I know I've posted "make-over" blogs before, one with Ariel and one with Belle, both Princess and Me 18inch Dolls. However, this recent project is the most 'make-over' I've done with any doll before so I feel like I've entered a brave new world!
I will likely be more likely to pick up a doll that I might have, before this project, considered 'too much work' to help. If the price is right and doll presents itself that is. I am getting ahead of myself though, aren't I? Let me first tell you about my project restoring a Liberty Landing the Brass Key 18inch doll!
Here she is in the new bathroom we made last week. You missed that post? You can find it here.
Back to the story... I was on eBay, researching again. Yes, I know, I need to stop researching on eBay, I always get in trouble there! So I stumble across this doll on an auction that is ending soon and her price was pretty low, at the time it was $5.50. With an hour left in the auction, off I go to Google this kind of doll. I'd never heard of Liberty Landing dolls! I found a review of Liberty Landing dolls that intrigued me enough to want to get my hands on one if I could do it for $5.50. So I went and placed a bid, topping my bid at $7.50 because, face it, I am cheap. Naturally, I get her but at the $7.50... Oh well, that is what it costs to get a fast food meal now, so it's not that horrid, right?
Here is Liberty with Saige and Anne, getting ready to get all cleaned up. I named her Liberty because it was just so perfect. When she arrived, I was unhappy to find she had a bit of an 'odor', like she'd been stored in a musty attic or basement for a couple of decades. I don't think it was malicious on behalf of the seller, she flat out said in the post it was her granddaughters doll from the 1990's and I'll be she stored it for her all that time. She described her as 'in beautiful condition' and that is a relative thing, I guess. I wouldn't have described her quite like that.
I would describe her as a bit of a train-wreck! Her wig as a total rat nest and was a pretty low quality wig to begin with. I should've noticed this in the review I read and mentioned above, if you look at the photos of the dolls there, the wigs are very obviously kind of cheap. Ah well... Since it kind of smelled, I would've wanted to change it out anyway in all likelihood.
Still, I hadn't researched changing wigs yet and so I did my best to clean her up and make her hair as presentable as possible. Here she is, all cleaned up, with her smelly clothing in the washing machine!
I found that what the review also mentioned, that they are not articulated at all, was absolutely true. She had a very hard time sitting on this little bench unless I hooked her foot into the edge as you see here. Still, she was pretty cute.
Another thing I noticed, and didn't like, was her face coloring. At first I thought she must've faded over the years to look this way. Her cheeks have almost a yellowish hue to them and her lips were as flesh colored as the rest of her face. She also had her teeth painted to make them look like they had very wide gaps. Sometimes that looks cute on a doll but on this one, it just made her teeth look puny. So... I felt I didn't have much to lose at this point and researched how to make her mouth look prettier. It's amazing what you can find on YouTube! I found several tutorials on how to paint her mouth but this Link was the most helpful I thought.
So here she is with her lips all re-painted. I painted her teeth all white too, with no gaps and I think it makes her look much better. No offense to anyone with gaps in their teeth, some people look quite adorable with them. This doll, no so much.
Have I mentioned I have the attention span of a toddler? Well, after having what felt like success in the repainting of her, it immediately brought to mind another doll who I'd always thought had a gorgeous face mold but her lip color always bothered me. Her lips were purple! It made her look like she wasn't getting enough oxygen all the time! Troubling to say the least. So... Since I had the brushes all out and the paint all mixed (I mixed my own colors, be brave, try it yourself!) I went ahead and gave her a new look as well.
It made her look like a whole new doll! I am so pleased! Ok... Back to Liberty!
Knowing I'd be giving her a whole new wig, I decided to 'try on' other colors of hair. I just used my other dolls and sort of lay them over her so I could see how the hair color looked. I thought she looked nice as a blonde since her lashes are light colored. I thought it would match her skin tone better too. Normally, I would never make a doll blonde, the world has enough blonde dolls really but... It just looked right. I didn't want it to be quite as light as above but blonde felt right. So I went and ordered a wig on eBay and worked on getting her wig off. It was incredibly easy, it almost came right off with no pulling! None of the 'spoon method' and nail polish remover required of most re-wigging projects.
Still, her cheeks bugged me. It's hard to see but if you look in the photo above, you can see how her left cheek looks a bit jaundiced. Her right cheek has been treated with a procedure I also found on YouTube. You literally use 'real' blush and stain the cheeks. Again, I felt like I had nothing to lose since she was kind of a mess. I don't recommend doing any of this on a doll you're afraid you may ruin! As with all doll projects, make sure you have your parents permission before you alter your dolls in any way!
So now she has a nice blush! Note that her right shoulder, where her head was attached, has a bit of a tear. I am telling you she was not treated well! Poor Liberty! I've decided she will just have to live with her scars though... I may try and whip stitch over it but am not sure if it will make it worse? It will be under her clothing anyway so for now I am leaving it be.
Here she is, all dressed in modern clothes. I made the skirt in an upcycle project much like this one. Here she is, all cleaned up, her wig removed but with a nice warm hat to help her maintain her dignity. She had unsightly glue marks all over her scalp. If she had a nice bare scalp, I'd let her wear it with pride! They even have them as an option on American Girl Dolls now Linky. They look pretty neat I think and it is a reality for many little girls who are ill. So kudos to American Girl Doll for that, I say. Way to keep it real for all girls!!
Back to Liberty. Her wig came! I was so excited I yelled Thank You to the grumpy post man. I think I almost gave him a heart attack. Oops. Be the bearer of dolls and doll wigs and you get what you get I say.
I had to put it on immediately and see how she looked. I. Loved. It!! She looked like she was made that way, I thought! It's not glued on in these photos. As you can see, I was also so excited, I didn't even set up a 'scene' for her, I just photo'd her on the fly in my real life house.
It came in a pony tail, the wig did. I knew I was taking a bit of a chance by gluing it on before I took down the ponytail and making sure I liked it down... I am a bit of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type when it comes to such things and since I liked it so well up, I went with it. I would've had to have pulled a wig that was 'down' up into a pony tail to keep it safe from glue, so I figured I was just getting to skip a step.
Isn't it pretty?! It reminds me of Nellie in the Little House on the Prairie. I always thought she was a little jerk but her hair was amazing!
So it was time to take the plunge and apply the glue. I was so nervous!! I mean, I guess I don't know why, now... If I'd have messed it up, I'd just have taken it off. It helps to have tried the wig on in first!! That gives you an idea of where you want it to sit on her head and how it 'feels' to go on. You don't want to find out when you're working with the wet glue, that it's tricky to put the wig cap on. Better to get the procedure down while there is no glue! But, when ready, slather glue on your dolls scalp. I used Aleene's Original Tacky Glue because it was the one I heard recommended by YouTube teachers most often.
I took this photo on the fly because I was afraid my glue would dry before I got wig on! So the glue is a bit more spartan than it was when I put on wig. I slathered glue into those crevices created by her former glue. I used her old glue line as guide for where to put it on and used a brush to apply it so it wouldn't be too messy. I should have probably wrapped her in a towel before I did this to protect her and her clothing but I was so excited, I didn't even think to. Luckily, nothing got spilled on her.
Here is the wig inside out. It looks kind of like a hat and it fits on very snugly. I ordered a size 10 because, again, that was the one I heard most recommended on tutorials.
Then, in what would be the hardest part of the entire process nearly, I set her on a shelf for 24 hours to let her dry. Or, well, OK, more like 21 1/2 hours because I only have so much patience over here! I recommend waiting the whole time though because I could have been wrong! It seemed dry enough to me though, it had no 'give' to it at all.
Here she is, back in her original dress, with the wig's curls down for the very first time. Looks pretty!
Again, she looked just like Nellie!!
Here she is with her curls finger combed out and in her original dress. She looks like a wholly different doll!
Her hair length was now a lot like Saige's was, so I decided they would have breakfast together. I put her back into her original, now freshly laundered, outfit and hair bow. They are actually pretty top-notch in quality and if I am honest, the dress is probably worth the $7.50 I paid for the doll. A dress of similar style/quality at the aforementioned famous and popular doll company would cost more than what I paid even with shipping. So... Not a bad deal really, to get a doll thrown in to the bargain.
Getting a make-over makes an appetite! Here she is eating a waffle and she asked for a donut and eggs as well!
She agreed to allow me to put that dress on her just this one last time and then she never wanted to wear it again. I guess wearing the same dress for twenty years might do that to you. She insisted she wanted to wear some fun socks with it though, you can kind of see them peeking out from under the hem of the dress. The other girls think the dress is fabulous though, so I am pretty sure it'll get it's fair share of wear in the Doll House.
Here she is in a more modern outfit! I think she looks swell! Happy Liberty!
I think she feels like a whole new doll!
Well, that's it for now! Thanks for stopping by the Doll House! Stay Tuned for a Re-Visit of Belle's makeover. I recently decided to try and tackle her unfortunate doll hair. Hope to see you then!