How To: Repainting a Fashion Royalty Doll

Happy 2017! I hope everyone had a good holiday season, filled with family and friends who may know that you collect and/or customize dolls but don’t judge you (too much) for it.

Anyway, my first commission of the year was an exciting one because I was asked to repaint my first Fashion Royalty doll!

What is a Fashion Royalty doll?


For copyright reasons I can’t post factory photos of these beautiful dolls on this blog, but here’s a link to a google image search I did for them: GOOGLE SEARCH!

At a very basic level, Fashion Royalty dolls are a line of high-end fashion dolls created by the company Integrity Toys. Integrity Toys is known for creating diverse lines of stunning fashion dolls, from a collection of Dracula’s brides to a collection of Jem and the Holograms. The Integrity Toys link above takes you to their page with all their different doll brands, or collections.

Fashion Royalty dolls are similar to other high-end fashion dolls, like Tonner dolls. They are incredibly articulated: all the normal points of articulation, but their chests and hips also swivel around. Barbie is perhaps a more affordable, distant cousin. Here’s a comparison picture of a Barbie I had lying around and the repainted Fashion Royalty doll.

And people have problems with Barbie’s body type. (Also this is a photo of the Fashion Royalty doll after I’ve blushed and shaded her body, they don’t come out of the box looking quite like that!).

Integrity Toys’ dolls retail for anywhere from $120 to $200+, depending on the collection and the outfit. They are only sold through authorized dealers, which are accessible through the Integrity Toy’s website.

How to Repaint a Fashion Royalty Doll

So to be really straightforward here, repainting these dolls is exactly the same as repainting any other Barbie or MH or Bratz or EAH, except they cost like $200 so it’s a little more nerve-wracking. If you were hoping for a detailed tutorial, this isn’t the right place because I’m really just covering the basic steps I used to repaint this beauty.

First Steps First: Take a good look at the factory paint job.


If you’ve repainted dolls in the past, you know that some dolls have very detailed head molds, so you can see exactly where the factory intended the nose, mouth, eyes, and eyelids to be. Examples of these dolls are some Monster High and Ever After High Dolls, some Barbies, and most high-end fashion dolls like Fashion Royalty dolls. Other dolls don’t really give a damn where the eyes or nose or mouth goes, it seems. I’m looking at my faceless Bratz and Moxie dolls, which stare at me from weirdly lumpy faces…and is that tiny bump in the middle supposed to be a nose?!

I recommend taking a look at the doll’s factory paint because that will tell you a lot about how much creativity you can have while repainting that doll. Fashion Royalty dolls have very, very, very sculpted face molds. They are pretty much meant to look a certain way, and only that way. There will be a pretty limited range of expressions you can pull out of them if you follow the mold.

Step Two: Prep for Repainting

1. Remove eyelashes

The photo on the left shows the tools I used to remove the lashes. Photo on the right shows the lashes removed.

You can do this with a small exacto knife or razor blade. Beginning on the outside or inside edge, carefully chip away at the lashes until they begin to peel or chip off (newer glue will peel, older glue will chip). You’re not using the knife to cut, but rather to chip or scrape. Use pliers to pull the lashes off when they are mostly detached.


The bad news: After you wipe the factory paint off with acetone (that’s the next step, just below), it’s likely that the glue and whatever paint is underneath the glue will remain on the doll. Acetone does not remove lash glue from dolls. Even worse, I don’t know what does. If you do, please leave a comment!

On other dolls with this problem I have been able to scrape and chip the glue away with an exacto knife. With this doll, I scraped away what I could, but wasn’t willing to start cutting for fear of damaging the doll’s face.

How to solve the problem: unfortunately, ‘solving’ this problem is really just working around the problem. Instead of chipping more paint (and possibly plastic) off, I opted to incorporate the remaining glue and paint into the repainted doll’s upper lash line. You can’t even notice it in the end!

2. Apply acetone to get the factory paint off!

Yes, it’s terrifying to apply a chemical that eats away solid plastic to a $200 doll’s face, but that’s what you do.

Some pointers:

  • Acetone will not ruin the doll’s face, but it WILL RUIN the doll’s hard plastic body. If you are a shade more paranoid then I am, or don’t trust yourself not to fling acetone everywhere, you may want to wrap the doll’s neck and body up in saran wrap or foil or something to protect it from acetone drops.
  • I don’t recommend wrapping the doll’s hair up before wiping the face. Acetone on the doll’s hair for a moment or two won’t damage the hair noticeably. Furthermore, when hair is wrapped, often times the wrapping will obscure the sides of the face or forehead too, and when wiping the paint off smudges and drips can collect unseen in those covered areas. You want to make sure the entire face is clear of all paint.
  • To get all the paint: I start with Q-tips and then finish wiping the face with a cotton pad thing that I cut into quarters, as shown in the photo above.

Some problems:

  • Staining: Despite the quality of a Fashion Royalty’s vinyl, or perhaps because of it, some staining is probably likely. My doll had light staining under her eyebrows, on her eyelids, and on her lips.
    • Two options: Fix it or forget about it.
      • Fix it: Staining can be fixed by applying 10% benzoyle peroxide cream (it’s basic acne cream available at drugstores) onto the doll’s stain and letting it sit in the sun for a day or so. Rinse and repeat if necessary. HOWEVER, I didn’t try it on my Fashion Royalty doll, so I can’t say if this treatment will damage the doll’s skin. It’s a possibility.
      • Forget about it: I just covered the stains up with my repaint job and it’s totally not a big deal.
  • Remaining eyelash glue: see above for a discussion of this.

3. Prepare for a first layer of spray sealant.

Wrap the doll’s hair and body securely in saran wrap, foil, cloth, or whatever the hell you want. It doesn’t matter. Just be sure to leave the entire face exposed to the spray – otherwise you will notice a line where there is sealant and where there is not.

4. Seal

Before you put any paint or pencil on the doll, first seal her face with two layers of whatever spray sealant you prefer (I use Mr. Super Clear Matt UV Cut). They should be sprayed about 10-15 minutes apart (some people wait eons before spraying, this isn’t necessary. Such a thin coat dries fast).

Repainting the Doll

img_7740My Materials:

  • Faber Castell and Derwent watercolor pencils
  • Erasers (normal ones)
  • A variety of brushes. Going left to right in the photo above:
    • One big and fluffy for applying blush and for brushing eraser dust from the doll’s faces
    • One really (30/0) with a fine tip to paint the lips and upper lash line
    • One tiny (10/0) flat brush for applying tiny lines of makeup and the eyebrows.
    • One with short, firm bristles to apply eye makeup and shading the nose
  • Faber Castell chalk pastels
  • Cheap-as-I-can-find acrylic paint
  • Mr. Super Clear Matt UV Cut

I’ll just show my process here with some step-by-step pictures.


This photo shows the pencil and pastels I have put on top of the base layer(s) of sealant.

I’ve outlined the eyes, lashes, eyelids, and eyebrows with watercolor pencils. The shading is done with chalk pastel, dusted onto the eyelids with the short, stiff-bristled brush with the clear handle. Her eyebrows were filled in with black and brown pastel dust.

If you notice the yellow-ish look above her eyes, that’s the staining left over from the factory paint. I just blended it into the new faceup.

After this work, I SEALED the face once more.


After the sealant dried, I added irises and pupils, filled in the brows with pencil, added a small mole, built up her makeup, colored in her lips (with pencil) just to see if the color looked good, and blushed her face.

To blush faces, I start with the cheeks, but then I blush the forehead, the tip of the nose, and the chin as well.

After all that was done, I sealed her again.


After the sealant dried I did more work on the eyes. I shaded the irises, darkened the pupils, and added some white highlight to her lids and brow-bone, while making the lashes and makeup darker.

Then I sealed.


Here I’ve added teeny-tiny (JESUS THESE DOLLS ARE SMALL) lower lashes, and a few upper lashes. I built up color on the whites of her eyes, darkened her mole, and perhaps most noticeably, painted her lips in! I also painted in tiny dots of white in her eyes (used a toothpick for this, although you could use a tiny brush too).

Another thing I did was use black acrylic paint (diluted, of course. Always dilute) to paint over her upper lash line. Remember that glue that remained from her lashes? It has a sort of rough texture that prevents the black pencil from getting a really solid line in there.

Painting over the lashes with black was a very nerve-wracking moment.

One more layer of sealant (yes. So much sealant).


Here she is with a finished face! To add the finishing touches I applied several layers of a satin gloss to her lips. Her eyes have been left matte so the owner can take photos of her without shine getting in the way of the details.


Most of the shadows on her face are produced by her own mold and my harsh lighting, but there is a bit of contouring that I added. I add contoured shadows to the sides of the nose, the temples, and under the cheekbones in all my dolls.


There’s a photo of the doll after I blushed and shaded her body. For a tutorial on blushing/shading a doll to make it look more realistic, check THIS THIS link out!

So if you have one of these dolls and you’re dying to repaint it, go for it! Don’t be afraid of ruining a doll you spent like $200 on. No big deal.

Not. It’s a big deal.

Be very careful.


Makeunder Doll Tutorial Pt 3: Making Shoes

Whoa…when I started this series I clearly forgot how much time tutorials take! Goodness.

But finally (FINALLY), the final installment on making makeunder/rescued dolls. This tutorial covers my very simple shoe-making process.

For the first part, a tutorial on repainting makeunder faces, go HERE!

For the second part, a tutorial on making simple dresses, go HERE!

And for the third part, a tutorial on making shoes, stay here.


  • Polymer clay in whatever color you want your shoes to be
    • Preferably use Fimo clay or Sculpey Primo (the good stuff)
  • An exacto knife (or any sharp knife)
  • A marker or pen for rolling clay
  • A pen or pencil or paintbrush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Q-Tips
  • Hot glue gun (preferably high-temp gun but a low-temp gun should work fine)
  • Cooking oil of some sort, or vaseline.
  • A doll (duh)


Humble beginnings.

Here is the clay I’m working with. The clay on the left is Fimo, and the clay on the right is lower-quality Sculpey III. I wouldn’t recommend the cheaper Sculpey III – use Fimo or Sculpey Primo or something. The higher-quality clay doesn’t pick up fingerprints as well, and it’s stronger so small children won’t break the shoes getting them on and off.


Not many people know this, but I used to run an Etsy shop making tiny clay cupcakes and cakes. I ended up featured on Anderson Live! I had a shop in Etsy for a little over a year before I grew bored with the venture and stopped. But, working with clay so often gave me a head start on making shoes and other doll props with clay, so now I can pass on a bit of my clay knowledge!

Some Polymer Clay Background

If you don’t know what polymer clay is, it’s a plastic clay that hardens when baked. The higher-quality clay (Fimo and Sculpey Primo…anything that’s not the cheapest kind) is pretty sturdy stuff, but it becomes fragile and brittle if it’s too thin or if it’s baked improperly (not enough baking time or too much). It has to be baked on glassware, nothing else!

A note on choosing a color: this clay LOVES to pick up dust, and unless you want to spend half an hour sanding your shoes down after you bake them, I wouldn’t recommend using white or any other light color of clay for the shoes. It’s for your mental health, really.

Conditioning the Clay

Pen for size reference.

Before you start working with clay, you should condition it first. ‘Condition’ is just a fancy way of saying you need to warm it up. Work it around with your fingers, smoosh it, roll it out and crumple it up…just get it nice and kneaded. Working with clay that is warm (literally warm, cold clay is rock hard) makes everything so much easier!

Once your clay is conditioned, roll it in a ball between your palms and then form it into a sort of log shape, shown above.

A note on surfaces: clay likes to stick to things, especially rough surfaces. For this project glass or tile is the best surface to work on, but you can make do with wax paper, aluminum foil, or just being really careful on whatever surface you have available.

Cut the log in half with an exacto knife or something sharp, then roll the two halves into balls.

Form the Shape

Now you’re ready to start forming the foot shape!

Here you can sort of tell the shape I was going for. I went with little booties with a rounded toe, although you can see in the left photo that there is a right and a left shoe, which I made by rounding the toe box out more on one side of the shoe.

The right photo shows the ankle. You can make yours shorter or taller depending on how you want your boots to look – but you can’t go too tall without making the boots fragile.

Making the Hole

…That sounds weirdly dirty. No. Just doll shoes! That’s all!

Take a pen, pencil, or the end of a paintbrush and smoosh it into the ankle part on the boot you just formed. This is the hole for the doll’s leg pegs to go into.

Work the pen around, making sure to stabilize the boot with your fingers as you work so the ankle doesn’t get too misshapen. If it does, just mold it back into place.

You want the hole to be a bit larger than the doll’s legs. The legs should fit in there with room to slip around.


Now take a new ball of clay, get it nice and warmed up, then form it into a ball.

Roll the ball out into a long, thin rope. My clay rope (on the left) is about half the width of an exacto knife or pen.

Making even ropes out of clay is actually harder than you would think. Try to make it as even as possible by using your fingers to roll instead of your palm. Use both hands and roll slowly to prevent the rope from flopping around.

Now take whatever you want to use to roll the clay out and gently roll over the rope, working to make the new width of the rope even. I rolled this out with an exacto knife.

This flat rope is going to be the ankles on the booties! If you want taller booties, make the rope taller or wider, just remember it can’t be too thin – polymer clay (even Fimo and Sculpey Primo) isn’t the sturdiest of stuff when thinned out.

Cut two length of the flat rope, and gently wrap each one around the ankle part of the boot bottom you formed earlier. Then take your pen or something that fits into the hole of the boot and use that to help press the two boot parts together (with the pen on the inside and your finger on the outside of the boot).

Almost there!

Smoothing it Out

If you’re like me, your boots are a mess of fingerprints by now. If this was a crime scene we’d be screwed. CSI would love us. There are a couple ways to smooth everything out.

IMG_6185First, you can just lick your finger and use that to smooth out the clay. I normally don’t do this. You can also dab your finger in baby powder and rub it on the clay, using the baby powder as a film between the clay and your fingers to prevent more prints from showing up as you smooth the old ones away. I don’t do this with boots because it’s a bit messy, and because it doesn’t work very well with dark colors (baby powder is white, after all).

So…get some rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip.


Dip the Q-Tip in a healthy amount of rubbing alcohol and start rubbing the fingerprints out.


Bake according to the directions on your clay package. I bake mine for 15 minutes for every quarter inch of clay there is. So I bake my shoes for 30 minutes. It’s better to err on the side of overbaking, underbaking will only make the shoes brittle.

Make sure you bake on glass, nothing else!

After it’s done baking, let the shoes cool before you pop them off the glass bakeware.

Making the Leg Peg Hole….Things

Get out that glue gun and get it warmed up. While you’re waiting, put a bit of cooking oil or Vaseline onto a paper towel and rub the doll’s leg pegs with it. They should be coated in a thin layer of grease (not so much that it’s just dripping off, though, so don’t just dip the doll’s legs into oil).


Fill the holes in the boots part way with hot glue. I normally fill the boots up to the line where the flat rope is wrapped around. Be careful not to over-fill, you don’t want the glue to spill out everywhere.

IMPORTANT! Before you stick the doll’s legs into the glue, WAIT for 10 seconds or so for the glue to cool a bit. You may not have to wait at all if you’re using a low-temp glue gun, though.


Now, after you’ve waited for a few seconds (if you have a high-temp gun), carefully insert the doll’s legs into the center of the glue, pushing down until the pegs are fully covered.

If the doll’s legs aren’t perfectly straight, you may want to insert one leg at a time, instead of doing both at once.

Now let the glue dry. I normally let it dry COMPLETELY before removing the doll, so I let them sit for at least ten minutes or so. To get the doll out, start by twisting the shoe around the leg to loosen it up, then pop the leg out.


Decorating is always the best part, for everything.


I painted these shoes with acrylic paint, but you can do lots of different things! You can wrap ribbons around the part that I painted, you can glue bows on, you can cover the whole damn thing with glitter if you want!

You can also use thin foam sheets to cut out a sole for the shoe, if you like.

After painting these shoes I coated them both in super thick varnish to make them super shiny. Then I put them on our makeunder model, Andy!


Makeunder/Natural Doll Tutorial Pt. II: Dressmaking

Hello hello! Took a bit longer to get this up than I wanted, but that’s because I actually made THREE of these same tutorials. Every time I made the dress I realized a better or faster way to make it, so I re-did the tutorial.

If you want to learn about repainting makeunder/rescued dolls, or making shoes, check out these two tutorials: REPAINT TUTORIAL and SHOE MAKING TUTORIAL

Disclaimer: this isn’t the perfect way to make a dress. I don’t finish  my seams inside the garment as nicely as many people do (if you are one of those saintly people, hats off to you!) and even as I made this tutorial, I realized a better way to make the skirt (which I’ll mention in writing, but I’m not making the tutorial over again or else it’ll never get written up!).

What will you learn in this tutorial?

This tutorial covers how I make a simple dress for Bratz dolls. I’ve modified this pattern and approach for other types of dolls, too, like Monster High and Ever After High. It’s easy to do.

What WON’T you learn in this tutorial?

This isn’t a tutorial that will teach you basic sewing skills. There will be plenty of pictures of what each step looks like after I’ve sewn it, but I assume that you have at least a beginner’s knowledge of sewing to carry you through.


  • A small amount of fabric (really, you can do this with a 1/4 of a fat 1/4 if you wanted)
  • A sewing machine (or a needle and thread and a very good, long movie)
  • Pins
  • Fray check liquid
  • A seam ripper for the inevitable screw-up (I don’t even put my seam ripper away anymore. It just stays out on my desk)
  • A fastener of some sort. I use velcro, you can use whatever.
  • Other random sewing notions you probably need…like scissors, marker, etc.

Um….I have a life, here, how long is this going to take?

Not long! I can crank one of these dresses out in 30 minutes.


Waaaaiiiit… don’t have a pattern? No biggie. We can make one.

I did this part over a year ago now, so unfortunately I don’t have great photos of how I did it (okay, I have no photos). But it’s not hard.

I didn’t buy a pattern because I had a tank top made by Bratz that I knew fit the dolls. If you have a Bratz top lying around, pull out those seam rippers and separate all the seams. Lay the pieces out on some thin cardboard or cardstock, and add a seam allowance of about 1/4 inch (or whatever you want).

Or if that sounds like too much work, or you don’t have a Bratz top, buy a pattern from some wonderful patient person who sells them on Etsy.

You don’t really need a skirt pattern. It’s just a rectangle, and even the most craft-challenged can manage that!



Lay your top pattern over your fabric, making sure that any stripes/patterns are matching the way you want. Cut out the pieces! Make sure you have two layers of fabric cut for the top pieces, one for the right side, one for the lining. I sometimes use just a cheap white fabric for the lining, but I didn’t with this dress.

Cutting the skirt: The skirt I cut out here was about eight inches long. Notice the right side of the skirt has a little extra length cut out on top. This part will be to put the fastener on later (I use velcro, so I made the extra length the same width as my velco).

Keep in mind that this skirt will end up being rouched (or ruffled), so if you’re using a thinner fabric you can cut a longer strip because the skirt can be rouched more. If your fabric is thicker, like a normal cotton quilting fabric, you won’t be able to rouche the skirt as much because the rouched edge will be too thick for a tiny doll seam.

*Note to make this better* So remember I said I made this tutorial three times and found a better way to make this dress every time? Well, I could have made it a fourth time, but I’ll explain the difference now so I don’t have to do that. So instead of just cutting that extra little piece on the right side cut the little extra length thing on BOTH sides. One of the pieces will just be ironed flush with the skirt side so you can top stitch over it and keep the edge cleaner (this is explained better below). If you don’t cut out both sides of the skirt like that, the side without the extra length ends up being a visible raw edge, which is fine with some fray-check, but isn’t the most professional.


Cut? Check.



Pin together the top so the sides are lined up, right sides together of course. Stitch up the sides so you have the right side and the lining finished. If you’re using a pattern like mine, you’ll have three pieces of fabric stitched together, like in the photo below.


Trim the seam allowances to about 1/4″. Don’t go much thinner than that or you may rip the stitching out later! (Bad).


IRON! Get out the iron and press under a hem on the skirt. Be careful that you iron the shorter side of the skirt, not the side that has that little cut-out on it. If you want you can turn the hem over twice, I only do it once to cut down on bulk.

While you’re at it, press the seam allowances flat on the two pieces for the top, too. Helpful tip: press the allowances to the outside on the right side piece, and to the inside on the lining. This will help keep bulk down when you stitch them together.



If you don’t want your dress to have straps, you can skip all this. I make a lot of my dresses strapless because it saves a lot of time.

But if you like the idea of straps, take the lining for the top and wrap it around the doll to check strap placement. Make sure the side seams are lined up with the doll’s sides, then mark where you want the straps to be.


Cut out two strips of ribbon for the straps. I’ll be making halter straps for this tutorial, and the ribbons I cut were each about four inches long. I used the 1/4″ fabric for these straps because I’ll fasten them with velcro, and I’ve found velcro doesn’t really work on thinner ribbon.

In the photo on the left I’ve pinned the ribbon straps to the lining, over the markings. In the photo on the right I’ve pinned the right side of the top to the lining piece, right sides together, with the straps in between the two layers.

Caution: if your ribbons have a front and a back side (right and wrong side, whatever weird sewing terms you want), be sure you’ve pinned them the right way (I messed that up on the first tutorial draft).


Go ahead and sew the sides and the top of both pieces together. Don’t stitch the bottom side, so you can turn the whole thing right-side-out and press.

Clearly, my stripes-matching was an epic fail.



Sew the hem on the skirt (the hem you pressed earlier. You did do that, right?). I hemmed and stitched a ribbon on at the same time.

Optional: if you want you can turn over the raw edge of the hem another time so you hide that raw edge completely. I don’t do this unless my fabric is thinner, because otherwise I find it too bulky. And really, this is like a three-inch-tall dress for a doll that probably had a really skanky face on before you got your hands on her, so she can’t really complain about a raw seam. Please, doll.


Time to rouche! Which means ruffle, if you don’t speak bourgeoisie sewing language. I’m probably not even spelling it right anyway (‘rouch,’ that is, I looked up ‘bourgeoisie’).

Sew two loooong running stitches along the top of the skirt. Set the stitch length to the longest possible. Then pull one thread from each line of stitching and pull everything together. I use my dress top to measure the dress as I’m rouching. You want the bottom of the bodice (BODICE! That’s the word I’ve been looking for) to be the same length as the top of the rouched skirt.

Bodice. Bodice bodice bodice. Got it.


Pin the hell out of this bad boy adorable little dress. Remember to put the right side of the bodice and the right side of the skirt together. I sew two lines of stitching, one to reinforce.


Now we’re going to sew up the back of the skirt. Line up the sides of the skirt as shown, with the little extra cutout thing sticking out.

*Making this better tip* In the beginning of all this I said you should cut the little extra length thing (my vocabulary is utterly failing me today, but I’m charging on without it, apparently) on BOTH sides of the skirt. If you did that (you did, didn’t you? jk I don’t judge if you didn’t), press one of the little extra lengths back so the folded edge lines up with the rest of the side. Press, and just top stitch that little fold so it’s a clean line. This will be the side of the dress that overlaps OVER the little cutout thing that wasn’t folded over.


Okay stitch up the back of the skirt until you hit the bottom of the little extra cutout thing. Backstitch or otherwise reinforce the hell out of this seam, it will get tugged on when pulling the dress on and off those doll butts that are always weirdly big.

ADD A FASTENER! You’re almost done.


I used stick-on velcro, which works pretty well if you heat-set it with an iron after (it’s not iron on, which would be awesome, but the iron gets the velcro sticky stuff all up in the fabric weave so it doesn’t come off).

Just make sure that you put the velcro (or other fastener of your choosing) on the correct sides of the fabric. The side of the skirt with that extra flap thing goes UNDER the side where the flap was folded over (or the side lacking a flap entirely). So figure that out before attaching the fastener (that was the mistake in tutorial draft number 2).


Does your fray check smell toxic? Mine does. It’s concerning.

Anyway, take a bottle of that stuff and put it alll over any of the raw edges. Let dry thoroughly.


Okay sorry for the switcheroo here, but I didn’t take pictures of this on the plaid dress I’ve been working with. So here’s the first dress I made for this tutorial (it’s very funky. Bad.)

Take your ribbon pieces and wrap them around the doll’s neck to measure the length you want for the halter. Trim to the appropriate length and stick some more velcro on there.

AND YOU’RE DONE! You can go enjoy a glass of, well, whatever you want, and a good movie. Or keep going and make some shoe!

Part three of the makeunder series, shoe making, is HERE!

Oh wait…if you want to add accessories like bows or bows or roses or buttons or bows…go for it. I did. 🙂

IMG_6213 (1)




Tutorial: Bratz Makeunder/Natural Repaint Pt. 1

Time for another makeunder tutorial! I did one a little under a year ago with  a Moxie Girlz doll, but my style has changed (and improved) so much I figured another tutorial would be helpful!

You can find the Moxie Girlz repaint tutorial HERE.

Update: now that I’ve finished all three parts of the Makeunder/Rescued Doll series, you can skip to my tutorials on DRESSMAKING and SHOEMAKING for dolls, if you like!

Also, because this is the part of the blog people seem to write random things totally unrelated to the post that no one cares about or reads, I JUST WENT TO THE MOTHER OF ALL JOANNS FABRICS STORES AND IT WAS HEAVEN. My quick trip (I literally needed two items) ended up taking two hours and about $40 more dollars than I planned on. I know all you crafty people know how that goes!

Back on track….


This is part 1 of a three-part tutorial that goes through my process of rescuing or making-under dolls like Bratz or Moxie or whatever. Part one (you are here!) goes over the process of repainting the face. Part two will cover making a simple dress, and part three will show how I make simple shoes.

This isn’t a quick step-by-step photo tutorial. It’s really in depth, with lots of tips and tricks for repainting explained under each photo. But if you don’t want to read all that, you can go through the tutorial by looking at the photos. The captions to the photos explain what I did in what order.

What is this tutorial NOT going to teach me?

Lots of things, I suppose. Like how to cook chicken without over-cooking it (this is a problem I have 100% of the time). But as far as doll-related things goes….

  • First, this tutorial does not cover how to wash/tame/fix/style doll hair. If your doll needs a good salon day, head over to my tutorial HERE on how to fix doll hair.
  • Second, this tutorial won’t teach you much about the materials I use or how to prep the doll for a repaint (“what?! But that is so important!” I know. Don’t panic. It will be okay.).

GETTING STARTED (This is the part where you should start reading if you skipped all that stuff above).


  • Matt Spray Sealant like Mr. Super Clear
  • Chalk pastels
    • You’ll use pastel dust, which you make by scraping the surface of a chalk pastel bar.
  • High-quality watercolor pencils (Derwent or Faber Castell or Prismacolor)
    • You’ll use these dry…don’t get them wet!
  • White acrylic paint
  • Satin varnish (or glossy varnish, I don’t care, you don’t care).

If you have questions about any of these materials go check out my post on Materials and Doll Prep.

FIRST STEP: Preparing the Doll

What, you thought you could get away without reading my tutorial on Materials and Doll Prep? If you have any questions about how I remove factory makeup from the dolls, and protect and seal them, you should read that ‘Materials and Doll Prep’ link just above.

If you’re a veteran, get your doll all ready to start applying pencils and chalk dust.

How many layers of MSC do I spray before repainting?

It used to be that I only put one layer down. That’s not enough. I use 2-3 layers of spray sealant now, and it’s SO worth it. Trust me. Go spray another layer just to be sure.

Our Model

We’re going to call her Andy, because Andy is an adorable name for a girl.

Andy is a 2015 Bratz, so her head is bigger than the older Bratz, her body shape is quite different, and she has articulated knees (whoo!). This particular Andy is the ‘Hello My Name is…Meaghan’ doll I got in a five-pack of Bratz from ToysRUs (at a price that made it worth it, I promise).

In the photo on the right I’ve gone through all the prep necessary, including spraying two layers of MSC on her. We’re ready to go!


This doll was done using only three layers of MSC after I started repainting. So we’re going to go by layer, because I’ve found it’s the most efficient use of MSC (which is expensive; you definitely want to minimize your use).

* Note on how this tutorial is organized: each picture has  a caption with numbered subjects. Each subject is then elaborated on (in numerical order) underneath the photo.

1. Eye outlines. 2. Eyelid creases. 3. Eyebrows


Very first thing I do is outline the eyes. I never move on until after I’ve gotten both eye outlines where I want them.

Eye placement and size

The bigger the eyes are, the younger the doll will look (until they’re so big it’s just creepy. Don’t go to that place). I find that the 2015 Bratz look better with eyes about the size I did here. Smaller eyes start to look out of place on the super large heads. I went with medium-large eyes. They could be a little bigger, but not much.

As far as placement goes, on a big-headed doll I make the eyes wider than normal. You can see the shadows in the picture above where her ‘eye sockets’ are. I’ve made my eyes a bit wider than the sockets, and they’re definitely wider than the original factory paint.

Um….How Do I Make My Eyes Symmetrical? 

Practice? But seriously, practice. Some tricks I used in the beginning:

  • Do the left eye first so you can copy it while drawing the right eye (or if you’re left handed, do the right eye first). This way your hand isn’t blocking the finished outline.
  • Don’t be afraid to modify both outlines to make them match. I set one down, then the other, then I go back to the first and change it, then so on.
  • If you have a hard time reaching one of the eyes, turn the doll upside-down to work on it.
  • Look at the eyes from different angles, especially from the top (bird’s eye view). This is SO HELPFUL!
  • Don’t be shy about taking a ruler out and measuring distances between the corners of the eyes and the bridge of the nose.
  • Hold a pencil (or anything straight) against the bridge of the doll’s nose and make sure your eyes line up along the pencil. I use this to make sure the corners of the right and left eyes are on the same plane.
  • Hold the doll up to a mirror for a different perspective.
  • Put thin outlines down, and make them more symmetrical by making them thicker in the same places.
  • Practice. Repeat.


After the eye outlines are in place, you can pencil in the eyelid creases!

To achieve a more natural, child-like face, I keep the creases rounded and fairly close to the upper lash line of the doll’s eyes. For other dolls I might make the eyelid larger and the eyes less round (this achieves a more sultry look).

I also do a double-crease, just because….why not?


Now for the brows.

I only pencil in an outline for the outer edges of the brows, because I’ll fill in the rest with chalk pastels. These brows are going to be pretty neutral brows, nothing crazy going on!


Caption: 1. Fill in brows. 2. Eye whites.


This is where the chalk pastels come in. Make some chalk pastel dust in the right color for your brows. Then use a small flat brush (I use my black 10/0 flat brush for this) to pick up some pastel dust and fill in the eyebrows.

You can go back and clean the brows up with a kneaded eraser (the weird grey kind that’s like gummy clay) or any eraser, really.


Using a white pencil, fill in the eyes. A lot of people have trouble getting the whites to show up well enough, and this is normally because they didn’t seal the doll enough before beginning. The picture shows just one layer of pencil, and it shows up so well only because I sprayed two layers of MSC on the doll before starting.

If your white watercolor pencil isn’t showing up like mine, don’t worry, you’ll just need some extra layers of MSC sprayed on to make the color show up more.

1. Nostrils


Use a dark brown or medium brown pencil to mark two nostrils, about the shape of those in the photo. Make sure they’re centered as well as possible, and even. As far as placement goes, I put them right where the nose mold curves into the lip.

Warning: don’t make them too round or too tall! The doll will look pig-nosed (of course, if you adore pigs, go for it).

1. Lip outline


Use a dark or medium-brown pencil to make two very small dots in the corners of the mouth. Then draw a thin dark line from the dots towards the center of the mouth. My line is only about 4 millimeters long: they’re very short.

Then use a pink or red or whatever-lip-color-you-want pencil to outline the corners of the lips, and the upper lip curve. If you don’t want the lines to be too noticeable, use a lighter pink or nude pencil.

1. Eye shading. 2. Nose shading.


Break out those chalk pastels again! Make pastel dust in nude colors. Here, I used  light tan, tan, and brown dust to shade the eyes.

Starting with the lightest shade, use a small flat brush (I’m using my black 10/0 that I used for the brows) to shade above the larger eyelid crease and the outer eyelids. I also used some of the tan dust under her lower lash line.





Note on natural v. makeup looks: for a natural look, this shading should be fairly light. If you want the eyes to look more deep-set, you can use some darker shading, but you have to be very careful not to go overboard. If you want your doll to have a more smokey-eye look, just use darker/not-nude colors to shade!


For the nose, use the light tan and tan dust to make the bottom of the nose (area around her nostrils) a bit darker. You can bring the dust up the sides of the nose if you want more realism.

Warning: I would advise against using a pencil to outline the bottom of the nose. I haven’t been able to do it where it looked natural, so I only shade with pastels. But if you are a braver soul than I…I can’t stop you.

1. White highlights.


This is more a personal style preference, so it’s up to you.

I use a white or off-white pencil to mark highlights around the doll’s tearducts and eyelid creases, and her upper lip curve.

Note: If you’re nervous about how white and bold these highlights are, don’t worry. They’ll fade a bit after they’re sprayed with sealant.

1. Waterline.


Use a dark brown (or whatever color you outlined your eyes with) pencil to add a waterline to the doll’s eyes just underneath the lower lash line you already drew. I keep them very narrow, and only extend this waterline to about the middle of the lower lash line. You can extend it all the way if you want; it’s just a personal preference.


1. Color the waterline. 2. Fill in lips.


Use a light pink pencil to color in the waterline until it ends and hits the white highlight pencil.


Using pink/red pastel dust, fill in the lips. I use a larger brush for this (my short clear makeup brush that I show in the Materials and Prep blog linked at the beginning of this tutorial).

I use darker pastel dust in the corners of the mouth and the center of the upper and lower lips.

1. Blush


Using pink/light pink pastel dust, use a fluffier larger brush to blush the doll’s cheeks. I use a fluffy eyeshadow brush for this.

I use a lighter pink dust to blush the doll’s chin and center of forehead.

Why blush now and not earlier?

Because we’re trying to minimize sprays of sealant, I do blush right before I’m about to seal the doll. If it’s done earlier in the process it’s super easy to smear the blush dust all over the place, which sucks.



First, let the layer of MSC dry for ten-fifteen minutes.

1. Iris outline. 2. Eyebrow lines.

Tiny note: see how much the white highlights faded? It’s more natural-looking now.


Using a color that is a shade or two darker than the shade you want your iris to be, make two round outlines for the iris. For example, I’m going for light blue eyes, so I used a dark blue pencil to outline here. You can go as dark as black, though, if you want.

I made Andy’s eyes looking to her left, but it’s easier to make eyes that are looking straight forward, if you’re just starting out.


Your outline shouldn’t be perfectly round. The iris should always be partly obscured by the upper eyelash (if it isn’t the doll will look crazy or terrified or some horrifying combination of both). For a rounder, more Caucasian eye, the bottom of the iris should just touch the lower lash line. For a more almond-shaped eye, or an Asian eye, the bottom of the iris can be partly obscured by the lower lash line, but generally not as much as it is obscured by the top lash line.


Using a pencil with a darker color than the pastels used to fill in the brows, use fast, short strokes to create individual ‘hairs’ inside the eyebrows.

I also colored in the outer edges of the eyebrows with a dark brown pencil to make them more solid. I often make the outer edges of the brows darker than the inner edges.

1. Iris color. 2. Iris shading. 3. Pupils.

Oops, I forgot to take more pics of this process (sorry, I was watching Jurassic World and got REALLY caught up. Ahhh the raptors!).


After penciling in the outline, color in the whole iris with the lightest shade you want in your eye. I chose a very light blue for this.


Then take a darker pencil and lightly shade in the top 1/3 of the iris, trying to blend it into the lighter color as well as possible.


Using a black or dark brown pencil, pencil in the pupils using circular strokes. Start small, then build them outward so they don’t get too big too fast (if they get really big, your doll is going to look really stoned, which would be funny, but probably is not the intent).

1. Small eye line things.


Using a dark brown or black or dark blue/green/purple/I-don’t-care pencil, make tiny lines in the irises, radiating out from the pupils.

1. Make upper lash line darker. 2. Eye whites.


Sorry about the lighting that keeps changing in these photos. I was chasing the good natural light around my tiny studio, which is definitely easier said than done!

Use a black pencil to make the upper lash line a bit darker and thicker. This is less ‘natural,’ so I suppose it’s my own personal style preference. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, but I’d recommend it.

If you want a more natural look, use dark brown instead of black.


Using a light grey pencil, very lightly shade the part of the whites that is just beneath the upper lash line.

Then, go over the entire whites with white pencil (including the grey, unless you want your shadow more pronounced).

1. White highlights. 2. Lip lines.


If you want the white highlights to be more pronounced, go over the white highlights again with your white or off-white pencil. Remember, after we seal the final time they’ll fade a bit more.


Using a light red/dark pink pencil, draw tiny lines inside the lips. These are the lip creases that most people have!



Remember to wait for the MSC to dry!

1. Eyelashes. 2. Eye whites. 3. Darken Pupils. 4. Highlights



Technically you could do these on the previous layer. I sometimes do that. But I normally try and do them after sealing because I often have to erase them once or twice to get them perfect, and I don’t want to ruin anything underneath.

For the upper lashes I do thicker more doll-like lashes using a black pencil. For the lower lashes I use a dark brown pencil and do tiny, thin, straight lashes until the waterline ends. For a more natural look on the upper lashes, you can use a dark brown pencil instead of black, or you can just make the lashes thinner and shorter!


Go over the whites of the eyes with white pencil again. If you want more shadow, add more light grey underneath the upper lash line.


Go over the pupils once more with a black pencil, or dark brown, or whatever color you chose for the pupils (they don’t always have to be black!). If you want you can also darken the shading in the irises.


If you want, go over all the highlighted areas from earlier again with a white or off-white pencil. If you like where they’re at already, you don’t have to go over them again.

However, ALSO add some thin white lines to the lower 1/3 of the irises, and to the lips.

1. Freckles.

Sorry about the weird green lighting. Dunno what was going on there.


Optional, of course, but Andy’s a redhead so I decided to give her some freckles with a tan pencil. So adorable. Love freckles.



Let that stuff dry.

1. Unwrap doll. 2. Catch-lights.


She’s looked like a serial killer victim for long enough. And she’s SO CUTE!


Or eye reflections, whatever you want to call them.

Mix up one drop white acrylic paint with two drops of water to thin the paint down. Then, using a toothpick, make a small white dot in the same place in each eye. Then make a couple other small white dots (or not, the number of white dots is up to you. I use two-three, normally).

Just make sure the white dots are in the same place in each eye (for the most part).

1. Varnish



Using a gloss or satin brush-on varnish, brush a coat over the eyes and lips (or eyes only if you don’t want the lips to be a bit glossy).

I have a satin varnish, and I used one coat on the eyes, and two coats on the lips, so the lips are shinier.

And she’s done! I don’t have Part 2 written up yet, but I’ll try to do that this week. Stay tuned!

Furthermore, if you like Andy, you can adopt her on my Etsy page, here! She comes with a cute pair of glasses, a pink dress, and booties.




Step-By-Step Ever After High Repaint (Photo Blog)

Goodness it’s been far too long! I’m sorry to all my wonderful followers who put up with my ramblings! Grad school and blogging just don’t go hand-in-hand (okay, nothing really goes hand-in-hand with grad school except maybe reading and stress).

I have a few posts in the works, and those should be out within the next month or so. One is a tutorial to make a ballet outfit for Bratz, and the other is a tutorial for mermaid outfits for Bratz (although the tutorials can be modified for any doll).

But for now, I thought I’d get back into the swing of things with a photo blog that shows you how I repaint my dolls, step by step.

Our lovely model is Cerise Hood, an Ever After High Doll. Unfortunately I didn’t take a before picture, but if you really want to see that just google ‘Cerise Hood Enchanted Picnic’ and photos will pop up.

Let’s get started!


Layer one: just the outlines of the eyes and a layer of white pencil over the whites. (Not shown: spray seal before starting with MSC!)


Layer one: Added dark brown to the corners of her lips (gave her a bit of a smirk because she sassy), and outlined her upper lip with a light red. Drew in a simple upper-lash line, added eyelids, and outlined eyebrows.


STILL layer one! Filled in eyebrows with dark brown chalk pastels, filled in lips with red and peach chalk pastel, but erased parts of it on her lower lip to get a more natural/nude lip color. Then I used a dark red watercolor pencil to make small lip lines on her lower lip.


STIIIIILL layer one! Shaded in her smokey makeup with chalk pastels (from tan to black). Added a second eye crease with a black watercolor pencil. Blushed cheeks, chin, forehead, and nose with chalk pastel dust (skin tones and blush tones).


Layer two! (Finally). Used dark red and white watercolor pencils to make her lip lines more pronounced, highlited the upper lip line with a white pencil. Added a beauty mark with dark brown pencil. Made her upper-lash line darker with black pencil. Shaded more eyeshadow with chalk pastels to make the color deeper. Colored in her waterline. Darkened her lower-lash line a bit. Highlighted her brow with off-white pencil. Made eyebrow hairs with dark brown pencil. Highlighted eyelid crease with white pencil.


Still layer two: Added the irises first with a light lime green. Made a dark green ring around the iris. Lightly penciled in the pupils first with a dark green, then with black.


Layer THREE: Blended pupils into the irises with dark green, dark brown, and black pencils. Shaded the irises with those same pencils. Added another layer of white to the whites of  her eyes.

She’s so much less creepy now!


Layer FOUR: Everything white on the doll got another layer of white pencil, including the upper lip highlight, lip lines, around her tear ducts, eyelid crease, brow bone, and eyes. Added all her lashes (I always do this on a layer separate from the pastel eyeshadow because I normally have to erase some of the eyelashes to make them match). Also added dark lines radiating from her pupils into her iris.

Seal for the last time!


Finishing touches: last-minute I added some gold shimmer dust (PearlEx powder) to her eyelids. I did this before I sealed for the last time.

After the final seal I wait for the sealant to dry for about half an hour, then I unwrap the doll from her saran-wrap serial-killer-victim cocoon, fix her hair (I boil washed it), and add a layer of semi-gloss or gloss varnish to her eyes and lips.

All done!

Want her? She’s on Etsy!


Two Giveaways!

Just doing a quick giveaway announcement, because I want to reach as many of my loyal followers as possible!

I’m giving away two dolls:


The purple doll is a repainted and body-blushed Monster High Operetta doll. I’ve trimmed her hair a bit shorter. She comes without clothing (as shown).

The fair-toned doll is a repainted 2000-2001-something Bratz doll. She comes as shown, with a handmade dress and a pair of brown boots.

You can enter the giveaway through either I Am Loved Doll’s Facebook page and/or Instagram account (if you do both you get extra entries!). This particular giveaway is ONLY available to people living in the United States. I cover shipping, and I can’t afford to send the dolls overseas this time! I will either direct message or private message the winner, as well as announce them over my social media platforms on JANUARY 31st!

I Am Loved Dolls Facebook

I Am Loved Dolls Instagram*

*Instagram entries must be done through your mobile because the platform isn’t built for a desktop computer.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Tutorial: Blushing A Doll’s Body

Repainting a face is well and good, but what about the rest of the doll?

That’s what blushing is for. When I say ‘blushing,’ I’m actually talking about shading. Shading a doll’s body will make the doll appear more realistic and three dimensional, just like blushing/shading the face does.

I’m sorry that I don’t have many pictures here. I had a terrible time trying to get good pictures that actually showed the blushing; unfortunately blushing tends to happen where shadows would naturally fall, so it was tricky to get pictures that showed the blushing and not just the shadow.


  • A doll (note: this tutorial, and blushing in general, will work best on dolls with hard plastic bodies. Disney Princess dolls, Barbies, and Bratz tend to have legs that are sort of rubbery: this plastic doesn’t take well to blushing at all! If you’re working with one of these dolls, only blush the torsos).
  • Chalk pastels
    • Super optional: pearl PearlEx powder for highlights.
  • Paintbrushes in assorted sizes (at least one big-ish, one small, one tiny).
  • A toothy spray sealant (Mr. Super Clear is my go-to, but if you have a different sealant go for it. As long as it has some tooth or grain to it!).


Before we get started, you should know that blushing a doll’s body makes the doll less awesome for playing with. Playing with a blushed doll can easily scratch the sealant and rub off the chalk pastel. This is especially common around the doll’s joints, where the plastic will rub against itself when the limb is moved around.

When I post dolls on Etsy with their body’s blushed, I encourage the dolls to be used for display only.

Okay now we can start: The Prep

Wrap the doll up to cover areas you don’t want to blush. This doll is a Disney doll, so her legs are rubbery and can’t be blushed.

If you’re planning on repainting the doll’s face, I recommend doing that first so you don’t accidentally rub off any of the body blushing while working on the face.

Wrap the doll’s head and hair in saran wrap so the spray sealant doesn’t get on it (wrap legs too if they’re the Mattel/Disney rubbery type). Then slightly spread the doll’s limbs apart, making sure to bend/place them so they are exposed to the sealant.

I spray the front and sides of the doll’s torso and arms first. Let dry. I then bend the arms so my next coat gets the inside of the arms (the outside and front of the arms is covered on the first spray). With the second spray I coat the doll’s back, inner arms, and the back of the arm. Let dry. Spray the front and outside of the doll’s legs (IF they’re the same hard plastic as the torso–if they’re that rubbery material, spraying them will work for a while but the sealant will normally start to fall off after a period of time. Most sealants aren’t designed to stick to that kind of material). Let dry. Manipulate the doll’s legs (if possible) so that the next spray gets the back of the legs and the inner legs. Spray. Let dry.

How much do you spray?

I dunno.

No, I kinda do. Only kind of, though. With MSC there is a very fine line between too much, where the chalk pastel won’t stick to it, and not enough, where the chalk pastel won’t stick to it. I spray from about ten to fifteen inches away from the doll, and do a fairly light coat. If you see the doll’s skin become shiny with wet sealant, that’s probably too much but it may not be the end of the world. Don’t panic. Panicking is not conducive to a relaxing evening of body blushing.

What brushes do you use to blush?

My brushes! And a pen (for sizing, although it is a nice pen).

I use three brushes to blush. (1) The first is a big fluffy eyeshadow brush i bought at Fred Meyer for $3.00 or something. (2) The second in a small cream eyeliner brush that I got for free with a horribly expensive cream eyeliner I bought forever ago. I love it for blushing because it has short but firm bristles, so I can really smudge the chalk dust around. (3) The third is a super small 10/0 shader brush by miniMAJESTIC ™.

The fourth is a pen. No, I’m kidding. Don’t use a pen.

Picking the Right Colors

Choosing what colors to shade with probably comes naturally to most of you who are artsy enough to customize dolls. But there are a few rules of thumb.

  1. Do not shade with grey or black unless your doll has grey skin. There may be a few other exceptions to that rule, but otherwise you’ll just make your doll look like a sickly zombie, and that’s not great (unless you want a sickly zombie, of course).
  2. Choose a tone, warm or cool, for your shading. This will help you determine the darkest color for the shading. For example, my model in this tutorial has bright pink skin, and the customer who commissioned her wanted cooler tones. So my darkest color for shading was purple (a cool color), whereas it would have been red if the customer wanted a warm tone.
  3. Don’t shade with only one color group (i.e. green, including all shades of green). For example, my model in this tutorial was shaded with two shades of pink just deeper than her skin tone, as well as purple, which gives the shadows extra dimension.
  4. I would encourage you to shade with a bit of pink, even if the doll’s skin color is blue or grey or whatever. It’s up to you. I just think that adding a bit of pink makes the doll look a bit more alive.

Here are the three colors I picked to shade my doll (remember, she is bright pink, so that’s why my shading colors aren’t normal skin tones):

The three colors I used to shade Goo. BTW, this is a Faber Castell palette of 48 soft pencils. Each pastel is about 1.5 inches long.

Ready, Set, Blush!

Once you’ve picked your colors, use an Exacto knife or coin or butter knife or nail or nail file or whatever to gently scrap the chalk pastels into a fine dust. Don’t scrape too much: you can scrap more later but once it’s scraped it gets really hard to store without smudging everywhere.

Some tips:

  • Start with your lightest shading color (it should be just a bit darker than the doll’s natural skin tone), and layer the darker colors over it as needed.
  • Keep in mind the doll’s anatomy when choose where to place shadows. If you stand the doll up in natural light, the areas where the shadows naturally fall, or would natural fall if the doll had actual bones and muscles, is where you should blush. The skin under the breasts, around the collar bones, around the belly button/abdominals, around joints, in between fingers…all those places should probably get blushed.
  • Blush the doll’s torso first, spray to seal, then blush the legs. If you do it all at once you’ll be smearing your earlier work around by the time you get to the later stages of the process. No good.

I start by blushing the big areas first, using my big-ish eyeshadow brush. On my model (meet commission Gooliope #2! We’ll call her Goo for short), I started by shading the area between and underneath her breasts, followed by her hip bones. I followed up with the darker shading colors under her breasts, but left the hipbones less shaded.


Then I take my small eyeliner brush (not the tiny one) and blush the smaller areas, including her belly button, collar bone, and in-between her fingers. Of course, Goo is a 17″ doll, so if you’re working with a smaller doll these areas may require the tiny brush (especially the fingers).

Goo is a sort of radioactive goo doll, so her skin is sort of…dripping.  I have a lot of questions about if the radioactive goo hinders her fashion choices, but that’s for another day. My customer asked that I blush her so the drips are more enhanced, so I took out my smallest brush and used the darkest pink and purple colors to shade each and every drip.

Some more pictures, finally!



If we were working with almost any other medium, shading a drawing or painting doesn’t stop after adding the darker tones in. You would then add highlights to areas that will naturally pick up the light more. On a person, these are the tops of the shoulders, tops of the collar bones, tops of the breasts, etc. You get it.

Unfortunately, unless you have and are very good with an airbrush, options for highlighting a doll are limited. (If you’ve figured out a way to do this, PLEASE comment below!).

White chalk pastel, in my experience, doesn’t show up at all on the doll after applying it and then sealing it in place with MSC. Instead, I use Pearl EX powder to highlight.

PearlEx powder was made by the craft gods for those who love making everything shimmer.

PearlEX powder was featured in one of my Transition Stories posts, but if you didn’t read that, PearlEx is a very very fine shimmery dust that is normally used mixed with acrylic paint to give the paint a metallic sheen. When applied as a dry powder, it looks nicely shimmery. Even better, it comes in a lot of different colors (I have purple-gold, pink-gold, and pearl).

If you want a really shimmery doll, you have to apply the powder in several layers, because spraying it with a sealant dampens the shimmer a bit.

PearlEx powder was used on each drip and the pre-drip part of her leg. You can see one highlighted area that is randomly catching the light here. The other drip’s highlights don’t show up in the shadow.

On Goo, I put a touch of the pearl-colored powder on the tops of each drip. The effect is subtle enough that my camera can’t get a good picture of it, but when the light catches her drips they show up more!

PearlEx does NOT make a ‘glittery’ effect: the particles are too small for that. That said, it is shimmery, so if you don’t want your doll to have a slightly shimmery torso in some places, it may be better to skip the highlighting all together.

Here’s a few more pictures of the Disney Ariel I blushed alongside Goo. Her shading was super subtle (I think over-shaded dolls look scary), so I didn’t use her for my model. You can barely see the difference, but in person, she looks much better!

The three colors I used to blush Ariel.


You haven’t seen the last of Ariel…she’ll be featured in my upcoming blog about tattooing dolls (the faint marks you see on her chest, arms, and hands are the beginnings of a heavy ink job).

And… upcoming giveaway!

Here’s the first giveaway doll!

I promised that as soon as I reached 100 likes on Facebook I would do a giveaway! I reached 100 likes a couple weeks ago, just before leaving for a holiday trip. Now that I’m back at my work space, I’m working hard on getting two dolls (one made-under Bratz, one Monster High) ready for a giveaway. If you haven’t liked my Facebook page, do so now for updates on the giveaway as soon as it’s posted!

Making Ball Gowns for Bratz

So my newest sewing obsession is making tiny super-fancy dresses for my more detailed Bratz repaints. They can be quite a bit of work, but it’s worth it! If you like tiny super-fancy dresses, that is.

This is not a sewing tutorial, so if you’re not familiar with basic clothing construction or sewing principles, you might want to brush up before attempting this!

A few notes before we begin:

  • I don’t use a pattern. Or a ruler. I don’t do math. So if you don’t do any of those things either, you’re in good hands. *Later in the process I realized that I do use a pattern, but for the bodice only. And it’s a very loose pattern.
  • Choice of fabric will either make your life for the next hour or so very easy or very difficult.
    • For the skirt you’ll want something that’s very flowing and drape-y.
    • For the bodice you’ll at least want your lining to be a bit stiffer (like a cotton quilting fabric).
    • If you want an overlay over the skirt you can use anything from tulle to lace to … anything lightweight and fancy.
  • This doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s a doll. Not a night on the red carpet.

You’ll need:

  • Sewing stuff. Thread, fabric (see note above), pins, a sewing machine…
  • Fray check (seriously, you 100% need this)
  • A doll
  • The shoes the doll will be wearing (or an idea of how tall they are).
  • Some patience.
  • Some more patience.
  • And just in case … a seam ripper.


The Skirt

Here is the skirt and the skirt overlay cut out. They’re both a bit over 12 inches in diameter. The hole in the center is for the waist.

Lay your fabric out on a flat surface and cut out a skirt. I eyeball this, but I base my measurement off of the doll’s legs, with her shoes attached. Because this skirt will be a circle skirt, I just put the doll’s waist in the ‘center’ of the circle, mark it, mark where her feet end plus a centimeter (seam allowance), then draw a sort-of symmetrical circle.

If you want the dress to have a slight train effect (be longer in the back than the front) add three or so inches to one side of the circle. It makes an egg-like shape.

To make the waist opening, fold the circle or egg-like shape in quarters, and cut a small hole in the top where the folds intersect.

Err on the small side here! You can always cut more away later if you need to make the opening larger, but it’s hard to make it smaller if you cut the opening too big early on.

Cut a straight line from the edge of the skirt to the center of the waist opening. This will be the back of the skirt. I apologize for my messy carpet. It was a long day of crafting.

Then cut up the back of the skirt from the edge of the fabric to the waist opening. Yay. A skirt.


If you want an overlay on top of your skirt, lay the overlay fabric out, put the cut-out skirt over it, and trace the pattern. Repeat all the cuts that you did with the skirt.

I find it easiest to cut the overlay and the skirt fabric out separately, because I tend to use fabrics that are slippery and I don’t like pinning them more than necessary. It is possible, of course, to cut them out at the same time, if you prefer.


This photo really made me realize how my Halloween tablecloth probably needed to go. It went.

Crap, I totally lied about the pattern. I use a pattern for all my bodices, but this one is one I created myself by taking apart a Bratz top and copying the shirt pieces onto a piece of paper, leaving room for a 1/4″ seam allowance (you might give yourself more allowance than that, 1/4″ is not enough, as it turns out).

Cut out your bodice according to whatever bodice pattern you have on hand, or whatever pattern you make yourself. There are plenty of patterns on Etsy for little Blythe dresses that fit Bratz and have simple bodices.

My bodice is going to be strapless.

The bottom row of pieces are the outside or right side. I don’t use slippery satiny fabric for all three sections because I find it increases the likelihood that seams will split apart and it decreases the overall stability of the bodice. And I hate working with silky satiny fabrics, so the less of it I have to do, the better. The top row of fabric is just a cheap lining (cotton broadcloth).

Cut out one set of whatever fabric you cut your skirt from, and one from a lining fabric that’s cotton or anything easy to work with and sturdy. Mine is a cotton broadcloth.

Fray check


This is probably the most important step. If you used a fabric that frays easily (satins, organza, whatever) I would fray check EVERY raw edge of the fray-y fabric at this point. You will thank me later.

When fray-checking, make sure to go with the weave of the fabric. You can tell if you’re going with the weave because if you’re going against it, you’ll actually start pulling the fabric apart. Because the skirt is a circle, the weave will change ever few inches, just to keep you on your toes.


Fray-check is pretty good about drying clear and not darkening the fabric too much, but some fabrics are more susceptible than others. The right side shows dry fray-check, the left is wet.

Sew the skirt

I’ve pressed the sides in for the slit in the back and the hem-edge of the skirt.

This part is a pain. First you want to ‘hem’ the slit you cut up the back of the skirt. I just press each edge to the side with my iron from Target that cost $10 (and is the worst iron you can imagine).

Then move on to the the circular edge. I have no tricks for this, except to say that it is hard and you might want to reserve time to drink a glass of wine or meditate after you’ve finished this.

Sewing the hem. If you’ve fray-checked the edge, you won’t have to turn this edge over again and stitch a second time. You can if you like, but this is clothing for a doll and so I refuse.

I press the hem in about 1/4″ with my worst-iron-ever, then sew it and the slit up the back of the dress very carefully. Pintrest probably has better tips for you on this subject than I do.

Once you’re done with all that, drink wine/meditate/cheer, and then press the skirt. I always stretch the fabric a bit too much when hemming circle skirts so pressing it helps remind the skirt it’s supposed to be a circle, not a wavy mess.

Basting the waist opening of the overlay (shiny silvery lacey stuff) with the skirt fabric.

Next, line up the waist opening of the skirt with the waist opening of the overlay and baste them together. This can sometimes stretch the waist opening too much, so basting by hand here is probably the better option. I won’t be basting this with a sewing machine anymore.

Sew the bodice

Sew all the bodice pieces together, trim the edges, turn right-side out, and press. Bam. Done.

Connect the dots (sew the bodice to the skirt)

This is another tricky part, mostly because I don’t have a pattern and so it’s always trial-and-error to get the size of the waist opening match the lower edge of the bodice.

I just start pinning the bodice to the skirt and adjust, cut, or gather as necessary to make it work. This is the part that is normally not perfect.

If your waist opening is too small: good! Easy fix. Just cut the waist opening a bit lower on the skirt until it fits. Or, you can just pin the bodice a little lower on the skirt. Because it’s a circle skirt, the waist opening will get larger if you cut away more fabric.

If your waist opening is too bigless good! But not horrible. You’ll just need to sew some basting stitches to the top of the waist opening and gather the opening until it’s small enough to fit the bodice.

Then sew all that together. When you trim all the seams and all that, you should have the bodice connected to the overlay and the skirt.

After sewing the bodice to the skirt. I fray-check this seam too, because why not?


I usually sew a couple reinforced stitches just in case this dress is going to get into the hands of a five-year-old. Also make sure to look at the seam you just sewed from the front of the dress to check that you caught all the edges of fabric in the seam. Otherwise you’ll end up with a big hole in the front of the dress (definitely speaking from experience).

Sew up the back of the skirt


I always screw this up. You need one side of the bodice and skirt to overlay over the other for your snaps or velcro or whatever you use. I normally play around with the skirt (get the overlay out of the way for a sec) opening by folding the edges right sides together until I figure it out.

I think this is actually a lot simpler in real life than it is in my mind. So that’s good for you, I suppose.

I ended up messing mine up, but it’s hardly noticeable so whatever. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Stitch up the back of the skirt overlay, too! I don’t like to stitch the skirt and the overlay together at the back, but you’re welcome to.

Stitch up the back of the overlay, too!

Add a fastener

Add your choice of fastener to the back. I add a strip of velcro to the bodice only. The skirt doesn’t require it.

I use adhesive velcro, and iron it in there to make sure the adhesive is really super stuck. You can use whatever you want.



Well, the hard part is done. I have a huge box of beads and ribbon and buttons and glitter that gets pulled out at this point. I ended up sewing a strip of ribbon onto the bodice before sewing it onto the skirt, and then I sewed another strip of ribbon to the bottom of the overlay fabric on the skirt.


Sky’s the limit.

Here’s the end result! To adopt this little doll and her silver dress, head over to I Am Loved Doll’s Etsy!

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Custom Halloween Dolls

So first, as the admin of this blog I get to see blog stats, which basically shows me how many people click on links to my blog, how many people look at article ‘X’, how many people like or follow me, and the search terms they use right before clicking on a link to my blog.

Don’t freak out, if you use Google I normally can’t see your search terms because of privacy settings.

The point is, of the few search terms I do see, the terms ‘love doll’ and ‘love doll tutorial’ come up a TERRIFYING amount. This is one of those things that just never ever EVER floats across your mind when naming a business.

So to clarify, for all of you who type in ‘love doll tutorials’ and then click on my page: this is not for you! This is not a sex doll blog.


Moving on.

Halloween dolls (that have nothing to do with all ^ that business, for those of you who may be curious)!

Unfortunately, I went on a bit of a sewing binge and didn’t even pull my head out of the pile of fabric to take WIP pictures, so all I have are the finished versions. I made two Halloween dolls (technically three, but the third doesn’t have an outfit that I like, yet). Both of them are witches.

Meet…… GLENDA!

Glenda the Good Witch!
Glenda the Good Witch!

I love her. If you love her too, you can ADOPT HER from my Etsy shop!


You might recognize her as the model for my blog post on dyeing doll’s hair with acrylic paint. It’s been about a month since I dyed her hair, and it’s still holding up very well, for those of you wondering.

She was one of those Bratz who had little sequins surgically inserted into her temple and no amount of hacking away could remove them. It turned out fine because I love her little temple jewels! She’s also covered in glitter, which is an obvious bonus.


Her dress took an hour and a half or so to put together. I didn’t really time myself, but it didn’t feel like this dress took very long compared to the other witch’s dress (below).

The pink satiny part of her dress is the exact same simple dress that I wrote about in my post How I Made Thirty Doll Dresses. I just used satin (which is the BIGGEST PAIN IN THE ASS most annoying fabric to work with on a small scale). Her underskirt is just two long panels of tulle cut in different heights, then folded over and gathered with some elastic. I sewed some ribbon on the bottoms because it’s adorable.

Her hat is made from felt with a lot of tulle and pearls tacked on.


Meet……Catherine the Mischievous Witch!


I love her also. If YOU love her also, you can ADOPT HER from my Etsy shop!

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Her hair used to be white and black, but I dyed it pastel purple to be more Halloween-y.

And then I made her a ballgown, because this witch does not mess around with her wardrobe.

The top of her dress is the same as almost all my other dresses, but the bottom of the dress….


…has a circle skirt with a train thing going on. She’s wearing a long tulle petticoat underneath the dress to make it poofy.

Catherine’s body has a couple reddish stains, one on her arm and one on the back of her leg. They’re small stains, but I haven’t found the time to get them out, so she’s a bit cheaper than Glenda.


Dyeing Blonde Doll Hair (How To?)

So in typical Saturday-night fashion, I’m sitting at home watching movies and dyeing doll hair. And questioning my life choices, but that’s a whole other blog post.

This is just a quick blurb on today’s experiment: dyeing blonde hair with acrylic paint.

It’s totally not my idea, this is all over the internet. But I stumbled across it and decided to give it a shot today because I have FAR too many dolls with blonde hair (like, five, but that’s about four too many).

I first straightened and tamed my doll’s hair. I have a tutorial on this, HERE.

After I did that, I had this:


She’s a Bratz, if you couldn’t tell, and that’s probably all you need to know.

Rumor has it the finer saran hair that Bratz are rooted with doesn’t take as well to acrylic paint dye as thicker hair, like Barbie or Moxie hair, but I figured I’d see how it worked.

I used craft acrylic paint, which is not the best for this sort of thing. Actually, it’s almost the worst for this sort of thing, but here we go…


I mixed about a nickel’s worth of acrylic paint with about three ounces of water. That’s about a half ounce of paint with three ounces of water?

Then I took a paintbrush and painted the paint/water mixture onto the hair.

I didn’t paint all of the hair because I was going for an ombre effect, which totally didn’t work out in the end and I still can’t figure out why.

Then I let the hair dry. To prevent the paint from drying crusty and just flaking off, I brushed through the hair about once an hour. The brushing ended up transferring the paint from the ends of the hair to the roots, so by the end of the process her hair was almost totally pink.

After several hours of drying and brushing, drying and brushing, I was left with this:

The hair BEFORE the paint mixture had been washed out.
The hair BEFORE the paint mixture had been washed out.

That photo shows the hair before the paint mixture was washed out.

THINGS I LEARNED NOT TO DO: Do not blow dry the hair at any point. Right at the end I blow-dried it and the paint just got really flaky and was a mess to wash out.

After I washed and conditioned the hair, it looked like this:

After washing the paint mixture out.
After washing the paint mixture out.

A lot of the pigment washed out, as you can probably see. That was expected, though, so I wasn’t too disappointed.

Because I was really hoping for an ombre effect, I did the whole process over again on the bottom two inches of hair, hoping it would soak up more pigment.

After repeating the process, I got this result:

After dying a second time.
After dying a second time.

Not much improvement.

As in, zero improvement. My best guess is that the porous saran plastic is done absorbing pigment at this point. I’m sure using proper acrylic paint (as in, not craft paint that cost .99 cents) would help.

THINGS I CHANGED FOR THE SECOND DYE: I added some white vinegar to the paint mixture the second time around and only applied it to the bottom two inches of the doll’s hair. Vinegar can often act as a binder between dyes and the surface they are being applied to: I always used a bit of vinegar when I was dying fabric, and you’ve probably added vinegar to egg-dyeing kits around Easter. Not sure how successful it was here. It may have been more effective if I had used it the first time around instead of only the second.

Even so, I got a nice pastel pink, so this girl will be transformed into some character than can pull off pale-pink hair. Halloween will definitely be an inspiration.



  • You may not have to wait for the paint mixture to dry fully. I didn’t experiment with this, but I have a feeling drying fully is unnecessary because…
  • The time the pigment is on the hair does not seem to make the color more intense. As you know, I was attempting an ombre effect. Although all the hair ended up with paint mixture on it, the top of the hair was coated in paint a couple hours after the bottom of the hair was, which means the ‘dye’ was on the roots of the hair for less time. However, the dye job on the roots of the hair is just as intense as the dye job on the bottom of the hair. No idea why. Plastic is weird, man.

On a random note, here’s the witchy girl I did today (she doesn’t have her outfit yet, but I figured a face is a decent start):


I Am Loved Dolls on Etsy

I Am Loved Dolls on Facebook (when I get to 100 ‘likes’ I’ll do a doll giveaway!)