The key to restoring a doll's face is knowing how to properly preserve its originality and historic value in a way that will not damage the doll. For doll collectors, knowing how different elements will affect the preservation of dolls is vital. Dirt, dust, light, temperature and time can all take a toll on the doll's face and overall appearance. Take your time on the work, especially if the doll is expensive or has sentimental value.
Use lipstick or cream rouge to add cheek color. Keep a couple of colors of each cosmetic on hand to make sure the matching cheek color is applied. Do not use lipsticks with sparkles or shimmery effects. Use your fingers to dab the makeup in and use a cotton ball for blending it in. It sometimes works better if the cotton ball is dampened slightly.
Combine a narrow fine tip paint brush (make sure it is one of high quality) with acrylic paint to touch up or repaint the doll's lips. Acrylic paints for artists can be found at your local arts and crafts store. Purchase colors in numerous shades to match different shades of any doll's lips.
Dry the paint for 24 hours and apply a coat of clear sealer on the doll's lips.
Refresh your doll's painted eyebrows and lashes by using an eyebrow pencil or eyeliner pencil. These items can also be used to touch up molded doll hair. Eyebrow pencils can be found in colors ranging from black to brown.
Repair light scratches on your doll's eyes by applying a coat of clear sealer evenly. You may also use the sealer to brighten dull (but not cloudy) eyes.
Use a doll cleaner or vinegar to clear cloudy doll eyes. This can prove to be tricky and might require a few tries and a combination of methods. Start by cleaning the eyeball with a damp Q-tip. This initial process will let you know if the film on the eye is just on the outside surface or if it has leaked within. If it has spread inside, hold a hairdryer directly on the eye(s). Use the lowest heat setting at first and gradually increase the heat level if the low heat setting has no effect after a few minutes. This may take a while, about 10 minutes at a time. If it appears to be working, continue holding the hairdryer on the eye until the cloudiness is gone.
Use a small artist's brush to repair lashes with missing patches or use the brush itself to replace all missing lashes on eyes that open and close. Nylon bristle brushes come in many colors and the material they're made of is very similar to vintage doll lashes. With care, enlarge the slit where the lashes go with tweezers or a toothpick and tilt the doll's head upside down. Dip the tip of the brush in white glue and push it into the vacant slit. Hold it there steadily until the glue dries. Once the brush has dried completely to the top of the doll's eye, trim the bristles to the desired length.
Repair fallen lashes on stationary eyes that have false doll eyelashes. Thinly line the sticky back of the fallen lashes with glue or use new lashes you've purchased from a hobby or doll specialty store if you can't find the originals. Use a small artist's brush to paint in the eyelashes if you can't find any appropriate replacement lashes to purchase. If you do use new lashes, remove the originals by carefully peeling them away. Use a toothpick to remove any that remain. This ensures that the lashes will all match. Then use the toothpick to work the new or fallen lashes into the ridge and hold them steadily in place until they dry. Once they have dried thoroughly, trim them to the desired length. Tiny sewing scissors work best for trimming.
- Acrylic paints
- Fine detail paint brushes in various sizes
- Lip stick or cream rouge
- Eyeliner pencils (black and brown)
- Clear sealer
- Vinegar or doll cleaner
- Sewing scissors
- Doll eyelashes, optional
Red paints can often bleed into the surrounding vinyl so be sure to use caution when using this color. This shouldn't be an issue if your doll's face is plastic.