Dolls · Pleasant Company · Restoration · TLC

Old Doll, New Tricks Part 1: Molly’s Makeover Begins

Molly has been with me since 1989. Over my childhood, she helped me to weather my parents’ divorce, births, deaths, illness, three moves, and many rainy days. We went on trips together, played outdoors together, and she regularly slept by my side. 27 years of love and life experience have left her a little worse for the wear.

Molly heart.jpg
She’s got heart, kid.

Recently I got it in my head that I want to restore Molly to the beauty of her youth. KIDS! Don’t try this at home! (Or do, but make sure you ask your parents first! 🙂 )

Restoring Molly is a big project. Her legs need tightening. Her white cloth body is dingy. Her skin has a yellow-ish/grey-ish cast. Her face paint is faded. One eye is a tad lazy. Her hair is thin, balding, and was trimmed several times. It’s safe to say her wig is pretty destroyed.

She definitely needs new hair! I ordered a few different wig options and am waiting for them to arrive. I decided to order used AG wigs on eBay, because shiny new hair might look fake on her. I want her to be beautiful, but I also want to retain her unique personality.

While I wait for the wigs to arrive, I’m going to try to remove the yellowish/greyish cast from her skin. I recently cleaned Molly’s skin with baking soda and water, but she still seems to have a dingy skin tone. Time to try something new!

magic eraser molly.jpg
Let’s make some magic!

What I used:

  • Magic Eraser
  • Scissors
  • Bowl of cool water
  • Tissue (for blotting excess water)
  • Towel

I started by cutting off a piece of magic eraser, dipping it in water, and testing it on Molly’s foot (to make sure it wouldn’t damage her old vinyl). After that, I started cleaning her right arm and leg. I only did the right limbs so that I could compare right and left, to see if it was actually changing her skin tone to remove the grey tint.

About 40 min of scrubbing and I’m starting to see some progress!

molly hands.jpg

Can you guess which side is clean?

As you can see, I used too much water on the magic eraser when cleaning Molly’s arm, and it ended up dripping down onto her cloth body. Oops! I rushed her to the sink and, using my hand, gently splashed a SMALL amount of fresh water onto her body to try to rinse her off.  I toweled her off, sprinkled her cloth body lightly with baking soda, and went back to work. When it had dried, I dusted off the baking soda, and gently wiped down the cloth one more time with a damp towel. All fixed!

baking soda.jpg
Baking soda is magic.

Then it was back to scrubbing.

All told I probably worked on her right arm and leg for about an hour. Patience, young Skywalker.

It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but I was happy with how it came out. The difference is subtle, but her skin tone is more even, and a little more pink than before. I did the other side, which also took me about an hour. And then… it was time to tackle her face.


BEWARE: It’s all too easy to mess up your doll when cleaning her face. Any water near the eyes is scary because if water gets IN the eye sockets, it can cause the eyes to rust or silver. On top of that, Magic Eraser can take paint off of a doll’s face. I’m planning to repaint her cheeks and lips, so I didn’t worry too much about avoiding those areas. But I really don’t want to have to repaint her eyebrows. Eyebrows are difficult!

molly face.jpg
Be careful! It’s easy to damage the dolls eyes or remove her face paint.

I spent about a half hour cleaning her face in small circles, being especially careful around the eyes. I used a much smaller piece of magic eraser and VERY little water, just enough to dampen the eraser. We had a few close calls, but I managed to avoid getting any water in her eyes. I used the paper towel to cover her eyes,  or blot up excess water if I used too much. After her Magic Eraser Facial, she still has her eyebrows, and her lips still have some color. PHEW!

No offense Molly, but we’ve got a ways to go.

Overall, I consider this a success. I wasn’t sure if the Magic Eraser would help to even out her skin tone, but it did. Stay tuned. Next time, Molly is going to lose her hair! Mua Ha Ha!

xoxo Toni


One thought on “Old Doll, New Tricks Part 1: Molly’s Makeover Begins

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