Introduction: Doll Doctor - Applying a Cast
I have daughters, they have dolls, and the dolls occasionally have an accident. Some of them, especially this one in particular, are "unfixable" thanks to the crazy joints which enable the doll parts to move realistically. So, do I tell my kid that one of her favorite Monsterella dolls is now garbage? No way! It is time to break out some simple stuff and become the hero doll doctor in the house.
Elmer's Glue (any simple glue)
Step 1: To the Emergency Room
Grab that small container and add about two tablespoons of glue. Don't measure, just eyeball it. You don't need a ton of it to get the job done. Next add an equal amount of water into the container with the glue. Mix it up, should be thinner than normal glue, but not too watery. Grab that paper and cut it into strips around 1/4" by approximately 3". They are easier to use when they are shorter, so don't cut the strips too long. Eventually we are going to make a simple paper mache cast, but first we need to prepare the doll for her cast. Take the duct tape and cut a strip that is about 1/2" by about 4". Take the doll and get the leg into position. Now, wrap the duct tape around the doll's broken leg where it is tight and holding the leg firmly in place. Really, we can stop now and call it done - that is if you want your kid to be sad and unimpressed. However, doctor daddy knows we have only just begun! This is when our sad kid becomes our doctor's assistant. Have them place the paper strips into the glue/water mixture and swirl it around for a bit. Pull it out gently and pinch the paper while pulling it between their fingers to drain the excess glue mixture from the paper strip. Have them carefully wrap the wet paper strip around the dolls leg covering the duct tape. Keep doing this for about 5-10 strips making sure not to make it too think. Go slowly and take your time here. Just a thin layer or two covering the duct tape will be fine. Have your kid apply the glue dipped paper strips while helping to make sure it is applied neatly around the broken doll part. This is messy, so have plenty of napkins around for cleaning up any drips.
Step 2: The Cast Is Almost Complete
Now comes the tricky part. If you thought it was difficult wrapping a piece of wet paper around a doll's broken leg, then this isn't going to get any easier. This part is optional, as the paper mache will harden and look really cool without this next step. However, a daddy doctor like myself knows that a finished cast has texture. So, let's find some gauze, cheese cloth, or anything similar and get to work. This only takes one strip so make it about 1/4"-1/2" wide, and about 3-4" long depending on how big you want the cast to be. Dip the gauze in the glue mixture. Getting off the extra glue is difficult but necessary, so once again pull the dipped gauze through pinched fingers to squeegee off the excess. Carefully spread it apart and slowly wrap it around the area that was broken and now covered in wet paper. You are done, all that you need now is patience. Let the doll sit for 24 hours so that the glue can harden, it will get even harder the following day but it will be ready for action. Tell your kid to grab a fine point sharpie marker or other artistic materials to decorate the cast. Daddy doctor can take a break and go back to being plain old daddy. Hopefully that sad kid is now gone and you are left with one happy kid playing with their newly fixed doll.
Tell your kid to play with the doll like it is an injured person, take it easy on them like they just got back from the doctor. If you are feeling crafty make them some crutches out of Popsicle sticks. If it is the doll's arm instead of the leg it may be a little more complicated to make the cast but the technique is the same. You could also add a small cut piece of cloth to act as the supporting arm band. There are tons of recipes to make paper mache, so you do not need to follow mine exactly.