Felting Needles for Rooting Doll Hair

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Felting Needles

This page is a mini-tutorial as well as an order page. Skip to the bottom of the page if you just want to order.

Felting Needles are used in factories to make plush fabrics, textured upholstery, carpets and many other specialty fabrics. The needles are laid out in beds, just like the proverbial bed of needles that the holy men have been rumored to lie upon in India. The needles are barbed, besides being very thin and sharp, so you can imagine how comfortable that would be.

Felting needles have been used by crafters to make handcrafted felt projects such as plush animals, fancy pillows and even dramatic textured hats and garments. Felting needles have also been used to root the hair on beautiful artistic cloth dolls. The crafters push the hair threads into the fabric and the barbs on the needles will tangle the hair threads on the other side of the fabric, so it is "knotted" and will stay in place. This makes it much easier to root a head of hair on a cloth doll.

Felting needles are useful for rerooting hair on vinyl dolls which have lost their hair for some reason. Push the replacement hair into the empty hair plugs, poking the felting needle up and down so the strands of replacement hair will "knot" inside the doll's head. Sometimes I push the hair into the head using the blunt end of a broken felting needle, then I push a good needle into the hole and plunge up and down for a bit to knot the threads, then push some more hair into the hole with the blunt needle, and repeat the process until each hole in the doll's head is filled. Be careful not to put too much hair in each hole or you will never be able to style the hair properly. (Fright night hairdo!)

Many doll artists are using the felting needles to root hair on their soft vinyl reborn dolls. You can poke the felting needles into the head directly. Instructions for rooting are at this link: INSTRUCTIONS FOR ROOTING with FELTING NEEDLES

NEW!! FIVE GAUGE SIZES!! The needles are available in FIVE gauge sizes now. All our needles are the 3 inch length, which is more comfortable for rooting.

Our Ultra-X-lightweight 42 gauge needles were selected for fine rooting jobs in soft vinyl. These ultra-Xlight gauge 42g needles have been selected for micro-rooting vinyl dolls. These needles are very delicate so we don't recommend them for people who are rooting doll hair for the first time.

Our 40 gauge gauge and 38 gauge gauge needles are also very lightweight: some reborners use the 38 gauge for all rooting jobs (hair or lashes etc). The 40 gauge is more delicate than the 38. (The smaller the gauge size, the larger the needle. A size 9 gauge is thick like a big nail.)

The medium weight 36 gauge needles are excellent all-purpose felting needles that are suitable for most rooting or re-rooting jobs. We recommend 36 gauge for re-rooting vintage dolls especially.

The 32 gauge heavy gauge needles were originally selected for rooting reborns. The needles are just a little heavier and might not break as often. Although we call them our "heavy" gauge, these are still a fine gauge needle that is also very popular for rooting vinyl dolls. If you have not used felting needles before, we recommend that you start with these until you become more skilled at rooting. Felting needles do break, so it's very frustrating to use an extra fine needle when you don't have the skill for it yet.

The Sampler Pack of 25 needles We offer a Sampler Pack if you're not sure what size needles you will need: the Sampler has all four needle sizes: 5 of each needle.

Our 36g needles are star point. All of our needles have 6 to 8 barbs on each needle (except for the fork needles which have no barbs.) Our customers tell us we have the best felting needles they have tried!

Tips for Rooting Hair with Felting Needles

GET A GRIP. Rooting hair is a tedious process but the felting needles are the best solution I have heard of. If your fingers get a little sore, I have found it is easier to grip the felting needle if I wrap a small rubber band around the end of it.

STYLE HAIR WHEN FINISHED. After the head is rooted, then I wet the hair down with warm water, comb it in the desired style, and put a nylon knee high stocking over the doll's head like a hair net until the hair is dry. Then trim the hair as necessary when it is dry. The results are beautiful!

GREAT VALUE. Felting needles do break more often when they are used with vinyl rather than cloth. That is why I provide twice as many needles for the price, than cloth crafters do. They come packaged in a small box for convenience.

Real mohair works well with the felting needles. Viscose looks like mohair and is a good choice. Some people say that human hair works well for rooting and others say it doesn't. This might depend on how dry the hair is. Inexpensive doll wigs can be an excellent source of nice hair fibers.

SHIPPING COST FOR SMALL ITEMS: If you only order Felting Needles, they will be shipped by first class or priority mail depending on the quantity and value of the package. The shipping cost will be at a reduced rate. The receipt in your package will confirm the reduced rate. We adjust shipping costs after the order comes in.

UPDATED INFORMATION. The most current information and tips on using Felting Needles will be maintained at this link: Tips for Rooting Hair with Felting Needles

Visit my site on "Restorations & Reborns" for more information on felting needles and other great ideas for refurbishing dolls.

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