”I don’t know how much you can do for her…we’ve tried and the nail polish and makeup just doesn’t come off. And then there’s her hair…”
I smiled and tried not to reveal how eager I was. ”Oh, I have my ways,”
Just another day in the life of a doll enthusiast, am I right?
This TM #27 belonged to a little girl named Lauren, whose doll had definitely been loved (by two previous owners in addition to Lauren)…but was showing the signs of it rather glaringly. Lauren’s mom was a little skeptical that anything other than tightening her head and cleaning up her skin was possible, but was willing for me to try.
First things first, I didn’t know what the doll’s name was. The best that could be coaxed out of her owner was ”Ailey”, and so I rolled with it. (and, y’know, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, so what’s not to like?)
Next, there was the actual cleaning and repairing to be done.
Ailey was very, very dirty. I’m pretty sure she’s the filthiest doll I have ever seen, there was just so much dirt, stickiness, and heaven-knows-what-else on her vinyl.
There was lipstick in her mouth and all over her teeth, and some kind of oily makeup residue around her eyes and cheeks. Ailey also had numerous shine marks and scratches in various places on her face.
Her legs had black marks, white marks, sticky brown marks, and roughing around the heels…I think perhaps she bumped into a lot of furniture and maybe even dragged across asphalt.
Her arms were similarly dirty and banged-up, although not quite as much.
There was also a worn, rainbow pedicure on her toes, and I couldn’t be sure just how long it had been there.
And finally, there was her hair. Even brushed down, it was super short and uneven. However, I decided to deal with it later and first give her a good cleaning (she was so dirty I was slightly grossed out handling her, after all, we are barely out of flu season).
I started by taking a washcloth, hot water, and dish soap to her face in an attempt to clean off any surface grime. It actually made a big difference, removing a lot of the oily stuff around her eyes and cheeks. (It also helped the lipstick stain on her neck)
A Magic Eraser scrub removed the grease and stickiness on her face, but also revealed that her blush and lip paint had long ago faded.
Ailey’s limbs cleaned up very well, too, using a combination of dish soap and Magic Eraser, they revealed that her vinyl was not deeply stained.
Using acetone, a scrubby sponge, and a lot of elbow grease, the nail polish finally came off of her toes (it took about half an hour of me swearing-not-swearing and once yelling, ”FUDGE IT ALL!!”, but it did happen eventually)
Now it was time to deal with her hair. There was no evening it out, so the wig would have to go. I went through my supplies, and found a Caroline wig that had been straightened, but was in pretty much perfect condition. (like my lovely friend Nina put it, ”The doll equivalent of Locks of Love!”)
(We then proceeded to make numerous doll charity puns. It was great.)
*skip this bit if you’re squeamish about bald dolls*
Making use of my trusty all purpose soup, oatmeal, ice cream, and rewigging tool, otherwise known as a spoon, I pried Ailey’s wig off. (I only muttered ”D’Arvit!” once this time)
With her wig on, I let the glue dry while I mixed the colors for her face paint.
After a facial and a haircut, Ailey was looking so much better.
I gave Ailey light, natural face paint, trying to match her skin, eye, and hair color. AG is always very, very subtle with the blush, but Ailey has a little more, since she looked very pale and wan without it.
Her hair looks cutest with a little clip on the right or left side. (the underside hadn’t quite dried yet, which made it look a little stringy on the right side)
After dressing her for a finishing touch, Ailey was finished!
(Ailey’s shirt graphic is from @phoenixphaedrana ‘s blog, Sky Playground. She’s an artist who draws fan arts and utterly adorable sketches, so head on over and give her a follow!)
I’m so happy with the way her hair turned out, it’s the perfect color and cut on her. (she reminds me of Emily, but with blonde hair)
Thoughts on Ailey, spoons, or her t-shirt? Are you excited for summer?