar when I was dying fabric, and you’ve probably added vinegar to egg-dyeing kits around Easter. Not sure how successful it was here. It may have been more effective if I had used it the first time around instead of only the second.

Even so, I got a nice pastel pink, so this girl will be transformed into some character than can pull off pale-pink hair. Halloween will definitely be an inspiration.

Blog_FB-008

SOME TIME-SAVING TIPS:

  • You may not have to wait for the paint mixture to dry fully. I didn’t experiment with this, but I have a feeling drying fully is unnecessary because…
  • The time the pigment is on the hair does not seem to make the color more intense. As you know, I was attempting an ombre effect. Although all the hair ended up with paint mixture on it, the top of the hair was coated in paint a couple hours after the bottom of the hair was, which means the ‘dye’ was on the roots of the hair for less time. However, the dye job on the roots of the hair is just as intense as the dye job on the bottom of the hair. No idea why. Plastic is weird, man.

On a random note, here’s the witchy girl I did today (she doesn’t have her outfit yet, but I figured a face is a decent start):

IMG_3786

I Am Loved Dolls on Etsy

I Am Loved Dolls on Facebook (when I get to 100 ‘likes’ I’ll do a doll giveaway!)