While I was browsing the grocery store toy aisle the other day, I came across something that made me gasp out loud. A Wonder Woman Barbie! I’m not really a big fan of Barbies, but this was something I had to splurge on, because I am a responsible adult, and sometimes you just need a really awesome Wonder Woman doll in your life.
I’ve had a love of Wonder Woman for awhile, shared mostly between me and my roller derby friend–we even used to wear matching WW derby shorts! (Here’s me on the right as Captain Wonderpants, and her wearing our team shirt–from North Pole, Alaska.)
So back to the doll…Since I couldn’t just leave her with a factory paint, I was thrilled to learn of the amazing custom repaints people do online! I’m nowhere near that level of detail and professionalism, but I always love the idea of painting everything and making it my own.
The first step: taking off the factory face paint. This can be done easily with acetone-based nail polish remover and a washcloth. I used a little tiny paintbrush to get the hard-to-reach places in her eyes and mouth.
I printed some photos of the new Wonder Woman actress, Gal Gadot, to look at as reference, but I didn’t really follow them too closely. And I wanted her eyes staring to the side, instead of just straight ahead. I used acrylic paint, and started out with a soft dark pinkish color to find the shapes I wanted, remembering that if I absolutely hated it, I could always wipe it away with the acetone.
There were several moments I did actually consider wiping her away completely–it’s so difficult to paint a three-dimensional figure that small! But I kept working with it wiping small areas here and there and starting over again, and finally got it where I liked it. I’ve read that most of the pro doll painters use chalks and blushes, but I sort of enjoyed the painted look for some of the shading, and since it’s mine and I’m the boss of it, that’s what I did.
I also added quite a lot of shading and highlight detail on her headpiece and uniform to make it pop out more, and not look so plasticky.
And lastly, I decided she needed a chest tattoo of a big ol’ eagle because Wonder Woman is awesome like that. I might fill her up with more. In fact I’m pretty sure I will…those legs look a little bare for my taste. 🙂 And I debated on it with myself a bit, but finally decided she needed a few freckles, because…why not? And to finish her up, I gave her a good spray-down with Testors varnish, which works well on dolls, and dries to a matte finish.
And there she is! Someone on Instagram already commented that they didn’t like her eyebrows, but since I didn’t really ask for her opinion and I didn’t paint it for her, I don’t care. I like how she turned out.
She’s really mine now, and she’ll protect our house as well as a Barbie-sized Wonder Woman can, maybe on the fireplace mantle.
Have you ever had to have a kid doll, and made it your own somehow? I’m pretty positive I’m not the only one (I’ve got my eye on some Dark Crystal and Labyrinth Funko toys, too)…. So have fun and have a WONDERful day!
You did a brilliant job, it’s so much livelier and more sensitive than the original face, and I for one LOVE the brows. I’d let you paint mine on the strength of these! 🙂
Yes, a warm mouth and lively eyes really make her more of a Wonder. your sensitive rendering is a delight. Tatoos aren’t usually my thing but I can see they must be fun to design for individual bodies. I had a Pollyanna doll which I personalized by cutting off one braid for that asymmetrical look which gives more umph to any face.
The closest I have been to customizing a Barbie is to cut all her hair off. It was disappointing, but I was quite young… I told her it would grow out again.
Love the brows too.
Wow. Just wow!! And I agree that the extent of my customizing was also a haircut… yah, that was not a good look for Barbie!!
I. LOVE. Her.
That is all.
What a fun project! I like the personality in her face.. with the freckles and such.
Beautiful. Wonderful job!
Wow, I love this!! She looks like a real little person instead of a fakey plastic thing. I think it’s great that you can take delight in projects like these—so many ways to express your creativity. Thanks for the pictures and the descriptions of your process. PS: You and your roller derby friends are badass!
Wonderful job! She looks waaaay more real than when she had her conventional factory face paint on. Love the shadowing and freckles on her face. Beautiful job. Well done!
Eyebrows: a little thin for my taste, but hey, it’s your doll, you do what you want!
You are such a talented woman, an artist to the bone!!!! Love it!!!
She looks so much real. I never did anything to my Barbies. I do have a naked Ken doll without a head.
I love this! If I ever get the chance, I might try it. I love what you did with shading/contouring and that her face isn’t symmetrical. It looks great.
This is amazing I love the freckels
Can you please share what kind of paint you used? I have a kiddo who is a huge WW fan but wants her WW doll to have freckles- like her. I was thinking nail polish with a tiny paint brush but am not finding any support of that idea.
Oh I’m sorry this took so long to reply to! Yes I always forget to mention my supplies–I use acrylic paints and they work really well!