Here are some progress photos for a Samurai Clawd custom I'm currently working on. I wanted him to look a little bit like Lupe Fiasco... but it didn't quite work...
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:
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!