How to remove sticker gunk when you don’t have Goo Gone

 

1/ use a rag to rub vaseline into the glue residue, really smear it in and let it sit for a minute. this breaks down part of the compounds.

2/ use another rag with alcohol (or white vinegar, cheap aftershave, window cleaner) to remove the remains of the glue

3/ you might have to redo 1 and 2 for particularly stubborn glue streaks

Don’t use cotton disks like I did as you’ll get lots of cotton stuck to your glue.

Always close the cap on your alcohol bottle (yes the photo above is annoying me) as it’ll evaporate.

I used a soap dispenser for the example but this also works for dolls that have sticky tape residue on them. I was prompted to make this tutorial because I made the mistake of using acetone on a Gigi Grant and lost definition to her stomach design.

Makeshift eyemech for pullips (eyes on sticks)

I gave up looking for a pullip eye mechanism over a year ago, the pullip secondary market for me is dispersed between like one barely used american forum and the wild west of french ebay where the market is 50% blythe customs titled pullip, 45% overpriced full customs that don’t sell or BNIB, 5% grainy tiny photos with no information. Hey, I got a Papin fixer upper for real cheap once but mostly it’s seriously damaged or knockoff doll roulette. Rida aka Benie I got from ebay UK before they started charging obscene amounts in postage and customs fees.

Pullip Rida’s been wearing acrylic eyes BJD style – except while the lastest custom was in pieces – for years. Which is fine, except Pullips don’t have magnets so you have the unscrew the whole thing if dusting the shelf accidentally knocks the eye back into the head…and that happens more than you’d expect.

I’d heard rumours of people making their own eyemechs but no tutorials and I can’t really see how it would work without creating something as complicated as the original which is a nifty lil piece of engineering: 2 eye stalks on springs yoked together so that they move in tandem plus two seperate eyelids on springs pushed by two levers to wink or blink.

Instead I decided I’d put the pointy part of chopstick into the half eye so that I could manoeuvre it from the outside using the eyelid lever holes on the head’s backplate. I figured I could move the eyes anywhere I wanted that way.
Here’s what I learned: chopsticks give you zero movement and more importantly the eye lever holes in the back of a pullip’s head are not at eye level at all.

So here’s the revised eye stalks (cotton buds, I’ve since removed all cotton, not exactly clean looking – also removed the plastic filaments stuck to the eyes)
Thermo plastic + a cotton bud stalk at the very bottom of the eye at a 90 degree angle

Do they allow me to reposition the eyes side to side? NO
Do they allow me to put back the eyes in very slight side glance without opening the head? YES

Now if the spirit moves me someday, I could try a different eye stalk angle by putting the eyes in a cup of boiling water to make the thermoplastic soft again, move the stick and see if that gives more movement or I could try attaching both stalks to a piece of plastic and moving that with it’s own lever but I really doubt that they would align properly given how complex eye mechs are: it would be too stiff and you’d end up with wonkeye.

That’s my feeble contribution to all those stuck without an eyemech for their Pullip. Enjoy!

How to cut reroot needles

 

  • Put on protective eyeglasses or sunglasses. Just do it.
  • Sit down in good lighting
  • Stick needle point down in sturdy foam
  • Cut needle eye with wire cutters
  • Stick second small piece of foam onto the resulting needle fork
  • With wire cutters and both hands, cut about 1.5cm (or whatever your reroot needles’ usual size is) down the needle
  • Find the needle fork end with the piece of foam stuck to it that went flying across the room
  • Get out metal nail file and hold fork part of the needle with pliers, sand down the biggest fork prong until it’s not sharp anymore, this will wreck the metal file within about 4 needles. Worth it for not ripping your fingers up.
  • Dispose of unneeded needle points + eyes after wrapping them in tape

 

Rerooting tips (a walkthrough of my latest reroot)

This was my latest comission, I was sent the anime picture and was told it was going to be a Star Darlings Sage so I measured everything on my own Sage (from @dollsahoy thankyou! – they didn’t get a release in france outside of disney stores as far as i can tell) then was asked if I’d reroot a MTM Curvy yoga (the strawberry blonde Neysa) which I turned down //which is huge for me// because they have the worst screening then was sent a photo of a WITCH doll which seemed 1/6th to me, I figured they were MyScene size on 11? bods… so yeah sure!

Anyway she arrives and I have a small freak out because the head is bigger than expected and I’m not sure if I have enough black, it’s been precut for a doll with a different head size and i’m not sure how to space the plugs. She’s a 6? head size around the edge but quite a deep dome so at least an hours extra work than a LIV (slightly smaller head size and flatter dome).

The original has horrid nylon that needs nail scissors to cut without choking so no going on the original plug layout. Thankfully we’re not working over the original parting because that’s swiss cheese. I’ve been having an ongoing anxiety attack for days so this is just an unexpected set of calculations that makes my head spin and BSOD for a while. She’s cute, that helps me visualize an end result and feel better about this. The Liv she’s been sent with is slightly too dark (a beach doll?) so i’ll discreetly swap it out for one I have in my To Sell pile from back when I was angling to save up for a Pullip Batgirl (tan version) – her price skyrocketed after release so I’ve put that grail firmly in the “buy only if spotted under x price” pile, as you do. OK OK, back to the process…

I take photos of problem areas and put the head in the microwave submerged in a mug of water for 4 minutes. don’t touch until she’s fully chill. Do NOT do this with Integrity Toys, vintage dolls or latest fashionistas: the ITs have pearl/shimmer finishes that go dull under heat, vintage dolls and 2019 fashionistas have decals or ink that can be altered or melted by heat, you’ll want to put your doll head on a stick and dip only the dome into a pan of boiling water until the vinyl reshapes. This is a sturdy playline doll with solid facepaint and I still won’t touch it until everything is completely cooled down.

Then apply black acrylic paint and pull my brush in one direction only to keep part of the plugs flesh toned (ie visible), then apply undiluted acrylic matte sealant (anything else gets tacky). Leave to dry for two hours.

Scratch in the markings for the partings with a needle (middle and fringe/back of hair). As you can see, these got adjusted as the head came together.

She needs to look asian not caucasian with dyed black hair so not too thick on top and a rounded heavy parting. I decide on a large curved shaped fringe area – it’s 1.50cm long and extends to the edges of her eyebrows. I do not like triangle shaped bangs (as seen on Draculaura), they are too easy to mess up, same with flat (two row) thatched bangs on Bratz. To be fair, I avoid bangs whenever possible, I don’t like static un-restylable dolls, I hope they get played with. A curved fringe can at least get put back into place quite easily instead of having to lay out the individual hair plugs just right in a messed up triangle fringe, tie it all down then boil it back into place then gel. nuh uh.

Unsure of how much hair to use on this head size, I rooted in rows of plugs 5mm apart, 8mm between lines then went back at the end of the reroot to fill in empty areas as it wasn’t thick enough. ended up with a criss cross design of about 5-7mm between plugs with very tight edges along the front lines and partings.

I’ve taken overexposed photos to show the plugs, it looks neat enough to not be thatched with the black paint. I don’t thatch unless paid extra to.I’m a perfectionist but not “two+ extra unpaid hours” perfectionist LOL.

Now to heat seal the shape of the hair without damaging the water soluble acrylic paint/sealant: you tie up the hair just right, pop the head in a baggie, put a chopstick in the head to push down because or else it’ll float and put it in boiling water, the elastics will snap but the bag sort of sticks to the shape of the head so it keeps the shape.

Finally, the WITCH head hole is slightly large on a Liv bod so I made a washer from the vinyl scalp of a clone, squeezed it over the anchor then pushed it all into the head. Full movement without wobbles. Thankyou for your sacrifice ugly barbie clone, your neck went to humblezombie and your scalp’s bald patch to this commission.

 

 

This my new reroot tool handle, nicked from a broken kitchen tool ^___^ so it’s a pin vise wrapped in washable stretch fabric stuffed into a proper rubber handle now. Finally getting comfy =p (not that my shoulders aren’t screaming at me for this).

Yes, you CAN iron faux fur

At 120° celcius (250 farenheit) you can flat iron or iron crinkled fur and brush it back to silky softness.

Obviously test a small patch or scrap before you try it on your favourite faux fur item  but i just tried it on a bunch of different long and short pile faux fur wigs and it worked wonders.

These were just bent out of shape (before on the left):

These were crinkled and frazzled (before on the left)

Here’s how i flat iron faux fur:

Supplies: metal comb (anti static), temperature control hair iron (on lowest setting 120°C is 248°F) and water in a spray bottle. It will shed quite a bit.

Fold your fabric as a flat iron doesn’t have much reach the fur looks odd when wet and heated, it’ll look fine when it dries

before and after brushing then flat ironing with brushing at least twice

Teflon tape to fix floppy dolls

Teflon tape is one of the more important tools in a doll collectors arsenal, it’s a tape that won’t melt plastic or degrade and that can be pulled into a very fine string to fit around floppy joints, around necks that need re-inforcing and for holding glued things tightly together while they dry (snapped barbie necks for example). It costs about a $1 at any hardware store or off ebay. It’s the playline version of sueding a BJD and the knowledge was passed down from japanese obitsu/volks articulated doll collectors and action figure kitbashers.

Since I had the tape out, I did Curvy Made to Move Barbie’s feet that are notoriously floppy under the weight of her heavy plastic body: tuck in the end of the tape with a blunt needle or tweezer then wrap, pulling tightly as you go, tuck the last bit and ta da!

She can stand on her own, even barefoot! The only drawback is that it’s not transparent, as you can see from the photos above, you can see a small white bit where a joint has been wrapped.

Here are some monster high knees fixed with teflon tape:

How to fix floppy Monster High legs that use a peg not elastic

Temporary method: Wrap durable elastics (the type taken off stock dolls and their packaging) around the leg at the foot then gently roll them up the leg then use a tooth pick or tweezers to get them over into the hip socket.

Permanent method: Teflon tape is one of the more important tools in a doll collectors arsenal, it’s a tape that won’t melt plastic or degrade and that can be pulled into a very fine string to fit around floppy joints, around necks that need re-inforcing and for holding glued things tightly together while they dry (snapped barbie necks for example). It costs about a $1 at any hardware store or off ebay. It’s the playline version of sueding a BJD and the knowledge was passed down from japanese obitsu/volks articulated doll collectors and action figure kitbashers.

Carving hip joints or How to get a bent leg fashionista barbie body to sit down

How to get a bent leg nu!fashionista body to sit down: You’ve probably seen this before with @dollsahoy‘s Disney dolls and @oak23?s Fashionista mods but here are some closeups just to add to the knowledge.

This is pretty in Python fashionista with a slightly bent leg so she can’t sit:

I cut + shave with a craft knife (and gloves) all the way up to the top line of the molded underwear and cut a near 90% angle into the front until the doll can sit with her back straight. A metal nail file will help make the hard plastic not cut into the softer plastic of the leg but you run the risk of filing the soft part of the leg. I don’t know if you can pop off fashionista legs which would make the whole process so much easier. I havn’t wanted to try as I only have two: a curvy and my one and only afra toned body.

She can sit up at 90 degrees but she still has a tendancy to flop to one side if she’s not propped up with her hand or another doll because the whole torso is wonky and her center of gravity is not in the middle.

Notes after the fact: maybe wrap the leg in masking tape to avoid cuts that will then need sanding out and smoothing with acetone?

Review: 14 joint 25cm body

Review: $2 14 joint 25cm body.

It’s an odd one with some really good features (very poseable) but also very noodly aesthetic and unusual “inbetween” size for fashion dolls.

 

Size comparison:

Fits classic Barbie shoes

 

The neck needs modding so that most fashion doll heads aren’t angled upwards:

Skin tone comparison:

barbie ultra pale, fakies 12 joint and 11 joint, 25cm pale body and obitsu white skin

Sympathetic doll design

Here’s a post for anyone wondering about why they don’t/didn’t click with overly “grinny” dolls.

Sympathetic doll design hinges on the eyes and it’s so easy to mess up…

The test is to place your finger over the mouth and see if a doll still looks happy or if she now looks bored or distressed.

It’s down to the half-millimetre in the upper cheeks and side of the eyes, eye highlights and eyebrow placement. Kinda like celebrity fan art, it misses the sweet spot if it isn’t JUST right.

Bratz and Monster High mostly have smiling eyes and neutral lips whereas Barbie occasionally has a big smile but unsmiling eyes which then reads as a fake smile. A few of the new Draculauras had sad/distressed eyes.

OK, photos to illustrate:

This is a Desiree with the eyes printed slightly too high so her upper cheeks no longer register as smiling and her eyebrows are too low to look relaxed


On to the most used blonde barbies from the 80s til recently:


Generation girl and 80s Superstar* were very prone to getting the eyes just slightly off: she’s not unhappy just neutral.The dolls in green are gently smizing

*90s superstar mostly found the right balance to look like her smile matched her eyes.The Carnivale seen above is smiling without smizing.

This Superstar girl looks strained:

This Mackie has a closed mouth and arched eyebrows but her eyes are happy and relaxed:

Meet Maxie and Ashley: one is smiling with her eyes, one with her mouth:


Some people are quite happy with smiley dolls, others find it unnerving.   In certain european cultures, smiling is something you only do when you’re really happy so a big toothy ultra bright white toothy smile can come across as slightly foreign and uncanny.

This is a Liv doll: fantastic doll design except for the eyes that weren’t quite aligned, too glarey and cheek bones too low to seem smiley:


look how custom artists fixed that by changing the eye position and making the cheekbones look higher :

Compare and contrast with Bratzillaz who had naf body design, clothes, terrible hair and yet people clicked with them because the eyes were expressive and happy looking