Larry Upgrade: Hand-punched Eyebrows!

A few days ago, or maybe that was yesterday, LOL, I posted about the possibility of hand punching in hair on Larry, starting with the eyebrows. Well, I have done it and wow, what an experience! I had been thinking about doing this ever since he arrived, but didn’t quite have the confidence or courage to do so. After all, I had just spent a good amount of money on him and I didn’t want to mess him up. I had talked to other people who some of them thought it was a good idea, others weren’t so sure and then there were some who were neutral on the subject. A friend of mine on social media, actually was the one who really helped me get the ball rolling on this one and I am very grateful for their suggestion.

I started off by doing a lot of research online. I found a couple of good videos out there, but they were a tad bit difficult to find because not everyone out there is hand punching hair into dolls AND making tutorials about it. However, what I found was good. Then I started researching the tools and supplies needed for the process. Finding the hair wasn’t the hard part, it was finding and acquiring the punching needles that was the challenge. Most of the needles are sold online and can be what I feel, quite costly. Especially if you get a whole starter kit. Funds are tight and I was really itching to get started (no pun intended, as it is hair related) so I found different, yet efficient ways to go about it.

I purchased some hair at this really great beauty supply store (not a chain store, but one that has TONS of hair and hair related products as well as jewelry and makeup!) and they were having a great sale. I only paid $2 for a ton of hair. The punching needle, actually it is a felting needle, as I was not able to find a hair punching needle (rooting needle) ANYWHERE locally in the craft stores I went to, I got at Hobby Lobby. I got a set of 5 for $6. So a total of $7, not bad at all!

Rooting, hair punching and felting needles are triangular needles that have these little barbs cut into them that allow them to grab the hair(s) and push it into the ‘skin’. There are several different techniques out there, but being a beginner, I decided to use what I felt was the easiest route. I tried a couple of techniques, but this one seemed to work the best for me. That technique was looping a strand of hair into the needle and punching the hairs in one by one. I tried punching in multiple hairs at once, but it wasn’t looking right to me and some of the hairs were coming out, so I decided to go back to the simple route. Maybe when I get more experience, I will try to do multiple hairs again. Usually, you don’t have to actually loop the individual hair into the barb, but the largest needles at Hobby Lobby didn’t have deep enough barbs to catch the hair and I would get frustrated having to go back and do multiple punches, so the way I did it, actually worked best…for me.

It took me 8 solid hours to do both eyebrows. The night before, I practiced on some spare TPE samples to see if I could actually do it. I wasn’t sleeping well anyway, so I figured I would make proper use of my no-sleeping time. I drew an outline of the brows with a brow pencil and then got my needle and hair out and got to work. The people I watched in the videos were professionals and so they were able to do theirs really fast, but for me, slow and steady won the race!

The next morning, when I actually did Larry’s brows, I got my workstation set up at my dining room table. This is what all I used:

Felting needle

Hair cut into 6 inch strands

Table lamp

Brow pencil/eyeliner pencil

Brow Brush

Brow Wand (elongated mascara wand)

Hair sweeping tool (to brush away the loose trimmed hairs)

Hair scissors

Spare TPE sample (for practice)

Wax paper (to keep the workstation fairly clean)

Larry’s head (that doesn’t sound morbid at all, does it? 😀 )

Over the next 8 hours, Larry’s head sat happily in between my boobs, as I do not have a doll head stand and so that he could be looking up at me, with the light shining correctly as I punched in the hairs, one by one, by one….I swear I punched in at least a thousand of them. I first removed his painted on brows with q tips, baby oil and a used fabric softener dryer sheet. Then I took the kohl eyeliner pencil in charcoal (the same that I used for his five o’clock stubble” and drew the outline of his new brows and colored it in. After that, I slowly started punching in the hairs. I got the right brow done first, took a break, then worked on the left. When all the hairs were punched in, that was when I started trimming the hairs and combing them to where they looked like actual eyebrows.

While I was punching in the hairs, I would have to take the brow comb and brush and brush the hairs back toward me so that I had open space to punch in the newer hairs as I worked my way from the outer brow toward the nose. Brushing off the excess and trimmed hair from TPE was quite a task. Hair naturally wants to stick to TPE, as it is a medical grade rubber, in this case, used for skin. But once I was able to get all of it removed and Larry’s brows where I wanted them to be, then I began the process of cleaning his head and face with baby oil and removing sweat and debris (sitting under a hot lamp for 8 hours will definitely make you sweat) before reattaching his head to his body and his wig back onto his head.

I was incredibly sore and exhausted afterward. Once Larry was all situated, I got a massage from HH and then went to soak in a hot bubble bath to relax (or try anyway) away the pain that was mostly in my upper back/shoulders and hands. I am still a bit sore today, but I can tell you, it was definitely worth it! A labor of love for sure! Come to think of it, speaking of labor…giving birth to my kids was easier than punching in the brows, LOL!

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