One of the most popular trends in the hobby world is making and repainting dolls. It started gaining popularity more than a decade ago when people started remaking Barbie dolls with custom outfits and creating fairies.
Today, most renovations are done on the most popular brands (e.g., Barbie, Monster High, and Tonner Dolls) and other collectibles (e.g., Fashion Royalty).
eBay serves as an excellent showcase for these custom dolls and is a great place if you’re looking to buy rather than make your own. Some artists are so talented that they can charge hundreds or thousands of prices for their work.
This is where most collectors see their first repainted doll and decide this is something they want to try.
What’s involved here? Repainting involves removing the factory paint and then manually painting the elements with acrylic paints. They are usually more realistic and look nicer. This will create a custom OOAK doll (the only one).
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Barbie Muse Repaint
Tips Before You Begin
Repainting requires a lot of trial and error.
- To start, you’ll need two inexpensive dolls. Try the Barbie playline, which costs less than $10, or if you prefer a basic look.
- Even if you plan to paint a giant 16-inch ton doll at some point, start with a low-cost model. If you need to repeat it over and over, don’t be upset.
- Get a cheap old one on eBay if you need to use tons of trucks to get started.
- Some people prefer to start painting directly on top of existing factory colors to feel what it’s like to paint on a 3D surface.
- Painting on top of existing paints is never done by professional doll artists, but many beginners do so when they first start.
- In this way, you can see how the paint feels with the brush, how it flows, and what the doll looks like.
- Once you get used to handling consumables, you should remove the factory features of the doll and practice with a blank face.
- When you have enough courage to get started, you will get rid of your face. Most artists use pure acetone, the fastest and most efficient method for vinyl dolls.
- It is safe and will not damage the plastic in any way. However, be careful not to spill acetone into the cabinet. The vinyl making up the cabinet may be damaged.
- Before starting work, it is recommended to cover everything except the head with a cloth or paper towel. This prevents accidental drips, drips, and dust.
- Once you have a blank canvas to work with, you can start.
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Good Lighting Is Essential
When setting up your workspace, you need bright lighting. Fluorescent lamps and low tabletop lamps work best. I’m using two OTT lights. There are two more lights, one on each side.
Incandescent bulbs were too yellow, so I supplemented them with the fluorescent lamps used in OTT bulbs.
If you are straining to see, you won’t paint well, so make sure your space is brightly lit.
You’ll Need Magnification.
Here is one thing I recommend to everyone. A magnifying lens is worn on the head. Why is this so useful?
My eyesight is ideal for close-up work, but that’s because I don’t have a bionic magnifying glass to see the tiniest details.
You might think the doll looks excellent, but you will see all the mistakes if you look through it with a magnifying glass.
If you want to sell, these errors are shown in the photo. If the enlarged repaint looks good, it will look fantastic to the naked eye and will most likely lead to a sale.
I have a visor that you wear on your head. There are 2x and 3x magnifications. You can use one or both simultaneously. You can capture incredible detail.
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Magnification of the eye
Other Supplies Needed
You will need paint, a brush, and acetone to remove the paint. You can start with cheap craft paints if you want, but they are much more challenging to work with.
The difference between cheaper and more expensive products is the amount of pigment versus filler. I prefer the Golden brand liquid acrylic paint. It lasts a bit longer. Some people use Liquitex Tube Paint, but it requires more dilution.
Launch launches typically use Apple Barrel, Folk Art, or Delta if you opt for a craft store brand. I use Matt and Gloss Liquitex as sealants.
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Golden Fluid Acrylics
The Best Paintbrush
I’ve been using the same brush for most of the last 13 years: American Painter Size 10/0 Spotter. Inexpensive with synthetic bristles. I tried a more expensive natural hairbrush, but I wouldn’t say I liked it at all.
How to Paint the Eyes
The eyes are the main focus of the doll, so learning how to make big eyes is essential.
- It’s a good idea to start by defining the shape of your eyebrows, as you can tone your entire face. Here the dolls make a lot of facial expressions.
- After drawing the eyebrows, outline the eyes and lips to create the desired shape.
- After outlining the eyes, paint the whites, add shadows and paint over the caruncle (the triangle at the innermost corner).
- You can use shading to give circles to flat areas. Some Barbies have very dull eyes around their eyes, so you’ll need to use a shading technique to create a rounded shape. However, this is a more complex process, and beginners usually don’t. In time, you will learn all of this.
- Then add the shadow color and the pupil to add the iris.
- Next up are the eyel
- ashes, eyeliner, and finally, the white highlights of the eyes.
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Painting the doll’s eyes
Finishing With Lips, Cheeks, and Sealer
- I’ve already mapped the preliminary outlines to define the shape, and now I’m adding all the highlights and shadows and, when completely dry, finish off with a glossy or matte sealant.
- Blush is the last step before closing your eyes and eyebrows.
- When you are satisfied with repainting the doll, wait a few hours for all the paint to dry, then seal the remaining painted areas with a matte sealant.
Everyone has different styles and tastes, so what works for you may not work. You’ll find your style as you gain some experience.
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