I picked up an old ratty Barbie doll for free from the leftover junk at a yard sale. She was dirty, so I cleaned her up with soap and water, an old toothbrush, (and rubbing alcohol, I think). Her hair was BAD. It was a matted mess with a bunch of teeny tiny twists that seemed to be permanent. I wish I had taken a before picture which would make an after picture worthwhile, but anyway, I combed the hair out best I could then dunked her hair in simmering (almost boiling) water for about 10 seconds. It came out sleek and smooth. Amazing. Well that was fun, so I decided to see what I could do with her (generic) ponies. I braided and twisted and curled their hair then dunked them. Very cool. I tried wrapping the hair around pen caps and holding it with rubber bands. It only worked so-so and melted my rubber bands, but still, it was fun. And Belle thought it was awesome.
Today I found this website when I was looking to see if anybody else had had the same idea before. Sure enough. This gal is a pro. Drinking straws should work much better than pen caps.