Saturday, September 21, 2013

1960s Black Skipper Released

No Mattel, didn't make a dark-skinned Skipper in the 1960s.  Homecoming Skipper, their first dark skinned version, was not released until 1989.   By then, Skipper's head sculpt had changed.

I wanted a dark skinned Skipper with the original Skipper head sculpt, like the one from my childhood.  So I set out to dye one in the late 1990s/early 2000s.  Skipper's head, arms, and legs absorbed the dye.  Her original blonde hair turned an uneven auburn color after dyeing.  Her rigid plastic body would not absorb the dye and had to be painted.  The end result was so disastrous looking that I kept her locked in a file closet in the doll room until recently.

After reconnecting with poor pitiful looking Skipper a few months ago, I attempted to use a paint pen to paint her one color.  This was another failure.  Skipper and I both realized the inevitable.  I would have to paint her to achieve an even color.  Painting is something I do not enjoy doing, but it had to be done. 

Except for the paint on her face, this is how Skipper looked when I reconnected with her some 13 years after she had been in a file cabinet, out of sight, out of mind.
Skipper's face was painted with a paint pen in the above picture after a failed attempt to dye her one color several years prior.  The paint pen gave her face a wood grain appearance, which did not work for either of us.  I used the paint pen for her body, arms, and legs (not shown) but the paint would not dry completely on her arms.  The next step was to paint her one color with acrylic paint (I didn't remove any of the previous paint).

Acrylic paint sealed with satin finish varnish

The close-up and full-view images illustrate Skipper's even complexion after painting with acrylic paint and sealing with varnish.  This was done after first pulling her hair up into a ponytail and taping her bangs away from her forehead with masking tape.





I am not crazy about her hair color.  The plan was to use brown mascara to darken it, but local stores only had black.  The color remains brassy.

The eyes, eyelashes, and eyebrows are always challenging for me to paint, but I think Skipper has maintained her original little-girl sweetness.


This pink and blue dress looks almost as though it was made for Skipper.






I didn't have shoes to fit her narrow feet, so I made a pair using pink and blue foam and white ribbon for the single-strap vamp.



In this final picture, my childhood doll's photo is combined with my recently released (from lock down) now even-colored 1960s Skipper.

Related post on African American/Black Skippers


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11 comments:

  1. Skipper was my favorite doll when I was growing up. It really irks me that Mattel only rarely releases her in African American versions. There are so many great Skipper and sister sets on the market these days but I haven't bought any of them because not one of them includes an ethnic Skipper.

    Your dyed Skipper makes the best of a bad situation but we shouldn't have to go to these extremes.

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    1. I agree Paulette, we shouldn't have to go to these extremes to have the dolls we want. I vowed years ago that I would never dye another white doll black especially when most companies feel black people will buy the white doll in the absence of a black version. Because I had already started Skipper's colorization process years ago and because I have never been able to discard a doll of any color, I had to even hercomplexion and incorporate her into my doll family. Otherwise, she would have remained in the file cabinet forever.

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  2. Hola Doll, que gran trabajo, la espera valio la pena.

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  3. You did a good job on her, Debbie. Her hair doesn't look bad to me in the photos. It looks like she has highlights. I like the shoes that you made for her.

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    1. Thanks, Roxanne. Her hair is not as bad as I made it sound, but I would like for it to be a little darker. The fiber Mattel used for this particular Skipper is not very porous so it would not fully absorb the dye. If I find a brown mascara, I may still darken it but leave some of the highlights. After this post I found the original dress this doll arrived in -- the Happy Birthday Skipper dress. I need to hand wash it, but if she wears it, she'll need new shoes.

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  4. Sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do! If you want a black skipper, then a black skipper you shall make. I agree that it's supper lame that the teen girls are only Caucasian. They don't have a single age appropriate friend of a different race? Nikki doesn't have any teen sisters?

    Good job!

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    1. Exactly, Muff.

      Didn't you know that Nikki is friend of Barbie and that with Barbie as her friend, she doesn't need anyone else? At least that's what Mattel thinks. Barbie is the ultimate friend, the be all, do all doll that other dolls want to be like. Yeah right!

      I just found out that Mattel is releasing another Skipper in honor of her 50th anniversary. Little Skipper turns 50. Of course there won't be a dark skinned version because there wasn't a dark skinned version released along with the original Skipper.

      I do have the original Happy Birthday Skipper dress that the reproduction doll will wear.

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  5. Debbie, you did a good job on the Skipper. I see nothing wrong with her hair color. Just FYI someone in my doll club has used a permanent marker to color her doll's hair. I have never tried it, but she said it works well.

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    1. Thanks, GG. I had briefly considered using a permament marker to darken her hair. I hesitated because of the possiblity that it might stain her vinyl face area. I will probably just leave well enough alone. Her hair color does add to her uniqueness.

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  6. Nicely done! She still looks very sweet. I must say I am still miffed that Mattel hasn't seen fit to release any non Caucasian versions of the latest Skipper and Stacie dolls. I've been meaning to ask Mattel about that.

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