If you're new to creating or collecting reborn dolls, terms like "microrooting" and "43 gauge" sound a bit intimidating.
No problem! I'm going to walk you through what microrooting is and how it works so you'll have everything you need to know when shopping for or creating your reborn baby doll.
What is Rooting?
Rooting is the process of adding a hair to a doll by insertion. "Insertion" is an important part of the definition because it helps us differentiate rooting from glued hair.
Applied hair is glued to a doll one section at a time. Wigs allow hair to be glued one row at a time (wefted hair) or all at once (cap wig).
Commercially available dolls are rooted by machine. By contrast, art dolls are rooted by hand. Even mass produced art dolls like Ashton Drake Galleries are often in rooted a factory, but rooted by hand.
What is Micro-Rooting?
Micro-rooting is the process of rooting a doll with 1 to 2 strands of hair in each hair plug. By minimizing the number of hair in each hair plug, the hair looks like it is growing out of the doll's scalp. This is one of the main reasons why reborn dolls look like real babies.
How Does Rooting Work?
For vinyl and silicone dolls, rooting works due to the elasticity of the material. By elasticity, I mean how readily the material bounces back to its original shape after being stretched or bent.
Hard plastic, wood, clay and porcelain dolls can not be rooted in the way I'm about to describe because these materials are inelastic. Meaning, if I can get a hole into it, that hole is not going to close up or hold the hair.
Rooting needles are used to force hair into vinyl and silicone dolls. The needle makes a small hole, grabs the hair, and gently stretches the material as it pushes the hair down into the material.
When you pull the needle out, the material that stretched around the hole snaps back into place, squeezing that tiny hole shut.
A properly rooted hair will be difficult to pull out because the material holds it into place.
To further reinforce the hairs in vinyl dolls, I use a waterproof glue to seal them into place. This further ensure that the hair will not fall out.
This is a luxury we enjoy in vinyl that does not exist in silicone. Silicone dolls are solid, so there is no hallow space in the head to seal the hair. Fortunately, the stickiness stretchy-ness of silicone holds the hair in place. Still, you must use a comb, rather than a brush to style the hair without pulling it out.
Over the years, reborn artists have discovered how to create gorgeous hair styles in every color, length and texture. The result- hait that looks like it is growing out of the baby's scalp.
Ready to start rooting? Check out Rooting 201: Rooting Methods
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.