The Toy Box

Experience is the best teacher...

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On this page I'll include some of my tips and tricks I've learned while doing my hobby. Where appropriate, I'll include steps or pictures to help clarify my explanations.

Please feel free to contribute your own tips - I'll post the best ones so everyone can see them.

Tip 1:

If you're lucky enough to live in an area with Wal-marts, K-marts, Big Lots, Dollar Trees,  shop there for Barbie clothes. Then you can use all the money you saved to buy some Azone wear, which is really nice but kind of pricy =P

Tip 2: Can't find something? Make it your self!

If you're handy with polymer clay (SculpeyIII) you can baiscally make your own pointy ears, horns, and what have you. Note: they now have a new flexible version of Sculpey!

I'm about to make 3 out fits by hand for my dolls, Malice's wil be hardest because it's made of plastic and has buckles. Get yourself on the mailing list of the local supliers of fabric so you know when sales are! Haunt the remnant bins for supplies. I have enough lace to make a really gothy looking dress for most of my dolls. YAY for me!

How to dye those Elegant Bodies and other type dolls!

Dyeing Vinly dolls [elegant bodies.]

Some of the Baby Face collectors have tried this but no one has documented it. They used RIT dye or laundry dye. Unstrung the doll to do it. Most of the people who tried it used the hot dye method. One gal used cold dye but the problem is that vinyl has a wax coating so hot dye is much better because the acrylic type finish has to melt off. You can replace that finish with Armorall or Son of a Gun polish from the automotive dept. Rub it on the doll lightly with a cotton ball and wipe off again with a soft cloth, she doesn't need to shine but it does make a nice difference. But that's jumping to the END...

Put the doll parts in the hot dye. The hair turns color too of course. Some people experimented with covering the eyes and lips with vaseline to protect them but vaseline melts off. Nail polish worked better, then remove it later. But the best solution is to repaint the lips afterward and replace the eyes, or remove them before the dye and then put them back in again. The laundry dye seems to take very well. It does fade a bit over time, we're not sure how much time. There was a noticeable difference when one collector unpacked her doll six months later. Perhaps the color has stabilized now and it won't fade anymore. She was glad the doll faded, she thought the color was too dark to begin with and now she has the shade she wanted.

The dye is stable and does not rub off on hands when the doll is handled. The laundry dye seems to work very well. Other things we have tried such as shoe polish, furniture stain: these things were useless for coloring the doll.

If the doll has been treated with Oxy10 to remove ink, the dye will NOT take in this spot. One collector experimented with various chemicals and none of them had an effect on the doll pieces when they were dyed, but the Oxy10 definitely resisted the dye.

That's about all I know.
If you only want to color the hair, then the collectors have played around with various haircolor kits from the drug stores and these work well on the hair.

Once you wash the hair, it will go completely
straight. Also, even though I've never had the
nerve to try boiling it, I would use steam to set
the part in the hair. The Mexican hair is fine
enough so that steam is all it takes.
As far as rooting for short hair, I would root
the hair to about waist length on the doll and
cut it's way too hard to work with
short strands of hair with the Mexican hair.[Kristen]

If you want to root for a short haircut, then don't root a long
length of hair. The hair will straighten out after you "set" it. I usually combing
mine straight out and let it dry overnight. That usually helps.
There aren't really any particular precautions you need to take when
setting the hair. I just have the water at boiling point, then turn
off the stove, throw the head in and use a spoon to keep it under the
water while counting to 15 seconds. After that, I take it out and
plunge it into ice cold water (that I have ready) and squeeze the hot
water out of the head...count another 15-20 seconds, then take it
out. That's when I comb it out gently.[joann]

Here's an example of a tip I might include in a hobby site about cooking.

Tip 1: Baking with Eggs

When baking, always bring eggs to room temperature first. Cold eggs may cause the batter to curdle, which could affect the cake's texture. To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, let them soak in a bowl of warm water for about a half hour.

List of Tips

In this area I may include a list of all the tips on this page, to make the page easier to scan. For example:

Tip 1:Where to locate cheap doll clothes
Tip 2:Can't find what you want? Make it yourself!
Tip 3:

A helpful e-mail excerpt:
Hi Prarie! Here are some guy clothing patterns that I've come across:

Costume Doll Collection Vol.2 has a pattern for Volks guys. It's an
ultra-cool Russian-spy kind of outfit. So cool! :D

I have My Favorite Doll Book #6 (you know, the ones put out for
Takara Jenny) and it has some guy patterns. A really good guy's
school outfit, with that kind of military look is in #6. Also MFD #13
had a **LOT** of guy patterns. Amazing historical Japanese outfits,
good samurai stuff too. :)

Does that help? Hope so!

--Jen Lee