“I was going to throw her away…but” – Dr. Noreen of the Doll Hospital





Oh my, I bet I have heard that 100 times! The one thing I think I can never do is actually throw a doll away–especially a Patti Playpal! Patti is a big 35″ girl who was originally made from 1959 to about 1962. Ideal originally made her but you will find unmarked spin-off’s from the same era. She was also re-issued by Ideal in 1982 and again recently by Ashton Drake. This doll has always been one of my favorites…so when a collector walked in and told me she almost tossed her due to her condition….I said “no way–this girl will be beautiful once again”. This was the collectors original doll from childhood, and surely I was going to give her the chance she deserved. (Next week…I will offer a bit of insight into my own childhood and will explain how “Dolly Rescue” actually began for me. I was only about 5 when I saved my first doll…..but I digress..we will have to wait for next week to finish that story.) This collectors doll was stored for many, many years and as such ended up with stains and mold…and that scary eye thing!


As you can see her limbs were off and this once gorgeous doll was really a mess.The second I looked at her I knew just what had to be done. I grabbed my Mr.Clean Magic eraser and gently removed the stains from cheeks and chin being very careful as to not remove her blush. As you can see her owner did the usual bang cutting…but luckily only cut the front 2 rows of rooting. This left the rest of her bangs which could be brought forward once again to cover that right up. After washing and conditioning her hair–I moved on to that eye. No…that ain’t no cataract honey…that is a waxy mold that I see quite often. It loves to attack plastics..especially eyes. It was simply removed with windex on a Q-tip. Sometimes it gets a bit thick and you may have to scrape off a bit with your fingernail first…but she will see again. Below is her pretty face and hair after only 40 minutes of care! Now isn’t she worth it?? P.S. I did restring her arms and legs back on so not to worry!!

Yes..she is pretty



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20 responses to ““I was going to throw her away…but” – Dr. Noreen of the Doll Hospital

  1. I brought at eBay the Wonder woman steampunk New 2012 But it came with some fabric defects scratchs in her face and i tried to erase them with a regular eraser But it hot worse what I Could do?

  2. I have a much loved Patti Playpal that has ink on her face. I have tried the magic eraser and it took some off but left a more purple mark now. There are 3 marks all around and between her eyebrows. She is also in need of some eyelashes.
    Please help me nurse her back to health and beauty.

    1. Hi Tammy,
      So sorry I did not see this question! Please email me a picture of her face to my doll hospital email at dollhospital.com and I will let you know what can be done!

  3. Hi Dr. Noreen, Your post seems to be one of only a few recent “Patti Playpal” posts I can find except ‘dolls for sale on Ebay’. My Mother left me a large doll collection. There are probably 150 Patti’s at least, some Pennys, Saucy Walkers etc. Plus lots of others, maybe 450 to 500 total . I have no idea how to sell the collection and where to find serious buyers. My brother and I do not want the extra ‘job’ of selling the collection off one at a time. Mom belonged to Ideal World on her email, and she was well known within the group, but I no longer know how to contact them. Please help! thank you, Lois Ingebrigtson

    1. Hi Lois,
      I am so sorry I did not see this post! For such a wonderful collection…it may be best to sell one at a time. Due to the time involved…you may do better having a specialized seller do this for you. I would check the reputations of reliable sellers first. Usually for a fee they will take the entire collection. If you need to contact me— the direct email is dollhospital@tonnerdoll.com
      Good Luck!

  4. I have a Patti Playpal about 35 or 36″ original from the early 60’s. Her arms recently came off when my grandkids were playing with her. What would I need to buy to put her arms back on?

  5. Having restored many Patti playpals I would suggest not scraping the eye with your finger nail…You could scratch and damage the eye. Just use a hair dryer to melt it off then wipe it clean. Be careful not to get the heat too close to the eyelashes or hair, they could melt..To remove ink from vinyl you need some Oxy zit cream with 10% Benzoil peroxide,,,and a hot sunny day. 90 degrees and above works best.Take a tooth pick and put the cream just on the ink and leave her in the hot sun for a day. It usually removes it in a couple hours. If not sometimes they need one more day but not usually.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      thanks for suggestions and tips! And yes…we use differing products depending on issues we find, condition of dolls, materials etc..
      The only thing I do not use is a blow dryer on or near faces as plastics including eyes and hair can melt pretty quick!
      Many collectors also have great luck with the OXY 10 cream and we do recommend that be tried first due to the price point of some specialty doll cleaning supplies!
      Thanks again and keep those tips coming, Noreen

  6. I have a patti play pal from ashton drake got her on ebay , she deterating bangs fallen out is there something you could fix?

    1. Hi Lisa,
      It sounds as though you may need to have her re-rooted. Please use my direct email for sending pics at dollhospital@tonnerdoll.com
      Re-rooting a doll this size can cost a bit but it is usally preferred to the less expensive option of wigging this doll. WE do not offer re-rooting services here…but you can find this service by doing a google search!

  7. Hi, I have two Patti Playpals that the neck has slide down into the body. If you try to pull it up it slides right back down. Is there any thing I can do to fix them.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Kendra,
      First…make sure that you see no splits or cracks around the opening that the neck of this doll fits into. If the opening is free from damage–I would guess you have a doll that is strung too tight. Usually these dolls have a cheaper light weight blow molded plastic body…and if the heavy hard vinyl rooted head is pulled too tightly–it will get pulled into the body. I would suggest un-stringing and letting the body bounce back to it’s normal shape. If that does not happen…you may need to add some re-reinforcement to the inside of the plastic opening in body. You want this to be invisible…so layer “steel epoxy” to form an addition rim under the natural rim of body inside–where it can’t be seen. Once fully cured–re-string with a looser elastic. These dolls need to be tight enough to stand–but not so tight that head gets sucked into the body.
      I hope this helps!

      1. The two I have the problem with are not walkers. Their arms are strung but that is all. I know there is a spring that is holding the head could that be the problem?
        Thank you,

        1. Hi Kendra,
          It could be!! Under too much force and tension on the spring…the head will get pulled inside. Either way….the doll will need head removed and probably some reinforcement underneath the neck hole of body. Also…feel free to send a pic directly to me at dollhospital@tonnerdoll.com
          Best Wishes, Noreen

  8. The quickest and easiest way to lessen the tension from a neck coil that is too tight is to add an s-hook between the coil hook and the cup in the doll’s neck. If the neck opening itself isn’t cracked, that should quickly fix the problem without complicated reinforcement of the neck opening. If the neck itself has become misshapen and that is contributing to the problem, it can often be fixed by heating it, reshaping it and cooling it until it’s the proper shape again. :o) It’s best to try simpler fixes before resorting to epoxies, etc., on a 56 year old, highly collectible doll. It will lessen it’s value tremendously.

    1. Yes…you are correct and that is always the first course of action when the rim is not all cracked and broken…

      ” If the opening is free from damage–I would guess you have a doll that is strung too tight. Usually these dolls have a cheaper light weight blow molded plastic body…and if the heavy hard vinyl rooted head is pulled too tightly–it will get pulled into the body. I would suggest un-stringing and letting the body bounce back to it’s normal shape.”

      Only when the plastic neck opening in body is destroyed….would the proper epoxy rebuild be suggested!

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