Getting new bodies

Hello my dear doll collectors!

If you have been following this blog for a few weeks, you probably already know that I wanted to try to rebody some fashionistas into Made to Move bodies, and finally this morning I managed to do it. I was a little bit scared because I'm a really clumsy person, but the result was great and I can't be happier.

Made To Move rebody LA Girl Donut Top

I know that some of you have already rebodied some dolls (I'm not talking about you Phyllis *wink*), and there's tons of info about how to do it on the Internet. So, with this post I don't pretend to teach you how to do it, but about my first rebody experience. 
First of all, let's introduce the dolls that are getting featured in this post. Here are the ladies that are getting new bodies: Fashionistas L.A Girl and Donut Top.

Barbie Fashionistas Charlie Bell Elizabeth

 And this are the girls that are generously donating their bodies: Made To Move Teresa-Bambie and Lea.

Made To Move Lea Teresa rebody

So I've read in several blogs and dicussions in forums that the best way to remove a doll's head is to heat it until it becomes soft and you can squeeze it easisly.  There seem to be several methods, but I chose to dip the doll into hot water protected with a plastic bag so she doesn't get wet. I started with Teresa/Bambi. 

Made to move rebody Teresa Blue top

 Unfortunatelly, I had a little bit of bad luck and both the bowl that I was using and the bag had holes and I made a big mess. After a moment of anger, and some help of Mr. Monster I managed to clean everything and continued with the rebody. 

how to rebody a Barbie doll

Teresa's head was quite hard to pull and I needed some help from Mr. Monster, but finally, she was off with her head. I don't know if you can appreciate it, but the neck peg had a disgusting amount of sticky glue.

How to remove a doll's head

The water was a little bit cold, and I re-heated it a few seconds in the microwave before starting with Donut Top. In fact, I re-heated the water before I started with another doll.

Doll rebody method

 Soon I realized that my mistake with my first doll was that the water wasn't hot enough, as the fashionista's head felt soft much quicker and came out more easily.

Fashionista Donut Top Charlie Bell rebody

 And now, let's put the head into the new body. Taraaaan!

Made to move rebody Donut top Carly Bell

  Now it's time for Lea to get into the water.

In general, I felt that the Made to Move heads were harder to remove than the Fashionistas' heads. However, I managed to remove Lea's head.

And again, Lea's peg had quite a lot of glue on it. 

How to rebody a Barbie doll

The L.A Girl head felt very soft before even diping her into the water and came out very easily.

 And now it's time to put the L.A Girl's head into the Made To Move body.

 Finally, I have my two Fashionistas fully articulated.

Made To Move rebody LA Girl Donut Top

 Now the L.A girl can touch the part of her hair that's not shaved.

 I'm so happy with this project, and the fact that anything went wrong has given me the confidence to try more custom projects. Also, I learned two things during this project:

1) Always have towels or paper towels near you. Even if you put the doll inside a bag, the table will get wet.

2) Don't try pulling the doll's head very close to the bowl of water. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I didn't notice and I hit the bowl while I was pulling Lea's head.

 So what do you guys think? Are you into customizing? Which rebody method do you use?



  1. Thanks for sharing your tips! :)

    I'm a fan of customizing but am fairly new to Barbies, so this is something I've been thinking about but haven't tried yet, so it's great to read about what works (or doesn't work) for other people.

    1. Hello JSarie! Yes, seeing what works or doesn't for other people really helps when you're trying a project for the first time. I'm the clumsiest person in the world, so if I managed to do it, anyone can.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Really good job! :-) Your dolls look so beautiful with their new body :-) When I tried rebody first time I was also scared, but it is not so hard work, just we have to be careful and patient. Anyway I didn't make it with MTM dolls so nice to know your technik. I don't use the water, just put inside the head (between head and neck) and a very slim screwdriver. (I would like to explain it better, but my english isn't perfect, anyway I hope you understand what I mean). Your doll with "donut t-shit" has so beautiful hair. Did she have inside the head some glue? My doll has a lot of glue and I don't know how to fix this problem. Nice photos. Hugs!

    1. put inside the head (between head and neck) a very slim screwdriver* ;-)

    2. Hello Aya! I know that feeling to make a mess, I had the same, but now that I've done it, I feel more confident. I understand what you mean with "thin screwdriver" and how you do it. When I removed the head, both fashionistas had clean neck pegs with no glue, but her hair feels greasy. It looks better now because I washed it last week, but not perfect yet.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Well, I am happy that you found a method to do some head swapping that works for you! The end result is well worth it, isn't it? Until recently, the Bambi/Teresa MTM heads did not have any glue in them. The most recent one I purchased for head swapping did and I was very disappointed. There is not much you can do about the glue unless you want to reroot them. The glue used is some of them is terrible and icky and oozes through the head and makes the hair feel very greasy. On others, they use a different type of glue and it is not as bad. I do wish Mattel would do away with the glue in the heads all together!

    1. Hello Phyllis! The glue is a bummer! I didn't clean the inside of the head, but I did wash the peg and remove as much glue as I could. The fashionistas instead didn't have any glue at all (on the peg), which is surprising because the "Donut T-shirt" fashionista has very grasy hair.

      Thanks for your coment!

  4. Congrats on your body swap! I feel like I have rebodied hundreds of dolls and not once have I used the heat method, but then, I'm stubborn like that. If it's an oversized head or a head I don't want anyway, I just slice it open. If I want to keep the head, I do the old squeeze and slowly twist/pull method.

    1. Hello Muff! The heat method did work for me, but as I said, there are tons of methods. I want to keep the spare heads, so I didn't even consider to slice them.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I really enjoyed reading about your head swap adventures!
    I always use some form of heat on the soft vinyl head whenever I re-body a doll. Sometimes I wrap their neck for a few minutes with a flax bag that is supposed to be warmed and applied to sore muscles. Most often I'm too impatient and I simply place their head base/necks under hot running tap water for a minute. Beware of warming with a blow dryer. Every time I try it, careful as I am, I've melted hair.
    I always use heat because I've stretched some neck pegs removing cold heads. The head always survives, but the stretched neck peg makes the next head that goes on floppy. I've pulled heads off Barbie, LIV, Bratz, and Monster High. I've got lots of Frankendollies :)
    Nice to see you enjoying you dolls and blogging so much!

    1. Hello Annette! I haven't heard from you in a looong time! What have you been up to?
      I heard of the "heat bag" method, I could probably try it next time. I didn't even considered the blow dryer method, I learned my lesson when I was 8 and melted a doll's hair.
      I hope I can hear from you more often, I loved your doll pics!

  6. I wrap the head in many layers of towels, leaving out just the hairless part around the neck and heat it with a hair dryer. That's because heat activates the glue inside, so I try not to get the head hot, even if I need to do something to the hair, I try to pour water over the head quickly instead of dunking the whole head and leaving it to heat and melt the glue. Congrats on the body swap! What do you want to do with the spare heads?

    1. Hello BlackKitty! I read on a forum that someone did more or less what you do: they covered the doll's head with a wet towel and then applied heat on the neck with the blow drier, but I wasn't quite sure.

      I will probably put my spare heads into the non-articulated bodies and use them for hair style experiments. Maybe even try a repaint at some point in the future.


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