Sunday, March 29, 2015

Belle's Big Wig Transformation!

Greetings and Salutations Doll Friends!

For those of you who've read past blog postings here, you may remember that Belle, our Disney Princess and Me doll, has gone through quite a transformation. First, we cleaned her up after finding her at the Flea Market. She was a mess when she arrived! We have since had a couple of attempts at improving her over all condition. One of them was the subject of a recent post about the hot water dip method to tame frizzy doll hair. It was our last ditch attempt to fix her hair. Unfortunately, she'd lost a lot of hair before we got her I imagine which can happen if you roughly brush a dolls hair and, well, you saw how she was! Poor Belle! So after the hot water dip didn't make such an improvement that I thought she looked respectable, I decided to try my first re-wig on a doll with hair plugs that isn't the standard kind of 18" doll, like I did here. I was determined to try because I thought she deserved a nice thick head of hair!

So here are the last photos of Belle before I began to cut off her hair. 

Notice how she has a lot of cut hair. Or perhaps it is how her hair plugs were originally put in so she could have the cute little bun on the top of her head like she did when she came new. 

So here we are sort of mid way.... You may want to put down an old sheet on the area you are working, under your chair and whatnot. I didn't and I am trust me, the little tiny doll hair fragments are not very easy to clean up. Learn from my education and put a sheet down so you can shake it off in the yard later! I cut my dolls hair off over a big trash can so that most of it fell right into the trash! I still ended up with little bitty hair fragments all over both me and the doll but... Small price to pay for beauty, right?

Belle felt a bit sick during the process and I told her to hold her head over that bucket! Just kidding! I put her like this when I went on a break and laughed at how it looked like she was really not feeling well. Poor Belle!

So here she is, mostly hair free! She is still pretty in my opinion and looks very Sinead O'Conner or Annie Lennox, both of whom I thought looked amazing with closely cropped locks. 

I thought it was kind of fun that she had Belle written on her skull. Just in case she needs to be identified at the doll morgue or by archaeologists in a future land excavation or maybe so they know which head mold to put on her at the factory. Who knows?!

She had very interesting hair plugs, there was this strange 'patch' in the middle where her bun hair was located. It was much more densely plugged in that area. There is still a lot of hair to be taken off in this photo but it was the last one I thought to take. Just remove as much hair as you can!! Whatever hair is left will make it harder for the wig to stick was my thinking so I wanted to remove as much as possible!

Here she is all cleaned up after she got her hair removed. There was a lot of little hairs all over her!! I put a hat on her so she wouldn't be cold! 

Here she is, hanging out and waiting for her new wig to come in the mail!

This is obviously after the wig arrived! This is how I slathered the glue on. I put it on as thick as possible but not till it might drip or seep up through the wig cap. Learned that one the hard way!

She had a trickier hair line that my first hair-plugged doll re-wig. She has a widows peak and wigs don't have those. So I had to be very careful about getting the wig as close to the hairline as possible in all areas on the forehead. I think she lost a little bit of her forehead, if you will, in this process but there was no going back now! 

Here she is with the wig on, drying. She looks a bit rough because you want to let it sit 24 hours before you brush her hair!

Well, that's it Doll Friends!! Thanks for stopping by and see you soon as I have several blogs in the works! One is about transforming a girl doll into a boy doll! So, stay tuned, same bat-time, same bat-channel!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BFC Ink Dolls and the Story of Taming Wild Doll Hair! Two Methods!

Greetings and Salutations Doll Friends!!

I've been writing this blog again now, in earnest, for a few months now. I've taken scores of photos and written about all manner of doll related items. One sad omission in all my postings has been any photos or mentions of what I consider one of the prettiest 18" doll varieties there are. BFC Ink Dolls are no longer being produced which is a shame because their original price point was attainable by most girls. Not to mention, they were adorable with beautiful faces and mostly or fully (depending on which doll you got) articulating joints, they can be posed in literally hundreds of positions which makes them terrific for looking very lifelike in doll scenes. So... Why haven't I had them in the blog lately?

Well... Take a look at this:

Crazy hair! This hair is, from what I understand, the reason these dolls stopped being made. It's a real mess! It's not just my doll, which, as you may have guessed, was gleaned from a 2nd hand source. You can read all about her homecoming here. From what I understand, the dolls all had really bad hair from just about the moment they were taken out of the box. 

See what I mean? Just a nightmare! We've always just pulled their hair back into 'messy buns' and gone about playing with them and admiring their beautiful faces because doll hair restoration wasn't something I knew how to do. 

Until recently!! I've begun to learn a thing or two about fixing doll hair. Mind you, I am not any sort of expert, more of a novice dipping my toes into the pool of doll repair because there are some mind blowing doll restoration people out there! People take off doll heads, change eyes and bodies and all manner of things... However, I have learned about a method that is very useful and also have become more brave when thinking about doll hair because, worse comes to worse, there are always doll wigs! If I mess up the hair now, all is not lost! 

Doll wigs, I am finding, at least quality ones, don't come cheap. Learn that lesson from me!! Don't go 'cheap' and buy vintage or 'old stock' wigs for your projects. Just pay the few extra dollars and get a top-notch wig because, just like in dolls you buy with wigs on, good hair can make all the difference!! However, that being said, they aren't cheap and so I wanted to try and salvage the real hair on these dolls if I could. 

Look at that mess! What a fright!!

Method #1: Cut the hair. Now... If you are not a grown person who purchases their own dolls with their own money, please make sure and ask permission of a grown up, preferably the one who bought you the doll before you cut doll hair. Doll hair does not grow back!! That all being said, in my mind, with these dolls, I had nothing to lose because it couldn't possibly look any worse!

So my plan was to just cut off all her hair and re-wig her. Seriously, that was my plan for this blog, the two methods of hair salvage were going to be a re-wig and a hot-dip. Wanted to show the two options... So I sort of recklessly started cutting off the horribly damaged portions of her hair. I thought I'd go ahead and just cut off the really bad parts and see 'what was left'. I was so sure I was going to re-wig that I didn't even photo the cutting process at all. See all that hair in the bottom of the trash can? That is only photo I thought to take. Oops!

Because low and behold, when I stopped snipping, a kind of cute little bob had been cut into her hair? 

Hmm. Who'd have thought? So, I snipped a bit here and there to make it even and... Well, she might keep her hair! I am hoping that, given that the hair quality was the problem from the beginning, her shorter hair-do doesn't eventually end up a frazzled mess just like it was but I also figure if that happens I can always go with PlanA and just re-wig her as I'd planned to do. 

Which brings me to method number two: Hot Dipping. I didn't really do a play by play when photographing because I already wrote a blog about it when I tried this method with Belle. I just did the same procedure with this doll. Combed her out and hot dipped her and this is after that comb out. 

Still kind of a frizzy mess but much improved. I suspect a re-wig will be happening for this doll because I am itching to do a re-wig on this sort of doll because I think if they had amazing hair they would be one of my favorite dolls, ever!

As it was, I just braided her hair the best I could. She looks loads better anyway. 

All done, well, for now! Thanks for dropping by again Doll Friends!! See you soon with another story about BFC Ink Dolls because now that I have these two beauties cleaned up, you'll be seeing a lot more of them! 

See how they can be posed so neat!

With a Tolly Tot and an American Girl for comparison!

Happy with new cut!

See the back?

Side view.


PS my daughter wanted me to try on the wig I have that I bought and didn't work for a different doll.

She looks kind of cute! Almost Hawaiian maybe?

What do you think?

It's a lot of hair! I think I will keep her short bob and just put this wig on when I want this style cos it fits over her regular hair. Kind of fun I can have her both ways!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New Backgrounds for the Doll House!

Hello Doll Friends!!

Lately we have been doing lots of make-overs in the Doll House! On the dolls, that is. So, I decided our doll rooms needed a bit of updating! The first doll background I made was what one of my very first blog posts here was about! You can find the link here.

So, last summer, I picked up another pattern cutting board from a garage sale for 50 cents. I just tucked it away, knowing I would eventually make a doll background out of it... I just needed the right paper to come along and inspire me. 

Fast forward to about a week ago on one of my Goodwill recon missions. Teehee... Sounds much more serious when I say it like that, eh? What do I stumble across but...

A vintage roll of Contact-Paper with a 1970's girl (think Holly Hobbie want-to-be) motif! *Jumps up and down in excitement!!* It was still in the wrapper!! The only question being 'Will it be enough to cover the whole board?' Because the thing about the pattern boards is that they are pretty huge! Only way to know was to buy it, bring it home and give it a whirl. It only cost $1.99 and so not a huge loss if it didn't work at least monetarily. 

I was the slightest bit worried that, given this Contact Paper was probably 30 years old if it was a day, it might not have the 'sticky' working anymore. Apparently Contact Paper is made of some amazing stuff because it worked like a charm!

So you just put it on much like you would put on wallpaper on a real wall. You just every so carefully adhere it, working out the air pockets as much as possible as you go and trying to keep it very strait on the seams. 

I have this little red handled tool that I've used for years in paper crafting to roll out the air pockets in paper crafts I glue together and it worked like a charm here too. Not sure what the tool was originally made for but I suspect it had something to do with wallpapering, in fact. 

So... Bummer! I have the answer to my question about it being enough. I might ought to have just assumed it'd be to little and just done the top portion like my older background and done a 'wood chair rail' at the bottom. I could have measured it all out and would've known it wasn't going to work... Have I mentioned I am a bit spontaneous though and not the best planner? Gotta be me, I suppose, gotta be me. 

So my plan is, in the portion that didn't covered with the oh-so-groovy paper, I plan to make a 'chair rail' with 'wood grain' Contact Paper soon. I just need to buy some! It'll end up being the most expensive part of the whole project since, otherwise, I only invested $2.50! I really love the way it looks as wall paper and I can also set up the room where the tall bed covers up the place where the wallpaper didn't cover too. I am all about rolling with the punches! So, for now, I am calling it done. 

I'll come update blog when I decide what I am going to do about the portion of the 'wall' with no paper. In the meantime, isn't the wall paper the coolest ever? I covered most of the missing portion of wallpaper with the ginormous triple bunk bed and a shelf. I think it looks nearly perfect just like that but I will do something else to fix it as some point!

In the meantime, Ariel is on the phone with friends, inviting them over to see the newly wallpapered bedroom!

I have been obsessing about that Goodwill, thinking "What if there was another roll there that I missed somehow?!" I doubt there was though... I'll look around closely the next time I am in there though. I even looked for some on eBay but didn't find any. I found some vintage Contact Paper but not in this print. Which is fine because the ones I did find were in the neighborhood of $20-30 a roll!! Um, No.

I've also been wanting to cover the back of one of my presentation boards I use as background supplements when making scenes. I have two black ones that were used as actual presentation boards on a project at church and one side had the stuff they used it for on it. Those boards, the thick foam core ones like these are, cost $15/each at Office Max! So when I learned they were going to throw them out, I asked if I could have them. They said sure! *happy dance* So I've been using the 'blank' sides ever since as 'walls' for my rooms. However they always had that side that had the church's project on it. I always wondered... "What if I covered that up with scrapbook paper?" but didn't have a paper that struck my fancy. Hmmm...

I've also wanted a background that could be used as 'outside' background... Wasn't sure what that looked like in my head but I knew I'd know it when I saw it. Then, last week I was in Tuesday Morning, a local store that sells all manner of items including scrapbook paper, and I saw this packet of paper with bamboo sticks on it. Hmmm... It was a package of 12 pieces of 12x12 paper for $1.50! Would it be enough because they only had the one! I decided to risk it and see. 

It fit perfectly on the presentation board! I love it! I've wanted a background to be able to use to pose the dolls with the horse we have and also the outside toys like the wagon and such...

Doesn't it look like they are outside standing by a bamboo wall? Say yes. Teehee.

Of course I had to have fun posing them in all sorts of different poses! 

That's it for now Doll Friends! Hope you've been inspired to make a doll background of your own! It really helps feed the imagination when you're playing if you have actual 'walls' that are the right size for your dolls. My first background was one of the first doll projects I made and I've been having fun with doll stuff ever since... 

See you next time!