I’ve used many types of materials for hair over the course of my sculpting/doll making career. I’ve used yarn, straw, mohair, clay, cotton and, my favorite, Tibetan lamb. For this post I am going to show you the process I use to make some of the “second” quality pelts I’ve purchased look fantastic!
Here are some scrap pieces I received in a large bundle of assorted colors of Tibetan Lamb I ordered from Morezmore on Ebay. These were seconds. She has some great deals and beautiful quality items. These were from a grab bag style auction which I won many (probably over 5) years ago. So they have been sitting in the box of pelts I use for hair. I like to have a variety of colors on hand since I never know what I'll need! These look a little scary right now (they looked much better when I bought them!) but pretty soon they'll be ready for use!
- 3 sizes of combs. I use a wide tooth comb (white) a not quite as wide comb (pink) and then a standard comb (black) to remove the tangles and knots.
- Shampoo & Condition of your choice
- Styling products for the final style you are going to use (I am using a curling lotion in this tutorial)
- Iron (for straight hair)
- Close pins
- Sink or bin for washing
The first thing I do is gently comb through the pelt using the widest comb. This will usually be enough to remove tangles.Start at the bottom of the hair and slowly work your way to the top. This helps prevent breakage.
Once I have removed the worst tangles I wash the pelts in cool water. Do not use hot water or you run the risk of the pelt "felting"!
Gently shampoo each pelt, rinse and condition. I rinse the first pelt, add the conditioner and leave it on while I move the the next. After I have the last pelt conditioned I return to the first and rinse out the conditioner.
Next I gently comb each pelt again. Starting at the bottom and working my way up the pelt and again starting with the largest tooth comb and working to the smallest.
As you can see I still get quite a bit of hair during the second combing. That is OK, the pelt will look much better without this loose and damaged hair.
Usually I blot the pelt to remove some of the excess water, however, if I will be using a product to control a particularly frizzy pelt, like Frizz Ease, you add the product while the hair is very wet.
Since I want these pelts to be curly I rub some curling lotion on my hands and rub it gently into the hair. I take my widest tooth comb and comb the lotion through then I hang it to air dry.
Here is my high-tech pelt drying system! A wire hanger and clothes pins. Easy peasy and I can hang it almost anywhere. I leave my pelts to air dry though I have on occasion used a hair dryer on the cool setting when I was in a hurry, keep in mind that using a hair dryer will make the hair much straighter than letting it air dry.
The top three pelts I applied the curling lotion to and you can see the difference. All six are soft and ready to use. Once on a sculpture I will curl, trim, straighten, etc... as necessary.
Once your pelt is dry, if it is still a little frizzy you can spritz it heavily with water and iron it dry. This will straighten the hair and remove the frizzies. After it is ironed you can re-wet it and let it curl back up if you want curls.
Here is the lady who got some of the above hair for her own. She is "in progress" and will hopefully be done soon. Here hair was curly but she and I have been through 3 outfit changes so I finally clipped it on top of her head and we'll wet it down to restore the curl once she decides what to wear!
The great thing about Tibetan lamb hair is that it reacts very much like human hair so you can curl it, straighten it, wash it... If you don't like a style, wet it down and start again.
Thanks for stopping by!