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Antique Doll Repair

Your doll might have been your closest confidante or maybe it was your grandmother’s best friend. It doesn’t matter if you have inherited Grandma’s favorite collection or it’s that special one, with proper care you can preserve them for the future.

Sunlight is the mortal enemy of these playthings – it fades and weakens the fabric that makes up its clothing and it also fades its face. If you must have your favourite toy in a sunny room, try to keep it out of the direct sunlight. Even fluorescent lighting indoors can cause damage. To protect your dolls from indirect lighting, you can buy UV covers for the case (expensive) or just drape the case with a pretty piece of sheer fabric (less expensive & pretty too).

Dust is also harmful to your beautiful toys. It works its way into the fabric of the dress and permeates the dolls itself in some cases. If you can’t store them in an enclosed cabinet, then make sure they are dusted regularly using a soft bristled brush. If this lovely toy isn’t kept in a case, please don’t leave it in a room with the windows open where outside dirt and pollution can reach it. Don’t let Fido near your toys lest he think favorite doll Abigail’s hair is a tasty treat!

Smoking is a huge no no! The nicotine stains the model itself and the clothing and the smell stays on too. The stains are almost impossible to remove and should you choose to sell the toy, the smoke smell will reduce its value.

If you have the ability to keep your your toys in a closed display cabinet, do so… it puts them out of the way of dust, sunlight and pets and keeps them safe. When displaying your toy inside a cabinet, take care that it doesn’t come into contact with any wood since there are acids that will damage it. A piece of unbleached muslin provides a barrier between the wood and your plaything.

A word about temperature – extremes are not good for you and they aren’t good for your dolls either. Too hot may make certain type of toys melt, too cold may make certain them crack. A good rule of thumb is keeping them at the same temperature you are comfortable at. Attics and basements are not good storage area’s for them due to the temperature changes and moisture levels.

If you are going to store your doll, her clothing should be removed, placed flat and wrapped in acid free paper to avoid creases in the fabric. Your doll should be wrapped ever so gently also with acid free and stored on her back on a soft cushioned surface. While it might be tempting to put your toys in a plastic air tight container, don’t do it. The smallest amount of moisture can render your plaything a moldy mess in a plastic container.

If your plaything needs large scale restoration, you should see out doll doctors who specialize in the type of toy you have. You may find them listed under doll restoration, doll doctors, antique doll repair.

Before entrusting your plaything to such a doctor, ask to see some of the repairs they have done on dolls such as yours. Do they follow the tradition of how it was made originally (such as using authentic type hair) or will it be replaced with synthetic? What about the painting process? How do they match the colors? Of course, clothing is important also… can they repair the clothing or do they have other original clothing for sale?

Much like you would seek out qualifications in a medical doctor, asking questions is the best way to find out about them. Chatting with other toy collectors in your area is another resource for finding these doll doctors. Most doll doctors have a true love of the doll and will treat them as lovingly as you would.

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