How to Make Curly Hair for Your Amigurumi Dolls with Acrylic Yarn

The technique I talked about last time called for 100% wool yarn but what if you don’t have 100% wool yarn? So I set myself the goal to find a way to get the curly hair with acrylic yarn. =)

I tried out four new different ways and used the same technique as last time, now with acrylic yarn, as the control. Then I recorded the result, left it alone for 8 hours and took pictures once again for comparison.

All the needles used in the different experiments are 5,5mm (0,22 inches) knitting needles.

The Control: Wet Acrylic Yarn

Curly hair with wet acrylic yarn

I wet the yarn with water and squeezed out the excess. I wrapped the yarn around a knitting needle, secured it with clothespins and let it dry.

Curly hair for amigurumi

1. With this method I got loose curls.

2. As you can see, after eight hours the curls were much looser.

Experiment 1: Wet Acrylic Yarn with Glue

Yarn curly hair with glue

I wet the yarn with water and mixed in a bit of dry clear white glue. I squeezed out the excess and wrapped the yarn around a knitting needle. Secured the yarn with clothespins and let it dry.

Amigurumi hair with glue

1. With this method I got tighter curls but the yarn felt rough and stiff.

2. After 8 hours the yarn still held the curls.

Experiment 2: Acrylic Yarn and Heat Gun

Amigurumi curly hair with heat

I wrapped a length of acrylic yarn around a metal needle and secured it with wooden clothespins.

I used the heat gun on the yarn never holding it in the same place and with a few inches between the yarn and the heat gun to avoid melting the yarn.

Use a tissue to hold the needle to avoid getting burned. 

Yarn curly hair with heat

1. This method gave me a really neat and tight curl.

2. After eight hours the yarn still held the curls.

Experiment 3: Acrylic Yarn and Steam from Iron

Curly hair with yarn and steam

I wrapped a length of acrylic yarn around a metal needle and secured it with wooden clothespins.

I set the iron to maximum quantity of steam and pressed the steam button hitting the yarn with the steam.

Do not touch the yarn with the iron to avoid melting the yarn!

Amigurumi hair

1. With this method I got a really tight and neat curl.

2. After eight hours the yarn still held its curl.

Experiment 4: Acrylic Yarn, Steam from Iron and Single Crochet

Doll hair with crochet and steam

I worked a length of yarn in single crochet.

I set the iron to maximum quantity of steam and pressed the steam button hitting the yarn with the steam.

Do not touch the yarn with the iron to avoid melting the yarn!

Amigurumi doll curly hair with crochet and steam

1. This method gave me a really tight curl but more messy than the previous ones.

2. After eight hours the yarn still held the curls.

Conclusions

All the new ways held the curl for the eight hours.

The method with the glue, despite holding the curls, turned the yarn rough to the touch and stiff, without bounce. Maybe if using a little bit less glue or diluting it in water before putting it on the yarn, it wouldn’t come out so rough and stiff. Another one to try… =)

Experiments 2 (heat gun) and 3 (steam and needle) gave the same results, a bouncy, neat and tight curl and the texture of the yarn remained soft. 

With the experiment 4 (steam and single crochet) I also got a bouncy and tight curl with the texture of the yarn remaining soft, but this time I got a messier curl.

My favorite methods were the ones where I used the heat gun and steam.

Depending on the look we want to achieve we can chose between steam+needle or steam+single crochet.

What are your favorites?

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27 Comments

  1. Thank you for the great comparisons! How long after you applied the heat/steam did you unravel the yarn? Do you just wait until it cools, or does it have to set for a while?

  2. Hi Cindy!
    Thank you for your comments!
    I unraveled the yarn after it cooled down (when using the heat gun) or after it dried (when using the steam). Hope it helps! =)
    Ana

    • Hi Elly,

      I can’t guaranty that it will last forever, but I found the strands of yarn I used in this tutorial in my scraps and they are still curled! =D
      So they will last, at least 2 years! I think they will last more, specially the ones made with heat!

      If you have anymore questions don’t hesitate to ask!
      Ana

  3. This is really great, thank you for sharing. My daughter is decorating a pumpkin as Fancy Nancy for a school project and i thought we could use yarn for hair. If you are familiar with the books, Fancy Nancy has a head full of nappy red curls full of ribbons and bows. So we bought the acrylic yarn, it was cheap and it was the color my child wanted… I thought i could wrap it around a wooden rod and bake it like you do the quirky ribbon but it didnt work and burned some of the yarn. I think ill try the crochet iron method next. Thanks for showing all this!

    • Hi Kimmi! You’re welcome! =D

      I didn’t know Fancy Nancy but I searched and she looks really fun! I would love to see your daughter’s pumpkin when it’s ready! =D

      If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!
      Ana =)

  4. My question is if the curl stays long term. If one were creating dolls to sell, for instance, would they have customers returning after a day or two complaining of curls going out?

    • Hi Heather,

      I still have some of the strands from this tutorial (5 years ago) and the ones where I used the heat gun and the iron are still curled! =D I think the heat melts the acrylic just enough to change its shape!

      Ana

  5. I love love love this article. So well done and detailed. I appreciate the effort you put into this project. You just saved me a ton of time and money. Thank you!!!!!!

  6. Heat in the oven on low for 20 mins. or untill dry. Let cool unroll. Holds good. They also use to have curling rods at Hobby Lobby. Use mine alot

  7. After reading article, I was excited to try. I used embroidery floss, and #6 knitting needle, and Niagara spray starch. No heat, just let dry (about one hour). Turned out great, and very curly. Making clothespin dolls with little girls and hoping the curls hold. Very cute tight curls. Thanks for your post.

    • Hi Teri! It didn’t take very long. Do it for a minute or so, let it cool down and unravel just a litte bit to see if the yarn is curled. If not repeat for a little more.
      If I remember correctly you could see the texture of the yarn change, it would become smother as the fluff of the yarn would melt, and I would stop there.
      Hope it helps!

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