Loyal blog readers may remember that I have tried "enhancing" three of my non-Tonner dolls that had factory painted eyes by cutting eye openings and inserting inset eyes.  I didn't do a really bang up job .... so back in September I sent the three vinyl doll heads away to a pro, in hopes that my rough job of beveling the eye sockets could be "corrected".  Hoping to keep things simple, I just sent just the heads and kept the pieces of the back of the heads that one has to cut open to work inside the head here at home where they wouldn't get lost in the "shuffle".

The project didn't come back to me until about a week ago.  When I restored the heads to their bodies and got ready to glue back in the cover for the opening at the back of the heads, I got a shock - the pieces will no longer fit into the holes they came from!
Here are a couple of drawings that may help visualize what I'm trying to describe.  Imagine the sphere to the left is a doll head facing downwards (and no, doll heads aren't "perfect" spheres like this, but let's keep it simple.) To work on the inside of the
head, one cuts off a section, like the top section of this sphere (but no, with the dolls it isn't usually such a large portion of the sphere as this!)   So the edge of the resulting hole in the head is (approximately) circular and the edge of the piece you've cut out is (approximately) circular.
What has happened to these "open" doll heads in the 3-4 months that they sat around without the "cover" glued into the head/sphere opening is that the opening has stopped being the shape of a circle and is now more like the "prolate ellipse" shape in the drawing to the right.

All I can think of is that there must be pressures on the surface of the vinyl "sphere" of a doll head that cause it to gradually change shape if part of the "sphere" is removed.  Apparently the shape that the head "wants" to be is longer and narrower.
Luckily for me in two of the dolls the only apparent difference that this is going to make is that the back of the head looks pretty funky, like a jig-saw puzzle where the piece isn't quite right but you jam it in the space anyway!  Since this is covered by their wigs, it won't matter.  In the third doll the change has been extreme enough that her face is noticeably narrower, and I'm not sure I can get the back cover on, jammed or not!  She is still a pretty doll, but not the same as when she left here!

So ..... learn from my mistake!!!  Beware of opening up a vinyl doll head and leaving it open for too long!!!  R.


Stephanie Yue
01/12/2014 11:14pm

Try to reshape the head opening by warming it with a heating pad or a hairdryer, reshape by putting the head back on the neck while still soft and it would harden around the neck.

01/13/2014 10:01am

Hi Stephanie, thanks for this suggestion. I guess I didn't make myself clear enough - the head-to-neck connection is not involved in this problem! Luckily the heads still go onto the neck/body just fine!

Stephanie Yue
01/14/2014 12:43am

Now I understand, not the neck the shape of the head has changed. Do you think you could warm up the head and place the cutout back in and hold it in shape with tape or something while it cools.

01/14/2014 9:13am

Hi again Stephanie. Yes, I did try warming both the pieces to fit them together again. And yes, doing that together with wrapping ones thumb and first finger around the the circle of the opening in the skull and squeezing, allows the piece to fit back in the hole. But the problem is figuring out a way to hold that same pressure constant while it cools (and/or glue dries) - short of sitting there holding it in ones hand for an hour (not something I'm cut out for!!) Tape, rubber bands, etc ACROSS it don't keep the same pressure and the piece pops out. Plus this also puts undesirable force on the front of the face.
Don't worry, my dolls are happy now (in fact they are ice skating - pictures to follow) - they just have odd looking backs of their heads if their wigs fall off! Thanks for your concern. Roberta

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