Op Shop Dolls: More Transformations

As well as having a second Positively Perfect doll to fix the hair on I also brought home another doll last week with serious paint issues.

Another Rescue Doll

Here she is as she was when I found her. I wasn’t sure what type of paint had been used on her but I could see she was going to take a lot of work to get clean. I started off with Fairy Platinum dishwashing liquid and as I didn’t have a soft scrubber on hand I used a Norwex vegetable washing cloth. It has a slightly abrasive surface on one side and I usually use it for washing brushed potatoes. I’d washed it recently so it was fine for doll cleaning and did a good job of removing quite a lot of the red stuff on her face. I followed up with bicarbonate of soda and scrubbing the stains with an old toothbrush. Scrubbing did remove a lot of the paint on her face but she still had red teeth and there were also the pen marks on her torso. I’ve had success getting biro marks off with acne cream so I slathered the remaining stains with Oxy 5 and covered them with cling wrap and sat her on a sunny windowsill. It took several days but most of the stains came off. I haven’t managed to shift the ones on her panties yet but I’m not really bothered about that.

Here she is after being cleaned up
Ready for her close up

After I cleaned the Oxy 5 off her I washed and conditioned her hair. It wasn’t really tangled but it had been given a trim. She’d lost part of her fringe and it was very uneven at the back. I trimmed the back to be more even and did my best to disguise the mess at the front with a wispy fringe. I think that by the look of her she is another Disney Princess Ariel. We seem to get these thirteen-inch Disney dolls pretty often. I don’t have a suitable dress for her so the next job is probably going to be to make something for her.

I haven’t done doll sewing in a long time but I think I need to get back to it so I’ll plan a session to make some simple things like skirts and tops and see where we go from there.



  1. This is indeed a transformation! All your hard work certainly paid off. It says something about parents that they would first let a child abuse a doll like this and, second, that they wouldn’t at least try to get some of the ink & paint off before donating the doll. Looking forward to seeing what doll clothes you make. Maybe it will inspire me to get back into making doll clothes. Congratulations on the clean-up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I wonder about that too. They surely can’t think that we would sell a doll in that condition. If I didn’t take them home and try to fix them they would end up in the bin. Young parents seem to think that kids mess things up and that’s just how it is but it doesn’t have to be. They can learn to take care of things if they are shown how.


  2. If I can’t make a doll better by having redressed or rebodied etc..I save her from the bin.feature her,make her/him a star.The dolls I rehome I tell the kids I picked it for them because…looks like them/etc..year they were born. Every doll shines in their own way. Even a one legged doll can be a mermaid.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i recently started fixing up 18 inch dolls, bought for between 5 and 7 dollars. I couldn’t believe what they could look like. One of my first looked as good as one I had bought new. I have 21 rescued dolls, 3 i bought new before I was aware that i could rescue them and one American doll that was used but in good shape. I can’t get dolls now as we are still in lock down i miss the fixing the dolls but i would have had to re-sale or give them away as I would run out of room., I started this in January or February of this year so I would have more dolls if I wasn’t stopped.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is quite addictive isn’t it. I miss going to markets to buy dolls too. Most of the rescue dolls came from the Op Shop where I used to volunteer and I would just take them straight back when I was done. Occasionally if I really liked one I would buy it myself. I hope that in the coming months we’ll be able to go out doll hunting again. When that happens maybe you can find a charity to donate surplus dolls after you have fixed them up or maybe have a garage sale once or twice a year and use the money to fun your hobby.


  4. Children destroying their toys has been mentioned by a few here. Yes, children can be taught to treasure and look after their toys. I taught my son to be kind to his toys and I’m sure it’s paid off in many ways as he is a gentle soul. When my son was 2, I thought he should have a teddy bear but I had very little money to spare. Luckily I found an old Chad Valley bear in good condition at a market, however it’s squeaker/growler didn’t work. This provided the opportunity for a story, so I told him his bear hadn’t been loved by his previous owner and that’s why the squeaker didn’t work – he’d been hit so many times. Well, the emotional attachment generated by that story was amazing. Years later, as an adult, he would reprimand me for carrying the bear in a way that wasn’t comfortable…for the bear. Now that he lives in the US with his family, the bear is in the charge of my granddaughter. He’s no longer the pristine bear he was at the market, as he’s been well-loved (but not destroyed). Hopefully Teddy will survive the era of grandchildren.

    Liked by 1 person

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