Playing With Dolls

It all started with a Blythe doll….

Not too long ago, I was introduced to the crazy world of dolls when a friend traded me a Blythe doll in exchange for some artwork.  She had warned me I may become addicted.  “Oh pshaw,” I thought.  “They’re cute, but I’m not really that into ‘people’ dolls.”  I really didn’t know much about Blythe…just that they were a very unique doll that I had seen around for ages, and thought it’d be fun to have one for Myla.

But then I started learning about this whole other WORLD of customizing dolls.  Now THAT I could get into–not so much to sell, but just for fun.  Taking something that was factory-made and changing it to your own version?  That’s pretty darn cool, I guess.  People do ALL kinds of crazy customizations to their Blythes, and I started to find it fascinating.

But PAUSE–I’ll come back to Blythe..

I saw that people were customizing other dolls, so soon I found myself eyeballing my daughter’s Monster High ladies (if you’re shooting for impossible body standards, you may as well go ALL out and be a MONSTER, right?).  Since she wouldn’t give her approval to let me experiment (although she did let me add some definition to the lovely designs on her Loch Ness Lorna doll) I took matters into my own hands, and started shopping around.

LornaAnd when I saw this girl based off of Bigfoot–complete with hairy arms, hairy legs, and GIGANTIC feet, how could I turn that down??

So I googled a few tutorials on customizing doll faces (there are THOUSANDS online), and took the paint off of her face and repainted her all over again…a little more hairy.  A little more freckly.   And those LEGS!  Those are some non-shaved winter sasquatch legs for SURE!  I love ’em.    It was a little intimidating at first….I guess just the idea of totally messing her up.  But really, if I had messed her up, I really could just wipe the paint off again with nail polish remover, right?

bigfoot1The Tech Talk

There are a hundred ways people do and don’t do it, so I won’t give a full tutorial.  Really, there are tons of people who make money online professionally customizing dolls, and they really know their stuff.  I don’t.  I’m just playing around.

I’ll just say I wiped her off with nail polish remover that had acetone in it (apparently, this can melt some plastics, so be careful), and it all came right off.  Then I painted her with acrylics (most people use certain types of art pastels and paint that on, which gives more of a soft airbrushed look).  The trickiest thing is spraying it to seal it all, because some sprays never fully dry, leaving the plastic tacky.  This is particularly annoying because EVERYTHING sticks to it.  This is what I accidentally did (despite reading about it), so now her face and arms are a little tacky.  I ordered the correct spray, though, so help is on the way!  The plasic was pretty easy to paint on–the acrylics didn’t really bead up or anything, and I was able to get a LITTLE bit of smooth shading (pastels would’ve probably been a lot smoother).

So to me, store-bought Monster High doll: boring.  CUSTOMIZED Monster High doll?  SUPER COOOOOOOOL!!!

And despite insisting I wouldn’t become a “crazy doll lady,” I was messing around on etsy, and found an inexpensive little MH WIG from FantasyDolls.  And OMGersh, look how cool it looks!!!

bigfoot2

She’s almost a proper sasquatch!  It’s not properly glued onto her head or anything yet–like I said, I still need to fix that little “tacky skin” issue first–but I think it’s going to be pretty darn cool.  And since she’s a “bigfoot,” I thought clothes wouldn’t look right, but nekkid didn’t quite work either.  So the lovely lady from the shop offered to send me some scraps from the wig hair, and I’m going to use it to tack onto her body, like a really real sasquatch!

So why, you ask?

I don’t know.  Because it’s fun.  And why not?

In the meantime, my friend has fully supported my new experiments by sending me two Blythe doll bodies to play with.  So I “tattooed” them with acrylic paints and permanent marker…I want to see which will hold and which won’t on what kinds of plastic.  And hey–doll tattoos!

tattoosSo let’s return back to Blythe…

Myla has a blonde, curly-haired Blythe doll she named “Sweetie.”  I have a long brown-haired one we named “Mabel” (after the backyard gnomes that used to “visit” us).

There are SO many options for customizing Blythe dolls–you can change their bodies, paint their faces, paint their eyelids, you can give them completely new hair, and you can adjust their eyes so they don’t have that creepy straight-ahead doll stare, just to name a few.  Since I’m not so skilled in all of THAT (and since they’re quite expensive dolls), I decided to do a few littler things, like paint “tattoos” on their bodies, and make horn headbands for them.

mabel n sweetieI made deer antlers for Mabel out of Super Sculpey, hot-glued and E-6000’d onto a little doll headband.  Myla asked if I could make Sweetie a pair of goat-horns, so I made those the same way.  (I tried to cast them in resin so I could make a lot more, but my molding and casting skills still need some work.)

When I told Myla I was going to “tattoo” my doll’s body, she asked if I could do Sweetie’s too.  She told me exactly what she wanted:  a deer-girl.  Because she says Sweetie is someone loves caring for all kinds of animals.  So that’s what we did!  And since Mabel seems like some sort of wood-nymph fairy girl (yeah, you heard me), I did a moth on her.

Anyway, call me crazy for playing with dolls.  I get it, really–it does seem pretty strange.  But really, it’s quite fun!  To be able to take something and make it into something else completely your own is pretty awesome.   I wish I had some spare Blythe faces to play with.  Apparently they come straight out of the box looking VERY plastic, like this:

factorygirl2And when you start looking at what people do to them (just google “custom Blythes,” if you’re curious), it’s actually pretty impressive.

I’m not sure what I’m going to DO with these dolls once I’m done.  Stick ’em on a shelf?  More than likely, Myla will want to play with them.  I know some dolls are fancy, and some are expensive, and it may be risky to let your kid play with a “nice” doll.  But if you teach that kid to be NICE to your “nice” doll, then hey–why not?  I mean, they’re toys, afterall.  They’re meant to be played with and enjoyed!

12 responses

  1. Terry Clarkson-Farrell | Reply

    Have you checked out the tree change doll phenomena?http://treechangedolls.com.au/ – alittle more “down to earth”-lol but a get concept–these blythe dolls are intriquing – I may have to try one – could be an interesting art project for my H>S> students–we are always talking aboutthe influnces of barbie and bratz

    1. I HAVE seen those! They are quite beautiful! I love that they just look like normal girls!

  2. Beautiful!

    Don’t forget thrift stores. You may find treasures there to transform.

    1. Terry Clarkson-Farrell | Reply

      Thrift are where the Tree Change dolls are rescued from (they are repurposed Bratz dolls). After doing some more “researching” -I’m going to start checking out thrift and rummage sales – try a little customizing/transforming.

    2. Yes, too true! A friend is also sending me a couple that her daughter doesn’t play with to experiment on. 🙂

  3. I really could have done without a new thing to obsess over… maybe I’ll start at goodwill for some cheap ones. lol do you dilute you acrylics with anything to get them on so smooth?

    1. Hahah! Oh goodness knows I don’t need another hobby, either! As for the acrylics, I just use water–but too much and it makes it bead up a little. Other than that, just small, smooth strokes!

  4. Oh, SO cool! I was never much of a doll girl. (Until I was 15 when I discovered that I could make a new style of doll dress–some much more lavish than others–every day or two. I spent the summer perfecting my doll-clothes pattern drafting skills.) And so far my little lady is following in my footsteps; she’s MUCH more attached to her stuffed animals than to the couple of dolls we’ve been given. Maybe I’ll try something like this, though. It looks way too fun.

  5. Paint ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em on a shelf.

    Ps. Beautiful customs!

  6. Where did you get those great eyeglasses!!! Especially the top 2. Or did you make them? It’s so refreshing to see dolls that are more edgy than the Tree Change Doll derivatives, even though I love their sweetness. I looked for eyeglasses on ebay but they are larger than the Bratz, mostly for the American Girl 18″ doll.

    1. Thank you! There’s a shop called 24pm on Etsy that sells them, but there are tons more if you just search “Blythe glasses.” Good luck!

  7. Just one word. BEAUTIFUL!! ❤ *_*

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