Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Chatty Cathy Ornaments

Approximately 12 years ago, this Hallmark Chatty Cathy ornament ©2007 was painted brown.

I painted the above Chatty Cathy ornament brown shortly after Hallmark released the white-only version in 2007/2008.   After recently viewing the above photo and noticing the unevenness of the paint, I decided to purchase and better paint another ornament.  The original retail of these ornaments was $16.50 US and $22.98 Canada.  The second one was found for under $4 on Etsy.  Surprisingly, after 12 years, this battery-operated talking ornament still talks when the pull-string is pulled.

The second Chatty Cathy ornament before painting is shown with the original box and in a close-up in the next photo.

Close-up of the second Chatty Cathy ornament before painting

It took about a week to complete the painting of the second ornament because each initial thin layer of paint was allowed to dry up to 24 hours before applying the next.  I did not do this when the first ornament was painted, which resulted in an uneven appearance of the paint.  The results of painting the second ornament are illustrated and captioned below.

After the lace pinafore and hang tag were removed, masking tape was used to cover the bodice of the painted-on dress and the arms.  The face, neck, breast area and exposed back were painted brown as shown in this photo.

After the head, neck, chest, and back were painted, the lips and teeth were painted and the masking tape was removed.  Like the first ornament, other than painting the "whites" of the eyes, I left the irises blue.

The hair was painted black and freckles added to the face.  The close-up before photo was used as a guide to paint the freckles.  Stretch or click this image to see the freckles better.  Next, the arms were painted.  (I used masking tape to protect the red shoulder strap area of the dress while the arms were painted.)

The legs were painted and a final neck, chest, and back touchup was done before Chatty was laid face down upon a roll of masking tape to dry.

End result
Chatty Cathy's lace pinafore and hang tag were replaced before she posed for these final photos.

Side photos

Chatty Cathy posed with the original box.

The 1st and 2nd ornaments are shown in this final photo (stretch or click to enlarge to see the difference in the appearance of the painted surface).


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  1. Aren't they adorable with their brown skin? Thanks for posting about the steps you followed.

    1. I think they are adorable, too, Arlette. Thank you and you're welcome regarding my sharing the steps to achieve this goal. As with anything, patience is the key. I rushed through the first one.

      I used to do this sort of thing often (paint or dye white dolls, Santas, and other things brown), but I realized by doing so on a frequent basis, it sent a message that manufacturers did not have to make black/brown versions. If the white-only versions sell, there is no need for them to invest extra money to make black/brown versions. The only time I do it now is when I reach back to items made in the past (for instance this Chatty Cathy ornament from 2007, but in this case, only because I wanted an improved brown version). I will not buy a new-to-market doll and paint or dye it brown. If one isn't made, then the manufacturer or artist obviously didn't need my money and I am richer as a result.


  2. I really like this little cutie. Have you thought of making her eyes maybe a hazel?

    1. Thank you! I would prefer brown eyes. Unfortunately, if I paint the eyes any color would probably be disastrous. The eye area is just too small for me to paint with confidence, which is why I opted to leave well enough alone and allow her to represent the rare occurrence of a black person with blue eyes (Waardenburg syndrome).



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