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Keeping dolls an a low low budget?

Jan 16, 2012

    1. I've had to sell most of my dolls because I recently had to quit working due to health issues, I was wondering, is there a way to maintain my dolls inexpensively? I'm so used to having extra cash for them that I don't know what to do now. Any recommendations?
    2. Ive always sold of things around the house, or if you are creative run a little side business i.e seamstress, wig making....
    3. You don't need to buy your dolls new things to enjoy them or stay active in the hobby. Find time or new ways to enjoy your dolls like keeping a doll journal, finding new places to photograph your doll, going to meets or even learning new crafts in order to make things for them.
    4. I second raven.
    5. To the person that posted this l do understand what your going thow. If you can do layaways that may help with buying more dolls that if you want to get more.. I like the idea of making things for them.
    6. I agree, making stuff like clothes helps budget a lot--even an SD is still small enough you can often make entire outfits out of finds in the remnants bin or cannibalized thrift store finds! If you feel intimidated, just head over to the sewing subforum in the workshop here; there are tons of incredible tutorials, patterns, and/or worklogs for all kinds of different clothes, as well as props ranging from food to books.

      Also, once you get comfortable with some hand sewing, that opens up the possibility of modding clothes meant for other dolls. For instance one of my girls has this elaborate green Victorian-esque dress, which was originally meant for a porcelain doll. It looked funny at first, but with a couple tucks in the waist and at the shoulders it now looks great. I've run into other accounts of using and/or modifying porcelain doll clothes for SDs, teddy bear clothes for SDs or MSDs, and Barbie clothes for tinies. While they won't hold a candle to Volks for quality, it's a quick, usually inexpensive way to get a change of wardrobe.

      As for finding cheap props, oh man. Just today I found dart boards with little suction-cup tipped darts at a dollar store that I'm considering going back for. $1 for three dart boards and six darts! Friends of mine have had even better luck at their dollar stores. I've got some candies packaged to look like 1/3 scale soda cans, and one person I know managed to find candy packaged in a 1/3 fire extinguisher of all things. XD

      For wigs, you may have to wait until closer to Halloween for the best selection, but it's totally possible to buy a cheap costume wig, take the wefts out, and make a wig for a doll. Haven't tried it myself yet, but I may in the future if I find something in pale fantasy hues I can use for a humanoid Princess Celestia cosplay. XD Or, again, thrift stores are magic, and once in a while you can find things like faux or even real fur clothes you can take apart for a fur wig.

      I do agree that taking your dolls out for photographs is a great way to spend some time with them without spending much money. Don't worry if some pictures turn out bad; an art teacher of mine once said that for photography, getting one good shot out of 24 can be considered a good day, and you'll get better with more time anyway. Experiment with stuff you've already got, like posing them on your bedspread, or bringing desk lamps from around the house together to play with light. I do recommend digging out a tripod; if you don't have one there are plenty of cheap ways to make one, like here: http://www.thephotoargus.com/diy/super-easy-and-cheap-diy-tripod-projects/ They help tons when it comes to getting clear shots when lighting is less than glaring so you can avoid using flash.

      It does require a bit of a shift in thinking, but having fun with your current dolls while on a budget is totally possible! And actually, the challenge in either making things or hunting down affordable alternatives is quite fun. (You'll start seeing props in the weirdest places when you start really looking. I recommend bringing a spare hand out with you if you've got one to check for scale.) You can do it!
    7. I am having health issues myself and cannot work. So far I have managed to keep all my dolls. I only have 8 anyways so its not too hard. Curbing spending is paramount, making clothes, the lovely dollar stores have items that are fantastic for a buck or two (chairs, benches, mini cakes and treats, t shirts excellent SD sizes, backpacks, jumpers or cardigans (usually made for teddies but they fit MSD). Going to doll meets and keeping active in the doll community because I know right now dolly buying is off limits. Besides I have little room for more anyways (perhaps three more entotal). Just being satisfied with what I have and taking extra care with my beauties.
    8. Assuming you are well enough, sewing and crafting items for your dolls can be fun and very rewarding - plus a way to keep busy and boost your morale if you are off work! There are all sorts of tutorials around for clothes, accessories and props that can be made from inexpensive or recycled materials :)
    9. I agree. I can't afford to buy anything doll-related right now, but the beauty of these beauties is that they don't require anything else once you've bought them. They don't need food, new clothes/wigs/eyes etc. Even maintenance isn't that expensive.

      So, take pictures of your doll, write stories about them, sew or sculpt new things. There are plenty of things you could do!
    10. I'll just agree with the comment that although BJDs are expensive to buy, once you have them their upkeep is as expensive as you make it. Unlike pets, dolls don't need food, medicine, health check-ups, sitters, trainers, etc.

      With some care, a face-up can last years. The oldest face-up on my dolls is close to 5 years and is in good condition.
      It's nice to have new wigs and clothes, but if you are getting bored by some stuff that's been in your collection for ages, you can trade it for something else. There are meet ups and swaps where people trade stuff they no longer need or want for stuff other people no longer need or want. In that aspect, getting something new for your doll, doesn't even have to cost a lot (just the cost of going to a meet up or shipping in case of a swap).
    11. I went through a period where I was making very little money and having to pay lots of bills, but I still kept up the doll hobby through that time. I definitely second everything the prior commenters have said about other things to do with your doll: sewing, crafting, photography, etc. I did a lot of that during that time, and it really helped me bond with my dolls.

      The other thing I would do though was put away a little money from a paycheck when I could, we're talking two or three dollars really. Eventually I'd have a bit of fun money to buy something nice with that wasn't breaking the bank. It took a while obviously, but in the end I could still "splurge" every so often on a new shirt or pair of shoes for the dolls.
    12. I wasn't working last year from April through June, but stayed in the hobby and enjoyed it! If you have old stuff you don't use, sell it or trade it. Learn to sew, if you haven't already. Old clothes that no longer fit you or are falling apart can make great doll clothes! If you have a doll skill you're really good at, use it! If you're not sureif you can keep up with commissions, don't take them, but just make random stuff and list it to sell "as is".
    13. I agree w/everything people are saying here - once you GET the dolls, the rest is optional or can be really cheap. I'm rushing to get all the expensive stuff I want before I retire, & then I'll not have to spend much. I've mountains of material around my house (40 years in costuming) but if you don't, go to Goodwill or other 2nd hand places for cheap bedding (cotton sheets make great material for costumes), all sorts of little props, etc. It's amazing what's out there lying about that somebody thought was junk...
    14. Haha, I can't remember the last time I made a doll-related purchase. I definitely second what everyone has said so far about sewing, especially about tearing up dirt cheap thrift store clothes for fabric. Some of the stuff you can find is awesome quality. My personal favorite thing to do is grab a bunch of old graphic tees and cut out the designs for shirts.

      I've learned to make the most out of the few dolls I have by making them new clothes, working on their stories and photographing them, rather than buying them new stuff. I push myself to sew new stuff by refusing to do more than two shoots per outfit to keep things from getting stale.

      It's tough to stay interested at first when all these wonderful, high quality customization options are cut off, but you'll soon find that making unique clothing and props for your dolls can be just as fun, if not an even better bonding experience than shopping for them.
    15. I agree 100% with all the posts encouraging clothes-making etc.

      Stupidly enough, I started the hobby when I had very little money (first doll was only a tiny, but still... that's a lot of grocery funds there). I stopped smoking as a compromise, and spent a lot of time making tiny clothes and accessories from things I found, already had lying around, or bought at the dollar store.

      I would spend hours deliberating whether to buy this $1 piece of crafting rubbish, or that piece of $1 crafting rubbish, because every dollar counted. I've had a raise since then, and can occasionally send away for fancier, pre-made stuff these days (still gotta watch pennies, though). And you know what? I much prefer the carefully-considered material hunting and crafting. It's far more satisfying, and I think it gives the hobby more "meaning".
    16. To be honest I started this hobby on a low low budget and I live it on a low low budget. All the things mentioned above are part of this pastime for me, and now that I'm working again, I'm regretting that I don't have all the wonderful hours I spnd with my boys before. But it will balance out soon enouht, I hope, so I can return to a normal doll hobby life^^.
      Wish you all the best, and never forget, have fun.
    17. I'm a poor,wedding planning, college girl; so the hobby has to stay on the cheap side (for now)! So, that means I can't go and buy a new wig,get a new face up, or buy premade clothes whenever I want. So, what I've done is incorporated my "po'ness" into my Doll's Character. I make it fun!
      When I got her, she came with a pea green mohair wig and undies! Since I couldn't dress her quite yet, I just had her be a "wild child" for a few weeks. With her having a fluffy,not so cute colored wig, I just added that "she's a baby phoenix! Just hatched! Many baby birds have ugly feathering at first!" After those few weeks, a friend of mine whom often makes Kimono for himself had spare fabric and decided to make her one! So she was kindly donated the cutest of kimono.
      Taking old fabric from friends,things you don't use anymore or are damaged (curtains,socks,old clothing items), your own fabric scraps can be lots of fun to use and make things with!

      Spend extra time with the dollies you do have, give them more personality, write stories about them or do photos with them!

      ^_^ I wish you luck hun! I hope you get well soon!
    18. I've never had a very large amount of money. My gang is all paid for and upkept by odds and ends here, sold commissions, all that. I've even started making my own yarn wigs! It's really easy, and I'm thinking about doing a tutorial on here sometime for my method, but there are several floating around here.
      Pictures, sewing, maybe making plolymer or salt clay foods. (and you can make salt clay at home!), stories, even just sitting with a doll in a place you can look at them, or having them in your lap is a great way to stay in the hobby. I've never purchased a single stitch of clothing for my dolls, and everything they own that's not from me was hand made from my friends.
      Swaps are always fun to join, and you could trade some slightly less loved items for some new things! Everyone in this thread has had great ideas!
    19. I've been on a much tighter budget the past few years. I have sold some stuff that I didn't really want anymore -- some of it was doll related, and some were model horses (I've been trying to seriously thin out the herd), and put the money into doll hobby items that I wanted more. The last doll I bought was on a three month layaway, which really helped a lot. When I buy clothing I try to buy from US dealers if possible to keep the shipping costs down on smaller items, and when it comes down to it, I just don't buy dolls as often as I did. That has not been an entirely bad thing, since it's given me a chance to stop and really rethink my doll family and experiment with what I already had.
    20. I'm low on money too, so I just stop buying stuff for them. I do the same thing as others, sell some odd stuff to be able to keep the dolls. I found some gems laying in my closet, and had no idea they were even worth anything until I looked on eBay. I was able to double my money on them (not doll related, one was a Transformer and the other was Voltron). You never know what you have, so check eBay prices to see what things are going for. You can potentially save your doll collection. I also have items in reserve that I would sell if I had to in order to keep my dolls.