Sunday, June 13, 2010

Restoring Two Old Barbie Dolls

I found these two gems at a secret location! If I told you where, I would then have to kill you!!! /jokes!

I've found a little second hand store that is convenient for me to drop in regularly, so I can check if they have any more from time to time. I found these two naked and bagged up together for just $2. That's a dollar each! I think they are simply gorgeous! As a way to help mend the sadness of loosing my special childhood Barbies, I would like to see if I can restore them! This picture was taken on their first day, when I simply could not bring myself to photograph them naked, so I chucked on the blue dress and whipped up the grey one very quickly.

The blue dress is the first one I made, using the dress my Nanna Pam made for inspiration. This dress is now with my niece. I gave it to her to go with the new base model Barbie, as a farewell gift on her way back to live in Darwin. For the other doll, I just grabbed some grey wool that I had handy and quickly made up the winter dress, this time it was shapeless so I made a belt for it later. My niece didn't like the grey dress which is why I still have that one. Otherwise I would have chucked it in with the other clothes I gave her!

I started with the doll on the right, and washed her hair following instructions on several sites on how to wash Barbie doll hair. A couple of sites said to put baby oil on it at the end to smooth it down, so I did that although I was worried it would ruin it. I started by gently combing out the tangles. It was pretty bad and some of the hair did come out. Then I wet, conditioned and rinsed first, then washed and rinsed, then conditioned it again, leaving in the conditioner for a couple of minutes, then rinsed thoroughly. I just used my herbal shampoo as it was all I had. I combed through again and let it dry over night, roughly holding the hair in place with a loose hair tie around her neck. When the hair was dry the next day, I put a little baby oil on my hands and just smoothed down the ends. I'm very surprised at the softness of the end result. I'm also thinking that these dolls are perhaps not as old as I first thought, because the hair has come up quite ok.

To celebrate this old doll's restored hair, I made her a new dress in some nicely coloured fine teal wool that my mum gave me. A pair of white shoes match the wide-brim white hat I made. She had to borrow the doll stand from my grandmother's porcelain doll for this photograph, as that's the only one I have. Perhaps I need to get more dolls stands? LOL! I don't think I'm going to get into the doll collecting thing serious enough for that!

Today I cleaned up the other doll of this pair. Her hair was a real mess, which is why I left her til this morning because I was a bit afraid of it! It took me a while to untangle it, some hair did come out but not as much as the other doll. She also has some damage on her right forearm, I don't know what it is and couldn't find anything about that kind of thing on the net. So after her wash I used nail clippers to remove as much of the peeling plastic as I could and made her a little bracelet to help hide it. I also put a couple of pins with matching beads into the wholes in her ears so she has matching earrings. A couple of plastic accessories like the orange shoes, topped off with a winter beanie hat results in a very cute look I think!

I'm finding restoring these very cheap dolls rewarding, because they only cost $1 and come up very nicely. It's a lot more enjoyable than buying a new doll. I now regret getting new dolls now I know you can get nice ones so cheaply! And once you take a doll out of the box it's value decreases just like driving a new car out of the car yard!


  1. Hi Teena, they look so good, so much hair, and the way you are dressing and accessorising them is really nice.
    Love and Hugs - Jan

  2. What cute outfits you made for the dolls! Love the little beanie. I wish I had kept some of my Barbies and their clothes. My mom made all my Barbie, Madge and Ken clothes. My dolls were the best dressed in town.


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