How to change a fashion doll arm

I dedicate this article to the topic how to change a fashion doll arm. I have only Barbie family members so this is only valid for Vintage Barbie, Francie, Midge, Ken and Skipper. The joints were changed later so that this is not possible in the same way for later dolls.

What I can tell you about this topic is that it is not hard, like always when I talk about Barbie. It is simple when you know how to do it, what to use in the process and what to avoid.

One thing all of the above mentioned dolls have in common is the arm joint. It’s the same one for all dolls. That makes it easy to show it only once and you can use it for all dolls.

I refer to Barbie only here because I only have Barbie dolls. I don’t collect any other fashion dolls.

Vintage Barbie arm with joint

For reasons of easiness let’s start with what will expect you. Have a look at one of these arms. As you can see the construction itself is very simple. The arm and the joint are made from one piece. I think it was easy to design, easy to make a mass production of these arms and the were cost effective. More pieces per doll would be more expensive. The less pieces per doll you have to assembly the cheaper the production/ assembly costs.

I think it was not intended that doll docs would ever write about the topic in the future but this construction is also easy to repair. You can replace the arm with another arm. Of course you need one from the same doll type like Barbie – Barbie, Skipper – Skipper and so on. It would not work for different doll types simple because of the different size.

The lengths and joint sizes for the dolls are simply different. You would see it immediately when you replace a Francie arm with a Skipper arm. The lengths are simply different. I came across this topic because I recently bought Francie arms and in reality they are Skipper arms. The difference is very small but you would see it.

I hope it is clearer to you now how to change a fashion doll arm and you know what to look for and what to avoid. If you want to read more about my Francie project have a look in this article http://barbie.final-memory.org/francie-and-how-to-restore-her

New dolls in my collection

I was recently asked about the new dolls in my collection by some viewers and that’s what this article is all about, new dolls in my collection.

As you probably know I don’t collect just for the reason of having a huge collection of dolls that are in bad condition. I’m specialized in Barbie dolls but I don’t collect every doll I find. I can’t do it because of lacking space. I try to buy only what I think is worth to be collected. Some of you may have another opinion. We don’t have any Goodwill here and we had no flea markets since the begin of Corona. Used toys are rather thrown away than being sold in a store. For used clothes it’s no problem but used toys are not common to be sold in any nationwide store chain. In big cities you sometimes have antique store but it is not the rule that you find anything there.

Sometimes you can find dolls on ebay but in most cases they are overpriced. Shopping is not the fun anymore it was when I started to buy there some 20 years ago. A lot has changed since then. The Francie you already saw in the last weeks here on my channel as a big restoration projects was indeed an ebay find. It was really a coincident to find one.

That’s the Francie I’m talking about her

Her had some traces of the last 50 years and I restored her. You can find the video under this link https://youtu.be/9B-YvDwIKU4

It’s a very popular video on my channel. It’s worth to be seen. Anyway you can learn a lot in restoring a Francie doll. Francie is the cousin of Barbie and at the moment I really like to do videos with her. You can see this doll in the next weeks on my channel again since she’s not completely finished now. She still has a cut in her arm and she will get a replacement arm. This video will follow in the next weeks. So stay tuned in.

Here’s one of the last steps in the last video. She had already gotten a repaint.

She was not the only doll I found. I also found 3 more dolls. In March I saw three male dolls for sale and purchased them. You know I’m a big fan of Ken but I only have a very few early pieces. That’s how these dolls came into my collection. I found #1 Ken, the very first one from 1961 and one edition from 1964/1965 I think. Both have straight legs, no knee joints. My Francie is also a straight leg doll. These dolls have the advantage that you don’t have any problems with green knees.

Free Moving Curtis

Free Moving Curtis from the early 1970s is the only doll with knee joints and a sphere for being super sporty where humans have their stomache. I had no Curtis before and that was my chance to buy my very first Curtis. They are offered very seldom in Germany.

#1 Ken
#1 Ken

The #1 Ken got my attention because his flocked hair is still perfect. I don’t know if any girl ever played with him. He’s still looking perfect.

The last Ken I found is the following one. He had also a perfect painted hair. No missing paint is also hard to find. That’s why he also hopped in my shopping bag. All my other Kens from the early years are not perfect. The offer was too good to reject it.

Late Straigt Leg Ken

How to rescue an Alan with stains?

The question how to rescue an Alan with stains was the latest idea for a video. I got an Alan head with stains in January or February. He had lost some of his hair color and he has been the victim of a child who painted the head black. Maybe this was in the 1970s? I have no idea but the black is very durable and moved into the head itself and made a connection with the rubber of the head so that a removal was very hard.

Alan with Remove Zit

I know that you have to be very patient with removing stains even when they are ink stains. It’s time consuming and you need a lot of sun light. For the rescue of Alan both things were missing, like often when you want to do a video but the time is limited.

At first I wanted to remove the stains with Remove Zit, good idea but it failed I think due to the color of the ink and missing sun light. It’s not that Remove Zit is not working. Anyway rubbing alc and Q-tips did not work but I already imagined it. Another idea I had while working on the head was to try the Stain Devil. That’s a stain remover I have already used for removing black stains from Barbie feet or heads. The black part was however much bigger this time than the last time I used it.

Alan after removing his leftover hair

I thought it was a worth a try after having removed the reddish hair color of Alan. At first I thought I could get the black totally of but I underestimated the color. It’s hard to get black off completely. I don’t know the content of ink but it’s an awful substance when you have to remove it from dolls or clothes.

Alan in Stain Devil bath

I simply don’t like it. However this meant not that I had to throw the head away. I simply made something complete new out of him. After realizing that the black won’t come of as I hoped I decided to do a OOAK Alan. When you can’t remove all the ink use the same color again. That was at least the idea here in this how to rescue an Alan with stains project. I used black color to paint his head and painted over the spots that contained black.

How to repair Plush Pony from 1969

Maybe some of you remember this outfit from the late 60s. It’s very modern and it’s called Plush Pony. Somehow this outfit reminds me of a cow skin with the black spots. I have to tell you this here. Plush Pony mainly consists of the colors black, white and orange. Today I would like to talk a little bit about how to repair Plush Pony from 1969. This is an outfit worth to be repaired.

Another collector sold this outfit to me as project for repair. You know every now and then I get the chance to buy the broken outfits for a low and this is the case here. The seller is one of my silent admirers. In the last weeks I finally found the time to repair it. It was on my to do list for the last months but I hadn’t done it earlier. I need some positive vibration when doing this. I hate to do it when I’m under time pressure. That’s one of the worst things you can do when repairing a doll.

Barbie Plush Pony

The things that expect me were the age. The trim became stiff within the 50 years of it’s existence. That was the hardest problem to deal with due its stiffness. So I decided to my best to get it back on the fabric. The repair of the dress was easier. It had a common problem with open seams.

Kissing Barbie wearing Plush Pony

At the end I was able to fix this outfit. I don’t know if this trim was stiff from the beginning but I dealt with it the best way I could. The Kissing Barbie you see here was another repair project I did last autumn but I forgot to blog about her due to a lack of time.

Francie and how to restore her

I have not made much videos about Francie in the last two months. The reason was that I had problems to find a tlc Francie for this project. I came across a body without a head and then suddenly there was a perfect Francie offered, perfect for this project. The seller said she was tlc but even tlc is not for free. I bought her.

Francie before the reroot, some streaks are missing

Some days later she arrived in her parcel. I must say I expected her in a shape worser than you can imagine but this was not the case. In fact I see her potential. Yes, this doll is almost in her 60s but does it stop me to repair her? The answer is no. I sometimes really enjoy these bigger projects where you can use a lot of creativity to restore them.

As I already mentioned in my last repaint video I don’t recommend you to start without the correct material ( link http://barbie.final-memory.org/what-you-need-for-a-good-barbie-repaint/ ). Buy everything you need for the project in advance or simply have it at home when you plan your project. It’s good when you have a time schedule in advance. For making this video I needed at least 2 weeks. It’s not the pure time you need but you need to consider that things like hairs have to dry at least for 24 hours when you want them to be dry for your next step.

I also have a little endoscopic camera for my projects so you can think of buying one before you start ( if you want to work with one). Then arrange to have the hair at home. I know this may sound weird but I prefer to have a big box with hair at home before I do anything. This gives me a creative feeling. I need some positive vibes before I start. In my case this vibe is created when I can have a look into my hair storage or my acrylic paint storarge or my brush glas. I have all my brushes in one glas. I think it’s a handy dandy way to start. Have everything at home before you start.

Francie after re-root but before repaint still drying

Before I actually started with my video I made a plan how to start what to show, what to do at first, what to do next and so on. I wanted to have some logical steps in a plan before I started to film. So I could make sure that nothing was forgotten.

I my case I started with the head but as you can imagine I wanted to have a look into her head before I started to reroot her. This was a kind of safety insurance not to expect anything unexpected. I checked the pattern of hair in her head way before I started to reroot. When you see there is a destroyed pattern in the head you have to repair it before you can replace missing streaks. Then continue with the hair. After having inserted the new steaks you have to flatten the new streaks.

For this you need at least a day for the drying. Good. After that you can cut the hair. I recommend combing the hair before you cut it. Use a good pair of suitable scissors. I have a professional pair of scissors for cutting hair but it’s for right handers, not lefties. That’s why I use my pair of embroidery scissors here. Works.

Francie with curlers

After cutting you can curl if you want to. I did this in my case to have the hair out of the way for the repaint. So I used the hot and cold bath method for the curlers and started one day later with the repaint. Before doing the repaint I put my brushes and colors on my desk and prepared my wet palette. After finishing the repaint I waited 24 hours before I used my sealer. After another day I took her curlers out, finished the styling and prepared everything for the final scenes.

Francie after her repaint. No problem when you have the original colors.

You see it’s a lot of work. Being well prepared is never a mistake.

How to clean a Vintage Barbie body

One of the most discussed topic among collectors is the cleaning of the old dolls. When you ask one collector you probably will get 7 different answers and not all of them can be used without critical consideration.

I recently asked other collectors how they clean their dolls and the answers were partly alarming. I don’t use any chemistry that can harm a doll. You know that I really do research and read books before I do anything on my dolls. My method how to clean a Vintage Barbie body was obviously not known to a lot of fellow collectors. No, I don’t use any chemicals that could harm a doll. Where do I know this from? Well, I have a good book from an expert who worked in the chemical industry for toy production for almost 40 years. I only use rubbing alc and Q-tips and a magic eraser but not from Mr. Clean. I have a no name product, cheap and with a good cleaning power. Rubbing alc does the least damage to the doll.

From using dish washer tabs to the use of oxi I got a lot of expert answers how to clean your vintage Barbie. Is this good for your Barbie doll? I say no, you are destroying your vintage Barbie without knowing it. Before you use these cleaning products have a look at the ingredients. The more cleaning power products you use the worser it will affect your doll.

Some collectors swear to use CLR for removing green ears but what they don’t know is that it will dissolve your doll in the long term. Even if you use it only on cotton pads it will destroy your doll in the long turn. Why? The chemicals will start to eat up the rubber of the Barbie and cause a long time damage you won’t get ever rid of. Also don’t forget that you can entice fungicides with your actings. Fungicides are a big problem among Barbie dolls that nobody seems to care about.

Another “helper” I got to know was Chlorox spray cleaner. I have never used this stuff and I will never do so because what you can do is a doll that might be cleaner at the moment you use it but it can also lead to a brownish tone after the treatment. Not immediately but later.

Acetone was also recommended. Why? Do you want to dissolve your doll? Really? Don’t forget that this stuff can cause different kinds of cancer. Not to mention that acetone removes the plasticizer from your doll when you put your doll in a bowl of acetone for a longer time period. The result will be disgusting. I promise.

Where do I know all this from? Well, before I treat any of my dolls I read books about what I’m doing. I can recommend you this book

I hardly recommend any books here but this one is worth to be read because when you don’t know what you do here you can cause a big damage that you can’t make undone. In the worst case you can throw your dolls away. I would think about it twice. When in doubt let her be a dirty doll. That’s all I know about the topic how to clean a Vintage Barbie body.

Tutti, Todd and their problems

You have probably never heard of Tutti and Todd. No wonder. I also never heard of them for a long time. Even after starting to collect Barbie dolls I was for a while not aware that these dolls existed.

What’s the problem? Well, they were stopped to be in production almost a decade when I was born and I think they were not as wide spread as Barbie and the grown up family members.

Tutti and Todd are twin baby sister and baby brother of Barbie from the mid 60s until the mid 70s and then they disappear from the family and were never seen or heard of again. For a first impression I would like to link to https://fashiondollz.de/1965-tutti-todd-and-chris/#!gallery-1176-9939

D has always nice pics of a ton of Barbie dolls. But what makes Tutti and Todd so special that I dedicate here an article to these two twins? I recently bought a package with repair parts and among these dolls was a Tutti with a green leg and an open arm. So I was able to show you the wire inside the body. It’s the wire that causes the problem concerning the green arms and legs these dolls have often.

The wire reacted with some kind of liquid, often water. I think this problem is so wide spread because these smaller dolls were produced in one step while Barbie was produced in several steps. For Barbie you needed to produce the torso, the arms and the legs separately plus the head. For Tutti and Todd you needed only body and head. Here was at least a potential to save money and I think that these dolls now suffer from. https://fashiondollz.de/1965-tutti-todd-and-chris/#!

It’s something you hardly find information about but I think they are worth to be talked about even if they are out of production now for a long time. The little outfits have their very own charm and there are lots of outfits for Tutti and Todd around. By the way this Todd mentioned here has nothing to do with Todd https://fashiondollz.de/1977-ken-superstar/#!gallery-557-11415 from 1982, the groom of Tracy https://fashiondollz.de/1971-steffie-face/#!gallery-553-6993

The dolls are not related here. I know it’s sometimes a bit confusing. I hope you like this little article about Tutti, Todd and their problems.

What you need for a good Barbie repaint

I recently saw that lots of you are interested in the topic of repaint but I found no good video summing all thing you need in a video up. Some videos only show the direct repaint. Some videos only show the brushes, palettes or color but there’s no video where you find all parts combined in one video and giving you some bonus beginner mistakes to avoid.

What’s easier than doing it yourself when you don’t find the correct video for the topic you want to cover. If you want a video showing you an actual repaint, no problem use this here

From my experience I can tell you it’s not always easy to have the right things for repainting at the same time at home. That’s what I have within some years and I think it’s useful for most of you. I don’t think neither have heard about Liquitex ( when you are living in Europe neither from Da Vinci artist brushes). That’s why you should update your knowledge. It is useful to think about these items first, then you buy them and don’t have any negative surprises while you are working.

I bought mine over the last couple of years. I had no idea where to start neither where to buy. There were no videos on youtube. Of course there are some bigger channels than mine here doing repaints. On some channels you have millions of viewers but I don’t have them but want to inform you about repainting as good as I can. What is really helpful for the hobby of repainting is to get yourself a wet palette. I can’t tell it often enough but this little thing is a game changer. You can keep your colors liquid for at least a week. From my experience this is enough time for doing a proper repaint. I hardly needed more than a week. The sponge is great for this. The costs you have are around 25€ for this. It’s always a little depending on where you buy it.

Then you have the colors. I can’t recommend it often enough to use good quality color. The reason why I show here Liquitex colors is that when you use the cadmium free version of this color you don’t have any fear that the color will leave permanent color traces in the rubber of the head. You can see this sometime on Barbie dolls like my Jewel Hair Mermaid Teresa. She’s a nrfb doll but after 25 years somehow the color started to bleed into the adjacent rubber. Have look about what I talk about.

Jewel Hair Mermaid Teresa with some traces of bleeding color

I know it’s very subtle but it’s happening and I simply want to warn you that this could happen to you too in case of using cheap or incorrect color. It’s not that everything is perfect in the Barbie world. I never said this but for future projects we can avoid the problem when we know where it comes from. That’s at least what I think here.

The biggest problem I had when I wanted to start with repaint was the brush question. I heard from other collectors what they used. I bought the brushed, made my first strokes and found out that they were way to thick for my problems. Later I accidentally came across very fine and thin brushes suitable for the project. I use a lot of Da Vinci Micro Nova brushes. They are not cheap but I’m satisfied. Since 2021 you can also buy the bend versions you can see in my videos.

Another problem I had when doing repaint was the color consistency. For most of the projects the paint was way too thick. I only use undeluted color for the white dots in Superstar Barbie eyes. For all the other projects I thin the color out. The wet palette is your friend here. Even if you have used way too much water it’s no problem. You have to wait a day and then the color will be okay again. Very helpful for beginners. So I hope that this little article gives you some more background information to understand what to do and what to avoid when going shopping or doing your very first repaint. Keep in mind what you need for a good Barbie repaint.

Have you ever tried to re-crimp Barbie hair

When you grew up in the 90s you know what I’m talking about. If not let me tell you that crimped hair were wide spread in the 1990s not just for dolls. Especially in the early 90s this was a big thing. Even my cousin had a crimping iron. I did not know about this whole trend until she explained her crimping iron to me in 1995 or 1996. I know this is rather late for crimping irons but they still exist. You can still buy them today but the trend as big as it was in the 1990s disappeared somehow. Mainly due to fashion reasons I think.

Maybe they come back in some years like many trends come back every 20 or so years. I’m showing you a pic of what I’m talking about.

Anyway Mattel used this unique hair technique to make the Barbie dolls look like they were very hot, cool, stylish, trendy. In my childhood almost all of the Barbie dolls I knew had these waves. In my world these waves had no names. One could not imagine that it might change one day with the waves. I know this sounds crazy especially when you came to Barbie later or earlier but in the 90s these crimp waves were huge. However with in the almost 3 decades that passed by since these crazy crimp waves appeared for the first time. Many dolls have somehow lost their waves. My Totally Hair Barbie suffered under this problem almost from the beginning. I think she lost her waves after being braided with a normal 3 stand braid for a longer time period. So this phenomenon is not new to me but I search for ways how to restore these waves and try to make them look like they were freshly deboxed. This is not always easy because most of the time they are missing a lot of hair in their ends due to the fact that the hair fibre used mainly is Kanekalon hair. Some rare dolls also had Saran hair and their hair stayed intact. You can see this when you search for Hollywood Hair Barbie and compare the offer with Totally Hair Barbie dolls on ebay. Hollywood Hair Barbie never had this problem. The reason is the fiber. I never understood it as a child. That’s something I learned along my way as a collector.

In the 1990s we find mainly Kanekalon hair. It’s the cheapest kind of hair that can be mass produced. Maybe that’s the reason why a lot of these 90s Barbie dolls had a huge amount of hair at first? After the first tangles they had less and less hair. That’s also the reason why the ends of the Totally Hair Barbie/ Ultra Hair Barbie can often be found with very thin ends. Tangles – the dead of every Barbie doll with Kanekalon hair. If you compare this fibre with earlier Barbie dolls from the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s the 90s is the first decade where the problem of general Barbie doll hair loss appears.

Now let’s turn back to the main problem with the waves. Kanekalon as a fibre is easy to work with. You can bring the hair in any form you want and you can curl the hair with every curler or curling iron you have. The art here is to find a way that your doll hair keeps this position permanently and here my job starts. I try to show you easy to follow ways to get your doll to a shape as good as new. This is not always easy and a lot of testing is necessary for good results but you get them as soon as they are available. If you have ever tried to re-crimp Totally Hair Barbie or Ultra Hair Barbie successful let me know your recipe.

How to make fashion for Supersize Barbie – the background story

Sometimes it’s just an idea and sometimes you put things into reality. I already had the idea to dress my new Supersize Barbie in December but the time was lacking. You know we were just preparing for the holidays, taking our annual X-mas vacation to see your parents. Bad time schedule but January came and so the time to put this plan into reality.

I don’t know how you do these things but I need time to work these things out properly. I hate it to be interrupted during my creative process so I do these projects mainly when I’m alone at home. It’s always my most creative time of day. I admit I’m a morning human. I prefer to do all the important things in the morning to make sure to get them done. I know there are different types of humans but my most productive time is the morning. So I used the last weekend of my holidays to begin with this project.

Sewing projects are always time consuming. It doesn’t matter what you do so you need a good schedule, prepare things in advance like marking and cutting the fabric, do the sewing the next day and continue so on. I prefer to have all steps to be planned in advance when I’m working so that I have a certain thing to do every day but on the same hand I can be sure to get things done.

I can give you the advice to plan more days than you will actually need because you don’t know how the result will turn out. From my experience I can tell that I had stress with finishing projects and videos more than once.

It’s a big advantage when you have several projects to work on simultaneously because you can always release at least one video a week. If you can produce in advance do it. I will have to improve my skills here because I’m always short on time. I hate it but it happens more often than planned. Don’t let anything interrupt you. The filming I did was at least two hours and I think I had to cut 10 hours to get it down to 20 minutes, correct the tone, the lighting and so on.

Nevertheless this was a project I wanted to do from heart because I don’t like my dolls to be naked. So I got to work and made the markings, the patterns and prepared the whole fabric for my sewing machine. At the end this project was very nice because my technique works so well that the Supersize Barbie has clothes now, is not naked anymore and the clothes only need a few adjustments for the perfect fit. I have to read a little bit before doing the final adjustments but for now I’m satisfied and it happens seldom enough to say this.