After a disastrous attempt to attach a stretchy wig to my Heidi Ott lady doll (don't ask!) I searched online for ways to do it myself from scratch, as I can't afford to ruin any more wigs. The Heidi Ott range produces lovely dolls and wigs, BTW, but I think you'd need to practice to get it right, or just be more competent than I was :))
Here below is my second attempt at DIY, for your entertainment, ladies!
I found a tutorial online (sorry I can't give the link as it's lost in my confused filing system!) so here goes -
To save making mistakes I decided to practice first by wrapping the doll's head in cling film/food wrap and tying it down tightly. This way means you can practice until you know you can do it right with the method, and the materials you have chosen.
Doll hair seems to be usually made from viscose or mohair or lambswool, depending on the look you want. Mohair is said to be a bit stiff and good for male beards etc. Viscose can be rolled and heated to make ringlets or curls, and lambswool is already a bit curly.
I had a hank of tussah silk sliver on hand so I thought I'd try using that.
I cut a length about 20cm long and dyed it with coffee.
To dye it - tie both ends of the little hank to prevent it becoming tangled while dyeing. Move the silk as little as possible while dyeing. Put a cup of strong cold coffee in a wide heat-proof glass dish and add 2 tablespoons (50ml) of white vinegar. Add the silk and make sure it is thoroughly wet. Microwave on high for 90 seconds, stir it very gently then heat for another 90 seconds on high. Remove from the oven (carefully, it's hot) and leave to cool a bit. Add tepid water slowly to cool it more if you're impatient. Then rinse well in tepid water, roll it in paper towels or a clean cloth to remove excess moisture and lay straight to dry. Cut one end and gently comb it out ready to use.
The coffee dye produced a red-blonde colour - it wouldn't go darker because of the natural sericin in the tussah silk. Bleached silk sliver would dye darker.
Apply tacky glue to the plastic wrap over the head, stopping at the natural hair line.
Select a small bundle of the silk and lay it from forehead to nape onto the glue as shown below, and press it all down.
Run a fine line of glue across the top of the head from ear to ear.
Apply a fine hank of hair to this and press down firmly. This is the hair which naturally sits at the ears, and this addition also helps to secure the main hank of hair down onto the head. Let this all dry thoroughly.
The front hair can now be gently pulled back into the desired style. Here is a quick Edwardian look :)
And now for the magic bit - grasp the hair in a bundle at the back and gently pull it up and away from the plastic wrap - it will come away as a loose wig, fully shaped to your doll's head.
Here below is one I made in viscose.
Now I can practice making wigs until I'm happy with one, which can then be permanently attached.
Notes - test a blob of your chosen glue on the plastic wrap first (it seems that no glue likes to stick to it) and make sure it peels away after drying. This worked for me with Aleene's Tacky Glue, Instant Grrrip and Crafter's Pick.
So there it is - a bit rough as tutorials go, but I hope it helps.