Doll’s Boil Perm Tutorial

Most of the people who follow this blog know that our family is in the exciting process of adopting a daughter from Uganda.  Because of privacy issues, that is all I am going to share on this particular corner of the web, for now. But if you’d like the link to our adoption blog, send me a message, let me know a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been visiting me here and I can connect you with the rest of the story.

That said — I’ve had several generous friends donating things for our daughter to have once she comes home to her new family, and this doll was one of the cutest.

Except for her hair, which had been pre-loved (OK, butchered) and otherwise mistreated into one hot mess.

So, I started looking online for ways to fix it.

Being that she’s designed to represent girls of African heritage, it’s kind of silly for her to have straight hair, IMO. My daughter may want to straighten her own hair when she’s older, but I think naturally curly hair is beautiful and hope she will want to keep hers natural for a long while. I think it’s important for dolls to represent this natural beauty.

So when I found THIS tutorial explaining how to give a doll a boil perm curl, I knew I had to give it a shot. And I LOVE the way it turned out!

You will need:

  • A doll with nylon hair
  • Scissors
  • Comb
  • Package of pipe cleaners
  • Pot deep enough to submerge the entire doll’s head
  • A few hours randomly spread out over a couple of days

By the way, since it’s close to Christmas and a lot of us are finding the budget uber-tight, this could be a great way to re-purpose an older doll or a thrift store find for a special little girl in your life. But, PLEASE read the tutorial I just linked above before proceeding. She goes into a LOT more detail than I will, and reading it entirely will help you get the result you’re looking for.

OK. First, you want to wash the doll’s hair. I used dish soap and warm water. Then comb it out while it’s still damp. That process can take a while.

Then you want to take scissors and try to trim it evenly as possible. As you can see, this doll’s hair was pretty well chopped, but I trimmed the scraggly bits you see to get the back and bangs pretty much level across the bottom.

Next, comes the twisting and rolling phase, which is described in detail on the link above. Here is the LINK again, if you don’t want to scroll up. 🙂

Basically, you select a section of hair, twist it as tightly as you can, then wind it in zig-zag on two sides of a bent pipe cleaner, then twist the pipe cleaner closed. Just follow the steps outlined on that site. I didn’t get pics of this process, as we were without a camera at the time and my phone (as you can see) doesn’t take great pics.

But when you get finished, the doll’s head will be covered with twists, like this:

Then, fill your pot with water and bring it to a boil. (Leave a few inches room so that it doesn’t overflow when you immerse the doll’s head.) Then fully submerge the doll’s head into rapidly boiling water for 10 seconds. Then arrange the twists the way you want them to fall, and let the doll dry overnight. I actually let mine dry for a few days, because the hair was still damp after just 24 hours.

When it’s dry, you untwist the hair from the pipe cleaners. (Again, described in detail on the Beads, Braids and Beyond site)

At this stage, she doesn’t look all that great, either. LOL

But then you comb it out, and do a little back-combing, and voila!

Pretty lioness curls! Rowr!

Then I added a hair bow and dressed the baby and I think she’s just gorgeous now, waiting for her new mama to come.



3 replies on “Doll’s Boil Perm Tutorial”

  1. That is a *much* better look for that sweet baby doll. Great job! BTW, when I was little…maybe 3 or 4 years old…I asked for a black baby doll. I thought they were so much prettier than the white baby dolls I had. And my mom obliged. And I carried that baby everywhere. 🙂

    1. LOL! I imagine I’m going to be the one asking you for help with Violet’s hair!

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