Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fun Hair for Girls: How to Get Spirals with Rag Curlers

We have always loved the look of hair styles from movies such as Sense and Sensibility, or Pride and Prejudice, so one Sunday when we saw some young ladies at church with spiral curls in their hair I inquired as to how they made them.   This sweet friend instructed me in how they did them, and we have created beautiful ringlets and up-do’s for church some times or special occasions ever since!  So fun! 

We had tried sponge rollers in the past, but those make curls not ringlets, they cannot be brushed out without straitening the curls, they’re uncomfortable to sleep on, they fall out easily, and they do not last over night into the next day.
I don’t know many people who know how to do rag curls so I thought I’d share this pretty, feminine look with you friends!  It’s so fun and so beautiful!  Here are the directions, and some photos of the process and of the results.

SUPPLIES:
- strips of fabric
- a pencil
- a rat-tail comb
- Optional: a silky night cap for young girls with thinner, wispier hair (looks like a shower cap, but made of satin fabric, found at Rite Aid), which helps the rags to better stay in the hair and not fall out while she’s sleeping.

PREPARATION:  Cut out some “rags”
I cut one of my husband’s undershirts into 1”x8” strips with my roto cutter.  You can use any fabric I believe, but this thin cotton material allows the hair to dry fast, and ties knots easily and tightly so they don’t fall out.  
Have your daughter freshly wash her hair as she won't be able to wash it as long as you would like the curls to stay in.  Also, it's best to work with hair that is completely wet to the roots, not just squirted damp or wet with a squirt bottle.  Then towel dry the hair so it's not completely soaked.  If the tips begin to dry as you do the curlers use a spray bottle to re-wet it as you go.

INSTRUCTIONS:
Step 1 - Part your daughter’s hair on the side or in the middle wherever you usually do, then starting at the top of her head use the tip of the comb to divide a section of hair into about a 1½ inch patch on her head for small, tight curls (into 2-3 inch sections for larger curls).

 Step 2 - Lay one strip of rag along the length of the pencil, parallel.  Hold horizontal the pencil & rag down by the end/tips of that section of hair and roll the hair onto the pencil with an underneath motion; not a flipped out style, but rolled under, trying to keep the tips tucked in smooth, not bent sideways, up to the top of her head.


 
Step 3 – Lift up the tips of the rag strip and tie a single tie with the rag just above the pencil (between her head and the pencil) to hold it in place.

Step 4 - Slide the pencil out and pull the rag knot tighter, make a second tie (complete one knot) on top of the first to keep it in place.  The little role of hair should resemble a snail.


Step 5 - After all of her hair is tied up allow it to dry at least 18 hrs.  We tie the hair up on the afternoon (2:00-ish) of the day before we’d like her hair curly, and by the next morning (8:00 am-ish) it’s dry.  If she’s a younger girl with thinner hair then cover it with the silky night cap so they don’t get pulled out.  (You may need to pull up the extra baggier bit of the cap on top so the cap is more fitted on her head, and gather it up with a hair holder.)


Step 6 – Starting from the base of the neck and working up to the top of her head, untie each rag and curl one at a time and pull the rag out trying to maintain the tube shape.  If you need to, wrap the hair around your finger to give it a smoother, spiral look.
If hair is shoulder length or just below, the curls will be tighter.  Tighter curls style beautifully into an up-doo using a zig-zag expandable, circular head band to gather the hair up on to her head, or ponytail holders, a hair clamp, and bobby pins.  It also makes a cute pony tail.  By the second day the curls will relax more into hanging ringlets.




 
Longer hair will hang in tubes the first day the rags are taken out.  You can brush the hair out with a wide-bristled comb at any time and then re-curl the hair into silky ringlet tubes around your finger!  *smile!*  And the curls will last for several days if not gotten wet.
These curlers do not work on short, bobbed hair; we’ve tried.

~~~~~

Karen has now learned how to do the rag curlers on herself when there is no one available to do them for her.  *smile*  Here's how she does it...

First, Karen gets her hair completely wet in the bathtub running water.  Spraying the hair wet will not get it wet enough for the curls to be successful.  Then she adds some hair gel to the hair she will be rolling up (not necessarily all the way to her roots).  She then divides off a front section of her hair, one quarter of her whole head across the front.  The key to doing it herself is holding her head up-side-down like this the entire time so that the hair hangs strait down, enabling her to divide it in to sections easily.


She takes one fourth of that section of hair and rolls it up in to one rag curler over the pencil, and ties it off. 


 This creates four rag curls across the front of her head.


Then she does the same process across the second quarter section of her head, creating five rag curlers across.


Karen then continues the same process, taking the second half of her head and dividing that in to the third and fourth quarter sections and rolling those up as well until she's completed her whole head.






Ta-da!  *cheer!*  (30 minutes later - yes, her back is sore. *chuckle* Aah the price for beauty.)  Karen will let her hair dry like this for the same amount of time mentioned above, about 18 hours.
I would really love to hear about your experiences with trying this, or if you have any other similarly fun things to try with hair styles!  

Blessings on your beauty efforts!




31 comments:

  1. Cute, cute!! Love the up-do! You have a wonderful blog! I am impressed with your wisdom and organizational skills. I have seven children and have been homeschooling for almost 23 years. Our youngest is 2, so we have a LONG time to go! Wish I had learned as much as you in my younger days! He's still working on me, though!

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  2. How FUN and pretty! I wonder if my 8 year old would like to try it. I'm definitely going to show her the pictures and ask her opinion.

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  3. Thanks girls! =) Glad the idea could be a blessing.
    ANITA - your words are encouraging, thank you. You have a lot of homeschooling experience! *smile* Blessings on your efforts!

    PNTGRUBB - I think you'll have great fun doing curls, and they're soft and comfortable to sleep on and wear, and it's nice that you don't have to work hard to keep them looking nice and they're easily fixable when you desire to, making them all the more attractive to young children. =)

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  4. I remember my mum doing my hair like this when I was a kid. I'll have to try it on my girls now. :)

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  5. Beautiful. I have always wondered how they made curls "back in the day" :) Thank you for sharing. I might have to try this with my six year old. Her hair is the perfect length and she's young enough to go days with out washing it (unlike her older siblings:)

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  6. Yes, I hope you both do try the curls with your girls. =) And Lori it does make the effort more worth it when they can keep the curls for several days like you said, unlike older siblings. The curlers are really pretty quick to do once you've gotten the hang of it.

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  7. Hey Erika--I used your steps to rag roll Selah's hair and we have really enjoyed it. I just posted on it today and linked to your site @ http://lifeloveandlaughterinalargefamily.blogspot.com/2011/03/rag-rolled-curls.html
    Keep up the God work.

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  8. Thanks Lori! I'm so pleased! Fun to see your post, and your daughter's hair when you did this! Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Oh, thank you! My 4 year old will be a flower girl this Saturday and I'm going to give this a try. : )

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  10. GRETAOH - Oh fun! =D I'm excited for you! I would really encourage you to practice at least once before Saturday, to give your fingers some practice (not that it's hard, but every child's hair is different) and to practice on your daughter's type of hair and length. I'd sure love to see a photo if you have any to email to me! (my email address is on our home page, by the sign-up for RSS feed, etc.

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  11. This is great! My daughters saw this and want to do it right away! Very cute! I love how they do their hair in those movies as well.

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  12. Pin curls work well on bobbed hair - my mom used bobby pins to curl my hair throughout my childhood!

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  13. Ooh... I LOVE this! I am definitely going to give this a try! My hair is below my waist, so it may to not work very well for me, but I know it will work for 2 of my sisters -- they have shorter hair. Thanks for sharing!!!

    ~Hannah

    P.S. I am a seventeen yr old home schooled girl and I just found your blog through The Modest Mom. It's great! My mom is expecting baby nine -- large families are so fun to be in!

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  14. JEN - Our 13yo daughter has tried pin curls as you recommended and they work great, and she can do them herself without having to wait on me, thanks!

    HANNAH - Welcome! Blessings on your growing family, and on your efforts to support and bless them. =) And just FYI, I bet the rag curlers would work even for your long locks, they just may take longer to dry. They'd be fun I think! =)

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  15. We can not wait to try this out tonight. My daughters have been wanting to do this for weeks...thank you for the great tutorial. Have a Happy Mother's Day.

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  16. Do you have any ideas on how to rag curl a 2.5 y/o very short whispy hair? My best friends mom used to rag curl all her girls hair when we were younger and I tried it on my daughter and she ended up looking like she has an afro :(

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    1. Jessica,

      Oh sure, I would encourage you to just do a few large rag curlers instead of many, tight ones. If you divide her hair in to 3" sections or so and roll the curlers almost to her scalp but not tight to it, you should achieve larger curls that are more relaxed, but stay just as well (curled around your fingers to style it after you brush it out). =)

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  17. My mom used to do this for me when I was little. I also used it to curl my hair for my wedding day! :-) Works beautifully for me still as an adult!

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  18. I can't wait to try this with my girls! They will love it! We've done foam rollers before, but they never turn out the way I'd like for them to. This looks great...thanks so much for the tutorial. :)

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  19. My daughter needs ringlets for a dance recital. I looked everywhere for ideas. Thank you for this post. These pictures make it so clear now. I admire Karen's determination, as I don't think I could do my own in that manner.

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  20. I tried this on my daughter last night and it came out really nice except for the ends. They are very frizzy, do you have any suggestions for me? Her hair is long, and straight and when I tried to comb them out and wrap around my finger it looked great until her frizzy ends.

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    1. Yes, first try to make the tips extra wet so they'll stick in a group and wrap the pencil nicely, tucked around smoothly. And/or you can purchase little 2"x3" (or so) little tissue papers from a beauty supply store (like Sally's). you'd then spray/soak the tips of her hair just before you're wrapping a section around the pencil, then fold the tissue like a book around the tips of her hair encompassing the whole tips , then start wrapping at the bottom of the tissue just off the bottom tips of her hair, all the way up. =)

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    2. Thanks so much! I will try again tomorrow.

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  21. I will have to try this on my girls. Three have Chinese hair, but 1 holds styles very well.

    In case you are curious why you are getting so many comments from me today.....I have the flu; you are my entertainment for the day=)

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    1. Oh I'm so sorry you have the flu! That's SO bad. But I'm pleased you have something enjoyable to do while you're down. *hugs* And I LOVE your family picture here for your profile photo. =)

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  22. Hi Erika,
    Thanks so much for your very thorough instructions! My girls are in a play and busy in rehearsals so they will not have a full 18 hours to dry (maybe only 9 hours). Any suggestions?
    Thanks,
    Donna

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    1. Sure, don't get the hair soaking wet, just dampen it with a spray bottle, and add a little mouse or hair spray to the hair before you roll it up. =) Should only take a couple/few hours to dry. Won't last as long (maybe a day at best), but you'll have some curls at least.

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  23. what a cute idea! my daughter would LOVE this

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  24. I have tried this but find they are loose. any thoughts on making them more secure?

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    1. Well the little "snails" may bob around on her head a bit, but as long as each little "snail" is tight within itself it will stay. Wrap the hair around the pencil securely/tightly, and when you pull the pencil out, tie the fabric tie very moderately tightly as well, then double knot it (too tight and you won't be able to get it out again). It also may seem loose if she is young and her hair is still very "feathery" fine, or if it's too short to do rag curlers in. =)

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  25. So so so glad i found this!! I have to get up early to curl my hair for show choir competitions.. we're talking 4:00am on a Saturday early. this looks like a great and effective time saving curling method that will get me another hour or more of sleep and keep my curls in till way after we preform! just what i've been looking for! Thanks so much!! :D

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