I recently purchased a lot of four used 18″ dolls (American Girl style) with some furniture and clothing from a “Buy, Sell, Trade” page on Facebook. When I bought these dolls I knew the perfect use for two of these dolls. I just needed to restore them to new or like-new condition. I have a feeling our “Little Bit” and her sister will appreciate these dolls. Especially once they were restored and dressed up a bit.
I had been in touch with our “Little Bit” (as we nicknamed her very early on) via her Dad recently (like the past week). I had asked if I could send Halloween costumes and some other things for her and her two sibling. He said yes, of course. I asked what kind of characters and movies the kids like. His was response was “Frozen”. With that bit of information I went to work on the dolls and purchased some Frozen costumes for the girls, Frozen outfits for the dolls, Frozen blankets, and some other things. (For background info- she lived with us for about 15 months. She came to live with us when she was 15 months old. She was placed with us after our son Barron passed away and before our daughter Brielle was born. She and Brielle are 8 months apart in age. Brielle and Little Bit were sisters for a while too, until Little Bit was reunited with her family. Little Bit and her Family are all doing well. I am so grateful her Dad has stayed in touch with us. I alway love and appreciate the photos he sends).
I wanted these dolls to look perfect for Little Bit and her sister. I purchased some other toys for their brother. I thought he may not want one of these 18″ dolls with a frozen dress. I imagine he will appreciate the cars, Madagascar movies, and other things we sent more. Not just because he is a boy, but because I spent a bit of time with him while we had Little Bit.
To start the restoration process I did some research online first. I found that a highly recommended cleaning tool for the doll’s face, arms, and legs was Magic Erasers. I love this product, so I was not surprised how well they worked. Another recommended product was detangler to fix the hair, along with a brush like the one pictured below. I used these products and they worked amazingly well! It took only about 10-15 minutes to clean up the bodies and faces on each of the dolls using the magic eraser. It was the hair brushing that took a while. I started from the bottom adding a few sprays of the conditioner at a time. I brushed out the tangles and just a few small mats starting from the bottom of the hair and working my way up. One doll took about 40 minutes. Not too bad, considering I was just watching my kids play outside. Easy work and the outcome was beautiful.
Here are the products I used and can recommend based on my experience. (No compensation for mentioning them, I simply want to help others who want to clean up their dolls).
Below is a great website that goes into more detail about cleaning dolls. Especially those that are particularly old and need a lot more cleaning. Ours had some crayon marks, some dirt, and lots of tangles and a few mats. Overall, they were very nice, high quality dolls and their cloth bodies were spotless- thank goodness! My goal was to restore them to like new condition, and this blog was very helpful! http://dolldiaries.com/look-what-a-little-tlc-can-do/. On this website they also refer to a “Downy dunk”, which is a more aggressive way to treat damaged doll hair. Ours wasn’t bad enough to warrant the Downy dunk, but it is good information to save for the future.
Here are the before, during, and after photos of one of dolls (so you can see the transition)-
I was quite pleased how well these dolls looked after they were cleaned up a little bit. They were lovely dolls to start. They just needed a little bit of TLC. Now that I know how to do it, I can work on the other 2 dolls I bought as well.
Once the dolls were restored and dressed I got the rest of the items ready to ship. Of course the costumes are Frozen themed. I also purchased Frozen themed backpacks for their girls and loaded their costumes and gifts into the backpacks (much easier than wrapping gifts). I wrapped the dolls in their Frozen blankets to cushion them during shipping. My kids helped with getting everything ready to ship to these precious kids. They enjoy being a part of the joy of giving to others. I hope that Little Bit and her siblings enjoy their package when it arrives!