Monday, October 3, 2016

Tyra's Poor Doll


I received the above and the following photos from a reader seeking identification of her doll and repair suggestions. (The doll's body is split in half at the pelvic area; see photos below.)

Lovely face, clearly a larger #1 Barbie or Bild Lili clone

Broken lower half with exposed glue from a previous attempt at repairing the legs.

Here's what Tyra wrote initially:
Hello. I love your website and blog. I have a few questions about my doll. She is a 16 inch tall, plastic, molded hair African-american doll.  First, I am hopeful that you can identify her. I have seen a doll similar to her, but that doll has earrings and a different type of ponytail. My doll has no holes in her ears for earrings, and she has a molded swirl ponytail. Second, can you tell me someone who can repair her? She arrived broken in the mail. Then I could also tell that her legs had been glued in. I have enclosed pictures. Thank you so much for your help.  Tyra
I offered that the doll is a 16-inch Barbie clone, but beyond that, the manufacturer's name is unknown to me. My suggestions for repair were vague because I have not encountered a situation of damage like this. I offered and Tyra agreed to allow me to share her photos here in an effort to get the name of someone knowledgeable about this type repair and hopefully for someone to provide the doll's name.
After receiving my reply, Tyra wrote the following:
Hello!  Thank you so much for getting back to me.  I would deeply appreciate it if you could post the photos on your site to see if any of your followers can ID her.  If possible, could you also ask them about someone who could do the repair work?  If I cannot find anyone, I will try to do the repair myself.  How do I remove the old glue that is holding the legs in their sockets?  If I am repairing one part of the doll, I might as well try to repair the legs as well.   Thank you so much for your help.  It is much appreciated.   Best wishes, Tyra



Glued-in legs from a previous repair; Tyra wants to remove the glue and better repair the legs.


Doll's ponytail has a swirl pattern.

I have seen only two other similar dolls that vary slightly from Tyra's doll.  One can be seen in this post.

If you know the ID of Tyra's doll and/or can offer the name of someone experienced with this type repair or repair suggestions, please add a comment so Tyra can see it.

Thank you in advance.



dbg
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32 comments:

  1. Removing glue residue: If the glue is water-based, I've had good results with Purell Hand Sanitizer. It takes patience and repeated soaking, but I've gotten all the wig glue off the heads of vintage dolls with molded hair underneath their wigs (Nancy Ann Storybook dolls and similar types).

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    1. Thank you Gini for the glue removing tip! Who knew?
      :-)

      dbg

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    2. Thank you so much!!! It is much appreciated. Tyra

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  2. I do not know the ID of the doll, but I do hope that she is able to repair it. It seems like a nice treasure to own.

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    1. Thanks, GG. I hope someone can ID her as well. She is a nice 1960-ish era Barbie clone.

      dbg

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    2. You are right. She is a treasure. I was so thrilled to have won her on eBay. Then I was heartbroken when she arrived broken. Thank you for your kind comment. Tyra

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  3. Hi Debbie,
    What a pity that she arrived broken,she's such a lovely fashion doll. I like clones so I've seen packs with Barbie sized versions of this doll and they were always marked made in Hong Kong (there's a white version on eBay now for example) so I think it means she was made in the mid 60s but I never saw more info than that for her.
    Hi Tyra, So sorry about your doll.
    Be super careful with that plastic, I had a vintage baby doll literally crumble to pieces on me and the first break looked a lot like the one on your doll.
    I think this doll could be fixed by someone who restores plastic or celluloid dolls and toys, unfortunately, the only doll hospital I knew of closed a long time ago.
    In any event,the first thing you have to decide is how permanent you want the repair to be because a permanent solution will probably involve using 2 part epoxy and be impossible to reverse if you don't like the results. Some people don't like to take that risk.

    If you would just like your doll to be presentable and dressable, here's what you could do after you get rid if the glue: (these are completely reversible options, this is how you can repair expensive porcelain dolls)
    1) Lightly dampen paper towels and then stuff the inside of the body and her pelvis, building it up more or less into her shape.Make this as compact as possible because it will be like an inner cast. Let each half of her dry and then barely dampen both pieces just enough that you can join them as perfectly as possible and put a high-waisted, tight-fitting panty on her.
    If you can't find one, make her a thong with a quarter inch elastic being the belt that goes around her waist and the crotch piece of elastic being as wide as her crotch. You could also make a panty by applying clear cellophane packing tape where her underwater would be, but it might leave a residue that has to be removed when you find someone to make a permanent repair.
    2) An even sturdier repair that can still be reversed by soaking your doll in water would be to use papier maché mix (shredded paper+ white glue) to lightly dampen strips of gauze and apply and dry layer after layer until you've stuffed her upper body,( at least until past the curve of her waist). Let the ends gauze strips hang out.When that's dry, dampen the hanging strips just enough to make them flexible and join her top and her pelvis stuffing those dangling strips inside her pelvis. Then put the panty/thong on her and let her dry for at least a week. Move her legs a bit as every day so that they don't lose their mobility.
    Good Luck, I hope you're able to find an expert to make her good as new.:D

    Thanks for this interesting post and the other one about a similar doll.

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    1. Thank you Maricha for these detailed repair tips. I hope Tyra finds them useful.

      dbg

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    2. Thank you for all of these suggestions. However, I must admit that I am scared to try these methods. I am all thumbs, and I am scared that I will do the doll more harm. I am still hopeful to find a professional restorer. Otherwise, Maricha can expect a visit from me! Thank you, Tyra

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  4. Tyra,

    Another reader posted a comment for you elsewhere that was meant to be placed on this post, which reads:

    "This doll is blow molded. It is evidenced by the seams you can see in the arms, legs, etc. Sadly, in my 38 years of being a doll designer/toy inventor, there is no glue that works on blow molded PE Plastic. It is the same plastic a milk container is made from. Hot melt glue will also change the shape of the doll's body from the heat. Contact cement does not work and will degenerate the plastic. I have tried to solve this problem for YEARS and never found a solution. Even plumber's glue will not hold. Any glue with an acetone base will melt this plastic. Sorry to bring this news. If you find something that does work, let me know please! I have even asked the top model makers in the toy industry and there is no solution. I will check again with my factory and see if they ever found something that can work! Good Luck! Hope she can be fixed! Ruth"

    dbg

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    1. I cannot tell you how disheartening it was to read your post. Please do check again with your contacts in the industry to see if there is now a substance that can be used to repair the doll. Please also ask if there is now a professional restorer who can do this delicate work. Thank you so much for your help and your time. Tyra

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    2. That's very true. Some plastics can be repaired by creating a plastic paste with Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) but, the fumes!!!
      Polyethylene plastic breaks only seem to be fixed by welding them back together ( reheating the edges and joining them back to each other) but again, the fumes!!!
      I think that's why restorers prefer to create an inner structure that keeps the pieces of plastic together without actually dealing with the break other than covering it up with molding paste so you can't see it.

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    3. Maricha, I was just re-reading your earlier post, and I have some questions. In the paper towel method, how do I keep the two pieces of the doll together at the waist? I understand that I would stuff the body and pelvis with wet paper towels. Then I allow the paper towels to dry. But I don't understand what to do next. What hold the two pieces of the doll together? Thank you, Tyra

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    4. Hi Tyra, Debbie told me about you question.
      The paper, as it dries, keeps the two pieces in place because if you stuffed it in compactly it has the same shape as the doll so the top curve and the bottom curve are like the two knobs on a door. You can't pull them apart because each bulb is too big to pass the waist. But it's still only paper or papier mache, because it isn't as permanent as epoxy would be, you then have to put underwear on her to create an outer support as well. You have to do both: stuffing her makes the underwear able to hold the pieces in place, underwear reduces the possibility that the stuffing will lose its shape and fall apart.
      This method keeps the pieces together enough that you can display her but it's not as sturdy as a permanent repair would be, especially because she didn't break equally apart.
      I hope this helps. Don't hesitate if you have other questions.

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    5. Thank you so much! I understand the process much better now. I will give it a try. Thank you for getting back to me! Tyra

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    6. Maricha, I have another question. This question will seem pretty stupid, so I will wait for the laughter to subside before you answer. There is a product advertised on TV where you place some substance between the two broken pieces. Then you use a blue light to make the substance seal the two pieces. Is this a product that could be used? Thank you again, Tyra

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  5. Hello, Debbie. Are you able to make sure that my above post to Maricha (Oct. 8) gets to her? Or if you tell me how to do it, I will. Thank you, Tyra

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  6. Hello, Debbie. I have a few questions for you and your readers. I am still trying to find something to repair my doll. I have 3 ideas below. Do you think any of them could work?
    1. Bondic. This is the UV-light activated laser glue seen on TV. First, liquid plastic is placed between the broken pieces. Then the plastic is "welded" by the UV light welder.
    2. Gorilla Glue
    3. Flex-Seal. This is liquid rubber that is primarily used to seal cracks, breaks, etc. This is the product on TV where a guy uses flex-seal to repair the bottom of a boat.
    Okay, those are my ideas. As you can tell, I watch a lot of TV!!! Thank you, Debbie. Tyra

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    1. The only glue I am familiar with is Gorilla Glue and I would not recommend using it on the doll. I don't think the other two are safe either. Sorry.

      dbg

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    2. Gorilla glue looks like it was the stuff that already didn't fix your doll. (The glue you're trying to remove)
      Flex Seal would cause a mess and not join the broken parts together.
      I read up on Bondic for you and it seems to have the same problems another person brought up, it won't bond with this sort of plastic.

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  7. I found a website called antiquechilddoll.com. I contacted the person who owns the site and showed her pictures of my doll. She is willing to examine the doll and repair if possible. Her studio is in Idaho, so I will have to mail the doll to her. Obviously, her site has positive reviews about her work. Thumbtack also has several positive reviews, but yelp and Angie's List each have one bad review. Does anyone here have any information about this doll restorer?

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    1. I don't have any information about this person. Proceed at your own risk. She seems not to have offered any guarantees by saying she will examine and fix if possible. I would try to find someone locally or follow Maricha's suggestion for a temporarily fix. Or, you could fill the lower half with air-drying clay and extend the clay upward and outward so the top half of the body fits snugly over the clay extended clay. In essence you would create an inner mold that will hold the two pieces together and the doll can be dressed; no glue necessary.

      Actually, had it been me, I would have contacted the seller immediately and requested a refund. The doll might have been damaged prior to shipping, based on the mounds of glue holding the legs together. Very unfortunate.

      dbg

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  8. Thank you for your opinion. You bring up several different issues, and I think you are right about trying to find someone locally or trying to create an inner mold. As for the refund, the seller was horrified that the doll must have been previously glued, and she refunded my money immediately. She did not want the doll returned. So I decided to try and have the doll repaired, especially since I had never seen the doll before. Thank you for all of help. Please let me know if anyone contacts you with some alternative ideas for me. Thank you again. Tyra

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    1. You're welcome. I feel better now that I know the seller refunded your money. If there are additional comments, I will let you know.

      dbg

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  9. Hello, Debbie. A friend suggested that I could try using a product called Plast-aid to fix my doll. The videos look very promising. Do you or any of your readers have any experience using that product? Do you have any opinion about the product? Thank you very much!! Best wishes, Tyra

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    1. Hi Tyra,

      I have never used Plast-aid. If the videos look promising, it might be worth a try. Good luck!

      dbg

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  10. Hi Debbie,
    If anything, I'm persistent:-)
    This problem was pretty intriguing so I kept asking crafters and cosplayers I see once in a while about plastics, what could stick to them and repair them.
    I think I may have found a product that can be both permanent and reversible,has many online tutorials on Instructibles.com and elsewhere that Tyra could use to learn how to use this product and sticks to the vinyl plastic (really any plastic) this doll is made of and isn't outrageously priced.

    It's called InstaMorph.
    https://www.instamorph.com/about

    I hope she gets to enjoy her doll soon.

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  11. Hello, Maricha. Thank you so much for continuing to ask your circle of friends and colleagues on my behalf. It is deeply appreciated, and it is very kind of you. I will check out the product and the tutorials. Thank you again and Happy Holidays! Tyra

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  12. Hi Tyra, I do hope this helps and wish you Happy Holidays!
    I'll make you an offer, if it's OK with you-after all I am a stranger and not a professional doll restorer- if your doll isn't fixed by next summer, I'll try to fix her for you and all you'll have to cover is shipping.
    I'll have some free time starting late June and since I'll be working on my hobbies and customizing some dolls in my collection anyways, it wouldn't be any trouble at all for me to get to yours too.
    While I do hope you get to fix and enjoy your doll long before then, at least you know there's still one more thing to try. :-)

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!