dinsdag 3 december 2013

Blythe reroot tutorial - part 1: preparing the scalp

Okay Blythe folks, here's the first part of a series of (hopefully helpful) tutorials on how to do reroots.  I've been doing them for years now and gained experience in using alpaca, mohair, (thermal) saran, the lock-loop method, the knot method, thatching, washing, etc. There were some disasters on the road, that learned me even more (about what nót to do!). Other members of the Blythe-community have always been helpful when I needed some advice, sometimes through direct answers on questions, sometimes by just posting very clear pictures of what théy did to achieve a specific result. Right now I think I have collected enough knowledge and experience to share some helpful tips myself (although I will surely keep learning new things, I expect I might have to adjust and update these series of tutorials in the future!). I hope it will motivate you to pick up your own reroot...maybe for the first time, or maybe that scalp you once started on but threw away in frustration. I'll make the steps as easy as possible, so you'll see it's not such a daunting task as it may seem!

Although, honestly...rerooting is for people with a bit of patience. If that's a word that gives you shivers or makes you freak out already, you might just decide to commission someone else for that reroot. There are plenty of rerooters in the community, so don't worry ;)

In this first part I will show you the work that has to be done before you can actually start rerooting. It's nasty work that hurts your fingers (unless you are lucky enough to have an original Takara scalp), but it has to be done anyway...so let's get that done before we get to the better stuff (where actual hair/fibers are involved :P).

Let's start with the tools you will need (not all of them are already necessary for this first part, but I included them anyway).


















  • A scalp. You can use an original Takara scalp of course. Probably one you're tired of, don't like or of a disappointing quality (for example, the Factory Blythe scalps are not always superb, especially in terms of hair density). You could also use a coolcat scalp though, if you don't have an original Takara one. Coolcat scalps can be ordered here, and I believe you can also find them on Ebay. Personally I prefer the soft PVC scalps over the soft rubber ones. The PVC scalps resemble the Takara scalps better in color and material. On the other hand, they're harder to penetrate. If your hands and fingers are aching easily, you might want to go for a soft rubber scalp. It's totally up to you, both will work just fine!
  • Needle, with a point as sharp as possible. I prefer working with a long needle, because it offers more grip. You might also want to use a thimble!
  • Fine comb. I really love the one included in my picture, because of it's pointy end, which is very helpful in making thatches!
  • Crochet needle. I use a 1.00 mm, but a slíghtly smaller or bigger one will do as well.
  • Scissors, just in case. 
Optionally, you can also add acrylic paint to the supplies list, if you want to dye your scalp before rerooting. We'll get back to that part later.

Okay, here we go. The first thing you need to do (unless you have an original Takara scalp, then you can skip most of this first step) is to make tiny holes in the scalp, preferably in a specific pattern. 
The Coolcat scalps have a 'B' and an 'F' on the inside, to indicate the front and the back. On the picture below you can see the B, if you look closely. 

Now, remembering where the front and back are, decide your pattern. It is important to remember that if you want to reroot in the lock-loop method, your pattern has to be a spiral.
If you're doing a knot-method reroot, a spiral is fine, but closed circular rows will work just as well. Actually, for the knot-method any pattern of holes will work, because the single plugs are not secured into each other!

I decided to show the spiral pattern, because that one is the trickiest. I drew the spiral onto my scalp for this tutorial just to make it as clear as possible, you don't have to do that yourself (I never do this, normally!). Unless of course you like having a guideline for where to punch your holes...but please be aware of the fact that dark lines might show through a very light (for example blond) reroot! 

Note how I started in the middle, slowly working my way to the end of the scalp (follow the arrows to see the direction of the lines). In my opinion, best is to leave about 0.5 to 1 cm between your lines, depending on how thick/dense you want your reroot to be. 

Now, regarding the thatch. There are several options:
  • No thatch at all. In that case you can let your (imaginary) spiral just continue round after round, without the turns I made to leave space for the thatch.
  • Middle thatch (the 'B' on the inside of the scalp indicates where the middle is!).
  • Side thatch (left, or right).
I made a side thatch on this reroot, on the left side. I always make 4 rows for a thatch. This will result in a beautiful, full thatch line in the end, without any 'skin' (scalp) showing through.
The lines are very close to each other, with only 1-2 mm's between them. Note that I also drew this sideline actually as one long, spiraling line!

I usually regard the thatch as a different part from the main spiral, so they are not attached. This isn't impossible though! I just don't like them attached, because I prefer first rerooting the thatch, and then starting on the main spiral, working my way from the inside out. 
A last little warning regarding the thatch: it's important for the lines/holes to be close to each other, but not tóó close. You will notice - once rerooting - that holes that are too close to each other will easily tear and form one big hole. You don't want that, believe me ;)

Now, what if you have an original Takara scalp, that has no thatch, or a side thatch while you want a middle thatch, or the other way around? No worries! It's perfectly possible to make an extra thatch in the area you prefer, as long as it's not too close to the original thatch. That nasty thing I just mentioned, about separate holes tearing together into one big hole? That has often happened already with Takara scalps. So be careful, also when you decide to use the already existing thatch. Inspect it beforehand, to see if it's still useable. Even when the holes are still more or less separate, remember that you have to pull a plug of hair through it with a crochet hook. Even this small force might already cause it to tear. So you might actually decide to play it safe and make a new thatch line. 

On to the next step (the most annoying one): start punching the holes!

This part will cause your fingers to hurt/cramp, I often find myself doing just a couple of rows at a time, for example when I have 5 spare minutes left.
In the picture below you can see how much space I leave between my holes. In the main spiral, I leave about 5 mm's between every hole...but again, this depends on how dense you want your final reroot to be!
On the thatch line, you have to punch the holes as close as possible to each other. Remember (again, I'll keep warning you...those teared holes are such a drama, especially when you're a beginner at rerooting!), not too punch them tóó close. Leave about 1-2 mm's in between them. The same counts for the last (outer) line. This line is the actual hair line, which will be quite visible in the final result. It would be pretty ugly if there'd be 4 or 5 mm's between those holes huh? So just punch them very close together, just like the thatch lines.

On the picture above you can see part of my holes. They appear a bit grey-ish, that's just because of punching through the black guidelines I drew for the tutorial. Note the distances between my lines and holes, and also note how close the thatch holes are!

Punching the last row of (close) holes can be a bit of trouble. I usually punch about 3 mm's above the edge of the scalp. Notice the rim on the inside of the scalp, you want to punch júst above that. Every now and then I accidentally go through the rim instead... You will notice this soon enough, because it's twice as thick a layer of plastic to go through!

Now it's time for the final - and optional - step of this tutorial: painting the scalp.

Personally, I often don't dye the scalps I reroot. I like to make dense reroots with lots of holes, in which case it's not really necessary to dye the scalp. It will be just like a human head full of hair; if you look véry closely...yes, than you can see a bit of skin, but that's only natural, right?
I know that a lot of people use lesser holes though, to save a bit of work and time. Nothing wrong with that! In those cases it might be a good idea though to dye your scalp in the color of the hair you'll be using, to cover up for too much 'skin' (scalp) showing in between the plugs.

I find acrylic paint easy and simple to use. Thin it a bit with water or even better: a special paint thinner. To prevent the paint from dripping all the way down to the edge, you can put a line of tape over the edge, completely around the scalp, just up to the first row. Now start adding a thin layer of paint and leave it to dry. The plastic scalps (at least the soft PVC Coolcat scalps, I have no experience with painting the soft rubber ones!) are not very absorbing, so you might want to add another layer after the first one has dried. 

I will be using dark chocolate brown alpaca for this reroot, so I painted the the scalp in more or less that same color. It didn't became very even, but that's okay...it's just for covering up, in the end!

That's all for part 1 of the reroot tutorial! After these steps, you will be ready to start rooting the hair, which will be covered in the next part of these series. 
I really hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial and that I have explained everything in a clear and understandable way. Please comment if you have any questions, improvements, or additions. I'd also love to hear suggestions for what you'd like to see explained in the next part(s) of these reroot tutorial series!

4 opmerkingen:

  1. Thank you so much for this tutorial!!! It couldn't be more detailed and well explained. Thanks for taking the time to write such an helpful article: I'm sure this has helped and will help many, many people!! :) Really good!

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    1. Simona, thank you very much for taking the time to thank me. It's always great to hear that the effort is appreciated, and I'm glad that the tuturial has been helpful to you! :) I hope to post another tutorial for knot-method reroots somewhere in the near future.

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  2. I'm following your tutorials and I find them REALLY useful and easy-to-follow <333 Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge ^___^ If i'm successful I'll come back and show you the result ! (if not, I'll come back for some advice haha).

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    1. I'm delighted that this tutorial is still helpful to people - thanks for taking the time to comment Ziane! I would love to see your final results, and don't hesitate to contact me if you need any help ;)

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