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An illustrated guide to repainting


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:

Since my photographs aren’t always the best references, I made an illustrated version to better show what’s happening during my repaint process. Be sure to check out my previous post on how to prep your doll for repainting, and the tools and guidelines.

It’s better to measure twice and cut once so if you aren’t quite sure what you’re going to do with your doll, sketch it out. The face sculpt you choose is essentially a canvas that will dictate or limit what you can do. The sketch doesn’t have to be accurate but just think of it as a blueprint that you’re going to try to follow when you start repainting. You can also use your sketch as a reference to keep you on track if you aren’t working from a reference photo or illustration.

For example, plan on limiting the sealant layers that you’re going to use. You know that you have to reserve at least 2 layers to prep and another for the blush. The next few layers will depend on how comfortable you are on drawing hard areas such as the eye lashes, eyebrows and lip detail. Use the sealant as a way to secure layers so you can do parts that you have difficulty with.


First Layer

Apply sealant!

Apply blush using chalk pastels.


Second Layer

Apply sealant to secure blush work.

THIS IS COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. This is my own preference because it gives me a feel for the eye shape. I use color pencils to roughly outline the eye shape. It does not have to be perfect.

This is a continuation of the step above which also makes it optional. Once I have my eye shape, I paint in the sclera with acrylic paint. Once the paint dries, I lightly add some shadows using color pencils and apply gloss to seal it. This step gives the sclera a translucent effect once the iris are added later on.


Third Layer

Apply sealant to secure previous layer.

You could combine the steps from this layer with the previous one if you want to “skip” a sealant layer. It’s ideal to try and accomplish your face up with as little sealant layers as possible.

For help on drawing eyes, just use the same techniques you would in painting eyes. The only real difference is that you’re drawing on a molded surface. The same applies for drawing lips. Add blush if you need to.


Fourth Layer

Apply sealant to secure previous layer.

This layer is optional. Do it if you have difficulty drawing eye lashes so that you don’t disturb the progress you made from the previous layer. Turn the head upside down to help you with symmetry. It also helps to count how many lashes you drew from the opposite eye so you can make sure that they match up.

Fifth Layer

Apply sealant to secure previous layer.

This layer is optional. Do it if you have difficulty drawing eye brows. Turn the head upside down to help you with symmetry.

Add highlights to the eye and add more definition if you need to. Your repaint is essentially “done” at this point.


Sixth Layer

Apply sealant to secure previous layer.

Apply gloss to the eyes and lips as finish.

And there you have it!

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Thanks! =)

This Post Has 59 Comments

  1. Hello,
    I recently decided to try my hand again at repainting dolls. I will be repainting vinyl Tonner dolls and Barbies. Since I last tried, ages ago, I have discovered people are using water color pencils and pastels. I ‘ve found tutorials to watch for technique, they use the same dolls I want to use, which are helpful but I need to know the colors to start with as they use a sharp colored pencil to draw first the shape and start shading. One starts with pan pastels then goes to pencil then to paint. Another basically uses colored pencil for in and around the eyes and shadowing around the eye then pastels for blushing in various skin tones. I am an artist and can figure the shading pastel part I just don’t which color to start with, it looks like a reddish brown but I am not sure. I will be using Farber Castels. Thank you in advance for your time.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial, I was looking for something that would help me to make my dream come true, to be clear and step by step. Thank you for taking the time to give us step by step how to make a repaint.

  3. you have so much patience. It’s quite awesome of you to walk newbies through all of this as you do. Thank you 🙂 I have wanted to try repainting my dolls since I was knee high to a grasshopper but was always afraid i’d ruin them (and break their little dollie hearts) Instead I made them elaborate costumes and hairdos 🙂

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