Did you know that you can “shrink” vinyl doll heads like Barbie and Monster High by submerging them in an acetone bath? That’s right! If you’re not a fan of the large-headed doll trend, you can always shrink those heads to match their tiny bodies.
I happen to have a headless MyScene head that sat neglected for 5 years because it was so difficult to find a body with a matching skin tone. Coincidentally, Cece from Disney VIP line was a perfect match.
Not bad, right? Unfortunately that face is going to have to come off due to the anticipated acetone bath…
I do happen to be a fan of the big headed doll aesthetic but one of the issues of rebody-ing a doll is that the neck hole might be too small, or in this instance, too big.
The idea is that acetone deteriorates plasticizer content in the vinyl head, the part that makes it soft and pliable. As a result, the head shrinks. Before a head shrinks, it expands. They MyScene head was half submerged in 100% acetone for 3 hours and left to dry for 24-48 hours to make sure all the acetone has evaporated.
After a 48-hour wait, the lower half of the head dipped in acetone has shrunk and fits more snuggly for the Disney VIP body. The head was washed thoroughly to make sure there wasn’t any acetone residue which could melt the hard plastic body.
I got the results I was looking for which is great! You can’t even tell that the head was subjected to an acetone bath unless you know what to look for. There is a very subtle seam that is barely noticeable. I had to darken the photo to make it more obvious. It’s a very minor flaw that a good repaint can hide.
The downside to acetone baths in an attempt to modify vinyl heads is that it’s completely unpredictable. Even dolls from the same manufacturer seem to vary in results, how long they need to be submerged and how long it takes for the head to deflate. This isn’t the kind of process that can be reliably used for customizing purposes since there is no guarantee you’ll actually get the results you want or expect.