CUSTOM: How we re-body dolls

I have read various “how to rebody” tutorials online and their re-body-ing efforts are explained in various ways. Those ways are not wrong, but over time I have created my own method using tips from various other tutorials, as well as the experiences I’ve had.

If you don’t understand WHY we re-body dolls, check out this post.

1) First, I wrap the hair of any head I want to preserve (sometimes I only care about one of the two heads) using paper towels and rubber bands.

2) Next, I use a blowdryer to heat the underside of the neck joint. Point the blowdryer at the rubber jawline of the head you want to remove.  I have the blowdryer turned on for about the count of ten. Longer is okay too.

3) Pinch the head and pull upward. The head will come up about a quarter of an inch until the neck prong snags on the lip of the neck.

4) Finally, I use a small screwdriver (the ones found in eyeglass repair kits work well) to move the neck hole over one of the prongs. Once you have one prong below the neck hole, the head will come off easily.

TIPS:

  • The worst thing that can happen is if you break the neck prong off of the ball joint in the neck socket. This makes the good body unusable. This is not so bad if you do it the “bad” body because if that body was good you probably wouldn’t be bothering to remove the head.
  • If you don’t care anything about the head on the good body I recommend just using clippers to cut the neck open instead. That way you don’t risk weakening the neck ball joint on the good body.
If you don’t plan to keep a head, just clip into the neckline to remove the head.
  • Some people recommend clipping the prongs off the neck piece/ball joint while it is still inside the head. That is another good idea, especially if you don’t quite understand or can’t seem to accomplish step 4 above where we torque the prong out of the neck hole.
This is a cross-section of a head with the neck prong seated within it. This should give a first-timer a good sense of what they are working with.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Lola says:

    Poor Pop Life Christy!!!
    Have you discovered LIV doll bodies yet? They’re still a little pricey ($12) but they offer some very pale options and are even a little more pose able than a fashionista body. Their bodies are only a tiny bit shorter than a barbie and are proportioned more like a teenager. I’d actually buy the LIV dolls for my girls, but I jut don’t like the gigantic freaky heads.

  2. Lola – you are so funny. I knew someone was going to feel bad for her head. I bought two of her and one is still intact. That’s why I decided to use my other version of her for “science”. Ha. I wouldn’t have thought of using Liv bodies but Vanessa Morrison did a post on a Liv Rebody. You are so right – Hayden is light enough that I rebodied both my Basics Asians onto Hayden bodies. They are just as cute as can be. Asians being generally somewhat smaller stature, it works out just fine. I can’t possibly tolerate the original LIV heads. They are too cross-eyed. But LIV has great clothes, great accessories and great bodies.

    1. Lola says:

      Liv dolls are just starting to turn up at thrift stores here, which is good because I’m very cheap:D I have had luck selling the liv heads and wigs on ebay. I’m not sure who’s buying disembodied heads, but I’m glad they do!

  3. Ms. Leo says:

    I was sorry for Pop Life Christie too! You could have gotten some money for the head…but I guess if it is for “science” it is OK;)

    1. Ms. Leo –
      I am just starting to understand that nearly everything 1/6 scale has resale value. It’s quite amazing. Who knows how much “money” I’ve thrown in the trash over the last year. Oh well.

  4. Mattcut90 says:

    Please tell me that youre going to keep this up! Its so great and so important. I cant wait to read far more from you. I just feel like you know so substantially and know how to make people listen to what youve got to say. This weblog is just also cool to be missed. Excellent stuff, really. Please, PLEASE keep it up!

    1. thanks. Those are great compliments and I appreciate your comments.

  5. Urshula says:

    you have ruined such a lovely doll’s head 😦 there are other ways to get the head off the body….

    1. Urshula,

      I understand that in the case of that one doll I did destroy the head. Partially I did this to show the inside of the neck/head joint. I don’t usually cut the head open. However, if you are not at all concerned with the head, you can just cut it open.

      If you know of other ways to get heads off, other than the blowdryer method I show, please share. It’s always good to know a variety of options.

      1. MajorMistakes says:

        Well, the least you could do is to cut back of her head, not face. I’m rather poor and it literaly broke my heart- but ofc it’s your doll and you had rights to do whatever you wanted. Just…such a fine doll 😦
        I use hair dryer and two (not one) little metal nail files. They shouldnt be very sharp- one is stuck in a “head hole” (not sure if you know what i meant), you work with other. Also, after that cut off those “anchor” things, it will make removing head easier next time.
        Have a nice day!

        1. Great tip. Thanks. Would you like one of the new Baby Phat Articulated Chandras? or how about a Baby Phat articulated Kara? I’ll send you one for free – just message me at kristlsmithtyler AT gmail DOT com.

  6. Vicki McKie says:

    I had never head of the LIV dolls until I read this blog. Do you think the LIV doll would be a good option to rebody Barbie’s sister, Skipper? I have a modern Skipper with the dark hair and a purple stripe. I’d love for her to be articulated. Do you think she would do well on a LIV body? Would her close still fit? I went to Ebay and found a nude LIV with no wig (doesn’t matter if I’m going to take off her head). The picture showed the body next to a ruler and it is a full 12″. Of course the head is larger than a Barbie so that accounts for some of it. I”m just wondering if the LIV body would be too tall for Skipper’s pants to fit her.???? What are your thoughts? I’ve never done a rebody before, but you’ve inspired me. Thanks for your blog. I’m really enjoying it.

    1. they end up like short barbies. that doesn’t mean you can’t use a skipper head on her. You’ve got the brown headed Skipper that has the pink in her hair?

      1. Vicki McKie says:

        Well sort of… When I looked up my doll on Amazon, their picture does look like she has pink in her hair. But on my doll it actually looks more purple. It matches the purple hat and shorts she is wearing. Anyway she is the Barbie Sisters Amusement Park Skipper Doll. She has straight legs, and one straight arm and one bent arm that holds a cotton candy stick.

  7. I just want to know about swapping limbs on Stacie,Chelsea and Kelly dolls primarily arms as all their arms are to short. Or where I could get longer arms for each of these dolls.

  8. Jennifer Wilson says:

    Awesome. Thank you. I was wondering how to do this. My girls LOVE the articulated bodies, yet many of our prettiest dolls do not have them. But now–because of your informative posts, I fix that by trashing the not so pretty doll heads and doll bodies and putting the good ones together! You are AWESOME. Keep up the good work. (PS Are you a My Froggy Stuff youtube fan too?)

  9. Cerise says:

    To remove the head you can dip it in boiling water and then simply pull it off, whilst being careful not to break or bend the neck prongs.
    You can also swap out the dolls arms using this and other method – so if you have a doll with non-articulated arms, you can replace them with articulated arms whilst keeping the torso. This may be a solution to you not favouring the Gymnast Barbie torso shape.

    1. That’s amazing. I had no idea. Do you want to do a guest post about it?

  10. Cc says:

    How do you put the new head on? Do you just snap it back in place?

    1. Yep. It will snap on once and be too wobbly. Push further down and you’ll feel that second snap. That’s the one you need.

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