These Doll Tips were compiled by Leslie Holley and donated to The Royal Doll Report
We will be adding more to them over time as Doll Collectors let us know what works for them .
While these tips have worked for some
We must insist you use sound judgement with your own dolls.
We are not responsible for any disasters.
Stains on clothing:
While on a hot July trip in Virginia,I had a solid white cotton blouse stained with my makeup as it was so sweltering hot on our site-seeing trip.When I got back to the hotel,I looked through my bag and found my Maybelline non-oily mascara remover(has to be non-oily). This took the Elizabeth Arden foundation out of the tight cotton weave perfectly,so much better than any brand name stain removers I had used before.So when I had a tricky stain here and there on a doll’s dress,I turned again to the Maybelline non-oily remover.
I use a Q-tip dipped straight into the bottle and applied to the stain,let soak a bit,then take some warmer water and a clean Q-tip and do a little light scrubbing,alternating till the stain looks gone. Now if this is a vintage dress,you are liable to make the cleaned area cleaner than the rest of the dress,so do keep that in mind if it cannot be washed.This is a great pre-wash tip,or spot cleaner tip on a newer dress. Many of the older doll dresses cannot be washed,especially old taffeta,unless you have nothing to loose.I have washed and pe-treated Nisbet My Princess gowns successfully and Effanbee Diana bride gowns.This spot cleaning really came in handy on the new Franklin Mint’s Royal Wedding Gown ensemble,mine arrived with some dusty stains and what looked like ink spots,all removed with this treatment and following their instructions for cleaning also. I have NOT tried this on dark color fabric!!! Only the light bridal gowns.As always,dust dirty dolls!
I have many friend say their vintage Danbury Mint Diana Bride dolls veils came out well,when washed in the sink.They did not remove the tiara holding the veil,but laid the doll carefully on her back with the head in the sink so the veil could be washed,then towel dried.I have not tried this,I imagine it takes great care and patience,and lots of towels under the doll and for the drying of the wet veil!
This Method was tested by Dani on her Sarah Ferguson Doll Veil
Cleaning A yellowed bridal veil
Things You’ll Need
Rinse the veil in a mixture of warm water and lemon juice. You can heat the water on the stove, but do not bring it to boil. Be very gentle with the veil as you saturate it in the lemon juice and water mixture. Add as much as 1 tbsp. of lemon juice for each cup of water. This will start to kill any mold or mildew on the veil as well as remove any musty odor. It will also help whiten the veil.
Run hot water mixed with baking soda through the veil. As before, use the 1 tbsp. per cup ratio. Heat this mixture up and pour it through the veil over a sink. You may need a partner to hold the veil out for you so that you can be sure to get the mixture though every portion of the veil.
Rinse the veil with distilled water. This will get the lemon juice and baking soda out of the fabric. You can either pour the distilled water through the veil
Press the veil dry between a white towel. This will absorb a great deal of the water before you hang the veil out to dry.
If you can place the doll Covered up with the veil uncovered in the sunshine, since sunshine will interact with the lemon juice rinse to brighten the veil.
I have heard of steam from a shower,tumble on low heat in the dryer for a short bit,and a few others.I have not had this problem so I don’t think I will offer but one tip here.Most dresses will settle out on the bride dolls over time,mainly the Danbury Mint Brides.What I have done on these,and other dolls,is a trick my Grandmother used on her china dolls,use cotton balls in the sleeves to give them that “poof”,or try tulle netting.This works great on busts too,should your doll need a little extra!
I have known people to get dolls that smelled like old cigars from sellers,or worse.Some have suggested putting the doll in a bag with a dryer sheet overnight,others have mentioned Fabreeze fabric freshner.I think a good general doll cleaning from top to bottom would be a good thing,then try the latter,though I can not attest to the possibility of staining from a fabric softener sheet or spray on smell remover.Check labels.Send in suggestions.
E-mail suggestion sent by Mona: “Another tip for freshening cloths.I use the new Dryel for home dry cleaning and it has been great for the gowns.Do them inside out and you can cover any beads, etc.Since doll clothes are so tiny,I just snip the sheet in to quarters and use them as I need them … storing the unused ones in a tight jar or zip bag.No hats, etc … just the clothes.”
Thanks Mona for the tip!
Styling doll hair:
You need a doll brush first and foremost! A wig brush or wire brush for doll wigs.A variety of sizes is a good thing to have,scalp a few Barbie brushes from the kids or relatives too.A new and unused eyelash brush/seperater works good on little bangs.Curved sissors,sharp ones are also a good thing to have to trim stray hairs. I read in an issue of a doll magazine,on restyling doll hair,vintage mohair.While this predates the Diana dolls in my collection,the concept was good,to use a fabric softener mixed with water and set with rollers.So I figured on synthetic doll hair,why not use the human leave-in conditioning spray,which is mostly water anyhow.This works!It will bring back luster to dull older hair and you can restyle the damp hair using white hair nets from newer dolls.Hair nets have to be white,I tried a colored one once and it stained a vinyl doll.You can buy small hair rollers for dolls or just tuck the hair into the style you want,or comb into place wet and apply the net till dry.If you want,a light finish of delicate hair spray to set,but I have not seen the need for this.
Cleaning a dirty doll:
As always,follow the manufacturer’s recommended instructions.If none are with the doll,call them up. Always try dusting the doll first with a large new soft brush,like a big blush brush(never used)to loosen any dirt. Most vinyl dolls can be gently washed with warm water and mild soap,being careful around painted surfaces. Same holds true with porcelains,be very careful around any painted surface.Most eyes on porcelains are acrylic and a Q-tip with a little water will do the trick,too much and you could loosen the lash glue or remove eye paint.
Can’t get Diana to hold her purse?
So many lovely dolls in vinyl and porcelain,all with handbags to match.I am too afraid to wedge a purse between a porcelain thumb on a $200 doll,and want my vinyl Diana to look like she is holding her evening bag.So I came up with several little solutions.Use the silver stretchy elastic that comes in the box with each doll.Snip it to fit under the purse flap and around Diana’s wrist and tie it off.Hide the knot under the purse flap if possible.Or,use magic thread,the sheer thread from the fabric store,or a thinner version of the silver elastic.If all else fails,you can always tuck it under her arm!And give her a nice bouquet of flowers to hold.Looks better anyway.I do all of the above.
Swaying Doll on stand?
I must say,this happens with Franklin Mint porcelains more than any other doll.
The solution that works is to buy a basic doll stand known as a “saddle” stand.It is a metal base with a center pole,inside this is a clamp that will when pulled out,fit between the dolls legs and groin.What you want is that part that pulls out.On the bottom of the one I purchased at Wal-Mart,it has “Doll stand 7 1/2 in”.So you will take the swaying FM porcelain off her stand,remove the wire that ran up her dress and into the FM stand’s pole.
Now replace it with the new saddle part and insert this into the original FM stand.
She should now be sure-footed.