Friday, November 15, 2013

My Child doll restoration

Cleaned, make-up redone, but still missing fingers on her left hand

My Child dolls are so pretty! I've had mine since 1989 and after some hard core googling I found she was in pretty great shape for her age. She didn't have too much pilling, her skin wasn't sagging as bad as it could have, she still had clearly visible make-up and her hair was still in its original parting. The latter made me really happy because I saw the instructions for redoing a parting and it's a lot of work!

So to clean her up I used the instructions on Marisa's page.

To wash your My Child Marisa's preferred method is the washing machine but I had an inkling she didn't have a front loader. I certainly would not recommend washing your doll in a front loader where she (or he..) will tumble and smash around. I don't think that will be good for the head or joints.

Before, as you can see she still had a lot of make up!

First I bound the doll's hair so it wouldn't get tangled. As I have a My Child with two curly pigtails and an all-round fringe, I tied up both the pigtails and just let the fringe hang loose.

I put the doll in a dish washing tub with some mild detergent. I splashed her around a bit and then let her soak for 30 minutes. She had quite a grimy face so I left her face down.
After the half hour soak I did as Marisa instructed and pulled her out, squeezed her limbs and then put her back in to soak up the water again. It's a mild way of washing and strongly urge you not to rub the skin. This method works fine.
For the face I used a method that strongly resembled torturing. Not that I'd ever done any before but I almost felt sorry for my dolly! I pulled her up out of the water by her shoulders and then smashed her face first back in. It worked like a charm though! Her face is bright and clean again, and her make-up stayed on.

When I thought she had been cleaned enough I emptied the tub and filled it with clean water. I repeated the washing techniques just to get the soap out. I also just rinsed her under the tap.

After having washed out the soap I let the doll soak in fabric softener solution for about 5 minutes after which I started on the hair.  
Washed and combed
(to see examples of different hair do's and make-up see HERE)

Marisa said it would take patience, and she was not kidding. I recommend using gloves to do this. It is not good for your hands.
 I hung the doll with her hair over the now empty tub (like they do at the hairdresser) and poured fabric softener onto her hair. I splashed a little water on it and worked it into her hair. I left the pigtails in.
After leaving the fabric softener in the hair for 5 minutes I got a comb and started brushing the fringe first. Starting at the tips and working back to the roots a little piece at a time. The fringe is short so it went pretty quick.
Next I took one of the pigtails out and started brushing the same way. I used my fingers to separate 1/4 inch pieces of hair. I found that combing tiny pieces at a time actually went quicker than trying to comb through bigger parts at once.
Take care not to comb the fringe into the pigtail!
After combing all the pieces of one pigtail I put them all together and combed it all at once into a nice pigtail again. I then kept it together with a hair clip. Repeat for the other side :)

If needed I scooped some fabric softener water out of the tub still under her head and poured it onto the hair.
After I was able to comb through all the hair with ease, I washed the fabric softener off and squeezed as much water out of the doll as possible.

Yay all done cleaning!

I decided not to put the hair in curlers so it has remained slightly frizzy. My doll's hair is just very curly. I cannot seem to find pictures that resemble her. All the My Dolls I can find have a much straighter fringe... Putting the hair in curlers might work to give it a more styled look. Might have to try that sometime.

After leaving her siting on a thick towel in front of the heater for 2 days it was on to the make-up!

I used make-up to redo the doll's make-up but I have seen people mention watercolor pencils. Whatever you choose don't try any type of pen. The lines will be way to hard, the make-up should have a soft look to it.
There were two types of US doll make-up as the guide on ebay will tell you:
"Lips could come in a shade of pink or peach, and eye makeup was either peachy brown or grey/black. (They [sic] grey/black eyeshadow only came with pink lips.)"

My doll had the grey/black eyeshadow and pink lips. The lips were ok and I only lightly touched them up with a corresponding rouge I had. I also used this to slightly highlight the cheeks.
For the lashes I used brown waterproof eyeliner pencil as that seemed to match the original and the eyeshadow I accentuated with a bit of grey shadow brought on with a tiny brush.


Good as new!
   After restitching her left hand where the thread had come loose leaving her with no fingers, I put her back in her original dress. She comes from the last US series, so she doesn't have shoes...

The only downside of all this: now she is too pretty to let my one year old play with her! LOL. O well at least she will be able to when she grows up and in the meantime she sits on a shelf in my bedroom looking pretty :)

I intend to make her a new dress though. If I ever get around to it I'll let you know!

Do you have a My Child laying around or have you restored any? I would love to see what they look like! The dolls are so pretty and should definitely be treasured. They don't make them like this any more!


  1. thanks for posting this! I just unearthed my my child, and she is in good shape but dirty and her hair is a mess. she looks a lot like yours, hair and makeup but a brunette. just goes to show you can find out how to do anything on the internet ;)

    1. You're welcome! I put her in my daughter's room, out of reach. I just love looking at her, so pretty!


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