This weeks I would like to tell you a little bit about the leg repair of an Equestrienne Barbie and how easy her repair really is. I have done a video about this topic many many years ago when starting to do videos but until then no second Equestrienne Barbie crossed my way to do the repair another time. However I realized I got a pair of legs and a suitable body for the demonstration of this repair in the last months, had forgotten it completely.
When searching in my workshop for new video ideas I found the semi-assembled Equestrienne Barbie just waiting for me. She was the one I was looking for. The good thing is that for this kind of Barbie doll the amount of time needed for the repair is very low. You can do it within 5 minutes when you are trained to do it. This is no joke. You don’t need more time for the leg repair of an Equestrienne Barbie. It’s very simple. You just need hot water, the legs, a little towel, the upper body and some minutes time.
You dry the legs and them push them over the joints with some feeling. It’s really hard to explain how much to push and how much is too much. I suggest simply trying the leg repair of an Equestrienne Barbie. More than not being able to get the leg in the leg joint again can’t happen. Then you do it another time and it will find its way.
When you have a Talking Barbie from the late 60s you probably know the problem. Her legs fall off. Without a word, without any explanations. I don’t know how many of them were produced but I think up to 80% have this problem.
The fallen off legs were treated in different ways by different persons. Some re-glued the legs back to the body, some repaired the legs with screws. Be careful here when you want to repair the mechanism. When the screws are too deep in the body the Talking Barbie will never be able to talk again.
I admit I have seen some really creative solutions to the problem but seen from the point of view of harming a doll or not I got different answers to the problem. A lot of you emailed me about your experiences with Talking Barbie and the leg problem. Some told me they bought Talking Barbie legs and the legs fell off again a while. The ones glued back with Gorilla glue had the biggest problems. I have no idea in which decade it was done but now the arm and leg knobs seem literally to crumble away.
I can give you the advice to be careful when buying used Talking Barbie dolls. It’s often the easiest way to buy them from first owners who never reglued them to the body. You can be sure to fix them properly and you even have a chance to repair the mechanism ( if you are as crazy as I am).
Since I got so much feedback I wanted to make another Video about Barbie and how to fix her legs. It’s not really hard. You only need to have her broken leg knob piece, some MEK, a paintbrush and some patience. In my latest video you can see an instruction how to reattach the legs.
When you ask my about the cause of leg problem I can only assume that it could be a material weakness. The forces having impact on the leg knobs must be huge. We have two different materials here that have an impact on the leg. It’s the rubber of the leg and the Barbie body. I think they don’t like each other and that might be the reason for the reaction. Maybe you can imagine it like a magnet and the two don’t like each other. I hope this explains Talking Barbie and her leg problem a bit better to you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You see it’s a lot of work. Being well prepared is never a mistake.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
When I come across problems with broken Barbie necks there are mainly two things, very wide spread in this area. One thing is that you can find the older neck joints very often in the head of the dolls. They simply left the body and popped somehow into the head.
That’s also the first problem I ever came across when I kept my childhood dolls, got them from the attic a while ago and one of my Skippers hit the floor. So the problem that the neck joint disappeared into the head happened. The head fell off and I thought she would really be broken. I think it happened some 20 years ago. I really thought she was broken and threw her away. To be honest this was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made since starting to collect these dolls. There were no guides or indications that simply hot water would have saved this Camp Fun Skipper to be thrown away. I learned all the things that I teach you here much later. Another Skipper, my Teen Skipper was sitting for years on a stair head. One day she fell of. The head, the joint and and the body stayed intact. The only thing she got from this adventure during my absence is a very thin hairline crack. I know she has it but I ignore it and nothing will happen. She’s in one of my showcases.
But what to do when you have a case like mine? Throwing the doll away? Possible but unnecessary as I learned later. There’s a very easy solution to get at least the neck joint out of the head again. You only need a bowl with hot water, a towel and a little patience to get the joint out of the head again. The head itself is made out of rubber. When you heat it up a little bit the head becomes very flexible and it is very easy to get the joint out of the head again. That’s what you can see in the first part of the video. I recommend not to treat the broken hairline cracks if you want them to stay invisible. Often you hardly see that there are cracks when the head is back on.
What do you do when a big part of the neck is broken smoothly out of the neck? Does it make sense to throw the doll away then?
I would say no. If you don’t have the stuff to repair the body immediately it’s no problem just store the broken out piece and the body together so that you know where the body as a whole is. Maybe store it in a zip lock bag?
Good idea! That’s at least an idea how to fight against broken Barbie necks, missing joints and a solution to attack this wide spread problem. But when you want to leave this ” I put her in a zip lock bag” -status? That’s very easy said with a few words. Get yourself MEK to solve this problem. The background why not to use normal glue is that I was told by a lot of collectors that they got problems with using glue. Their arm and neck joints literally crumbled away within the years the dolls were glued. That’s why I recommend to melt it back on. MEK or 2 Butanon is a solvent. We careful when using it. It is said that this stuff can lead to cancer when using it too often. It also needs 24 hours to dry completely but I think it’s okay when we have a normal doll back after the time. For the missing joints I can recommend to replace them. Often you find replacement joints in bundles/ lots with lots of heads. In the last year it was no problem to get them. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Sometimes it’s hard to explain but in the last week I had the idea to tell you a little bit about a comparison between Kissing Barbie and Talking Barbie. I have repaired both and now I’d like to tell you a little bit about my little comparison.
My background of repairing Talking Barbie goes back almost a decade. In the meantime they are hard to get in Europe. Sometimes you find one but in other times it’s very hard to find any repairable Talking Barbie. Talking Barbies have one very big problem. Their legs tend to fall off. It’s a material problem. The PVC of the body reacts with the rubber of the legs. That makes the front part of the leg knob very fragile. Don’t worry. It’s just the front part. It can be repaired. It’s just important that you don’t throw anything away from the leg knob.
The amount of time needed for the repair of a Talking Barbie is hard to estimate. I was asked more often to repair a Talking Barbie for other collectors but I never did so because it’s really hard to estimate how much time you need for a repair. You never need exactly 7 hours. This comes from the fact that every doll is different. The problem is that you never know what’s inside the doll. A doll is not just a doll. Every Talking Barbie is different. It depends on different factors like the storage of the doll, the conditions she had over the last decades. Was she always stored in the same climate? Was she stored in a cellar or attic?
All these factors have an impact of the repair. Even the fact if she was dressed or not can play a role. You don’t know where the o-ring has left a black trace of something very guey. Even when you manage to reassemble her properly you don’t know if she will start to talk immediately again or if it will take a few hours until she is willing to speak again. The mechanism is a fragile construction like I already mentioned in this video here
The Kissing Barbie is an often overlooked doll. Some collectors don’t like her because of the discoloration of her breast/neck part. Others appreciate her but she has also a problem. She tends to break too. Her problem is in her body unlike the Talking Barbie legs. In my opinion the metal stick in her head is the weak point. That’s why you seldom find working Kissing Barbie dolls. Like mentioned in my Kissing Barbie video mentioned below I share some of my ideas what causes the problems.
And yes, I managed to repair her some weeks later but I would not recommend to repair another Kissing Barbie. I think it was a one time thing.
I can’t recommend to repair her. I think she was not planned to be ever repaired. The plastic is very thick and that makes it very hard to cut precisely into the body. She has 4 stabilizers in her body which are hard to cut through. Even the opening itself is very time consuming. I don’t know how long I needed for the opening but I think it was more than one hour. That’s a lot of time for a Barbie. If you have a better idea how to open her let me know in the comments.