Today I decided to try a project I’ve had in mind for a long time, rebodying a favourite old Barbie.
This is Sally, aka Bubble Fairy Barbie from 1998. Sally has the Twist and Turn body with an elastic coming out of her back which you pull to make her twirl and as I recall she came with a bubble blower and some liquid to make the bubbles. I always found this mechanism a great nuisance when I wanted to change her clothes and it also means her waist joint is a bit loose so she can twirl better. She also has the molded on ballet shoes which I have never cared for. Sally is the only one of my more gimmicky Barbies that I’ve kept because I like her face but finally I decided that she needed a new body and started to look out for one.
Today I was tidying the dolls up and sorting them out and I came across this Fashionista who looks remarkably like Sally in colouring.
Their skin tone is very similar, they could be sisters. Fashionista Barbie has the playline version of the model muse body and a larger head than Sally. I’m not a huge fan of this body but I didn’t have a suitable articulated body and frankly it was one of those experiments where I figured I’d have little to lose if it didn’t work out. I can’t use Sal as she is and the ponytail Fashionista is easily replaceable.
There are many tutorials on the internet that show how to swap a head so I won’t add my own. There are few methods of heating the dolls head to make it easier to remove. I chose to use boiling water but as I was unsure how the dolls hair would react to three minutes of immersion I placed a plastic bag over their heads and dunked them in a beaker rather than a bowl. Once the vinyl had softened I used a crochet hook to gently prise off the heads. The only casualty was the rubber band in Sally’s ponytail but given that Sally has been wearing it for twenty years that’s not such a surprise. As you can see the neck knobs are a bit different. The Fashionista one, on the right had a lot of glue on it which I wiped off. Apparently they are made long like this to prevent the dolls heads from going out of shape in the box if they are stored for a long time. Some people suggest cutting off the prongs to make head removal easier in future. I left Sally’s older style one but did cut the top half off the long one. after I took this next photo.
All that was left to do was to pop the heads back on the bodies and tidy the girls hair.
So what happens now. Well, Sally will join my box of regular volunteers for fashion shoots and other photo stories. Fashionista may either stay around and wait for another good body to come along and be rebodied again if I get hold of a cheap articulated body or she may be sent off to the Op Shop to make some four-year old happy.