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1. Disassembly
Off with her head!  Use hot water to soften the glue around the neck & try twisting it off.  Carefully slice around the rim with an X-acto knife.

2. Removing hair
To remove the hair, cut it close to the scalp & pull out with pliers from the inside out.

3. Clean your pony
Don't neglect this vital first step!  Paint won't stick well to a manky pony.

4. Removing symbols
Symbols are easily removed with nail polish remover & a cotton ball.  Use plenty of nail polish remover so the paint won't smudge.  Be careful around the eye area.  I usually rinse the pony again in water after this step.

Sometimes, the symbols color will seep into the pony's body.  Especially pink.  Keep this in mind when designing your custom.  These ponies will need full repaints or a large symbol to cover up the area.  Some people use oxy cream to bleach out the area,  DO NOT DO THIS!!  The new symbol painted over it will fade in a few months.

5. Base coat painting 
It's very important to paint a base coat if you want the pony's color to look even.  Use light strokes with a high-quality brush.  I prefer sable hair brushes, which are more expensive, but softer.  Lots of very thin layers are needed for a smooth finish.

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6. Acrylic coat painting
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This is one of the hardest parts!  Be sure to thin your paint with water before using.  Don't over do it, though!  If the paint is too thin, it won't stick.  Mix well & apply in thin coats with a sable hair brush.   Use a fine tipped brush to go around the eye area.

  • Most people use small bottles of acrylic paints available at any art or craft store.  They range in price from less than $1 to over $70 per bottle.  The more expensive paint contains more pigment & is more durable.
  • Be sure to mix enough of your desired color to cover the entire pony before starting to paint.
  • Acrylics dry quickly, so they need to be mixed with water or extender.
  • Don't let the paint dry on your brush - it will be ruined!  Clean them quickly with warm water & mild soap (not detergent), then dry upright.
  • Spray paint and nail polish are NOT recommended.  These paints are not designed to be permanent.  Don't say I didn't warn you when large pieces flake off after a few months... 
7. Re-rooting

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This step is the most time consuming!  It's usually the customizers most dreaded step.  There are many guides to re-rooting.  I use a thin wire loop & stick it through the hole.  Then, I pull a length of hair (with a knot in the middle) from the inside out...one of these days I might include re-rooting instructions here.

  • Real MLP tails with the metal clip removed - Bear in mind hair colors may change with time/light exposure.
  • Synthetic hair - it's close, but not identical, to the texture of real MLP hair.
  • Yaki or Jumbo Braid is coarse synthetic hair, available at local beauty supply stores or Dr. Locks online.  The cheapest option at around $4 for a large packet.  It needs to be straightened VERY carefully with a curling iron set on LOW, after getting the hair damp.  After prepping, it actually looks a lot like MLP hair on display.  Be careful, it's designed to melt & fuse together with heat!
  • Silky Kanekalon is finer than real MLP hair.  Also available at the same locations, but a little more expensive.  It doesn't need straightening, but doesn't take curls well.  It's stiff.  Also fragile & can be difficult to handle.  
  • Saran hair - haven't tried this stuff personally, but I've heard it's great.  Very expensive & limited selection of colors.
  • Tinsel - available in little rolls at fabric stores under specialty threads.  Very expensive & difficult to re-root.
8. Symbol & Eye Painting
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The most difficult part is in painting the eyes.  This will determine if your pony looks "real" or not!  I leave the original eyes there & just go over them with a fine brush.  Start with the white parts, then add the colored part, then paint in the dark colored details.  Lastly, add the white dot of reflection in the corner of the eye.

Detailed symbols require a lot of patience.  I painted this one freehand.  You could sketch in pencil & paint over that.

This custom has a glittery symbol, so I coated her with a layer of matte finish sealant. (note: I currently use a technique that doesn't require sealing).

  • Pay attention to your pony's eye color.  Some ponies have black lashes, others have dark brown lashes.
  • Use small, soft sable hair brushes.  Yes, they can be expensive, but it's the only way to get good detail without ripping your own hair out.
  • Remember to care for your brushes!

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