I’m a Grownup. I have a job. I’m a mom. I’m all responsible and stuff.
So why do I keep buying toys?? Because I’ve been repainting them. And that automatically turns it into an “art project,” right?? Some people even make these repaints into a business. I’m not really good enough to be in that league, though–I just do it for myself, for fun.
I’m not going to play with these dolls (which the 7-year old doesn’t quite understand). I just like looking at them. I stick them on a shelf when I’m done, and they make me smile. It’s similar to the little twinge of heartbreak I feel when I happily build a lego kit and it gets destroyed once the kid starts playing. I have to fight the urge to Kragle lego kits with superglue because I realize I am secretly neurotic.
So here’s one of my “grownup” art projects: repainting a Monster High doll!
Ages ago, when I played roller derby, these little roller derby Monster High dolls came out, and they were SO cool. But I talked myself out of them, because I was a Grownup. I have trouble justifying buying things for myself that don’t serve a purpose. I admire when people can collect things just for the fun of it, but I seem to have trouble with it sometimes….
So when I was telling my daughter about them, she asked to see photos. I showed her my favorite: Lagoona Blue, who came with finned roller skates and a helmet with an awesome fin on it.
I told her how I had always wanted one, and she said, “you should just go ahead and get one, mom. If it makes you happy, you should just DO it!” …which is easy for a kid to say, but since this is pretty much the same advice my husband gives me, I decided that after 6 years or so, I was just going to go ahead and get her.
And since I’m a grownup, I justified to myself that if I repainted her, she’d at least have a purpose: she’d be an Art Project. (Don’t ask me why I always feel the need to justify these things to myself.)
When she arrived, I wiped her face off with acetone (nail polish remover), and started painting her in acrylics.
Once the paint is dried, I sprayed her with Testors spray, and gloss varnished her eyes and lips to add some shine.
And here she is. And she may not be such a big deal, and she may not bring about world peace, and she may serve no other purpose than to sit on a shelf with my other dolls and look cool, but she makes me smile. And I guess that’s okay.
At age 42, I’m trying to get used to the idea that there’s validity in things not having a major purpose–other than just simple enjoyment. It’s a “stop and smell the roses” sort of thing. It’s an “enjoy the little things” kind of thing. And with all the things in the world, why not have a bit of that–ESPECIALLY as a Grownup?
So enjoy the little things today, grownup or not! Look around for the simple things that just make you smile, and enjoy them, just because you can…
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!