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MH Repaint Part 1: Prepping the doll


This tutorial does not apply to the Ghoul’s Alive line. A Different type of plastic is used for the line’s heads. Using Acetone will result in melting the plastic.

This tutorial is covered in two parts:

Additional resources:

I kept getting asked how I repaint dolls so I’m making a two-part tutorial on the process. There are already several out there but I hope you’ll learn something new from mine. I may do several of these since I sometimes use a different method for a different face mold depending on what kind of look I’m going for.

Monster High dolls are great to work with if you are a beginner since they have very exagerated features that don’t force you to use a specific style. The multiple face molds available also allows you to be very creative with what you want to do.

The subject for this tutorial will be Rochelle Goyle.

Before you do anything at all, plan and know what you want to do and what you’re going to do. For this tutorial, I’m essentially going to keep Rochelle’s default look but give her blue eyes. You can’t tell by the picture but her scalp is like a helmet because of the hair gel used to keep her bangs in place. Much of the glue is splattered on parts of her face and feels sticky. Rochelle is going to need to undergo a bit of a cleaning as prep work.


To remove the head or not…

Some people keep the head on if they don’t plan to reroot the head but I prefer to remove it from the body regardless of whether I am going to reroot or not. I do so because I use a sealer as base before any repaint work is done. Having the head off ensures that the head is evenly coated and that the body doesn’t accidentally get sprayed with the sealer. I’ve also found from customizing a few Monster High dolls that the type of sealer I use doesn’t quite adhere well to the plastic used on the Monster High bodies and eventually flakes off.

To remove the head, you can use one of two methods:

  • Using a Blow Dryer – With your hair dryer on low, just heat  the head/neck area enough to soften the plastic so you can yank the head off. It would be a good idea to wrap the hair around a towel to ensure that it doesn’t get affected by the heat during the process.
  • Hot Water – Just run the doll through hot water to soften the plastic, then yank off the head. Your doll gets a little bath too!

Occasionally you can just yank off the heads without having to apply heat. If you’re doing this for the first time though, play it safe and apply some heat to safely remove the head from the body. As you can see from the photo above, Monster High dolls have a very long neck peg with hooks on the side. It’s very easy for those hooks to tear the sides of a doll’s head if you’re not careful.


Removing the factory paint

If you’re going to remove factory paint, make sure you use 100% acetone. From personal experience I’ve used different variations of acetone and 100% works best. Anything less seems to just smear the paint. When you use 100% acetone, simply wipes away. Any accidental smears can be removed easily on second pass.

Use cotton balls to remove the entire face and q-tips if you want to be selective. Use tooth picks for hard to reach areas like the insides of lips or corners of the eye. Once you’ve removed the factory paint, wash the head with dishwashing soap and rinse off thoroughly and wait for the head to dry completely.

Now we have a perfectly blank face to work with.

Prepping the head for repaint

Now that Rochelle’s face has been wiped, it’s time to prep her for repaint. She has bangs that need to be out of the way so I use a scrungie to keep them in place.

Her hair will temporarily be messy. We’ll get back on that subject and straighten it out once the repaint is completed.

Wrap the rest of the head up that you don’t want exposed to the sealer. Saran wrap is a great tool for this purpose!


I  use only Mr. Super Clear as a sealer because it was designed specifically for vinyl and resin dolls. Other sealers are not designed for this task so they will cause your work to get sticky or get discolored because they were meant to seal artwork on paper, wood or surfaces with some acetone content. You can pick up Mr. Super Clear at Junkyspot or Amazon.

Mr. Super Clear is very bad for your lungs so make sure you are using this outdoors, a well ventilated area or that you are wearing a mask. Be sure to shake the can before use. Make sure that what you’re spraying is about 2 feet away and not too close. Spraying too close would cause an uneven surface that can sometimes cause a caking effect.

Apply Mr. Super Clear UV Flat as base and you’ve got a doll ready for repaint!

Be sure to watch out for the next part of this tutorial!


If you like this tutorial you can show your appreciation by:

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Thanks! =)

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. I am trying to repaint my first doll I have used liquitex instead of mr super clear but I have noticed after sealing the head has some fluff and dirt how can I remove this?

    1. Depending on how extensive the damage is, you either have to wipe it and start from scratch or try to very carefully remove just the undesirable parts with an exacto knife (which you have to have a VERY precise and steady hand to be able to pull off) and make sure you don’t take off more than you intend to.

  2. Hello! I am just starting to try repainting dolls and encountered a problem…
    I applied sealant on the face so I can start working, and I noticed it had bubbles… I tried scraping them off with a toothpick but ended up messing the varnish layer, it has a bad texture now but it didn’t dry yet
    I think I applied it wrong and I would like to correct it, is it possible to remove it? What should I do?

  3. I’m wondering if anyone has ever removed the head on the monster high ghouls alive dolls I’m planning on useing a torali and spectra for a unique set of portable speakers for my niece I would like to get the dolls apart with out braking them

  4. I have a quick question. I want to start up doll customizing, hair and faceup inclusive. I have already started rerooting my first doll a mh draculara doll (idk which one) and wanted to eventually start doing repaints and complete customization… So which would you reccomned doing first? The doll hair rerrot or the face up. I was thinking g start it soemwhere in the middle, with the bald scalp of the head , and the blank canvas of the face. Once the head hair and glue is out of the head , and the face is blank ready for the paint and pigmentation, I’m guessing you do her paint and faceup, and let that completly dry. Then do her hair. But I was wondering. I use the know plug method of rerooting and will bending or manipulating the plastic of the head affect the repaint? Thanks for the help It is great!

    1. I would recommend completing the reroot first since you could accidentally damage any repaint progress you’ve made if you reroot AFTER. Rerooting causes the head shape to warp a little which is likely to crack or smear any painting you have in place.

    2. No, bending or manipulating the plastic should not ruin the reroot, as long as you have sealed in the reroot with some type of glue from the inside of the head. This ensures that hairs you have plugged will not fall out over time or while styling. As for the order that you do the reroot or faceup, it doesn’t really matter but if you end up doing the reroot first, make sure that you mask off the hair before applying your primer layer of Mr. Super Clear or whatever sealant you are using. I hope this helped! 🙂

  5. I really was impressed by your tutorial,the detail was terrific and enormously helpful especially a newbie like me,try for sharing and look forward to pt.2

  6. The long neck prongs are not necessary, only the neck knob. If the prong breaks it isn’t a problem. It can be cut off w/o damaging the hold of the knob.

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