Do you ever feel tired or sore after rooting for a while? Then this course was designed for you!
Check out how the principles of ergonomics apply to reborn doll rooting.
In just 10 minutes, you'll learn how to root faster, safer and happier!
Ergonomics is simply the study of how to make your work work for you. By adjusting your work space, posture and hands, you will reduce your risk of repetitive strain injury while rooting faster! Doesn't get much better than that!
Full Video Tutorial
The written tutorial below provides details, handouts, hyperlinks and explanatory notes. Click on each section title to skip to the relevant chapter in the video.
1. If you are experiencing pain, tingling, tenderness or numbness in your hands, wrist or fingers, stop rooting immediately and talk to your doctor. These are symptoms of repetitive strain injury. Continuing to work through that pain will only make it worse.
2. I am a doll artist, not a healthcare professional. Before purchasing any of the hand or wrist braces I demonstrate, please consult your doctor to make sure they are right for you.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ergonomics means "fitting a job to a person." Based on the Greek words for "laws of work," ergonomics helps us artists reduce our risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders by making simple adjustments to where and how we root. When we do this, we enjoy several benefits, including:
Ergonomics Applied to Rooting
Don't buy a cervical collar, I'm talking about the doll's head, not your head. When you don't have to chase the head around, you can better control your hand position and posture.
I like to root in a 40 oz bowl. The bowl has a rubber grip on the bottom and is large enough to hold anything from a preemie to a toddler head.
I once tried to eat a salad out of my rooting bowl. It had been washed and I hadn't rooted in it for a while. But I could not shake the feeling that I was eating a head. So be careful which bowl you select. You may never be able to eat out of it again.
Rooting pillows are probably fine too. (At a minimum, you don't have to worry about eating out of it later.) Just make sure you reinforce it so its not sliding on your table and the doll isn't rolling around on the pillow. Here is how I reinforce by bowl:
On top of that, I cram washcloths, socks or paper towels (all white!) in the extra space around the head to further ensure that it will not budge when I am pushing down on the needle or pulling the needle out.
A perfectly stabilized head will free up space in your brain while allowing you to relax your hands. Its too much work to hold the head and the hair and the needle all at the same time. You deserve a break.
I'm sorry to break this to you, but your mom was right. Good posture is very important. It helps protect your neck, shoulders and back from strain.
Here's how to improve your posture when you're rooting:
Disclaimer: You'll notice in the video that I tend to sacrifice my elbows for the sake of my back, neck and eyes. Ideally, your elbows will be at a 90-degree angle relative to your torso like in the illustration below. But this puts you really far away from your rooting and forces you to strain your neck looking down. If you have a camera that can project your rooting unto a screen in front of you, you're really in business! I find it very difficult to work under a camera, even when I'm creating a video. Projecting it to a screen would probably drive me crazy. But its worth a shot!
Does this look like a happy hand to you? I can tell you, this is not a happy hand.
"Functional Position" is a concept that we get from folks who type a lot. But its crucial for us rooters too. And I also type a lot, so it's twice as important to me.
Basically, you want to make sure that you wrists are not flexed too far in either direction. Your hands should be slightly upward when you're working.
Here are a few tips to help you maintain functional position:
When you're working this hard, you have to remember to rest! Taking frequent but brief breaks will definitely help you work
Set an alarm to go off every 15 to 30 minutes, if you have to. During your break, be sure to:
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I think this picture is only worth one, but its a good one.
You're going to hate me for saying this, but you must stop rooting after 1 hour. No "rooting day." No "rooting marathon." You get one hour to cover as much ground as you possibly can.
But I have good news! Following these tips, you'll be rooting faster. So you can actually cover a lot of ground in an hour!
Rooting for hours and hours on end will wear you out - literally! Your joints become stiff and tired. Your wrist starts the feel the repetitive strain of pushing a needle in an out. We were not designed to do redundant tasks forever. You have to stop.
If you get any of the symptoms I described earlier - numbness, tingling, pain, or tenderness in your fingers, hand or wrist - you may have to cut your sessions even shorter. As soon as the symptoms are triggered, you have to stop.
However, I'm not saying that you can only root 1 hour a day. You can probably fit 3 to 4 rooting sessions into an 8-hour work day. But space them out and don't start another session until your hands feel good.
I ache all over. What should I do?
First, let's agree that you're not going to repeat whatever it is you did to get yourself into that condition. Then, if there is no swelling, I suggest applying heat:
My fingers hurt when I sleep. Can I sleep in a wrist brace?
I get the "safer." I almost believe the "faster." But I'm not buying "happier." How can rooting possibly make me happier?
How long did it take you to put this tutorial together?
About the Author
Kim Yerino is a professional doll artist at CustomDollBaby.com. She's been making dolls all her life and discovered reborns in 2011. Other interests include: marketing, economics, business administration and, oh yeah, ergonomics. :)
Thanks for taking my free course on Rooting Ergonomics! As you can tell, I'm very passionate about preventing work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) among reborn artists. And everything I've learned I've learned from study and from making terrible mistakes.
Have these tips worked for you? What do you do to help yourself root faster, safer and happier? Leave a Reply!
Hi! I am Kim. I've been creating dolls all my life. I started stuffing cotton balls into my mom's pantyhose when I was a little girl. Now I hand-craft dolls that look and feel like real babies.