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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Grammy's Fashion Doll Makeover

The wedding is over! Now time for me to be a REAL Grammy! No more "parenting" or having to discipline grandkids. I get to be a regular, NICE, fun Grandma! When my granddaughter asked me HOW I was going to spend my time, when there was no one here but Grandpa and I, most of the house was bare with so much of their furniture gone, and no grandkids to take care of, I told her I had a couple of things in mind. I told her I planned to learn some more Spanish. And a fun project I had in mind was to find my box of Barbies from the garage, bring them inside, and give the icky, old ones haircuts! When I had time to go find my box of Barbies, I had forgotten that our chocolate lab, Sampson had found my box one winter and dragged all of the Barbies and all of their clothes all over the yard. I managed to find most of them, but some that were chewed and broken were thrown away. Poor Joey, one of my remaining NKOTB dolls had been surviving by having one his legs duct taped on. He went into the garbage with other chewed up Barbies. I was happy that my favorite ones, the ones I'd been given for Christmases or bought myself were safe. All of the Barbies (plus Kens and NKOTB dolls) were muddy and in bad need of baths and shampooing, plus hair treatments to restore icky, matted hair. They went into the sink with some Woolite. Also, I'm sure none of the clothes had ever been washed, so I put all the clothes (except leather or fur) in a bowl with cold water and Woolite.

Next came rinsing of dolls and WHAT to do with their hair. I remembered a couple of ideas I'd seen on Pinterest. Both used liquid fabric softner, which I didn't have, and one mentioned a wire wig brush. I didn't have that either. But when cleaning out my closet after my daughter and her kids moved, I did find a never-been-used pet brush that had a wire side. First I tried using the wire pet brush with some hair oil that I use to help brush out my own wet hair. This seemed to work really well. I did notice the doll hair took overnight to dry out this way. But I really like the results!
Then I tried wringing out the wet doll hair and using dryer sheets which I wiped through the wet hair and then used the wire pet brush. The hair easily brushed out. Both ways worked great, and the icky, tangled hair brushed out.These dolls are pulling a "Lady Godiva" by trying to cover up. Shakira is even lending her microphone to help her friend be modest.
I rinsed out the clothes in cold water and placed them on a towel to air dry. Clean clothes would be great for grandkids to play with!
Now to decided what to do with all those short skirts and tops that don't cover tummies and other parts of dolls tops that my granddaughter are learning to cover when dressing themselves, by using t-shirts and leggings. Time to use another tip I'd seen on Pinterest. This came in handy for BOTH the girls and boy dolls. My Ken dolls has all come in swim suits, which had ripped crotches. My KKOTB dolls had fake jeans that had ripped crotches too. Another was NKOTB dolls all had jackets or sweaters, but had open chests. Time for boys to be modest too!
Yes, nail polish did a good job covering all the dolls so that even when younger grandkids rip all the clothes off, the dolls will still be "dressed." It was fun during the "painting" process watching the Barbies "exercise" and the boy dolls go through superhero training while drying!

Now for the matter of one of my finds, when I opened my box from the garage. I was suprised to pull out this princess doll. I have to say here that I have NO PROBLEM with my granddaughters having princess dolls, or being very princessy! They are adorable and I love little princesses! It's just that I have never been princessy. So when I found this doll, I knew she was a cast off from a toy cleaning out, giving away project my daughter had done, and this doll made her way to my box. My first instinct was to throw her away. (The picture is after her hair was washed. She was much worse before. I actually took this dress out of my garbage to take this picture.) But I decided that maybe there was hope for her, if I gave her a good make-over. Here's she is before and after:

                    Meet my EMO girl. Much MUCH better!

I'm not an obsessive doll collector but I DO like fashion, hair and makeup. The fun thing about having clean hair on Barbies is you can do so much! I gave them all at least a trim. Plus several of them got shorter cuts. If you want to add bangs, don't cut them. But do try eye pencil bangs! Also, powder eye shadow can be used as highlights in hair. I added eye pencil to all but two of the girls since I didn't like the old, light colored makeup, and I like the eyes to look a bit larger. Makeup and hair product work well on Barbies because it can be washed out. I should add that once the hair is cleaned and brushed out with a wire brush, plus ends are trimmed, it's easy to do different hairstyles. All it takes is a water in a spray bottle to spray, comb out with a regular comb and you can start again. If you like back-coming that's a fun thing to try also. I used some little clear hair elastics to attach some bangs behind heads and to make pig tails.

This is also showing how clothes work with the modest nail polish covering. Mini skirts or shirts that don't quite cover and be used now. I also like the look of the nail polish so much that I didn't dress them all.

Here are my two favorite dolls. One is Shakira. I was worried about washing her hair because it is so pretty with the long curls. I found that any doll with curly hair stayed curly! Even my doll that has crimping, which you'll see later. This other doll I love because she's the closest thing to having red hair - my obsession since I was little. They are hard to find now. I guess I could buy Ariel and give her a make-over!

Ready for more? It's SUPERHERO TIME!

This Ken was not my favorite before. I loved the added "tights," the silver shirt and the silver highlights and across his face! This Barbie was pretty boring before. The darker polish, makeup, plus hair cut (and LOTS of playing with her hair) really made her so much cooler!

Surfer Barbie and Ken both needed hair cuts and look SO MUCH cooler when painted. They both transformed to SUPERHEROS. Watch out for what they'll do with that board!

This Barbie is Eva Longoria to me! I gave her a layered cut. Her hair was so uneven before. Jonathan looked so great after his blue and silver paint! Parts of his hair was worn off so I added the silver highlights. He was actually my FIRST SUPERHERO. He inspired the others. These pics are cheesey, since they both look much cooler without the foil skirt and cape. But my husband liked them. He had me put a foil mask on Jonathan, but I didn't love it. I'm just showing what you can do, and if I had cloth that matched I might be tempted to get more creative with costumes.

Jordan had worn hair too. I covered it with black marker. Jordan's weapon is his tail! He can lasso, whip and strangle an enemy with that thing! Won't I have fun trying to explain his tail to my grandkids? I just had to add my Emo Girl to this.

Note: The legs of all the dolls are rubbery, so nail polish will feel sticky. Pants will probably stick to legs and polish may come off. Also, if you throw all the dolls into the same bag, expect them to rough-house while you're not looking, and you will find their colors on each other. (Boys will be boys, but girls get pretty catty when they get by together.) If you have an OCD granddaughter like mine, you'll want to keep polish near for quick fixes. I have learned to put them away in tissue layers or separate bags.

Bring on the grandkids! Grammy is ready for a sleepover SOON!


  1. Larraine, I love what you did to your Barbies and Kens. Their hair styles are just perfect, and I love the paint for modesty effect!

    You used your beautiful artistic creativity on them and made them beautiful. Your day has finally come to do something you have thought about for years, but had other people to take care of. So happy for you. And I am so in love with your Dolls.