How to Apply & Style



"So Innocent Charity" was Cynthia in her childhood, or rather: someone else's childhood. Cynthia was not mistreated, she was loved to death. Her hair hadn't been cut, it was worn thin from constant play. She needed new hair, so we did an "extreme makeover."

MEAURE THE HEAD. Measure the circumferance of the doll's head to determine how many inches. Measure around the head, just above the ears. Wig sizes are determined by inches.

  • Baby Face dolls wear a 12-13 inch wig. If you want to put a wig over the existing hair (and not glue it on) then you'll need a size 14 wig.
  • 17" La Newborn Moments measure 13" around the head.
  • The 20" LaBaby dolls take a size 14-15" wig.
  • 17" Lots to Love dolls need a 16" wig.
  • The 14" Lots to Love dolls wear a 12" wig.
  • Baby so Beautiful uses a 10-11" wig.

SELECT A WIG. You can buy doll wigs from many sources, including our doll shop.

PREPARE THE SCALP. Remove the old doll hair first and clean the scalp. (This is not necessary with the bald Berenguers of course.) First, I shave off the old hair using an electric hair clipper.


It is very important to select a glue that will adhere to vinyl. Because vinyl is oily, there are some things that do not work. Hot glue will come off easily, sometimes within hours. I don't recommend hot glue on vinyl, although it's great for other things. Superglue is not very good for doll projects either and it can damage doll eyes as well as other kinds of plastic so I don't use it.

  • Aleene's Tacky Glue from Walmart is widely recommended, even by the wig companies. The wigs can be easily removed again which can be good or bad. Since I customize dolls that may be given to children, I prefer a glue that gives better adhesion on vinyl. I don't think any of the white craft glues are very effective with vinyl.
  • E6000 is a good quality clear craft glue that gives a tight bond and is flexible when dry. However, E-6000 tends to give up on vinyl after 6 months to a year, so I no longer recommend it for wigs. It gets "gooey" and the wigs fall off. Sticky mess. Eww.
  • Liquid Nails can be purchased in hardware stores: it comes in a caulking gun tube or a toothpaste style squeeze tube. Liquid Nails comes in a clear formula, but like E6000 it tends to get gooey and "let go" after awhile. Vinyl has so much oil in it that there are very few adhesives that will work with vinyl for the long term. Liquid Nails REGULAR formula (the stuff that's a putty color) is one of my favorites for glueing doll eyes, and it can be used with wigs as well. Liquid Nails is powerful stuff: it seems to weld with vinyl.
  • Henry's Cove Base Adhesive is a special adhesive for attaching vinyl cove base to walls. Cove base is the molding that runs along the floor; if it is made of wood it's nailed on -- but VINYL cove base is common in hospitals, schools and office buildings. Vinyl cove base is glued onto the wall.

    You can buy the adhesive in tubs of various sizes. It's creamy, looks like vanilla pudding, and it washes up with water while it's still fresh. This is my favorite adhesive for vinyl now. It's inexpensive, easy to use, and a small tub of cove base adhesive lasts a long time. I order it online from ACE hardware. Home Depot used to carry it in their stores but I can't find it there anymore. So I order it from ACE.

APPLY THE GLUE. When the "hair" is shaved as short as possible, then I apply glue generously over the dolls' scalp, painting the glue only where the wig will be. The scalp does not need to be scrupulously clean. If there is glue residue from an old wig on the doll's head, the old residue can actually help the new glue by giving it something to grab hold of (rather than a shiny bald surface.)

APPLY THE WIG. Turn the wig inside out and tuck all the hair strands inside. I apply glue to the crown of the wig and around the edges but be careful not to get any in the hair. Glue is difficult to get out of doll hair especially after it's dry.

Then, position the crown of the wig on the crown of the dolls head (with the cap still inside out), making sure that it is centered properly etc. Gradually unfold the wig down over the head of the doll. Pull it into place and allow to dry.

Quickly use a comb and rag or tissues to get rid of any glue that is stuck in the hair strands. If you comb the hair and dab it while the glue is still wet, you won't have trouble with matted hair later.

If you need to apply more glue under the edges of the wig to make it more secure, do that last. Then allow the glue to dry for several hours or overnight.

STYLE THE HAIR. Most wigs will require some restyling and possibly some trimming before they look nice and natural on the doll.

THINNING SHEARS are my favorite for styling doll wigs. This Ginger wig has been thinned using thinning shears, so it looks wispy enough for an infant. I thin the hair by holding the shears in a vertical position (up/down) and I work around all the way 'round the head in sections. I use the wide 28 tooth thinning shears. My thinning shears are so old they are rusty in spots but they still work great. You don't need to buy expensive equipment: cheap shears will do.

I comb out the cut hairs as I go so I can see if it's thin enough. Be sure to go cautiously because if you cut too much hair with the thinning shears there is no way to undo it. It's easy to ruin a wig by being too enthusiastic. Be cautious until you are confident about using your thinning shears.

I also use a regular hair scissors to trim away stray hairs, but I try to use the thinning shears for the most part, so the infant hair will look wispy and irregular the way baby hair really is. Babies don't have straight blunt bangs for example.

TAKE THE "WIGGINESS" OUT OF WISPY WIGS. I use the Wispy Wigs on my little 14" Lots to Love dolls. The black 9-10" partial cap wigs are the right size for the doll but I have problems with the hair creeping up so it looks like a beret hat perched on top of the doll's head. And, the hair is too curly for an asian.

So I decided that Caution was no longer the operative word. I aimed the hair dryer at the wig and melted it into submission. Well, it didn't melt actually but it could melt if you're not careful because synthetic hair can shrivel fairly easily with heat.

I really like how the hair turned out. The hot hair forms around the doll's head better. And because asians should have straight hair, I used the comb to hold the hair straight and heat it, and now the hair is straight. I'm very pleased with the results.

The hair dryer is the only method I've found that takes the "wigginess" out of those Wispy Wigs.

Copyright (c) 2002, 2012 Cynthia Stevens All Rights Reserved