Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Barbie Hair Dye Project


I am glad to say that I am back to blogging! Been kind of crazy. I got a new PC and I had to figure out how to use it (Windows 8 is kind of difficult at first!) and then after being sick for 4 days, i'm back! *finally!*

I know last time I posted I said I would have some new dollies to show you all. I'm going to postpone that till the next post. I'm going to share with you a project that I tried today.

Dying Barbie's hair. 

Barbielea over at Barbie Beauties was talking about making a dolls hair brown. However a reroot would be problematic with the particular doll. She thought about dying the hair instead and I thought it would be fun to try with real hair color. So before you run out and buy a box of color, read this. 

I started with a cheap box of hair color. Since it was an experiment this particular color cost a whole $2.95. It did not contain ammonia so that also factored in. 

Deep Rich Brown. Perfect!

I picked a doll I really didn't care much for. The one arm bent/one arm straight new body type. She will be our subject. 

To protect her face. I am SO sorry Barbie but it's for your own good! I also gave her hair a good brushing before the project started. 

Then I had to BEG the hubby to take pictures for me. He wasn't happy about photographing this project but I gave him "the look". HA!

The dye begins.

Brown color showing up. The liquid coming out of the bottle isn't brown but it doesn't take long for the color to show through. 

What a beautiful color!

Can't wait to see what it looks like finished. If it looks like this, I'm going to be happy. 

I started at the top roots and then added more product here and there to turn every strand brown. It was a little difficult to get all the roots but it's not like I had a shortage of hair color. :) I went sparingly though and the entire dye process took about 30 minutes. 

I let Barbie sit in the sink only 10-12 minutes. The box said to leave color on 25 minutes. I felt with synthetic it didn't really matter but didn't want to leave it on too long. So total with the color process, dye was left on about 40 minutes.

Next it said to add a little warm water to mix in the color. 

Then rinse till the water runs clear. 

And how did that work out? Beautiful rich brown color? 


Color washed right out. Not even a little streak of brown color. Boo! However I did not have any trouble with the hair dye staining the vinyl of the doll. Everything washed right off with ease. Barbie does have some nice soft hair from the conditioner from the box! 

So human hair dye does not work on synthetic. I'm not sure if letting it sit for hours would help but the house was starting to smell so I figured just throwing the bottle out would be a good idea. 

Barbielea read that RIT dye or even acrylic paint works with doll hair. I do have tan acrylic paint but not sure how that would work! Wouldn't it make the hair hard when it dries?

So friends, anyone try the dye experience? Let me know in the comments! 

And I promise, the next post will be my newcomers!

Until then!


Orsolya Sulák-Erdőháti said...


I tried the IBERIA ClASSIC Textile Dye to my vintage Furga doll hair. It worked for her, but not worked for a Steffi Love barbie.

Perhaps you will succeed with a real barbie.

Orsolya Sulák-Erdőháti said...


Andrea said...

What a bummer. I think the problem is the synthetic hair fibre. The problem will be the same with textile dye, as synthetics hardly ever hold the color.

You might get better results with watered down acrylic paints, but you probably will have to repeat the process until you are satisfied with the results. Even if you get the hair colored to you liking it will probably become a little stiff.

Anonymous said...

Arghh!! How frustrating! But well done for trying :) as you know I've been considering making an attempt myself, but I hadn't been able to find a tutorial. However, since then I found one on Dolls N Daggers who used (as Andrea suggests) acrylic paint - I've also seen one using RIT dye (how did I miss these the first time round? I dunno). I don't think I'm going to get the depth of colour I wanted for the project I had in mind, so I don't know whether to go ahead with it ...

Teresa Brown said...

So textile dye, acrylic paint, and RIT dye are the choices for the next go around. I still am SO unsure of the paint! Thanks Orsolya for posting that link!

For me, I don't know about RIT dye. It probably would be easy to just dip the hair in the liquid and let it sit but might take a few tries to get the color. And I would be afraid that I would dye the vinyl knowing my luck!!

Maybe textile dye for my next project. Who knows, might work!!

Terry said...

I can tell you by experimenting over the years that Rit only gives a tint or blush to the hair but I was surprised how well the acrylic paint worked - Barbie went from blonde to Green no problem and quite dark. It went on quite thick and stay stiff but I persevered, I waiting a week or two and thought can't be bothered with stiff hair anymore and decided to wash it and start again but once I washed and conditioned it it stayed green and was reasonable soft too, so by accident quite happy. The doll was a 1980's blonde barbie and the paint was reasonable priced brand.( just from the local discount shop ) Rit gave me a light mint green and a pale pink result which was sad as the colour looked so deep and vibrant when it first went on but washed out taking most of the colour with it.

Crystal Austin said...

So I know this post is really old, but for anyone else (like me) who trips over it, several years ago I used ink from gell pens to add subtle streaks to my skipper doll's hair (she was strawberry blonde with blond highlights, I used a maroon/crimson gel pen for the streaks). It turned out great and lasted the rest of the time I had her (about 4 more years, with frequent soaks because I conditioned my dolls hair nearly every time I bathed).
I probably left her sitting with the ink on her hair for 3 days or so before rinsing the first time.

Eve said...

I know this is an older post, but THANK YOU! And thank you to your hubby for taking the pictures. I have a doll that I'd like to have dark brown or black hair, but I'm terrified to re-root her (I've never done it before) and my hubby suggested hair dye. I'm so glad I found this before spending time and money on something that's doomed to fail.

Teresa Brown said...

Eve, thanks for stopping by! No worries about leaving a comment on an old post. I get emails every time someone types a comment and I try to reply to every one. (Sometimes I get a little lackadaisical about it but I try.) I'm glad I could help save you the hassle! I have always wanted to try a re-root and I might in the future but haven't gotten there yet. I know some others have posted about acrylic paint in the other comments. If you're not sure of a reroot, maybe go that route? I have not tried it yet (my older, distressed dolls are still packed) but if you do, let me know! I'd love to see how it turned out. :)

Bebita Guerrero said...

GM. I would like to know if someone have dyed from black to brown?or highlight black hair Barbie to soft the color. Thanks

Bebita Guerrero said...

By the way colors markers in blonde hair works good. Take a little time , but worth it. Just lay down the doll, brush her hair and give strokes to the hair w the marker. I did it with a red marker and changed the color from blonde to light red hair color

Bebita Guerrero said...

To change the Barbie hair color from black to brown.

Maryam said...

Thanks for great guide for changing barbie doll hair color

Unknown said...

Wow, this is great information. Here is what I am wondering...I am making a costumed doll that will have the clothing on is a not to be used as a toy...that being said, if this doll should get wet (sprinkled, not soaked) with either the acrylic paint method or the permanent marker method, does anyone know if the color will bleed onto the clothing??

I know I probably have to experiment...but I hate using any Barbie as a test just makes my tummy hurt. I know I am weird. Does anyone know?

My Barbie Blog - Teresa said...

Hello! Sorry I am late with the reply. Anytime you use a hair dye method, there is always a possibility of transfer to the vinyl or clothing. I know for sure it does with Sharpie but not sure with the acrylic paint method. The for sure way to not have any color transfer is to do a full on re-root, but I'm so scared to try it! I TOTALLY know how you feel about Barbie test subjects though!

Unknown said...

Whoa...I just did a doll with black sharpie this morning...she is not one of my favorites, but it seems like it turned out nice, and the color did not rinse out with water. Thanks for your reply....I guess there are bound to be fails as well as successes. Do you know off hand the ratio of rubbing alcohol to acrylic paint? :-)

My Barbie Blog - Teresa said...

I don't know. I'm so sorry!