How to Repair a Hard Plastic Doll

Written by elizabeth chaplin
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How to Repair a Hard Plastic Doll
Repair a hard plastic doll to its original beauty. (doll image by Lyudmila B from

Plastic dolls were first introduced in East Germany after World War II. Since then, toy manufacturers all over the world make plastic dolls for collectors and children. Most hard plastic dolls are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), while others are made from polythene. Over time, hard plastic dolls have a tendency to wear down. There are several issues that may occur with a much-loved or very old hard plastic doll, such as withering and cracking. Correct these issues with a few restoration techniques.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Soft cloth
  • Rubbing compound
  • Dish soap
  • Clear nail polish
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire
  • Plastic wood
  • Doll epoxy putty
  • Sanding pads
  • Antiseptic wash
  • Talcum powder
  • Compressed air
  • Matt varnish

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  1. 1

    Dampen a soft cloth and squeeze a small dollop of rubbing compound onto the cloth. Rub the plastic surface of the doll in a circular motion, working in about one-inch sized areas, to lightly abrade and remove small scratches and dirt. Dry the doll with a soft cloth immediately after the dirt is removed. Keep the compound off of hair, eyes and painted areas.

  2. 2

    Clean broken areas of the doll's body with a solution of warm water and mild dish soap. Hold the broken piece in place, then paint over the crack with clear nail polish. Hold the piece until the nail polish sets, then leave for 24 hours.

  3. 3

    Cut thin pieces of wire to replace missing fingers. Heat the end of the wire and stick it into the nub where the missing finger was. Build around the wire with plastic wood, which is much like sculpting clay, to mould a finger. Let the plastic wood dry and completely harden, then sand the finger smooth.

  4. 4

    Cut off an equal slice of each roll of epoxy putty. Epoxy putty typically has two rolls; one is the adhesive and other is the hardener. Knead the two pieces together for about five minutes. Fill in surface pits, large splits or gouges with the putty, wetting your fingers to smooth it into the surface. Let the putty harden for about three hours, then sand it smooth.

  5. 5

    Unstring or take apart the plastic doll body, head, arms and legs if the doll is withering, has a dried-out appearance or smells strongly of vinegar, sometimes known as "plastic doll disease." Place the pieces in an antiseptic wash like Oxy 10, Band-Aid Antiseptic Wash or similar product. Let the doll dry for a few days, then cover it inside and out with talcum powder. Let the powder sit for a few days, then blow out the powder with compressed air. Spray the inside and outside of the doll with a thin layer of matt varnish and let dry.

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