Zoe is the six-year-old daughter of one of my fellow Op Shop volunteers. Zoe’s mum Donna recently brought in a bag of dolls that she says Zoe doesn’t want any more. As they all require some attention she left them for me rather than putting them out on the shelves. Dolls rarely get put out without being run by me first. As a lot of Zoe’s dolls came from the Op Shop in the first place it is possible that at least one or two of these are on their third go-round so I wanted to give them a hand to look their best for the next set of owners.
Amongst this group, we have one twist and turn Barbie and two more recent ones, two Simba Steffi Love girls, three unidentified (so far) dolls and one rather surprised looking Ken doll. Ken is the only one who is dressed so I will be raiding my fashion doll wardrobe to dress the others when they are done.
The girls most serious problems are hair, on all of them, marker on the faces of a couple and they are a bit grubby, they may have been played with outside. One Barbie has a chewed hand but I can’t do anything about that. If her hair and face come up alright she will go back to the shop. I don’t think I have a spare body to donate at present. If I can’t fix her well enough she may become an experimental Barbie to practice different things on. It’s always handy to have one of those lying around.
The Clean Up Begins
I decided to start by washing the girls in soapy water and washing their hair with dishwashing liquid at the same time but before I did that I combed the worst of the tangles out of their hair. I don’t usually soak dolls but as their hair was literally standing on end I thought it wouldn’t hurt. I scrubbed them with an old toothbrush and luckily the vast majority of the marks on their faces came off. Instead of rinsing the hair straight away I sat them on the draining board until all of them had been done and I could drain the sink of the soapy water. Then everyone got a rinse and I combed the conditioner through their hair with a wide tooth comb. I left that to sit in the hair while I did each of them.
There were a couple of issues at this stage. One of the Steffi Love’s is a pregnant one although baby seems to have been born already. Steffi has a panel in her tummy for baby and when I washed her I noticed that some pink stains were appearing on the towel I laid her on. Steffi had not been inked so that was a bit disturbing. One of the other dolls did have red marks on her so perhaps it came from that as they were washed in the same water. A more serious issue was that one of the more cheaply made dolls had a lot of hair plugs missing at the front of her head. When I combed out the dolls’ hair some of them shed a lot more hair than others but I don’t think that I pulled it out as I’m always careful not to tug at knots. Anyway, she has lost so much that I don’t think I can save her. I will either use her head, which is very soft, to practice a reroot or see if I can use her body with a different head.
Most of the girls looked a lot better after this but I decided that as some of them still had very coarse looking hair I would also boil wash it. I did them two at a time in a soup bowl and left them in slightly longer than usual. After they all had a turn in the bowl I combed the hair with a fine tooth comb and sat them down to dry off.
Here are the girls after their baths. In my next post, I’ll show you the finished dolls and also Ken who I haven’t started on yet.