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Tutorial: Rooting hair in needle felted figures by SnowFox102 Tutorial: Rooting hair in needle felted figures by SnowFox102
Here's how I root hair on my ponies and other needle felted dolls. :) I use a sewing needle I cut as a rooting tool, and it's not really necessary, but if you want to make one here's basically what it ends up being: [link] This is my method for all hair rooting, but NOT fur.

This is Arthur, obviously.

Also, sorry for my wonky thumbnail. It just grows like that. D:
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:iconmayebony:
MayEbony Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is so helpful - thank you so much for your kindness in sharing, and your time in making these :iconrubcheeksplz:
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:iconkill-me-sensless:
Kill-me-sensless Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Wow! Omg he is so cute! He looks like my friend MLP OC
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:icontheharley:
TheHarley Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Amazing work!
Thank you for posting this tutorial, it's extremely helpful! ^_^
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks, I'm glad you found it helpful. :D
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:iconjevsy:
Jevsy Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow this looks awesome! I'm just getting into this hobby. You're very skilled at it.
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks! :D
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:iconnokama628:
nokama628 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Do you do the same thing for putting hair in plushies?
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
For traditional sewn plushies, no. Cutting a hole through fabric would usually be a bad idea. You'd need fur fabric or a weft for those.
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:iconnokama628:
nokama628 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Oh, Thanks
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:iconimaginaryfriends2012:
imaginaryfriends2012 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
What do you use to cut the slits/holes? I have been slitting the throat and underbelly of mine and threading plugs of MLP hair bought from dollyhair.com up through the piece to where I want it to go. I don't use glue, as the knot will catch inside the sculpture, then I just close up the slit and cover any of my knot with more wool. That probably made no sense...I would like not to have so many knots visible in the end as it is totally hard felting over nylon fiber.

I don't always do my hair this way, sometimes I felt it on, but recently everyone want the real MLP hair.
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
I just use an X-Acto knife, the standard pointy blade. Any sharp blade would work. I guess I could have been more clear in some places. :blush: This method is kind of like rehairing a plastic pony by pushing the plugs into the holes and putting glue inside the head. Most of the work is done from the outside. I'm not sure if that made sense. XD The reason I cut holes at all is because the rooting tool can't really penetrate the felt and push the hair down. I did have a thought, that it might be possible to make small holes like the ones on the plastic ponies using a large sewing needle, and then pushing small plugs into the holes. They'd still need to be secured with glue or stitches, but that might be a way to avoid actually cutting a doll, and it could make more even hair.

It sounds like your method would work really well too. It's pretty much the same principle, of making the hair catch somewhere so it won't come out. The only downside I can see is the knots getting in the way sometimes, like you said. But it's faster than my method and doesn't involve sewing. I'd like to see your method. :)
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:iconimaginaryfriends2012:
imaginaryfriends2012 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
maybe I'll do a little tutorial sometime:)
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:icontrollsngoblins:
Trollsngoblins Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very educational and very good to know :)

I however ask myself if the Suri Alpaca hair tangles or felts, like most natural fibres do after intense cuddling of felted plushies?
I'd like to get my hands on some of that stuff as well if it doesn't ;)
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
It does felt eventually, but not nearly as quickly as wool. I sent you a note with a bunch of info. :)
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:icontrollsngoblins:
Trollsngoblins Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! Sorry for the late reply!
I'm gonna check it soon, I just got a heap of work to do and my fingers are a bleeding mess, and I'm not done yet!
I saw it's a long note, so gonna take a nice sit for it to read it. ^__^
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:iconmechanical-dragon:
Mechanical-Dragon Featured By Owner May 16, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
What a useful tutorial! I've seen that technique used in other doll making applications, but for some reason it never occurred to me that it could be used in a needle felted figure!

And the Suri alpaca looks so luxurious. It's really beautiful for hair!
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner May 16, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
I LOVE Suri! It's wonderfully soft and shiny, and the locks can be as long as 10"! It also comes in almost all the same colors as human hair. Thanks for the comments!
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:iconcvdart1990:
CVDart1990 Featured By Owner May 15, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
This is really helpful, great job!
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner May 15, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Glad I could help!
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:iconshadechristiwolven:
shadechristiwolven Featured By Owner May 15, 2012
Thank you very much for sharing this with us!
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner May 15, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
You're welcome! :)
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:icontallydragon:
tallydragon Featured By Owner May 15, 2012   Artisan Crafter
THANK YOU! I've been experimenting lately with rooting hair in felted figures (one is actually a MLP, the other a dragon), and have tried a few similar things but it just ends up being a mess...I will be sure to give this a try. :)

(Part of my problem is I'm using saran hair, which is even slipperier! I've been making knot plugs, then putting a drop of glue on the knot and setting aside till it's hard...it seems to work okay so far, but I'll give thread a shot too).
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner May 15, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Glad I could help! :) What this actually does, and I should have mentioned it, is you're sort of making a weft inside the figure. The thread passes over the knot so it stops the knot from being able to come out, and the glue helps too. Individual hairs can come out the first time you brush it, but otherwise it stays put. Really strong glue can actually make brushable hair all by itself, I just add the sewing part as insurance. And also to close the slit up completely. My figures tend to get misshapen in the process. XD

Another thing you can do (which I'll make a tutorial about when I actually use it on something) is make a true weft and sew that on, either into a cut slit or directly on the surface. I don't do that for ponies because it's not necessary for them, since their manes are usually too short to warrant an entire weft. It's faster to just use this method on those. But if I were to make a really long mane, like along the back of a dragon, I'd probably make a weft, by machine sewing down the middle of some hair, folding the hair and sewing again, and then whip stitch the long strip of hair onto the body. I've done this on test pieces before, and it works for fur too. I haven't finished a figure with that method, but it worked in a couple of tests I did. :)

One other method, that I don't use myself, is you can apply some glue to the surface and just felt the strands of hair in. It's not as sturdy, but it's fast. I don't do that because my test pieces ended up having noticeable hard spots from the glue, and I want my figures to have a plush surface. I think that method would only be useful on a figure that wasn't going to be touched. But in that case, you may as well just felt the hair normally, like I did on my foxes.
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