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DIY doll reconstruction

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 08, 2018

Doll Reconstruction

In response to a New Yorker article by Jill Lepore about fashion dolls like Barbie and Bratz, 11-year-old Violette Skilling sent in a letter to the magazine with her take on the dolls. It reads, in part:

I never wanted a Barbie or a Bratz doll until I discovered doll reconstruction. What you do is erase the features of the doll with nail-polish remover, and then remove the hair and make other body modifications. Then you give the doll a new face, new hair, and new clothing. (My favorite part is ripping out the hair, which is very therapeutic.)

What I like about doll reconstruction is that I am in control. I can make them pretty, or not. The two dolls that I have reconstructed represent two parts of me: one nerdy and very unfashionable, and one strong and cool. I make up their stories, and they represent my passions, my hopes, and my feelings.

Doll reconstruction is definitely a thing. Sonia Singh repaints the faces of Bratz dolls in a “down-to-earth style” and displays the results on her blog; that’s one of her doll makeovers pictured above. A profile of Singh on YouTube has been viewed more than 20 million times:

She sells a PDF guide to doll re-styling on Etsy. But you can also find tutorials for removing your doll’s “factory paint” on YouTube.