The repair of a ventriloquist dummy or doll is sometimes mandatory if you want to sell a collectable one. Each part of a ventriloquist doll can be both simple and complex, even though they're all easily fixable with a little knowledge of how the dummy's parts give the illusion of life.
- Skill level:
Check the mouth of the ventriloquist's dummy. The rubber hand that controls the mouth is usually the first part to deteriorate on an older doll.
Take the head off the dummy by pulling up on it. A fastener holds it in place on newer dolls, though older ones have wires and a rubber band holding the head in place. Be careful when taking the head off on the older dolls because it could easily fall off and get broken.
Look at the condition of the rubber band controlling the mouth. Replace it with a new rubber band or, better, a strong elastic cord for longer life if you intend to perform with the doll and have it be overly talkative.
Place the new elastic cord in the same manner as the old, firmly attaching at its root source in the mouth with a staple or hook. Newer models have the rubber band in the mouth going out through a hole in the back of the doll's neck and wrapping around the base of the head.
Or, reattach the head of a ventriloquist dummy if you've found an antique one with the head removed. Fasten on an older doll's head by using plastic zip ties around the neck for better durability in place of the old wires or rubber bands.
Most Common Repair: Mouth
Inspect the limbs of your ventriloquist doll and see if they've been pulled off or damaged. Try sewing limbs back together or using bandaging tape with a strong adhesive.
Pull the doll's clothing over the bandaging tape after you've repaired the limbs so that the tape doesn't show.
Seek out replacement limbs from ventriloquist doll manufacturers on eBay or speciality stores online, or even swipe one from a dilapidated doll.
Reattach the doll's hands and feet if they've fallen off. Buy replacements if needed. Attach them in the same manner as you did the head.
Notice if pieces of foam are coming out of the mouth of the doll. Take the head off, and check to see if the cardboard barrier between the head and the rest of the body is damaged or moved. This may be a cloth barrier and circular piece of cardboard.
Place a new piece of circular cloth in the neck area first, followed by a new piece of light circular-shaped cardboard to create a more secure barrier between the foam in the lower part of the body and the head.
Clean your ventriloquist doll by using soft brushes and a damp cloth to remove stains off the face or clothing. Wash the clothing very carefully by hand if it's old and fragile.
Tips and warnings
- Buy missing accessories such as hats or other little miniature props that may have gone missing years ago. eBay has many dealers who auction off essential accessories belonging to antique ventriloquist dolls--from classic Charlie McCarthy dolls to ones in the likeness of Groucho Marx.
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