Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Sticky-Arm Skye

The Etsy shop is now open!  Thank you to everyone who has stopped by so far.  Ashley and Katie have already left for their new home!  I will miss their happy faces.

The doll I'm going to show you today was purchased before I started this blog, but I had another generous seller who was willing to let me share several full-sized "before" photographs from her shop.  I'm very grateful!

This is a beautiful pale-complexioned doll from 1997 with the Rosemary/Caitlin face (I can't tell which is which):

Used My Twinn Rosemary/Caitlin from 1997, photo courtesy of suburbantreasue on Etsy.
This girl had some bad staining on her cloth body, a broken arm that had been taped back together with medical tape, no eyelashes, lots of scuffs and gouges in her vinyl, a badly squeaking armature, and the application of some very creative finger and toenail polish.

I like how she still sits on that table with some style, though!

Photo courtesy of suburbantreasue on Etsy.
Her whole body was very dirty, but the worst staining was along the neckline:

Photo courtesy of suburbantreasue on Etsy.
I removed and discarded the wig as soon as she arrived.  It was in pretty bad shape and I don't tend to have much luck restoring wigs with bangs.

I also removed her head right away because it was coming loose and I knew the body was going to need deep cleaning.

Because I can't tell Rosemary from Caitlin, and because of the eye and hair color combination I had in mind for this doll, I re-named her Skye.

Here's Skye's head before I did any work on it:

She had a scrape on her nose, a gouge in the vinyl above her left eye, missing paint on her lips, and several smaller scuffs and marks on her cheeks.

Skye's original eyes were blue, but they had some mild fading in them and looked too purple for my taste:

I knew I would have to replace the eyes and do a lot of sanding and cleaning to reduce the blemishes.

The missing lip paint was also pretty extensive.  That, along with the dark line marks on the inside of the mouth, made me decide to strip the paint completely and start over:

Looks like somebody colored the inside of her nose, too.
In addition, I noticed that Skye's neck was damaged and a piece of the vinyl flange had broken off and fallen into the head:

I set the head aside for a while and worked on Skye's body first.

The biggest challenges with the body were getting the stains out of the fabric and vinyl and removing the tape from the broken arm.  While the tape itself came off pretty easily, the sticky residue from the tape did not come off easily.

I removed the foam from the cloth body and washed it in the washing machine.  While the foam was drying, I soaked the body slip several times.  This did wonders for the brown stains on the cloth, but did nothing to remove the tape residue! The arm was still super-sticky.  

I finally resorted to spraying Goo Gone over the vinyl and the cloth and leaving it for several hours.  This did the job for the most part.  Then I washed the body a final time and rinsed it thoroughly.  Phew.

Here's how the broken arm looked after cleaning:

There's still a faint red stain around the top of the vinyl arm that I could not remove:

Here's the body slip after cleaning--with no signs of that big dark stain around the neckline:

After dealing with the tape and the fabric stains, I set about removing the nail polish from Skye's fingers and toes.

The previous owner must have been very creative (or a Notre Dame fan??)  because Skye's fingers were done in gold...

...while her feet were done in glittery blue (on top of gold)!

I was able to get Skye's fingers very clean, but some faint hints of glitter still remain on the toes.  There's also a dark area on top of the right foot that did not come off:

These purple stains on Skye's leg also eluded my cleaning efforts:

Once the limbs were cleaned up, I turned Skye's slip body inside-out and oiled her extremely squeaky armature with WD-40:

I let this dry for several weeks and then wiped off all of the excess oil with a cloth.  If anything, Skye's armature is too smooth now!  Her body doesn't flop around or anything like that, but her neck and arms move more smoothly than any other My Twinn doll I own.

Once the armature was dry, I repaired the broken arm.

I added a small piece of plastic to the damaged area of the vinyl (sorry I didn't get a picture of the damage--it was a rip that allowed the flange of the armature to poke into the arm):

Next, I glued everything down firmly with my hot glue gun.

I stitched up the hole in the fabric part of Skye's arm, and then I re-stuffed the body with foam.

Here's how the damaged arm looks now:

The arm feels nice and sturdy and is ready for some new adventures!

After I had the body under control, I turned my attention to Skye's face:

The first thing I did was strip the paint off Skye's lips.  I used acetone for this (which I generally try to avoid) because I never have much luck getting all of the lip paint off with RemoveZit.  I'm always very careful and sparing with acetone, and I rinse the vinyl immediately after each application.

Here's Skye with blank lips:

The next thing I did was to attack the deeper scuffs on her face, like the one on her nose and this spot above her eye:

I had to get out a few different kinds of sandpaper for the deep eye gouge--all of them in the wet/dry ultra-fine category.  I tend to use dry sandpaper first, and then switch to wet towards the end.  I sand from larger grit (350) down to super-fine (1600), and then finish up with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Unfortunately, I had to sand away part of Skye's eyebrow in order to make the gouged area smooth:

There's still a small line defect in this area, but it's much, much less noticeable than it used to be (and very soft to the touch!):

In the past I've had a lot of trouble placing Secrist acrylic eyes into the Rosemary head mold.  Perhaps the eye sockets are smaller than some of the other faces?

Here's a rejected Rosemary head with my last attempt at placing acrylic eyes into this face. You can see that--even after trying for over an hour and destroying my fingers in the process--I was never able to get the new eyes completely straight:

These days, I use this rejected head to practice various techniques (as you'll see in the next post).

In an effort to avoid that struggle this time around, I purchased some Eyeco "soft glass" (silicone) eyes.  

These eyes are super-easy to insert, but I'm not so sure I picked the right color:

Eyeco Ultra A151 eyes in 21mm.
Yikes.  Talk about an intense stare.

She's a White Walker!
The eyes have gorgeous detail...

...but they aren't right for Skye.

I tried again.

I picked another pair of silicone Eyeco eyes, but this time I chose a light grey color.  I have yet to find a nice grey acrylic eye, and I've always wanted to make a grey-eyed doll, so this was a good opportunity.

Eyeco Ultra 205 eyes in 21mm.
Much better, right?  She doesn't scare me now, at any rate.

Eyeco has two different lines of soft eye: Platinum Glass and Ultra.  The Ultra eyes are a bit more expensive ($40), but they have amazing clarity and detail:

These soft eyes can attract dust and lint (especially if Skye is laying on her back) but it's easily removed with a damp Q-tip.  Just run a Q-tip under water, squeeze out the excess water with your fingers or a towel, and then run the Q-tip gently across the surface of the eyes.  Good as new!

I knew Skye was going to be a blonde (spoilers!) so I gave her light eyebrows, pale lips, and rosy cheeks (with no freckles--for once):

I think her right eyebrow ended up slightly higher than her left, but I kind of like the expressiveness that this adds.

Next, I gave Skye some eyelashes and then reunited her with her clean, repaired body!

You can see the red stain on her left arm even from a distance, but most clothing will cover it up.

Here's the stitching on the back of her body:

And, finally, here's Skye with her new wig!  This is a Monique "Majesty" wig in size 13-14" (Sunburst Blonde):

The hair is great for covering up the little picks and snags on the back of her body!

They're not too bad, though:

I'm happy with how Skye's eyes and eyebrows coordinate with her hair.  It's not a color combination I've tried before:

The best fit for Skye's coloring was the blue and tan striped dress from Doll Clothes by Carole.  I just love this dress on Skye!

I'll confess that the Rosemary face mold is not one of my favorites.  In fact, I went for a long time without buying any new dolls with this face.  The ones I had just tended to look a bit bland no matter what I did.

But something about this exotic eye color makes Skye seems special to me.  Perhaps it adds a little mystery to her mild face?

This Monique wig is also nicer than I expected, with a sunny mix of platinum and golden blonde strands.  I'll certainly be going back for more.

Skye has come such a long way from her scuffed-up days with that sticky, broken arm!

Here's a list of all the work that was done on her:
-deep cleaning of the cloth torso
-arm repair
-oiling of the armature
-vinyl cleaning and scuff removal
-new face paint (including lips and eyebrows, no freckles)
-new Eyeco Ultra soft glass eyes
-new Monique Majesty wig
-new eyelashes
-new outfit

Skye's remaining flaws are that she has a red stained area on the top of her repaired arm, she has several snags and picks on her cloth torso (front and back), there are little hints of toenail polish left on her feet, and some ink marks on one calf and the top of one foot.  Her armature doesn't squeak anymore, and it moves very freely.  She still hold poses and stands on her own.

If Skye's ethereal coloring and soft smile speaks to you, come visit her in the Etsy store and see if she's still looking for a new home!

1 comment:

  1. she's so pretty, I'm in love with her expression. ♥


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