Repairing an antique doll is a task that may need some attention to detail and care, but ultimately, if you follow some basic guidelines and tips, it is not an impossible thing to do. Besides, you would be restoring beauty to the doll in order to retain its antique value.
Step 1: Inspect the Doll
You should take the time to check your dolls from time to time, especially if you own a collection of such dolls. Damaged or broken parts can happen very easily. Check the head and the wig, the pate, any broken limbs, parts that need repainting, clothes to patch up, and other such imperfections.
Step 2: Repairing the Head Part
If you notice any need for repairs in the head area, it is best to use a knife. Carefully insert it under the pate, which is usually made from foam or cork. This part directly affects the way the hair lies around the doll’s head. Make sure to match it as best as possible, although this may be a bit difficult if the doll is very old. In such a case, you may need to try out different types to best fit the size and shape. Apply some glue to its base and fix to the doll’s head. Sometimes, you may also need to replace the wig in order to have the doll look more pleasing. Try to select a wig which best suits the doll’s skin color, features and size. You may need to apply glue all around the head’s area so as to help the wig fit well. Regularly comb the hair of the doll and try to wash it from time to time.
Step 3: Repairing Broken Joints and Limbs
A common problem with dolls is broken limbs. The hands, feet, fingers and toes and practically any moving part of the doll, over time have a high risk of breaking. You will need to apply glue to the edges, press together for a few moments until you can see that the glue has stuck well. There may be instances where some part may be missing. In such a case, you will need to fill up the hole where the missing piece used to fit. Use a candle to melt the wax or plastic and allow it to drip until it fills the particular hole.
Step 4: Repainting
If the doll needs repainting, you need to be very careful to do the job well and use suitable colors and tones. Water-based acrylics are usually recommended in such a case.
Step 5: Conservation Wax Applications
There are applications you can use from time to time to help conserve the wax better. Sometimes, stains may appear in some areas of the doll, especially if it is very old. Use suitable solutions to scrub gently with a soft piece of cloth to try to remove such patches.