Thursday, June 25, 2015

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

  • Directions for the process, with photos and tips
  • End result photos
  • How to do them on one's self 

Here in the United States it will be time again to celebrate the birth of our country on the 4th of July, with fireworks, food, fellowship, and crazy streamers and hats, beads, the wearing of red, white, and blue (the colors of our flag) - and our girls love to have happy hair as well!  *laugh*

We had tried sponge rollers in the past, but those make curls not ringlets. Also 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. Not really worth our time.

Our oldest daughter currently loves to do her own and all the sisters for some special occasions, birthdays, holidays, or just for fun! And we have also always loved the look of hair styles from movies such as Sense and Sensibility, or Pride and Prejudice. 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! So - here we go:


- 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, I have found them at Rite Aid and Wal-Mart), 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-inch by 8-inch strips with my Fiscars cutting tool for fabric.  This thin cotton material allows the hair to dry fast, and is a little stretchy so that it ties knots easily and tightly and 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.


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, around 2:00 pm, of the day before we’d like her hair curly, and by the next morning 8:00 am it’s dry.  If she’s a little 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 the cap up in to a tiny pony tail type shape with a hair holder. This will also keep the hat from sliding down over her eyes.

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-do 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.

These satin head covers (like shower caps) help their hair slip easily on their pillow without loosening any of their rag curls. And the curlers are not bothersome, but soft; unlike sponge rollers.

Curls into an up-do!  *smile*  Using an expandable zig-zag, circular head band, with a ribbon tied loosely all the way around ending at the back of her head.

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 kept dry.
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*  She has learned to use a little hair gel to help the curls really hold their shape, but still remain soft. And she now does larger-size curls on herself (age 15) for a more mature, hot-rollered look. 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.

Second. 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.

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

...and 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!*  Thirty minutes later - yes, her back is sore. *chuckle* Aah the price of beauty.  Karen will let her hair dry like this for the same amount of time mentioned above, about 18 hours. And I'm sorry I don't have a finished product, hot-rollered look photo for you yet! *cringe* *laugh!* I'll have to try to remember to take one next time she curls up!

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!

Some of my other related posts you might enjoy:
Celebrating Easter: Fun, Simply, Inexpensively, Yet Meaningfully
Christmas Uncluttered
Fun for boys especially (but not exclusively!) Making Sweatshirt Capes!


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