How to String Porcelain Dolls

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How to String Porcelain Dolls
Re-stringing antique dolls gives them new life. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Whether you are interested in casting and painting your own porcelain dolls or restringing a family heirloom, dolls are a part of our personal and collective history. Archaeologists find dolls in the earliest human graves. As technology advanced, so did doll making. By the early 1800s, china and bisque became the material of choice and porcelain dolls were born. The fully porcelain doll has china or bisque arms and legs that attach to the body with strings. Stringing the limbs to the body gives the doll more natural movement.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 4 medium EZ links
  • 1 large EZ link
  • Covered elastic string, amount depends on the size of your doll.
  • Scissors
  • Hemostat
  • Porcelain doll arms
  • 1 large wooden bead
  • Porcelain doll body
  • Pencil
  • Crochet hook
  • Porcelain doll legs
  • Porcelain doll head

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Insert the plastic disc of the EZ link into the holes in the joints of the arms, legs and head. The EZ links are S hooks attached to flexible plastic discs. They look like a suction cup with a hook on one side. They are available from doll and craft shops. Fold each disc to fit it into the hole in the porcelain piece. The hook remains outside the joint. Use caution so that you don't chip the edge of the hole.

  2. 2

    Measure a piece of elastic string three times the width of the doll body. Cut the string with scissors. Fold the string in half and insert the loop into the neck opening of the doll.

  3. 3

    Push the loop through the left armhole of the doll and hook the EZ link of the left arm onto the loop of elastic string. Gently pull the string to hold the arm in place.

  4. 4

    Clip the loop of string holding the left arm with the point of the hemostat to hold the left arm in place. Create a second loop with the rest of the string and push it through the right armhole of the doll. Hook the EZ link of the right arm onto the loop. Pull the string to tighten the right arm.

  5. 5

    Hold both ends of the string and remove the hemostat. Pull the elastic string tightly so that both arms are in place. Tie the ends of the string together three times and release the knot into the doll's body. This releases a little tension on the arms. Check to make sure they are still secure and not too loose. If they are too loose, pull the knot out of the body and retie.

  6. 6

    Cut a piece of elastic string five times the length of your doll body. This is longer than you'll need, but you want some room to work with the string.

  7. 7

    Fold the string in half twice so that the string is in quarters. Insert the string folded through the wooden bead so that two loops lie at the bottom of the bead, while one loop and the two ends lie at the top. Push the bead into the body of the doll.

  8. 8

    Insert a pencil through the single loop at the top of the bead. Lay the pencil across the neck opening of the doll to prevent the loop from falling inside the doll. Hold the ends from the neck hole as well. If necessary, tie them together around the pencil with a simple knot.

  9. 9

    Pull one of the two loops down through the left leg hole with a crochet hook. Hook the EZ link of the left leg onto the loop. Repeat with the right leg.

  10. 10

    Pull the ends of the string tightly to take up the slack. Tie the ends of the string together over the pencil to prevent the ends from snapping into the body of the doll.

  11. 11

    Hook the EZ link of the head through the strings held by the pencil. Remove the pencil and settle the head in its place.

Tips and warnings

  • After tying the strings, you can cut the excess elastic string with scissors or you can simply push the string inside the body of the doll.
  • Don't pull the elastic string so tightly that you put pressure on the porcelain body.
  • Never allow porcelain limbs to snap back into place. This will chip the porcelain.

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