An Elf Is Born 3 – Adding The Hair

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My sexy Christmas elf is baked, cooled down, and ready for hair. Adding hair to a sculpture is a tricky process, especially since I’m rather new to this technique. My approach to new techniques is all about working slowly and carefully. When adding hair I simply don’t have that luxury. The glue is kinda smelly and dries faster than you can imagine.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself here. This post is Part 3 in the series, continuing from

tibetan lamb fur died in different colors

Click to view Amazon’s mohair selection

In the past I’d sculpt the hair for my creatures, but didn’t like the overall look. Then I discovered Tibetan Lamb Fur, also called Mohair. There are so many things I love about Mohair. First and foremost, this is an environmentally friendly and animal friendly product since hair is shorn from a live animal (haircut).

Mohair is very soft, easily died, has natural curls, and according to my boyfriend, looks just like my frizzy hair.

I wasn’t sure which hair color to use on my elf, so I photographed her with a swatch of my four choices pictured below in order: Black, dark brown, dirty blond, or Santa white. I even considered using 2 different colors but that just makes her look like a skunk. Perhaps when I have a better handle on this.

polymer clay elf black mohairpolymer clay elf dark brown mohairpolymer clay elf dirty blond mohairpolymer clay elf santa white mohairpolymer clay elf multi-color mohair 

I prepared all the tools and supplies as needed:

  • Fabri-Tac – a VERY strong and VERY fast-drying glue
  • Acetone to mix with the glue as a thinner (but very very smelly)
  • toothpicks
  • sharp scissors
  • paper towels (did I mention this was messy?)
  • opened front & back door + all windows so that I don’t choke in the process

In studying the images above I decided that the dark brown felt most natural. AND she did request it personally.

I carefully cut chunks off the pelt being extra careful to keep the curls together and intact.

tibetan lamb dark brown pelt mohair locks

This is where the very fast ‘slow’ process begins. The curls are on the clock from the moment they touch the glue. Work too slow and the glue dries without adhering to the clay. (work too fast and you just have a grand ‘ol mess)

I grabbed each strand of curls in the middle and removed any stray hairs. I added a dab of glue to the cut end and secured it to the elf’s head. The rest was somewhat of a guessing game. Try this, try that, get the hair on the head. Perhaps I’ll practice a few more and then create a proper ‘adding hair’ tutorial.

Like human hair, fairy or elf hair begins at the base of the skull and goes all the way up. By starting at the base I was able to conceal the glued hair with a layer of fresh hair hanging over it as I worked my way up. Each layer was carefully added to ensure no excess glue or stray hairs stuck where they shouldn’t. This got me around most of her head and up to her temples.

polymer clay elf adding mohair backpolymer clay elf adding mohair at base polymer clay elf adding mohair to top of scalppolymer clay elf adding mohair to temples

The top of the head is the biggest challenge, since hiding the glue with fresh hair is impossible compared to the back of the head. I attempted to hide the glue by adding a layer of hair backwards, hanging down over her face, then flipping it back up over to the side of her head. I’m not 100% in love with how it turned out, but it could have been lots worse.

polymer clay elf mohair on forehead

All in all the results are not terrible. I wound up having to take a ‘soap break’ between layers to scrub my fingertips clean from all the glue, hair, and paper towel residue that accumulated on my fingertips.

The elf is now sitting on my desk, with a head full of hair that is flying in every direction.

Did I mention the other cool thing about tibetan lamb hair? Since it’s like human hair you can treat it like human hair. Shampoo, soap, conditioner, hair products… So they say. I have yet to experiment.

I will allow her hair to dry 100% and then give her the girly treatment including hair, manicure, and makeup

polymer clay elf frizzy hair top view polymer clay elf finishing the mohair polymer clay elf hair everywhere

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Comments

    • MagicByLeah says

      Thank you Susan, I appreciate those kind words. I try to see each sculpture from the perspective of ‘this is where I am now’. Yes I try to improve but I’m enjoying the process. Thank you

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