Instructables
 

I have noticed a strange inequity between the poseability of girls and boys dolls.  Most of the female dolls have stiff arms and legs which permit them to do little more than model clothing.   To rectify this, I will attempt to turn a very cheap Dollar Tree girls toy doll into a fully poseable action figure.


 

 



 

 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of materials
materials.jpg
optional.materials.jpg
doll from the Dollar Store ($1 each)
super glue (also $1 at the Dollar store)
hot melt glue ($1)
florist wire ($3)

clamp
hand drill
pin vise
hot melt glue gun
pliers for bending and cutting wire
very small drill bits (as thick as or smaller than the florist wire)

optional:  hot knife for cutting plastic
sculpey
sculpting tools


Step 2: Disclaimers and various warnings

Once complete, this doll may not be suitable for young children.  There is a good chance that one of the dolls parts may come off, exposing possibly sharp wire which could cause injury.

When cutting plastic with a hot knife, make sure a window is open and there is good ventilation.  Better yet, do that part outside, the vapors are probably not good for you.





Step 3: Knees, ankles, elbows and wrists

The following sections might be disturbing to little kids, so you might want to do the doll surgery when they are not around...

Using the jeweler's saw (or a hot knife), separate the doll arms and legs into sections at the knee, ankle, elbow and wrist.  Try to create the knee and elbow lines symmetrically so they line up evenly in the final assembly.

Using the pin vise, create a starter hole in the center of the leg.  Then use the hand drill to slowly drill out a hole about a half inch deep in the center of the lower and upper leg and lower and upper arm.

Do the same for the feet and hands, but make the hole only a quarter inch deep.

Go slowly when drilling the forearm and ankle.  The plastic is very thin and it's easy for the drill to get off center and go out the side instead of straight down.


 

scoochmaroo3 years ago
You could use air dry clay instead of sculpey for the face. And make jewelry out of all your extra doll parts!
ooak-necklaces-01.jpg
foobear (author)  scoochmaroo3 years ago
Yes, air dry clay is a good idea. I have a strange fear of it though...

Are those Barbie faces? wow, that's crazy
Grafton foobear3 years ago
Maybe you can oil the faces so that your sculpy will pop off so you can then bake it and glue it on. Or seal over the faces with plastic wrap and sculpy over that so the new faces can be popped off for baking.
foobear (author)  Grafton3 years ago
I was able to widgie the sculpey face out of the rubber head enclosure after a few days. I'm planning to bake and paint it soon. thanks!
Thrasym foobear2 years ago
I'm a little late to the party but I'm curious. Did the plasticizers in the polymer have any affect on the head? It seems to affect just about everything I've put it on (or its box) that has anything even close to any sort of plastic/rubber component (given enough time).
foobear (author)  foobear3 years ago
I mean of course, crazy in a good way. Wow
Always been a HUGE fan of your work. Its exquisite.
cool
insomniaSAH3 years ago
overtime though, wouldn't flexing of the joints cause the wire to snap or break from use?

Ball jointed dolls, which boast a high range of poses use a system of elastic or other stretchy material (sometimes even metal springs!) attached too loops at the extreme joints (Wrists, ankles, neck) and pulled all the way through the limbs to be anchored in either the hips or the torso.

The tension allows for the limbs to be posed in all manner of ways, and if the elastic breaks, it's easier and I would think probably safer to replace than small bits of metal. Though, to be completely honest, ball jointed dolls aren't meant for children in the first place.

Just my two cents! A wonderful 'ible.
foobear (author)  insomniaSAH3 years ago
Thank you. Yes, if flexed too rapidly and repeatedly, the wire will break.

I don't know about the ball jointed dolls you mention, I would not know how to fabricate that myself. Perhaps you will write an instructable about it?

Hot Toys makes a line of very poseable action figures which are very nice, but also very expensive.
Ball jointed dolls are VERY expensive. I just woke up, cannot think of the Asian company that is known for these (Sybarites, Super Dollfies etc...see below for links)....but they are exquisite. The web is full of images.

I agree...the ball jointed ones Insomnia speaks of are not playthings for children. Even GI joe dolls / accessories were expensive back in the day...I remember my folks telling us that .

I think these are wonderful for display scenes, dioramas, and photo shoots. If the bends are not extreme, and the wire is soft...the bends will last a long time.

History:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball-jointed_doll
(this link has the names of the major current companies)

http://www.flickr.com/groups/sybarites/pool/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/bdjs/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/balljointeddolls/

http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox&rls=com.yahoo:en-US:official&tbs=isch:1&&sa=X&ei=iIj_TPmLG9CNnQecvtGsBw&ved=0CDQQBSgA&q=super+dollfies&spell=1&biw=1057&bih=475
foobear (author)  urbanwoodswalker3 years ago
Interesting, I hadn't seen those before, thanks. My favorites are still the Hot Toys dolls. they range from $50 to $200 depending.


hot toys action figures on amazon 
Grafton3 years ago
Potential experiment:

Assemble, but do not glue, the hacked doll. Put that heat-cure foam clay called 'Pluffy' over the wire joints. Dissemble. Bake the 'Pluffy'-covered wires to cure. Reassemble and glue.

According to the manufacturer, thin pieces of baked 'Pluffy' are flexible and durable. If this is true to a good enough degree you'd have a doll with much nicer looking joints, and better durability overall because you'd glue the edges of the 'Pluffy' joint-cover to the edges of the cut limbs and have more glued surface area than just the ends of the wire, and more porous/rough surfaces for the glue to grip.
foobear (author)  Grafton3 years ago
This sounds interesting. I'll look around for pluffy. thanks
Really interesting piece of work, doesn't the wire fatigue and break though?
foobear (author)  Dream Dragon3 years ago
I expect it will. Mostly I'm just using it with the intention of posing the dolls for animation or other artworks. So far they haven't broken through yet. But I think if it were vigorously flexed, it would.
Wow, this is one of those things where I'm just plain jealous I didn't think of it! Great project.
foobear (author)  Lithium Rain3 years ago
cool thanks!
dvnfntn3 years ago
hmmm, more flexibiliity makes for funner movies with ken
I am so happy someone created this tutorial. Maybe if girl dolls had been poseable like this back in the 1960s, I would not wanted to play only with GI Joes!

Its long overdo....I cannot thank you enough.
foobear (author)  urbanwoodswalker3 years ago
That is the highest praise I can imagine. Thank you!
I meant it. Your tutorial here brought back so many memories... I could never get those damn dolls to ride horses, sit naturally in doll furniture or anything else. All you could do with em was comb and yank out their hair. even changing clothes on early Barbies was tedious....those teeny tiny snaps and hooks...no velcro!

I love the poses you have your "crew" in...they are kickin some butt.... I salute you for finally allowing girl dolls to do everything that boy dolls (ooops...action figures) do.

Happy holidays to you!
foobear (author)  urbanwoodswalker3 years ago
Yes, it makes me wonder what the product designers tell themselves in their meetings that makes them perpetuate this unfortunate toy meme.
that boy toys are created for action and ruggedness...and girl toys are for...modeling, hair styling, and 'dainty" delicate play?

Yeah, sometimes I wonder how far women have come .....since woman's lib. toys still are full of stereotypes.

scoochmaroo3 years ago

<3 <3 <3

If only I had thought of this as a young girl.
mikeasaurus3 years ago
Nice hack. I've noticed the lacking of articulation of girl dolls, and the weird rubber-knees of some Barbies.
foobear (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
thank you! Yes, those Barbie knees are weird. They only bend about 20 degrees tops before flexing back.