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Dolly Lifehacks!

Jan 13, 2017

    1. What useful little tips do you use to make caring for, crafting for, or playing with your dolls easier?

      Every time I take the dolls out, I tuck a chunk of magic eraser or melamine sponge into the bag. Better to be prepared for smudges!

      One dolly friend of mine keeps a bit of pipe cleaner curled inside each doll's head. It can be uncurled and used to easily tug the s-hook up for much easier head removal.

      I have too many big dolls and not a lot of space, so I store my dolls in a cheap bookshelf, with the shelves set close together, and the dolls lying flat on their backs, as if in a crypt, with two on each shelf. A blackout curtain across the front protects everything neatly from daylight. Cheap and simple.

      A yoga bag lined with some cardboard and padding makes a great SD+ sized doll bag no one will stare at.

      For my dolls with slippier shoes or hooved feet, I find that putting some non-skid shelf liner on the bottom of a doll stand is really helpful.
      I have also wrapped cotton cloth around the wire arms of a doll stand to protect the resin from being scraped if I am fitting a nude doll for clothing.
      • x 22
    2. what a neat thread idea :) instead of buying extra combs/brushes for dolls, i use one of those hairdye brushes with a comb and brush head on one end, and the pointy parting tool on the other end (like this!).

      i especially really like using the parting tool for my dolls with fur wigs, because i'm always scared of pulling out fibers with a comb or brush! with the parting tool i can precisely arrange the wig how i want~
      • x 1
    3. I like to use a long piece of thin ribbon for all my restringing needs, they fit nicely into most bjd body parts and actually work through most hard to reach places well. I will replace the ribbon with super thin wire for stringing the tiny ones!

      I have also bought a toothbrush designated for brushing those dolly wig fly a ways on the fly.
      • x 3
    4. I use a medicine organizer to keep my eyes straight. :)
      • x 13
    5. Crochet hooks are my favorite for restringing.

      I like milliput epoxy clay for fixing chipped resin because it is more similar to resin in texture (I also use it for modding).

      Magic eraser can also be used as a sanding tool to get the resin texture more similar to untouched resin (this made my sanding on a honey skin Dollshe match perfectly).

      I like Sugru air dry rubber for fixing tears in some of my older vinyl dolls. It can get ridiculously hot and cold (someone took it crab fishing and used it to patch something on an engine), and bends similarly to stiffer vinyl.

      It's also useful to repair wires where the rubber coating is torn.

      I think it might also work for rubber soles for BJD shoes (it works for human ones).
      #5 americanseamstress, Jan 13, 2017
      Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
      • x 6
    6. I got most of my wigs and clothes supplies from mass-produced dolls. They're typically $15-ish and with that you can get a doll for faceups experiments, hair you can cut to make a wig, and one full-set of clothes! They might not match your BJDs perfectly, but I'm not complaining xD
      Sometimes they come with accessories too. My fav brand to buy for this is Monster High because they have the prettiest hair
      • x 2
    7. I do this with ribbon! I just tie some to the s-hook in the head. Much easier to remove heads that way.

      OH! This! I used it to sand while I was modding a head. It worked great to smooth the teeth I'd carved without losing any detail.

      Mine is wooden chopsticks, the cheap ones you can grab at Asian restaurants. I used them for all sorts of things from restringing or changing parts, to mixing paint for faceups.

      I'm sure I have more...but I can't think of any now.
    8. I don't know if this is considered a "hack" but whenever I make a doll bed for a display or diorama or what-not, I always use the pillow they came with as a mattress, ha.
      • x 2
    9. I use floral wire and needle nose pliers to restring--it doesn't bunch up in the tunnels like ribbon can, and it's cheaper than a stringing tool.

      Wrapping the doll box in fleece can turn it into a nicely scaled couch or bed for the doll, and you can store their stuff inside of it! Then if you need to travel, wrap them in that fleece for added protection.
      • x 5
    10. I love those little sponge-tipped eye-makeup application tools for dusting doll eyes without having to remove them. (You can buy a whole pack of them for a $1 at a lot of places!) They fit in most eye-openings and don't leave behind any fibers or fluff. I keep a few on hand when I go anywhere with my dolls, and more live in my maintenance drawer.

      Oh! And I keep an eyebrow comb on hand for really fiddly wig styling. ^^;
      • x 7
    11. My favorite doll lifehack is balloons as super cheap wig caps (just snip off the ends). You can get them to fit pretty much any doll and they cover a larger area and keep the wig in place much better than wig caps.

      For getting tight sleeves or knit shirts on I use several things: lobster clasp off an old keychain, one of those miniature climbing/locking key chains, or a large s-hook.

      I use those tiny invisible elastic pony tail holders to wrap around my doll's hands so they can "hold" stuff. I'll even use that poster putty if I can't find the elastics.

      I'm sure I have more but I can't think of any right now.
      • x 9
    12. A piece of plastic drinking straw makes a useful dollie shoe horn for getting on tight shoes.

      A tiny plastic bag, or just a snipped off corner of one can be very useful for placing over the doll's hand, so that narrow or loosely woven sleeves can be put over the hand without snagging on their fingers.

      Post it notes can be cut into stencils for eyebrows, and temporarily stuck onto the face while faceupping, this helps to get them symmetric.

      The easiest way to make patterns is to use scotch tape, and plain white paper towels, wrapping the doll and taping it on tightly, draw on the seam lines, using pencil , not ink, snip out the desired neckline carefully with tiny scissors, carefully cut it off at the desired seam lines, and redraw it more neatly on any large piece of fabric, and voila! doll clothes pattern. This works nicely for shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, whatever.

      A cheap easy way to make a really short doll wig is to buy a bunny fur from someplace like Hobby Lobby for about $12, and use the pattern Martha Boers supplies on her wonderful antiquelilac.com website for mohair wigs. Rabbit fur can be found generally in white, gray, blonde and black, or it can be dyed using any human hair dye. Nothing is softer than bunny fur!

      Baby clothes from second hand stores can easily be cut down for larger dolls. They often have really cute logos, cartoons and tiny print patterns. Tiny buttons, trims, and fastenings can be looted from used clothes also.

      If your doll has a wardrobe full of boring plain T-shirts, you can use rubber stamps and acrylic paint to put fun designs on them, or try hand lettering your favorite band name on them. Fabric stores have lots of cute tiny embroidered patches that are fun to add to T-shirts too.

      Rifle carrying bags (Walmart $25) make great doll bags for 70cm dolls, but don't try taking it on an airline! LOL! Mine has skulls and roses on it, giggle.

      Loose a favorite earring? Take off the ear wire, put the remaining earring on a tiny chain, and you have a great doll necklace.
      • x 13
    13. My input, which I picked up from someone else here on DOA, is using shank buttons when removing a hands - just slip the s hook through the shank. Then doll clothes go on easy.
      • x 7
    14. I use a toothbrush and Barbie brushes for my doll wigs, always have one of each in my doll bag when I go to meets.
      A little water on the toothbrush or your fingers is helpful for taming flyaways.

      I've used a doll shoelace (from tall goth boots) for restringing when I couldn't find the string I usually used.

      Toothpicks and toothbrushes are useful for cleaning those difficult crevices, like between lips and eye creases, when removing faceups.

      I made a light box (though it's only three sides) out of priority mail boxes and a plastic table cloth from Dollar Tree. It works decently enough.

      A soft, clean paintbrush is handy for dusting dolls. Especially between fingers, toes, and other small areas. I've also used canned air.

      Wide rubber bands for keeping wigs on (those rubber bracelets also work). For dolls with small heads, I double the rubber band.

      My sister made me a drying rack out of styrofoam and bamboo skewers for parts that can't really lay flat when being sealed. I've also hung small doll bodies from it by the s-hook when blushing lol.

      I use a diaper bag for carrying my dolls. Amazingly, I have fit three SD size and two YO size dolls in it at once. It can also hold my Iplehouse SID guy and a SD (plus a small doll or two). It also has lots of pockets to stash things in and a changing pad that can be used to put your dolls on (say, if you don't want them on grass, etc).

      When dressing dolls that are wearing long sleeves under a coat, I tuck the shirt cuff into their wrists. The hand and arm hold it in place, so the sleeve doesn't roll up under the coat sleeves.

      Children's hair clips can make nice doll hair clips. I usually find the cutest ones are dollar stores. Dollar stores also sometimes carry small toys that make good doll props (have found tiny working desk lamps). Happy Meal toys can also make good toys for dolls, as can some blind bag type toys.

      To save table space at meets, the big guys (usually the Dollshe boys lol) are designated babysitters and hold the tinies in their laps. It helps make room for other large dolls and makes for cute pictures.

      For headcaps and faceplates that don't like to stay on, I use poster tack or masking tape. Sometimes just a rubber band will work for headcaps.
      • x 6
    15. (This is such a cool thread!)

      I work at a jewelry counter, and the boxes and bags we give out with things are good for storing doll stuff. The bags work well for eyes, though I wouldn't put too many pairs in one, and the padded boxes are great for delicate things like hands (or more expensive eyes).

      Q-tips are a life saver for me, they're super useful for dusting eyes or getting little bits of fuzz off of faces or from between toes. (I'm sure Aelic hasn't forgotten me digging for a particularly stubborn piece of gunk between his bum cheeks...that was harrowing.)

      If you're having trouble getting some stubborn shoes off, pinching beneath the heel while simultaneously pushing at the toe usually works for me (especially with Aelic's Vans that are pretty tight around his feet).
      • x 1
    16. Straws and bobby pins make excellent curlers.

      Marbles make interesting eyes.

      I actually use a piece of 2mm elastic for restringing my msds. I think it was the elastic from one of my boy's arms, it's quite firm with not much stretch but it's strong and rigid enough to go down the channels without bunching up like ribbon does and then gives me something to yank. The give in it allows me slightly more control as well.

      We have a tent peg which is used for the head hook.

      Fashion doll lines often will fit various other dolls. MSD slim fit teen trends stuff really well, including the shoes. Which is nice if you happen to have those laying around. they're a discontinued line but i've got a pile of clothing from them laying about here for some reason lol.

      Plushies will often have accessories you can use. I have a 1/6 scale axe from a teddy bear for instance, and a cute little aviator hat also from a teddy. Those little plastic things they sew onto bears and such can be really useful. Little swords and all sorts. Keep an eye out in thrift stores.

      Likewise, jewellery boxes and phone stands are useful. I have a bunch of 1/6 chairs and beanbags that were supposedly for phones and work great for dolls.
      Go figure.

      Phone onsies they sold in claires a while back fitted 1/6 scale dolls too, it was bizzare.

      christmas ornament jumpers and hats can fit some dolls too.

      Bracelets make good necklaces... or guitar straps heheh.
      • x 1
    17. Use two toothpicks when switching out hands or feet - the groove in between the toothpicks will hold the s-hook steady!
      • x 11
      • I have an older doll that has an elastic on his S hook to keep it attached to the top of the headcap, I've been meaning to do this to my other boy who also has his S hook attached to the headcap...
      • I've used skewers to help push ribbons through arms and leg holes while restringing
      • I use CD shelves as shelves for my dolly things
      • I usually forget to buy doll lashes, so I end up using human falsies on my dolls ( usually bottom ones, cut into sections and glued on that way )
      • When I have to super glue small things together I use bobby pins to keep it together
      • Space-saver shelves meant for the kitchen are what I use in my room as a cheaper alternative for dolly seating+ gives me more space to store things underneath it
    18. I carry my yo-SDs around or out to meetups inside a hard wine bottle carrier case. I wrap them in a polarfleece roll and slide them right in there. One bottle case is a perfect size for one yo-SD.
      • x 2
    19. This! I use a wine bottle box in antique style for my floating heads. It can be closed to keep the dust off! Inside I put some red velvet fabric to keep the heads safe from scratches and it's the perfect size for SD heads! It looks like a treasure chest and I love it~
      #20 Diaspro, Jun 4, 2017
      Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
      • x 1