Introduction: Upgrading an Abandoned Barbie Into a CYBARBIE!

YES, I KNOW! I'm not the most popular man when we talk about Barbie dolls. If you saw some of my previous instructables, you know what I'm talking about:

Now, I'm in the Mattel's Black List, banned on the girls section of the toyshops and hated by my female cousins.

(Good thing they haven't seen my failed attempts...)

One day, I was walking on my favorite Flea Market, when I found some old and abandoned Barbies, naked, dirty, with their hair damaged. Even one of them had arms from another "Barbie" (not an original one). U$1.00 each doll.

It's redemption time!

I bought two Barbies. One of them, I decided to trasform her into an AWESOME BARBIE! So I cleaned and repaired her body, I made futuristic new clothes and a radical hairstyle. Oh, and a brand new mech, Power Loader style, for kick some serious butt!

And the other Barbie? Well, old habits die hard... MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Step 1: Materials

Do you remember everytime I said "Always have junk in stock"? Well...


A big amount of black plastic junk. I used, among other stuff:
  • A wireless phone base
  • PC joysticks
  • A saucepan handler
  • Walkman headphones
  • Airplane headphones
  • Damaged toys
  • A pump handler
The electromechanical caterpillars from a R/C car (If you have the whole R/C car, much better!)
1 Barbie
Sugru (depends of the clothes you want for your doll)
2 Big LEDs.
2 DPDT lever switch
1 simple switch
Iron angles
red and black wire
screws and bolts
Tin soldering


Dremel Rotary Tool
Wire cutters
Screwdriver kit
Soldering Iron
Super Glue

And don't forget:

1. If you don't have it, replace it!
2. Use protective equipment (dust mask and goggles)
3. Beware of drilled and soldered hot surfaces
4. Work in a good ventilated area.
5. Always have junk in stock
6. Enjoy!
7. Keep your Barbies away from me.

Step 2: Extreme Makeover

First, you have to clean Barbie. Wash her with water, a sponge and dish detergent.

Cut her hair (well, I almost shaved her)

For the clothes, I used Sugru, orange, black and white colours. I used soapy water for a better texture.

Try to make a mini-skirt with Sugru for your first time :-P

Now, we have our "Futuristic Fashion Barbie".

Step 3: Starting the Mech

Take the phone base, open it and remove the circuits. As always, we only need the plastic case.

Keep the case screws in a safe place. You will need to close the case later.

The front part of the base will be the mech's cockpit, where the Barbie will sit. Keep it apart.

Take the back part of the case and attach the pump handler (it will be the spine and shoulders) and a printer piece on top (Barbie's headrest).

Step 4: The Arms

For each arm you will need the following plastic parts:


1 Joystick handler (disassembled)
Half saucepan handler
1 Iron angle


1 Oven knob
2 Cash register pincers (or something who look like pincers)
1 Toy car wheel

Attach the pieces on the way indicated on the pictures. Make two arms.

Step 5: Fixing Arms and Lower Pillar

Attach the arms on each side of the pump handler.

On the lower side of the base, attach the pillar (I use one piece from a PC joystick). The pillar will join the body to the locomotion mechanism (the caterpillars). If the pillar is hollow, much better, because you will need to pass some wires.

Step 6: The Cockpit

You will need the front part of the phone base, the Barbie, the diadem of Walkman headset and two airplane earphones.

Sit the Barbie on the front part. Use a screw for fixing her to the chair.

Cut the diadem in half and put each half on each Barbie's shoulder as seat belts. Fix them with screws.

The ear parts of the earphones will be the controls. Remove them form the phones. Screw each one to iron angles and on each side of the seat, within reach of Barbie's hands.

Step 7: Locomotion

IMPORTANT NOTE: If your caterpillar R/C car still has a working R/C (or you have a R/C system available for installing in the caterpillar), then keep the R/C (or install it) and just attach the pillar to the car and the base front part (seat) to the body.

I only found the car without radio control, so in the Step 8 I will show how to make a simple motion control for the the Mech's back.

Open the mechanism and remove the remainder circuits.

Connect long wires to each motor and to the batteries pack. Pass them through holes on the back part of the car, and then introduce them into the pillar towards the Mech's back.

Attach the pillar to the car, close the car and attach the seat to the Mech's body.

Step 8: Electronics and Controls

We will make a simple motion control with the three switches. The simple switch will energize all the system, lighting the LEDs. The two DPDT lever switch will control the way the Mech will move. First "program" the motion turning the DPDT switches, and the turn on the simple switch.
Right switch controls right caterpillar, left switch controls left caterpillar.

Both switches up: forward
Both switches on the center: off
Both switches down: back
Right switch up/down, left switch on the center: forward/back motion to the left
Left switch up/down, right switch on the center: forward/back motion to the right
Right switch up, left switch down: counter clock spinning
Right switch down, left switch up: clock spinning

Install the control on the back, more weapons and insert the batteries (the battery pack has room for eight, but I use only six).



SentencedToLive made it! (author)2014-02-06

Accept it people, she looks even happier!

Great work!

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2014-02-08

Thanks man!!! :-)

actionfiguredatabase made it! (author)2013-02-17

Ripley lives! Nice one, Mario

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2013-02-17

Thanks a lot ActionFigure! :-)

c3ralki1l3r made it! (author)2013-01-29

Anyone else think that she looks like Chell ,from portal, with a aliens cargo exo suit?

marcellahella made it! (author)2013-01-21

Sooo cool! I want to be a big cybarbie!

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2013-01-21

Thanks Marcella! :-) I think you would be an awesome Cybarbie!!

SHIFT! made it! (author)2013-01-16

MC, as always, your artistic merit knows no bounds! You should put a video camera on CB and get some awesome FP footage!

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2013-01-17

Thanks a lot SHIFT!!! It's a good idea about the camera :-)

lord_kian made it! (author)2012-09-21

Very good, i really like the Ripley look. good detail.

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-22

Thanks Lord Kian!

Denger made it! (author)2012-09-15

Brilliant design from repurposed materials. Well done!

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-15

Thanks Denger!

DngrDave made it! (author)2012-09-13

This is 50 shades of awesome!

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-13

Thank you very much DngrDave!! :-)

nnygamer made it! (author)2012-09-11

I recognized your work on this morning, great work.

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-11

Thank you very much, Nnygamer! :-)

sunshiine made it! (author)2012-09-09

I guess I missed this one! I love her sugru top! You did a great job, it looks like it was made for the doll.

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-09

Thanks Sunshiine! :-)

kldrshadow made it! (author)2012-09-08

Wow! my daughter Hates Barbies but is into the new "Monster High" dolls, this is cool! Have you ever seen Dr. Who & Torchwood? I'd love to see you make a Cyberwoman Barbie off of the cybermen concept in those shows, not the full bodied cybermen but the Cyberwoman girlfriend Ianto hid in Torchwood's basement. That would be totally cool!! Maybe that could be your next project or 1 down the road ;D in the Monster High doll line they came up with a "Robecca Steam" doll, combining the steampunk look into her. Maybe you caould steampunk Barbie too! This is so fun to see!! Thanks for creating it!

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-08

Thank you very much Kldrshadow!

Well, I LOVE DOCTOR WHO! HE'S THE BEST!! Sorry, but Torchwood is almost imposible to find in Colombia, but I'm still searching. Captain Jack Harkness is an awesome character.

Have you seen my other projects with Barbie dolls?

About the Steampunk, I think it's an awesome style, but not my style. I want to keep experimenting with Barbies and robots because is pretty cool to play with the beautiness paradigm in so bizarre ways! :-)

Chris Bilton made it! (author)2012-09-06

very cool !

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-07

Thanks Chris!

bajablue made it! (author)2012-09-07

lol... this is CrAzY GREAT!!!  Love Barbie's butch-hairdo and it's obvious she's having a blast... pun intended. ;-)

I don't have Barbie dolls (never did) but I would definitely keep them away from you if I did! 

5 Star work, MC!!!

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-07

Thank you very much, Bajablue! :-)

GeekTinker made it! (author)2012-09-07

It's good to see that I'm not alone in my collection of random junk for projects. If you have a way to keep it all organized, I'd like to hear it! ;)

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-07

Oh yeah GeekTinker! And the organization is a nightmare. I envy the Mythbusters for having a big and organizated warehouse!

SGT. Desert made it! (author)2012-09-06

LOL cool

tgirard made it! (author)2012-09-06

That smile has me frightened beyond all rational thought.
I just got the new "Divorcey" Barbie... It comes with all of Ken's things...
Cool instructable, ya get my vote.

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-06

LOL!!!! "Divorcey Barbie"... BRILLIANT!!!! :-)

Thanks a lot, Tgirard! :-)

romulopericles made it! (author)2012-09-06

Reminds me the Alien movie...

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-06

Oh yeah! An awesome movie!

PeckLauros made it! (author)2012-09-06

Excellent! Now, my daughter will be more interested by her Babies.

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-06

Thanks a lot PeckLauros!

Tabitha de Luna made it! (author)2012-09-06

I had never heard of Sugru before - it looks pretty awesome! Thanks for sharing your instructable so I could find out what it was - and your Barbie makeover is so great!!

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-06

Thanks to you Tabitha!!! And Sugru is an awesome product. You can find it on the Instructables Store. :-)

ledisa made it! (author)2012-09-06

You always have my vote, I love your robots =) and you know it ;)

citan1981 made it! (author)2012-09-05

"Get you hands of her, you b*ch!"
That's teh kind of Barbie doll I'd get my daughter, if I ever get one.

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-05

Thanks Maese! This could be the most popular toy in Christmas! :-)

LordCrowen made it! (author)2012-09-05

And My Axe!!!!!

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-05

Thanks Lord Juan!!! ALLONS-Y!!!

vivibolivar made it! (author)2012-09-05

Baby, you can always count on my vote!

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-05

Thanks Miss Bolívar!!! You are BRILLIANT!!! :-)

Lobo7922 made it! (author)2012-09-05

She is so happy, you can see it in her eyes.
And why is she so happy you may ask? That's easy, because "Everything is better with Mechs! :D

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-05

EVERYTHING!!! Thanks my friend! :-)

kelseymh made it! (author)2012-09-04

Most exceptionally awesome! The soulless, dead-eyed smile of cyber-barbie is one of the more effective aspects of this piece :-)

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-05

Thanks Kelsey!! The soulless, dead-eyed smile of Barbie was a great job from the guys of Mattel. LOL! :-)

But seriously, thanks!!

AUG-5OM3 made it! (author)2012-09-05

She seems to enjoy it :-)

Great job again.

M.C. Langer made it! (author)M.C. Langer2012-09-05

Oh yes!!! Thanks Aug!

masynmachien made it! (author)2012-09-05

This is a Barbie that has a clear reason to put on such big smile!

I love it!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm Mario Caicedo Langer, from Colombia, former Navy officer and BSc in Naval Sciences. Right now I'm Technical Director and Technology Lead Teacher ... More »
More by M.C. Langer:WARBOSEWARBOSERoboto, the Wobbling Toy Robot (evolution of Randofo's "Wobbler")
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