Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Meet a Doll Artist!

I am really thrilled to bring you an interview today of a doll artist I have met through Etsy. Sarah  of  Twice Loved Dolls re-purposes dolls she find and redesigns vinyl dolls turning them into the most amazing looking dolls giving them a "second chance at life".
I love my American Girl dolls and love the idea that Sarah wanted to share with her daughter a doll that looked more like she did, finding her a doll named Rosa from Magic Attic Dolls. Then when her son was younger he wanted to have a boy doll, though trial and error Sarah redesigned her first doll and the rest is history.
I like the idea of their being a boy version of 18 inch dolls. Perhaps it is because I am a mom of three boys and I love the look of these dolls Sarah has recreated.
Sarah recently made a Harry Potter doll 
I love how this turned out! Harry was repainted and now even has the trademark birthmark.
I asked Sarah some questions about her work and am thrilled to share with you her answers.
1)I was drawn to your shop from the photos and can not believe the work that you put into these dolls. How long does a redesign usually take you?

Since most of the dolls that I work with have been previously loved, each makeover varies greatly in time – some dolls come to me with nail polish, marker, etc on them and that is time consuming to remove.  I always make sure to restring dolls with loose limbs (which depending on the brand of doll can vary in complication).  Another thing that affects the time involved is whether or not I replace the eyes.  Most American Girl dolls keep their original eyes (unless they have silver eye), but the majority of other brands I do upgrade to high quality realistic eyes.  It truly amazes me that something like an eye change can give a doll a whole new look.  Another thing I always do is to give each doll a new head of hair.  It makes a huge difference for a boy doll to change the wig rather than to cut an existing one.  A high quality wig (which is firmly attached) is important in making a complete transformation.  On many dolls I also remove all the factory paint and repaint the face to make it a unique creation.  I can usually have a redesigned doll completed within a week.

2) Where do you get your dolls from to redesign?

I am always on the look out for dolls that need some love.  Where I live is pretty rural I have bought almost all my dolls online.  I have bought dolls from Craigslist, Ebay and have made contacts through some doll groups I belong to that I have been able to purchase from individual members. 

3) On average what do you redesign more dolls to be boys or girls?

In the beginning I worked mostly with girl dolls.  The longer I have worked on dolls the more I have seen that there are so few boy dolls available.  About a year ago I switched my focus to the boy dolls and I can never seem to keep enough of them in stock.  Out of the over 60 dolls I have remade, I would say at least half of that number (if not higher) were boys.  The number continues to grow.  In fact, after the girl dolls in my shop are sold, I do not intend to replace them.  I will still be open to requests for girl dolls (which I truly love to do!), but I do not plan to carry them as a regular item in my store.

4) do you also make all the clothes?

I do make all the clothes that are in my Etsy shop and that are sold on my dolls.  In the beginning I did sell some of my dolls with store bought clothes.  Now I take pride in crafting high quality clothes with serged seams for each doll.  Some of my favorite outfits I have made were a Jedi, a Train Engineer, a Prince and a Cowboy.  I like to pick quality fabrics for my projects, and tend to use only snaps, buttons or zippers in the clothing.  The reason for this is I do not like how cloth bodied dolls tend to get snagged with Velcro closures.

5) do you always know exactly what the doll will look like when it is finished when you start the process?

I sometimes will have a finished product in mind – especially for the dolls I am making to look like a particular boy or girl.  There are other times that it just comes to me as the project goes along.

6) do all vinyl dolls have the potential to be redesigned?

I hesitate to say yes since I am not familiar with all brands of vinyl dolls, but I think most are able to be redone.  Some of the brands I have worked on are: American Girl, Tolly Tots, Battat (Our Generation), Magic Attic, Just Pretend, Carpatina and EuroGirls.  I have not tried redoing any dolls with painted eyes, as I really prefer to work with dolls that have acrylic eyes.

7) What is your favorite type of doll to redesign?

My favorite brand of dolls is Magic Attic Club girls, which have sadly been discontinued.  What drew me to this brand was the Rose (Rosa) doll because she looked so much like my own little girl.  I think Magic Attic dolls are all lovely though.  However, I am also partial to EuroGirl dolls (which also are discontinued) to make into boys – their happy faces look perfect for a little boy.

8) have you ever made over an American Girl doll?

I have made American Girl Boys.  I have made at least 3 of them now and I think they make wonderful boys.  I have a few American Girls that I plan to make into boys sitting in my craft room right now.  Most of the dolls I have made over can be seen here:

9) Are you busy all year or is there a mad holiday rush for your services?

I am busy year long (which I love).  I just finished making custom Ron Weasley and Harry Potter dolls.  I did have a big Christmas rush this year and I got so busy that I actually had to turn down some custom orders because I knew I could not complete the projects in time.  My biggest sellers this past Christmas were the doll tents and sleeping bags in my store.

10) What is your favorite part of the doll redesign process?

I will admit this one threw me a bit because I am not sure if there is a favorite part of the process for me.  I think the best part of what I do is to see a doll that was dirty and in sad shape turn into something beautiful that gets loved all over again. 

Here is the link to Sara's  website as well
I am so thankful Sara agreed to let us know more about the process of making over dolls and preserving them for others to love for generations.
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at

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