Have you been wondering how they did these real eyelashes of the Mod Barbie dolls starting in 1967 with the Twist n Turn Barbie?
Well, originally this was done by a sewing machine. I really admire everyone being able to do this with a sewing machine. I’m not able to do this but I found my own way how to do this without a sewing machine but by hand. From my experience I can tell you it’s a lot of work and it’s time consuming to get these little lashes back it.
It is possible to repair missing or damaged lashes without a doubt. However you need some skills, the right needle and a lot of patience.
I will give you a short video instruction below.
Like mentioned above it’s possible to repair but it’s a lot of work and I think this was stopped after several years due to costs. In the late 90s some collector dolls like the ones from the Great Eras serie suddendly had them again but the had much more lashes in the end than the late 60s and early 70s Barbie dolls. For reasons of comparison I will give you some pics below.
Some Barbie collectors do repairs themselves and some don’t. The ones who repair the dolls maybe consider themselves as very talented. That’s often not the truth. Some of them only have better techniques and know what things to use for Barbie repair. Sometimes you only need the faith to believe in what you’re doing. Some of the things exist in every household.
I don’t want to go too much in depth in this article. I just want you give an overview what is possible to do diy.
Hair repair & restoration
It is not so hard to repair Barbie hair. The only exceptions are melted hair and Color Magic Barbie hair. Color Magic hair is very fragile or it at least has become very fragile over the decades. We shouldn’t forget that it’s fifty years old now. Frizzy Barbie hair can easily be treated with conditioner. You put the conditioner in and work your way through the hair with a comb. The hair should be lovely after treatment again. I made a video about frizzy hair some months ago. Just watch it and you’ll understand how easy it is to do. It’s a great method to remove tangles.
Another thing you can do with Barbie hair is to restore a gone hair style like the flips from the 1960s and 1970s. The curls can appear again when you know the little tricks how to do them. Another example I’d like to show you is my Francie flip video. In this video I show you what to use as little curlers for her hair.
That’s not all you can do yourself. No, I’m no professional hairdresser but I learned in the last decade a lot about Barbie hair. So, what can you do when the hair is cut? Then you have two options. You can make the best out of the cut or you can give her a reroot. A reroot is practically to give her new hair.
For a reroot you can use replacement hair. You can buy hair for Barbie dolls in several shops online. I can give you the name of some of them like restoredoll.com ( have ordered there myself), I bought a lot from mylittlecustoms.com ( but the shop is almost sold out every time I look around). There are several other online shops for Barbie hair but I have not bought from all of them. When I buy hair, I order a lot of hair and then I have a stock at home. I used the loop & lock technique for rerooting (giving Barbie new hair). It’s what the sewing machine in the factories did ( but much faster).
Problems with Superstar Barbie dolls
Of course please don’t forget to plan enough time and use the right needles for your restoration. The ones I use are called “doll needles”. It’s a pack that contains three needles. I use the shortest of all three. The other two are bigger and I don’t want to destroy or enlarge any precut holes in the head. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s a hard task. You often find the problem with the holes when you work with late Superstar Barbie dolls. They have so many holes and so many hair that it’s very difficult to keep everything in perfect condition.
Another problem can dissolving make up be. In some Barbie faces the make up comes off. Certain countries are known to have this problem like Spain. US versions usually don’t have the problem. So don’t say I haven’t warned you. Maybe I can figure out the origin of the problem in the next weeks. Anyway I’d like to give you this information before it’s too late. When the make up of Barbie starts to crumble within a reroot it’s hard to stop.
Incredible possibilities to be creative
Doing reroots can give you incredible possibilities to make OOAK Barbie dolls. You can use any color you find for your reroot but I recommend to use Saran or Nylon hair with good quality. Why? The hair looks more natural than cheap wig hair for carnival. You can buy the length you want and need. You can mix different hair colors. Creating unique Barbie dolls is no problem. The only thing you need for this is your fantasy.
In general it’s no problem to insert new lashes to old Barbie dolls. I recommend to use a normal needle for the replacement. I’ve used black Saran hair for my restorations yet. Insert long hair. It’s easier to work with long hair than short hair. Don’t forget that you can always cut the hair afterwards. My technique here is also the lock and loop technique.
That’s the easiest technique imitating a sewing machine with your hands. It’s clear that not everybody has a special sewing machine for hair at home. These machines need lots of space and are very expensive. The easiest way to solve the problem with your hands with the lock & loop technique.
It started last year when I was doing my first hair studio and it a great success. So this year for Barbie dolls 60th anniversary I decided to do something really special. I did a reroot with my version of the 60th anniversary Barbie doll. In my opinion the dolls offered are all a bit boring… not really exciting, nothing I’d like to buy. Boring somehow maybe. Since you know I love to do things myself I decided to do a very special Barbie doll. I wanted to do this project earlier this year but then I suddenly found a payable Talking Barbie and I started the repair series with my Talking Barbie. Then I realized that some of you thought I maybe had forgotten her but it was not the point. I’ve been busy working in the real world too. Youtube is not the only construction site I work at at the moment. When I had a little more time and two days off I decided to start with the hair style for my so called “Unicorn” Barbie since her reroot was very colorful. She has lots and lots of hair that was not as cooperative as I hoped it would be but you can see what I’ve done so far here
More videos about to come in the next weeks. She also needs a repaint. So stay tuned in and be curious since the repaint will be very different from the last one.
At the moment I try out new things. In the next weeks you can find me on Instagram. I created an account for my youtube channel Busy B from Germany. And I also found a ” Black Magic” outfit, one of my favorite outfits from the 1960s and a Francie head. So you will hear a lot from me and my new stuff in the future.
I’m back from my vacation and want to talk to you about a serious topic. Again I heard from a case of bad work. I can only warn you. When you want somebody to restore something for your collection, check at least twice. You can never be careful enough. The best advice I can give you is to inform yourself how things are done and then ask the concerning person questions how to do this or that. Then you might be able to check if he/she understands the work. When I’m asked for advice I always tell people that there is a risk when you restore something. You don’t know how things were stored from the owner. The material doesn’t tell from the first sight. Of course the material can change and you don’t know it. It’s always your risk when you restore something.
Concerning a reroot it looks like this…
If the restorer tells you that big holes in the head are normal, think about asking another person to do it.
In the last months I was lucky enough to find a body for one of my rerooted heads. I rerooted the head approx. 2 years ago. I know a long time…and I had almost forgotten my head. I did another reroot in the last months and then I found my project again. At first I was unsure what kind of body to use for my project. Finally I decided to use a Cool Colours Barbie body. Here’s the result. Hope you like.
Today I finished my Ooak project. In March I got a Kira/Marina head with a haircut. Somehow she was cute and I decided to restore her. The first step was to remove the hair and give her new hair. I decided for black and pink because I wanted to do a reroot in two colours. I wanted to do a very elegant hair style for her long hair and decided to do the “Arwen”-hairstyle with 9 strands that was not shown in LOTR(Lord of the Rings). Then she needed a new body. Her body was broken. During her hairstyling I was looking for a new body and by the end of May I finally found one. When she had a new body I was able to restyle her bangs. You need a body when you want a short pony.
When her hairstyle was finally finished I started to repaint the eyebrows. 50% of the colour was gone. So I repainted the brows and had to wait several weeks for stains that appeared in the repainting process. I used a cream to bleach them. They were gone last Thursday.
Yesterday I started the final styling of her bangs and finished it today. Then she got her jewelry, earrings and a ring.
I wanted to make her look like a mixture from 80s and 90s so that she reminded me of my childhood with the giant bangs. Now she’s ready for her great entrance.
And this is a pic of the head before I started to work.
The right head also got new hair in the meantime but this will be another Ooak project. I’m still looking for a new body. I’m going to show you more in my next post.