The People Who Lift Me Up

Oct 13, 2010

Wouldn't you like to make these curls?

I call these pencil curls, even though they are made with dowels and not pencils. I suppose you could make them with pencils if you truly wanted to but I do think dowels are the more practical choice lol.
I posted this procedure to make curls last year some time but while re-doing my blog the first time I wiped out quite a few posts, the pencil curl post being one of them, and I thought it would be nice to re-post the tutorial.

There are many successful ways to make curls, this is just the method which I developed that works best for me with the longest lasting results. Back when I figured out how to do these curls I didn't know about the online doll making clubs nor did I have any patterns that would teach me. I desperately wanted to learn how to make yarn curls without using the method of crocheting so my trial and errors began.
Now, I will tell you that I did know one person who did not make dolls but did hair makeovers on them whom figured out how to make this style of curl before I did (as I am sure many others in the doll world had as well) but she would not give her secret and I fully respected that, besides it made me work hard to understand how the whole process worked which in my thoughts contributed to my road to becoming a better doll maker.

Okay so enough of the jibber jabber.

What you will need:

*Two skeins of acrylic yarn (I prefer RedHeart for this) You can use two of the same color or two different colors. I have pictured examples of both.

*A large amount of dowels, 1/4 inch or smaller in width (too large will result in loose curls) and approx. 12 inches in length. I buy my dowels in 3ft lengths at Wal-Mart then snip them down to 12 inch pieces. If you want to use the larger 1/4 inch size you can buy bags of dowels at Wal-Mart in the wedding cake section already cut in 12inch lengths.

*A large GLASS baking dish



*Oven Mitts

*Timer (or something to watch the time on)

*** Lots of patience and free time while watching TV (this is for the winding, unwinding, and cutting)

This is a super easy process BUT it does take a lot of time if you are wanting to do a nice full head of hair. I would say that the two sweet faces I pictured above took around 180 wrapped dowels or more. Yikes, a lot but so worth it! I bake 60 dowels at a time so that the heat spreads evenly.

Lets get started:

Get your yarn pulled out and tie the end of the two strands onto the end of the dowel then start to wrap the yarn tightly around the dowel pushing up as you go and making sure not to twist your strands. You want to tightly wrap as much yarn as possible on the dowel but make sure to never overlap the yarn. It needs to stay single layer. Once you are at the end of the dowel snip the yarn away from the skein and then tie off the yarn on the dowel and sit it into the baking dish.

Do the above step to the next 59 dowels (or however many you choose to make each round)

Next preheat your oven to 325. Actually ovens and such vary so it may be anywhere between 275-325. You do not want it too hot or it will discolor the yarn but too low will not give a strong enough curl. Put your dowels in the glass baking dish and bake for 45-60 minutes. Pop on your oven mitts and take the dish out of the oven and let the curls cool off. Do not touch them or the dish until all is cool. This may take a good while.

Once the curls are completely cool to the touch it's time to unwind them off the dowels. Pull them all off and then you are ready to cut them into the length you would like. For the all over curls I usually cut my curls into threes. Play around with lengths though, it's such fun!

Once you get all the curls cut and ready you can sew them onto your dolls head and make any style your imagination can come up with. This is a long process but not a hard one and it's so worth it in the end!

While this recipe may not make your tummy happy it's sure to be candy to the eyes once you see it on one of your dollies!


  1. beautifull hair!!!
    Thanks for this tutorial

  2. what a terrific tut ree, I am head over know that..but yours well they are curly lol..blessings samm

  3. Hi Ree love those curls! And yes they take a bit of time to make as I have a box of them sitting in my sewing room along with korker ribbons...LOL Just never get back to them and using them on anything. Your dollies are all so cute when you use them.


  4. thats a head full of curls...they look fabulous....can't wait to try the tut...have a great day...


  5. Glad to see you posted this again Ree...I haven't made a doll with curls in've inspired me.
    Warmest Hugs,
    Sandi @ Ess D'Ess Bears


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