Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Wig Donor Willow

Before I get started I have a quick note about prices. Etsy is incentivizing sellers to offer free shipping.  I can see why--it's nice to have the price you see be the price you pay with no surprises.  So, I'm going to start using free shipping.  This will make the base prices look like they've gone up, but the totals should stay similar.  For example, a doll I'd normally sell for $50 will now be $65 or something like that.

For Skye, who is still for sale on the site, I have a special deal for you wonderful blog readers.  I dropped her price down a tad, but please also use the coupon code BLOGSAREFUN to get free shipping! And don't hesitate to let me know if you have any problems with that coupon.

Life is getting a little hectic around my house, with a bathroom that needs to be painted, a deck that needs to be cleaned, a dog who I have to potty train for the second time, etc.  So the blog might be quiet for longer stretches than I'd like.  However, I have three more girls whose makeovers are done (or almost done) at this point, so I'll be posting them over the next few days and then offering them for sale by the end of the week.

The doll I'm sharing today is one that I bought only for her wig...well, and because I love the Kate face mold.

But mostly because I wanted the wig:

2011 My Twinn Kate.
This is a 2011, non-Denver doll.  She has the eerily-faded eyes that have become the hallmark of this generation of dolls.  I wouldn't normally be interested in a My Twinn doll from 2011, but red wigs in the 13-14 size have become very hard to find.  I was willing to pay a certain amount of money just to have another authentic red My Twinn wig in the house.

That first picture doesn't capture the whole wig, though.  Here's a better shot:

And from the back:

The curls in this wig are awesome, and I would have loved to keep them, but I knew from the start that I'd have to straighten the wig in order to remove all of the tangles.  And--spoilers--the tangles were legendary.

The wig will join us again later in another makeover.  It was not destined to stay with this doll.

In fact, I wasn't really sure what to do with this doll.  Non-Denver dolls are not as rewarding to work with as their predecessors.

However, the Kate face mold is adorable, and this particular doll was in good shape:

She has a medium skin tone that's really nice, I just don't think pairs very well with red hair.

There are no obvious picks on her body:

On closer inspection, there are a few small picks near her bottom and (as I realized after I removed the wig) some on her shoulders, too.

The very bottom of the back seam was also open, so I put a few stitches in to close it.

Here's the non-Denver tag:

After some deliberation, I decided to see what I could do with this doll using some of my less desirable supplies--things that I've tried on other dolls and opted not to use.  

This is the same approach I used with Scarlett in order to make her more affordable.  I should have a catchy phrase for these dolls: Bargain Bin Babes?  (Yuck).  Pot Luck Ladies?  (Eew).  Second-Tier Twinns?  (Hm).  Grab Bag Girls?  Maybe that last one.  Anyway, with these dolls I basically dive into my bin of second-tier or used supplies and see what I can come up with.

I also decided to name this doll Willow, in part because of the color combination I picked for her new eyes and hair, but also because redheads always make me think of the Willow character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Here's a closer look at Willow before I did anything to her: 

In addition to her faded eyes, Willow had a lot of missing paint on her lips and some scuffs on both cheeks:

The first thing I did was pull Willow's creepy eyes out.  They were giving me the heebie jeebies.

Also, because of her missing lip paint...

...I rubbed all of the color off her lips:

I also lightly sanded some areas of her face to reduce the scuffs.  She didn't need a ton of work on her face before it was ready for new paint.

I thought I had the perfect pair of eyes for Willow.  These are "Afghan Green" Ultra silicone eyes from Eyeco:

Eyeco Ultra Afghan Green (A141) eyes.
These are premium, top-of-the-line eyes, but I'd tried them on another doll and thought that they were too dark for her.  I removed them and set them aside for another time. 

The eyes seemed great on Willow, except for the fact that there was a big white crease mark in the left eye:

I must have damaged the eye while I was removing it from the first doll.  Note to self: do not remove silicone eyes and expect to reuse them.  To be fair, I don't reuse acrylic eyes, either.  They tend to get scratched or chipped during the removal process.

Next, I tried a pair of light green Platinum Glass eyes from Eyeco that I thought looked strange when they arrived in the mail.

They looked just as strange on Willow's face:

Eyeco Platinum Glass Light Green eyes.
They're not at all realistic and the color is way too bright.

I really wanted green eyes for this doll, so I gave her some Platinum Glass eyes in my favorite color: A251.

Eyeco Platinum Glass A251 eyes.
These eyes were in the second-tier bin because at the time I was thinking I'd try to steer away from using silicone eyes all together.  Since hearing back from the Eyeco representative, though, I've become very confident about these eyes.  I'd no longer classify them as second-tier.  Willow was lucky to get them when she did!

The Platinum Glass eyes are cheaper than the Ultra eyes, but they're still 100% silicone, so they won't change color inside a non-Denver My Twinn head.

With these beautiful eyes in place, I started to paint Willow's face.  I love painting this face!

I gave her some light freckles (because I love freckles):

And then I darkened her eyebrows with acrylic paint:

And darkened them some more:

At this point I decided that the eyebrows were too red, so I added some darker brown.

Here's Willow with the final version of her eyebrows, and with her eyelashes in place:

She was all ready for a new wig!  This is my favorite part of a makeover.

Willow almost got the short red wig that I used for Scarlett.  That was the one I assumed I'd use for her, anyway.  But then Scarlett came along with her big brown eyes and basically demanded that the wig be hers.  So--I dove back into the bin to find something else for Willow. 

I'm so glad I did!

The wig I found for her is a used wig made by Exquisite Doll Designs.  I bought it last July.  This wig has a gorgeous mix of colors, and the hair fibers are silky, thickly-stitched, and wonderful to play with:

The only problem with this wig is that there's a thin patch on the top right side:

The thin patch isn't always visible, the hair can be flipped around to hide it, but it shows up more frequently than I'd like.

I bought this wig for a Denver Vanessa who wore it for several months.  I don't know if it was the thin patch that bothered me or if the wig just didn't look very good on Vanessa (or that I don't like the Vanessa face very much?).  In any case, I pulled the wig off and tossed it into my discard bin...and then I sold Vanessa.

For some reason the thin patch hasn't even caught my attention with Willow.  It's still a gorgeous, high-quality wig, and easily the best wig that was in my bin.

Oh--before I get Willow dressed, here's a picture of the patch of snags on her shoulder that the original wig was hiding.  It's not too bad, but it's easy to see:

And here's a look at the stitches I placed at the bottom of the back seam:

I am no seamstress.
Willow was an add-on to this collection of dolls, so I had to order one more knit dress from Doll Clothes by Carole.  I chose a beautiful hunter green dress that matched the Afghan Green eyes (the first ones I tried) perfectly.  

The dress looks pretty great with the lighter green eyes, too!

I really love how the green sets off this combination of hair and eye colors.

Willow will not come with a sun hat.  That's partly because the print of the hat doesn't match this dress, but also because I wanted to keep costs down for this doll.

Her eyebrows are not quite the right shade for her hair, but otherwise I think she came out pretty well for a Grab Bag Girl:

Here's a GIF of her transformation:

Willow looks more fair-skinned with her blonde hair, probably because of adjustments my camera made for her dark eyes and dress.  Her skin tone has not changed!  She has a lovely, lightly-tanned complexion.  More like this picture shows:

Willow is barefoot in all of these pictures because I imagine her as a nature-loving girl, happiest when she's strolling along a beach...

But I have an extra pair of sandals so she will come with those.

Willow is surprisingly photogenic.  My camera loves the combination of her light hair and dark outfit:

I think the Kate face mold always looks cute with ponytails or hair that's pulled up.  It gives the face more of a little girl look:

Here's a dorky GIF I made of Willow waving:

And here are a few more pictures of Willow with her hair pulled back: 

This hairstyle shows off the color mix in the wig really well.  It reminds me of the Caramel Delight wig from Doll of a Kind, but the blend of colors is a bit more subtle in this wig:

There's a lot of medium blonde in the top layer, and then lighter blonde streaks underneath.  This picture shows that well:

It's a really pretty wig.

I took the hair back down for a few final shots.  It was hard to stop photographing Willow!  I'm so glad I decided to fix her up.

The dress came with a little bow that looks nice in Willow's hair:

The bow can also be pinned to the front of the dress, which looks pretty.

Here's Willow relaxing at the end of the photo session:

She let me grab just a few more portraits:

I like this new challenge of using my old supplies to make a new doll!  I should do it more often.  Willow turned out better than I expected, but that's probably because I've never met a Katie-faced doll I didn't love.

Here's a list of everything I did:
-cleaned all vinyl parts and sanded the larger scuffs
-removed the old eyes and replaced them with Eyeco Platinum Glass silicone eyes
-repainted the face, including lips, eyebrows, and faint freckles
-added new eyelashes
-added a used wig from Exquisite Doll Designs. This wig is gorgeous, but has a thin patch in back where the stitching is visible when the hair falls a certain way
-dressed her in a new dress from Doll Clothes by Carole (which will be paired with white sandals from Simply for Dolls).

Willow's cloth body is in great shape, with just a few picks here and there, most notably on her right shoulder.  I also re-sewed the very bottom part of the back seam.  She is not a Denver doll, though, so her vinyl has a bit of a shine to it and she will not be as durable as her Denver cousins.  She also has silicone eyes.  These eyes look just like acrylic eyes from a distance, but they can collect dust, especially if the doll is stored horizontally.  To clean the eyes, simply run a damp (not dripping wet) Q-tip over the surface of the eye.  The benefit of these eyes is that they will not fade over time.

Willow sold very quickly!  Thank you so much.


  1. You did a fantastic job creating Willow! She doesn't seem like a discount doll at all. I think the China and Virginia dolls can look very nice once they have new eyes, lashes, and face paint. The inferior vinyl quality seems much less noticeable after a good makeover.

    1. Thank you so much, Cami! You're spot-on about the newer dolls! I didn't have very high hopes for Willow, and she ended up surprising me. There are other nice things about the non-Denver dolls, too, like the fact that they don't tend to have squeaky armatures, it feels like maybe the fabric bodies are more resistant to snags (?), and they simply have less wear and tear! I do see a lot of broken fingers in the most recent dolls, though, which is too bad. Anyway, she was a very fun project. Thanks for taking a look! :)

  2. Her face is so engaging and realistic! This transformation is especially dramatic given that she looks like a demon zombie in the before picture. Those faded eyes are nightmare fuel!