This story starts a long time (and by long time ago I mean, about 21 years). I was only three years old, and it was a few days after Christmas. Now this is where the story is a little muddy: I was upset because I was not allowed to go play in the snow with my older siblings, and so, naturally I needed revenge. I sneaked into my sister’s shared room, and with various markers and stamps, completely ruined all of their brand new Cabbage Patch dolls. My one sister was particularly upset by this, she was the youngest out of them (at the time she was nine years old), in fact, she had never forgotten about that doll and used this terrible deed against me (albeit in a *somewhat* joking manner).
Fast forward to last year, with the help of my parents, I decided to replaced her Cabbage Patch doll as a surprise at Christmas. My parents found this doll at a thrift store, and she was quite dirty, and her hair was tangled. I have been learning a lot about doll making and restoration over the past six months, and so was very excited to have this doll to practice on. I think she turned out lovely, and my sister was pretty surprised when she opened up this doll.
(I am always terrible at taking before photos, I get too excited and forget to take a lot of good befores)
But, as you can see, her body had a lot of dirt and stains, and her vinyl head had a few black spots (possibly marker?), and a mess of hair.
How did I do it?
This doll took three days to clean, and about 5 hours of actual work. I was lucky with this doll, she did not have any rips, frayed seams, and her painted face was in perfect condition.
First, I spot cleaned the body: I used a spray bottle mixed with water and a little tiny tiny bit of Shout stain remover. I gently massaged the bad stains and let it sit.
I used a soft sponge and I washed her face and neck. I used an old toothbrush to get into the tiny crevices of her mouth, ears and neck seam. I only used water. After, I used a Mr.Clean Magic Eraser to get some of the tougher marks off of the vinyl. Then, rinsed her face and neck again (to get rid of any Magical residue).
After than I started her hair. I carefully took out her hair elastics (some of them were already broken but tangled in her hair). I was unable to brush her hair at this time. I then prepped a big serving bowl with warm water and baby hair conditioner, and propped the doll’s head into the bowl (so that as much of her hair was submerged as possible without getting her fabric body wet).
She was left over night to soak.
The next day, I used my fingers to gently untangle her hair. I put some conditioner on my hands with water to make it easier (plus it added conditioner more evenly to her hair than the soak did).
I used a spray bottle with only water, and misted her entire body. I gently rubbed out any remaining stains on the fabric.
Then back into the hair soak for another night.
The next day I took her out of the soak and this time completely (and very gently as always) brushed her hair out. I rinsed her hair twice (for good measure), and left her to dry completely.
Once her hair was dry I styled it back into her original hair-do. I also rubbed her body with baby powder to make her smell nice.
The clothing was sourced from my parent’s basement.
Thanks for reading,