Questions for the Doll Doctor Answered! – Doll Repair and Restoration

 

 

 

 

First…I want to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Joyous New Year! It’s hard to believe that 2012 is behind us and we have a New Year to look forward to. I came back to the Doll Hospital today and guess what I found when I opened my email?? QUESTIONS…yes–questions from my loyal, faithful and really cool blog readers.

First…. B.V. asks  “Do you have any suggestions on how to remove stains caused by the dye from clothing?” 

Yes B.V., I have an answer! I know from personal experience whenever I remove the dark or brightly colored clothing on any of my vinyl dolls….chances are pretty good I might find some stains. The best product I have used is “Remove-Zit” made by Twin Pines of Maine. It works by lifting out the stains over time…(usually 2 weeks or more) so you must have a bit a patience and give it time to do its magic. Many collectors swear by OXY 10 applied and left on for several days at a time. I have not personally tried that-but I always recommend whatever you try–test first on a tiny area…just in case. The Remove-zit comes with instructions that you must read and follow to protect your doll from damage.

Now…L.W. asks “My Matt got his foot stepped on. What is the best kind of glue to put him back together?”

This one is a bit tougher to answer as Matt has a pivot type joint with small plastic parts inside that ankle. To glue the break would prevent any movement of the foot so putting shoes on would be nearly impossible with a foot glued in place. Remember…Matt bodies are a combination of plastic and vinyl…and it is usually the brittle plastic joint that breaks. My suggestion would be to purchase a replacement body..or possibly just the lower half–so your Matt can walk and pose like he pleases!!

Another question from L.W. is “What is it we use on our fashion doll hair that makes the curls so hard?”

Oh…we call that crunchy here and those crunchy curls are held during that long ocean trip to our warehouse by using a non-alcohol strong hold hair gel. I agree–seems like curls of steel….but start scrunching and squeezing those curls for a few minutes and the crunch is gone–but curls are still there.

Another question “When you seal the face paint–what type of sealer do you use Brush on…or Spray on?”

OK…here I paint antique compo dolls with acrylics and usually seal with a matt sealer. When I paint resin–I always use Mr. Super Clear Matt and never seal a doll unless eyes are covered (in the case of inset). When sealing painted eyes…I use acrylic gloss sealers. I have had several questions come to me this week about the new vinyl Evangeline Ghastly bodies. The new vinyl and HP bodies are no longer strung—but rather on a neck button like Ellowyne and the Tonner gals. These bodies are the bomb!!! Did I mention how much I love them? I can tell you nearly all parts can be swapped out should you have a problem or issue, so no more hours in surgery for her!  The one thing I can do to answer so many questions about this body is to show it. Yes T.C –you can see how the hands can be replaced when pup starts teething again…

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email Noreen at: dollhospital@tonnerdoll.com

make the Subject: Questions for the Doll Doctor

 

 

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About Dr. Noreen

Dr. Noreen Morris is chief of staff at the state of the art Tonner Doll Hospital located in Kingston, N.Y. She has over 20 years experience in the repair and restoration of antique bisque head dolls right on up through modern dolls of today. She is often referred to as the "Plastic Surgeon"..but operates on vinyl, composition, hard plastic and bisque dolls too.

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28 Comments

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  1. Really appreciate the pictures! will the knee joints on plastic Evangeline bend less than 90 degrees? I know some other bjd resins can just about sit on their heels with similar appearing jellybean knee joints but didnt think EG was quite there yet.

    and i just got a vinyl EG on the secondary market and saw the join at the ankle. is her foot supposed to rotate or is this only a manufacturing type join that is not intended to be at all mobile?
    thanks

    • Hi Frankie,
      You are correct in that the new Evangeline knee joints do not go much farther than 90 degrees–but I can tell you that if you over bend a bit–the knee joint will pop out rather than break! (not unlike my knees) This new feature cuts down on issues and problems from hyper-extending the joints and I absolutely love them!!
      The older vinyl EG body you describe has a seam at the ankle which is Not supposed to rotate. Unfortunately….it was a bit confusing and some feet actually snapped off when rotated. These newer bodies allow for so much posing without any kickiness, jumping, or moving due to elastic.
      I did have a few Tonner collectors ask whose body this is…and I apologize for not making it clear. This body is on the newer Evangeline Ghastly’s sold directly through Wilde Imagination– http://www.wildeimagination.com
      We also carry them here at the Tonner Company Store!
      Thanks for asking!!

  2. Hi, I really enjoy reading all the questions you receive and have learned alot from your answers. My question is about a 1950′s 19″ Ideal Toni doll. I purchased her on Ebay and she is lovely. I have cleaned her from top to toe and removed the ratty old wig, I bought a replacement Toni wig but do not want to put it on until I can restring her. I have never done this before but I have read several instuctions and seen some tutorials on the internet. I just do not know how to order the stringing cord or what size to use. Thanks for any help you can give me. Lois

    • Hi Lois,
      How wonderful you have a vintage Toni! The usual size is the P-90 which is only 14″…so you have a large version. We purchase elastic from a few different sources…but if you do a Google search for Doll supplies, you will find a few in your own area. Some shops sell an assortment of sizes packaged together as a lot and others will allow you to purchase just a few yards of the size you need. Don’t forget your local craft store as many now carry quite an array of doll products and supplies. When ordering…make sure you mention the height of doll as that is what determines how thick the stringing elastic needs to be. I recommend the 1/8 full which should be plenty strong enough. Here is a link which shows size comparisons :http://www.dollspart.com/spgm.cfm?dpt=H&srch=D6&item=12001
      I hope this helps!!

  3. I have recently obtained a vintage MA Cissy doll. Someone glued her wig with an orange colored hard glue and got it all over her temporal area, one of her ears (badly) and her neck. I used Carol’s doll solvent which normally removes a lot of stains. She actually had her eyebrows drawn on with black magic marker and it took it right off!, I tried goo be gone but it did not even touch the glue. What can I use to remove this hard glue?

    • Hi Rebecca,
      Oh my…the goo-be-gone should have removed it! I am guessing this is an old permanent glue that has bonded with the plastic. Can you take the edge of a razor blade and carefully scrape to see if it will lift off? Do this in an area covered by wig…just in case. If all else fails–you may have to try sanding it off with the finest sandpaper you can find. A perfectly matching acrylic paint should then finish the job! So sorry I did not see this question sooner.

  4. Greetings..I have a Effanbee Dy-Dee baby doll…it was purchased about 1946…needing new arms and legs..and top of head..she was one that you could give a bottle to and she would wet the diaper…I am wonderinf if I could purchase the limbs ? Or if I can send it in would you give me and idea of the cost? I am a senior trying to survive on SS ..thinking since my Bonnie has made it this far perhaps i can fix it up for my granddaughter.
    thank you for your help…katn1125@hotmail.com phone is 518-608-6205

    again..thank you

    • Hi Kathleen,
      I sent an answer to your email address covering all of your options. Due to the fragile nature of these rubber bodies–when they become brittle and start to crumble–a donor body is the only way to go!! I have been wishing a nice vinyl body with a neck and flange will become available for all those gorgeous Dy-Dee heads sitting in boxes somewhere. Since a perfect vinyl match has yet to be found–you will need a donor Dy-Dee rubber body that is still in great shape. The head can then be attached easily.
      The Doc

  5. I just talked to you about my patti playpal getting cleaned and hair done, if you could send me the forms that would be great thanks cherie

    • Hi Cherie,
      Please email me directly at dollhospital@tonnerdoll.com and I can reply with the admissions form.
      Thanks so much, the Doc!

  6. Can either head or body be saved if the neck button is broken inside the head?
    Thanks so much. PGB

    • Hi Pat,
      Yes…the head should be fine. To remove the neck knob from inside the head…..first warm up head for about 15 minutes in a heating pad. It should be very squishy. Then…take a small pair of pliers and grasp the stem of neck knob…(Will be a button on the end inside the head and a ball on other end that you can see). You need to grasp the stem in between. Then just pull out firmly. If it does not come out easily….it means head was not warm enough.
      Now some collectors have had luck pushing the neck ball back into the body—but I have never been able to do this without splitting the neck so I would recommend giving Jennifer a call at (845) 339-2960. She has upper bodies for sale!
      Good Luck, Dr. Noreen

  7. Hello there! I have a question about my daughters Diney “Priness & me” doll. Her head has popped off and it seems the elastic is broken! I was wondering how I can fix this because she has been devastateda nd it has been months since it has happened. I came across your website and am hoping you can help somehow

    • Hi Rachel,
      Please email me some pictures and I will see what can be done! Please email me directly at dolhospital@tonnerdoll.com and we can set up an appointment.
      Thanks so much, The Doc!

  8. Greetings,
    I have a Tyler doll with bending arms, and one lower arm gets lost. where can I buy a replace arm? thanks so much

    • Hi Aldina,
      Not to worry as we do have upgraded bodies here for sale! Please give us a call at (845) 339-2960 for help! You can also send an email to nmorris@tonnerdoll.com

  9. IS IT POSSIBLE TO BUY SPARE LEGS FOR A VINTAGE BLACK DOLL

    • Hi Anne,
      Email me a picture of this doll at dollhospital@tonnerdoll.com and I will let you know. I can tell you that I have very few AA parts in stock…but I can certainly direct you to some great places to look!
      Best, Dr. Noreen

  10. Hi,
    You do beautiful work on the facial art work of your sample photos (as well as the body repairs).
    I have a set of weighted, tin sleepy eyes that need new iris’s. I cannot find much info online as to sources, specific dimensions or procedures for replacement iris’s. I caught a hint, though, that hand blown glass eyes might be used, although they look totally different. How would those be connected to the existing open/close mechanism? They look (mechanically) different than the metal eyes.
    Thanks.
    John

    • Hi John,
      If indeed these are the tin weighted sleep eyes…they should be decal eyes and in that case can be re-painted. I am guessing perhaps these are glassine eyes? The best place to find old vintage eyes is actually Ebay!
      If unsure which type of eyes these are…please send me a picture at my email… dollhospital@tonnerdoll.com

  11. I have a collection of black bisque japan 4inch dolls two that I just bought are in bad shape I need to paint them but scared too. I don’t no what color or brand that’s best I was told acrylic drk brown but what the best to keep the value of the dolls.

    thank you in advance
    LDS

    • Hi Lateasha,
      First….do you know if the original bisque has the finish fired in…or does it appear to be painted on? If paint has flaked off and white bisque is showing….an acrylic should be used. It is best to purchase a few shades of brown and mix to match the shade exactly. To get a smooth finish use a very soft sable brush when touching up and blend in. To retain value…the less you do the better!

  12. How do you remove and put back on Ellowyne’s hands? Too many of her sleeves are VERY difficult to put on!

    • Hi Faye,
      What a great question! Ellowynes hands can be pulled straight out by grasping the hand and while holding the forearm…pull straight out. You will notice a threaded or grooved plastic peg. When she is dressed–just push that hand all the way back in and she will be ready to go!
      Warmest, Noreen

  13. Hello:

    I have a question about a Cissy from the 1950′s. One of the eyes is a bright blue and the other is brown. I’ve heard that the eyes can turn dark when around smoke for long periods. That doesn’t explain why the other would stay blue! Anyway, the question is if you know of anything that can bring the brown eye back to it’s beautiful blue color.

    Thank you for your help. This is a great site!

    • Hi Marsha,
      Hmmmmmmm…unless the eyes have faded–not sure what would cause this. Are you sure both eyes were blue when purchased? I have seen cases where dolls were sold with 2 different color eyes. If they were both initially blue…perhaps moisture could have caused the backing of these eyes to change, but it should appear hazy in comparison to the other. You mentioned smoking…and yes–the smoke can put a sticky tar haze over the eyes–but it would surely adhere to both!
      If you would like to email me a picture–please use my direct email at dollhospital@tonnerdoll.com

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