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How to Repair Baby Doll Eyes

For many people, dolls are considered an important part of life. Whether you grew attached to the dolls from a young age, or you found a love for dolls when you were older, there’s a very good chance that you love and cherish your dolls. However, over time, dolls will eventually wear down. This will happen at varying rates depending on the material of the doll itself, but it will still happen. Because dolls are often important and hold some sentimental value, you should make sure that you know how to repair your doll’s eyes when this happens. Unfortunately, there is no one guide to repairing a doll’s eyes, as it majorly depends on the material of the doll, but you can still get a good idea on what needs to be done for your doll’s eyes. There are three main methods for repairing your doll’s eyes: recoloring, replacement, and rebuilding. Each method is best for a certain kind of doll.

Recoloring a Doll’s Painted Eyes

It goes without saying that paint will, over the course of time, fade and flake away. Thankfully, recoloring a doll’s eyes is one of the easiest ways of repairing your baby doll’s eyes. All you will need is paint, a fine paintbrush, and potentially a toothpick, depending on the size of the paintbrush. 

How Do You Recolor a Doll’s Eyes?

The very first thing that you will need to do is find a paint that matches the color of your doll’s eyes. You should also take note that if the paint on the doll’s eyes is shiny, you should be picking out an enamel paint. Otherwise, a high-quality acrylic paint will get the job done perfectly. If you are unable to find an exact match to the color of paint on your doll’s eyes, you are going to have to repaint both eyes entirely, which can be a pain, but is still relatively easy.

Once you have chosen the paint for your doll’s eyes, you need to fully scrape away all flaking paint from the doll’s eyes. Make sure not to damage the doll in the process. Now that there is no more excess paint, you can begin recoloring by using the finest tip paintbrush that you have. If you notice that the paintbrush is too large for the finer details of the doll eye, you can use a toothpick dipped in paint for the small details. Continue painting until one or both eyes are recolored, and now your doll is as good as new.

Replacing a Doll’s Glass Eyes

Other types of dolls will have glass orbs as eyes. It is still easy to replace these eyes, although it can take a bit of work to get the eyes out of the doll’s head. You should keep in mind that the eyes of a doll are typically attached at the back of the socket. What this means is that while it is important to know the size of your doll’s eyes, there will be some wiggle room if you cannot find the exact size. You should also keep in mind that you should replace both eyes instead of one, as this lets you make more adjustments once the eyes are in place.

How Do You Replace a Doll’s Eyes?

Once you have purchased the replacement eyes for your doll, you will need to remove the head of the doll. Depending on how the doll is made, you will either be able to remove the head with relative ease, or you will not be able to remove the head at all without breaking the doll. If you cannot remove the head, you might want to consider other ways of getting the eyes out. Once the head is detached, you should use a thin metal tool, such as a screwdriver or a nut pick, to carefully pry the eyes out of the head.

Now that the eyes are out of the doll’s head, you can replace them. First, you will need to apply glue to the rear outer edge of the eye sockets to ensure that the eyes stay in place. Once the glue is in place, you need to use a pair of thin, needle-nosed pliers to carefully place the new eyes into the doll’s head. When the eyes are in place, you can adjust them as you need to, so that by the time you are done, your doll looks as good as new.

Rebuilding a Doll’s Sculpted Eyes

Finally, there are dolls whose eyes have been sculpted as part of the face, and will eventually become cracked. If you do not fix the crack, that crack can quickly turn into a hole in your doll’s eye. When this happens, you will need to rebuild the eye. This is the most troublesome way to repair a doll’s eye, as it is very unlikely that you will be able to produce an exact match to the doll’s original eye. The material you will be using depends entirely on what the doll is made of. For porcelain dolls, you should use porcelain-look earthenware clay as the replacement materials. For hard plastic, you should use Friendly Plastic and for soft plastic, you should use liquid latex. If your doll is made from wood, you should use wood putty.

How Do You Rebuild a Doll’s Eyes?

While this process is the least likely to produce an exact match to your doll’s eyes, it is also quite easy to get the job done. Some steps here are going to be similar to recoloring a doll’s eyes, as that is technically something you will have to do as well. This means that you will either have to find paints that match your doll’s eyes, or repaint both of the eyes. You will also need a very fine paintbrush and potentially a toothpick for the detail.

First, you will need to take the material that is best suited to your doll and place it in the hole of your doll’s eye. If the gap is too small for you to wedge the material in yourself, you can use some tools to ensure that the replacement material is smooth and fitted. This might take some time and patience, especially if you want the patch to look as seamless as possible with the rest of the doll.

Once the material is set in place and solidified enough for you to paint on, you will begin following similar steps to recoloring a doll’s eye. You will use the paint and the paintbrush to paint the material so that it matches the rest of the eye. Because the paint is brand new, and the doll likely isn’t, there is almost certainly going to be some discrepancy between the colors.

Other Fixes for a Doll’s Eyes

These are not the only things that can go wrong with a doll’s eyes. In fact, there are two common problems that you might encounter that you need to fix: cloudy eyes and sleepy eyes.

Cloudy eyes happen because of a hard, waxy film that adheres to the surface of the doll, typically from the metal eyelids. First, of course, you will need to take the eyes out of the doll. With an old toothbrush, some soap, and some water, scrub the eyes as best as you can. It can often take two or three rounds of scrubbing a doll’s eyes before the cloudiness is completely gone. Then, you will need to put the eyes back into the doll’s head. Because of how much of a pain this process can be, many people opt to completely replace the doll’s eyes instead.

Cloudiness is caused by fungus growth in the eyes cavity due to moisture. A second tip is to use the heat of a hairdryer will eradicate it. Be careful not to get too close or too hot to the eyes, so you don’t overheat the eyes. Sometimes a higher setting is required for more or less ten minutes. The hairdryer also works perfectly when mold is inside the eyes.

Fixing a doll’s sleepy eyes can be a bit more complicated, because the problem is both within the eye and the eyelid. Generally, you will need to get a special doll eye repair kit to get this job done, and if you are worried about damaging the eye, you will want to follow an in-depth guide of how to do this. The process is very labor intensive, as there are many things that can cause a doll to have sleepy eyes. More often than not, it is best to simply replace the eye entirely. The size of the eye can normally being seen at the back of an eye to re-order, as this will completely resolve the problem.

Comments

2 comments

    Rosemary A Sargeant

    August 9, 2019

    How do I repair glass eyes on a doll that has sun fade on the pupils

      doreneclaassen

      August 11, 2019

      Hi Rosemary

      Thank you so much for your question. The best way is to rather replace the doll’s eyes with new ones. I know it can be a more time consuming job, but it will look so much better. By using different method to clean or to recolor the eyes, I am doubting won’t make any difference.

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