Many dolls, both new and vintage, are strung together with bands or cords. Over time, these bands can become loose, creating a floppy, disjointed doll. It is possible to fix dolls, including vintage porcelain dolls, by restringing them. Restringing a doll takes patience because of the small hooks or loops and string, but it can be easily done at home.
Purchase doll restringing elastic that is the same size or a similar size as the original elastic. If the same size of elastic is not available, look at the hooks on the arms or legs of the doll. The elastic needs to fit easily through the hooks without leaving a lot of spare room.
Remove any remaining elastic that is still on the doll. If the elastic is loose, it is best to remove all of it and start again. It is helpful to look at how the doll is strung before cutting it, however. This can serve as a guide in the restringing process.
Estimate how much elastic will be needed to string the arms together by pulling the restringing elastic down the length of the doll’s torso. Double this length, and add a few more inches to account for the knot. Cut the elastic.
Insert one end of the elastic through the hook on the left arm. Pull the elastic through, leaving a portion of the other end hanging out of the doll’s torso. Take the end that is through the left arm hook and pull it through the torso. Insert the end through the right arm hook and pull it back around through the torso a second time. Insert the elastic through the left arm hook again.
Grab both ends of the elastic, and pull tightly. Tie a knot. Double knotting in opposite directions is a good way to prevent the knot from slipping over time. Cut any excess elastic.
Cut another piece of elastic to string together the head and the legs. Estimate the length by pulling the elastic from the head down to the doll’s toes. Double this length before cutting.
Insert one end of the elastic through the hook on the left leg. Pull the elastic through, leaving a small part of the other end outside of the torso, as with restringing the arms. Pull the elastic up through the torso and insert the end through the head hook. Pull the elastic around and down, inserting it through the right leg hook. Pull the elastic and insert it a second time through the left hook.
Grab both ends of the elastic and pull tight. Tie a knot as with the arms, and cut off any excess elastic.
Dolls are strung together in a variety of ways. Some have the legs and head together on one piece of elastic, whereas others have the arms and head on the same piece. It is best to experiment with the elastic to see how it best fits.
Do not pull too tightly on the elastic, as it could damage the doll.
Do not use elastic made for sewing. It will not be strong enough to use in restringing dolls. Rubber bands also do not make a good restringing tool because they do not stand up over time, disintegrating quickly.