I get so many questions about re-stringing dolls I decided from now on whenever I string a different type of doll I will show photos and write a tutorial. This goes along with re-stringing kits you can buy from my eBay and Etsy stores. My last tutorial showed one method for stringing a Wendy-kins 8 inch doll. This post will show an alternate method as well as show instructions for stringing walker dolls. Besides elastic and hooks, which you can purchase from me, you find other tools, such as tweezers, pliers, small scissors, and a hemostat handy. You will also want to repair any splits with epoxy prior to stringing. Some dolls, such as Tiny Betsy McCall and Muffie Walker have strung arms but not legs. If their legs are broken you will need to repair them with epoxy. My posts show those repairs here.
|Helpful tools to have on hand|
|Start with the arms.|
|Pull the elastic through the other arm hole.|
Now thread the other arm hook onto the elastic and pull the elastic as tight as you can get it. Knot the elastic and move the knot to the center of the body so it's not on the hooks if possible.
|Add the other arm to the elastic.|
Now you're going to do the exact same thing to the doll's hips, except you will thread the cord through the walker mechanism, which is shown below.
|A hip walker mechanism|
When you pull the elastic through the hips you need to draw it through the center of the walker mechanism and the body and then the walker mechanism on the other side.
|Bring the elastic through the walker mechanism.|
Once the elastic is through the body and both walker circles, hook the second leg hook and pull as tight as you can again. It's really challenging to get these tiny pieces of elastic tight enough to work, so pull hard. Then tie off the cord just like you did with the arms.
|Add the second leg hook and tie off.|
|String the head as shown.|
|The restrung doll|
|The doll after restoration.|
The second type of doll I'm stringing today is the simplest type. This kind of doll is strung in a loop, with the head, arms, and legs all attached to the same piece of elastic. This generally works better for dolls 10 inches or larger. I am demonstrating on an 8 inch doll, but please keep in mind I prefer to string these small dolls using the method shown in my Wendy Restrung post because it allows for more movement of the arms. In this case I am stringing my model doll whose hands were colored on with blue marker. I can't really resell her, so I just use her to display clothing and she doesn't need to pose all that well.
|The unstrung doll|
To begin this type of stringing, start by threading the cord through the head hook. It is the longest hook.
|Thread the head hook.|
|Hook the head bar.|
Now draw the elastic through the neck into the body cavity.
|Draw through the body.|
Hook one arm hook to the cord and then draw the same side of the cord down to the leg hole. Repeat on the other side.
|Hook the arms.|
Bring the cord through the leg holes as shown.
|The arms are hooked.|
|Hook one leg and then hook the other to the same cord.|
Once both legs are hooked, pull the elastic as tight as possible and tie the two ends of the cord together. Move the knot so it's not right on any of the hooks.
|Tie off the cord.|
Now test your doll again to make sure the stringing is tight and you're all ready to dress her! When you use the elastic cord your doll will last a long time before needing new stringing. Again, please visit Atelier Mandaline on eBay and Etsy for stringing kits and the dolls shown in this post.
|The restrung doll|
Begin by cutting the cord about twice the length of the doll from the neck to the hip. Draw the cord through the head hook and bring it down into the body through the neck.
|Hook the head to the elastic.|
|Hook the legs to the cord.|
This particular body type is prone to seam splits in the hips and torso, so I don't string it as tight as other dolls. I make sure the doll can hold a pose but keep it as loose as possible.
Recently I had a question about re-stringing the knees on the type of doll shown above. This method will work on Cissy, Jacqueline, bent knee Alexander-Kins, and most bent knee walker dolls. It is similar to the way ball jointed dolls are strung. I strung a Wendy-Kins' knee recently but couldn't get good photos, so I drew a diagram (see below) of how the string should go. It is hard to get the string through the small ring inside the knee but if you are patient you can do it. Pulling with pliers helps.
Bent knee dolls, both walkers and non-walkers usually have the same type of knees and this repair will work for both. You will see the lower part of the leg has a metal loop sticking out of the top of the knee. Fit this loop through the metal ring inside the thigh. Usually a spring hooks the metal loop in the knee to the leg bar in the hip socket. If the spring is missing, bring elastic cord through the top of the loop, bring it over the bar in the hip, pull tight, and knot. Move the knot away from the bar and loop to allow more movement in the knee. See the diagram below for a pictorial depiction.
|Knee Stringing Diagram|
Tiny Betsy McCall by American Character is another doll with a special technique for stringing. In the factory her arms and head were strung in the same manner as the Cissette above. Her legs have plastic joints. However, I find it's almost impossible to get the arms or head tight enough stringing them in the original manner.
|Tiny Betsy McCall by American Character|
I like to remove Betsy's head hook and string her arms to her head.
|The head hook|
The head hook is inserted in a metal frame inside the body, and to remove it you have to squeeze it together tight enough to fit through the hole. I use pliers for that.
|Squeeze the hook to fit through the hole.|
When you squeeze the hook small enough you can drop it through the hole into the body and remove it through one of the arm holes. I save the hook for later use in a different doll.
|Remove the hook.|
|Bring the cord from the head through the neck.|
Hook the arms to the elastic one at a time, just as shown on the previous dolls, pull tight, and knot.
|Hook the arms.|