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A few days ago I mentioned that I was working on a new series of DIY tutorials on how one can customize a Barbie doll (especially the Made to Move Barbies) into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Marvel Comics’ off-beat superhero who has gained a sizable following. I’ve just uploaded the second video in this series, which focuses on the hair. First here are a few words about the making of this video.
While most modern caucasian Barbies tend to have long blonde hair, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl tends to wear a short boyish haircut that’s light red or strawberry blonde, as shown on one of her comic book covers below.
I’ll admit that it was a challenge but I took it on anyway. I managed to come up with two methods of altering Barbie’s hairstyle—the wig method and the DIY method. I initially tried the DIY method, which involves cutting Barbie’s hair then dyeing it red using a combination of acrylic paint and water. It’s based on an old tutorial that I found online years ago. (I wrote a post about that tutorial back in 2011 and it still remains among my most frequently read posts to this very day.) When I learned that the website which housed that tutorial went off-line, I found an archived version on the Internet Archive and provided a link to that tutorial. Recently another doll customizer known as Oak23 has taken it upon himself to repost the original tutorial on his Doll Junk Tumblr blog so those who don’t like dealing with the Internet Archive can go there instead.
I was hoping to save a few bucks by cutting Barbie’s hair by doing the DIY method. I initially had to wash Barbie’s hair before I could do anything because it felt stiff to the touch, like someone had put hair gel or some other stiffening substance in her hair back at the Chinese factory where this doll was made before she was packaged and shipped to the U.S. I had to wash her hair using liquid dishwashing detergent then let it dry before I could even begin to cut it. At least her washed hair felt softer but her hair was relatively thin compared to other Barbies I’ve worked with in the past. I began to cut her hair very short.
I tried dyeing her hair using the aforementioned process I found in an online tutorial. I have to admit that the results looked good on her. If I was just doing a generic redhead doll with a short haircut, she would’ve been very passable.
Unfortunately I was trying to get her to resemble the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and that person is frequently depicted with bangs, such as this comic book cover below.
I tried creating bangs in this doll but, no matter how hard I tried, I literally couldn’t make the short front ends of her hair hang in the front like bangs. I think it’s due to how the doll’s hair was initially rooted in the factory. I could’ve looked into trying to force the hair to go into bangs but I would’ve had to purchase something like hair gel, which would have her hair go back to having this icky feeling to the touch that her hair was initially when I first opened her package.
I decided to just scrap my DIY attempt and cut all of her hair off.
Then I ordered this wig from The Doll Peddlar, which not only fitted her perfectly but she looks incredibly cute as well.
Here is my video below where I not only demonstrate the hair dyeing method but I also mention how to find out what wig size your doll wears as well as the various online places where you can shop around for the best prices on doll wigs.
That’s it for now. Next time I’ll go into making the clothes for this doll so watch this blog.
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