Monday, October 24, 2011

Harry Potter Transformations

Vintage My Friend dolls reworked as the three friends, Harry, Ron, and Hermione

Without their wizard robes
Here are Harry, Ron, and Hermione sneaking out at night, wands drawn. Are they visiting Hagrid or going on a secret mission?

My latest project has been ongoing for several weeks now. Re-working three dolls at once isn't ever easy, but this was a huge job, involving one gender change and hair plugs! The baby has also been sick for about three weeks. First he had a cold, and it seemed like his entire face was running with snot. Then he got an ear infection and had pus pouring down his face and neck. Now he's back to a very runny nose. I sure hope he recovers soon!

This doll project started rather unusually. You may remember my "Box of Possibility" post from a month or so ago in which I had gotten a large box of distressed My Friend dolls. That box contained a Becky doll whose hair had been chopped off at the head right in front. She also had deep scratches in her face paint, particularly the cheek paint. Instead of the normal rose print body she had a flesh colored body. This is very unusual; I've never seen a Becky like that before. I looked at her chopped hair and flesh-colored body and immediately thought "Ron Weasley". Should it worry me that my mind works this way? I don't know!

At any rate, I didn't suppose Ron Weasley (or Ron Weasel as my daughter calls him!) would sell by himself so I sent for ANOTHER large box of My Friend dolls which contained a Mikey. I have a ton of Jennys right now, so I picked the best one. The real work started with Becky's transformation into Ron. First I had to figure out how to address the chopped hair. The way the My Friend hair is rooted is that the dolls have a large number of hair plugs with lots of extra hair in them rooted right at the front. This hair then covers the other hair plugs and prevents bald spots. Naturally this was exactly where the former owner cut the hair, so Becky/Ron had a large bald spot. To fix the bald spot I first carefully cut the remaining long hair into a boyish style. I made sure to keep the hair I cut long enough to knot. I then knotted these into new hair plugs and rooted them into the existing holes as well as right into the vinyl head to cover the bald spot. The photos below illustrate the process:

First the long hair is cut, leaving the cut hair as long as possible. Note the bald spot.

I place the new hair plugs into the bald area using a mushroom rooting tool.

The bald spot is covered.
After rerooting the hair is still somewhat sparse, but looks much better. You could pretend, I suppose, that Ron is just exhibiting some early male pattern baldness! I thought Ron was looking good, but my husband was making fun of him for looking girly. So, I combed his hair down over his forehead and worked a bit on his face paint. As I mentioned, the paint on his face had been really rubbed and in some cases, gouged, off (I'm glad the former owner wasn't my child! Some of the hair had also been pulled entirely out!) so I went ahead and removed all the cheek paint. Then, matching the lip paint from the factory, I painted over his eyelashes, just making a shaded eyelid, to hide the eyelashes. He looks much more masculine now.

When Ron was finished I began work on Harry. He didn't require much except glasses and the famous scar. I bought a pair of doll glasses, which were yellow, all I could find, and repainted them black. Then I painted the scar on his forehead using acrylic paint. In fact, I sued acrylic for all the repainting. Therefore, if you ever wanted to transform Harry back to Mikey you could just remove the scar using Goof-Off. Just be careful, as Goof-Off will remove the original factory paint and discolor the vinyl if left too long. I "neutralize" the Goof-Off by washing it off with dish soap and water after I'm done.
The scar is painted on in acrylic. It can be removed with Goof-Off.

Jenny just needed some clothes to be a perfect Hermione. I made her linen-look skirt and reworked a sweater to fit her. For all the dolls I designed the little robe pattern and sewed them. The boys robes are sewn from an old pair of my husband's dress pants and Hermione's is fancier, made of crepe-backed satin left over from another project. I made the magic wands from some strong sticks (apple wood I think) I found in the yard. I gave them a pointy end and added polymer clay handles, cured for durability.

I had such a great time thinking this concept up and creating the characters! Why oh why can't I think of a story like Harry Potter to write myself? I guess I have a doll-geared brain, at least at this point in my life. When I was working on these I found myself wishing we could transform ourselves so easily. Who wouldn't want to stick some extra hair plugs in, or paint more beautiful features on? Or to travel back in time and have a 20-year-old body again? Or even just a baby whose entire face isn't covered in snot or pus for three full weeks? Maybe someday we'll figure it out!