Take the Doll
Put Her Back
This page is optional. If you only want to customize a Berenguer doll by adding
a wig and some blush color, then you don't need to disassemble your doll.
There are three reasons why people take the dolls apart:
- 1. They want a cloth body on their all-vinyl Berenguer
- 2. They want to paint the inside of the doll so it will have a natural tint or
- 3. They want to add weight to the doll so it will feel heavy like a real baby.
I started with a 17" Lots to Love Asian doll, as shown on the right in the photo.
Judi Linn is my "reborn" asian and she is pictured on the left. She was
re-assembled with a cloth body and is 20" now instead of 17". The proportions
are very good because the 17" asians have a very large head.
DECIDE WHAT BODY YOU WANT FOR YOUR REBORN. Berenguer dolls
have all-vinyl bodies or cloth bodies. If you take your doll apart you have three
options for putting it back together again:
- Put the all vinyl doll back together after you have painted it and/or
- Replace the vinyl body with a cloth body instead.
- Take the cloth body off the cloth/vinyl doll and replace it with a new cloth
body when you reassemble.
- Re-use the original cloth body. On the newer 21" Special Edition LaBaby
dolls, this is possible.
TAKE THE DOLL APART. Clip the cloth body off the doll and remove as
much of the thread and cloth as possible if it is the kind of body that is stitched
to the vinyl. The newer LaBaby dolls are assembled with tie straps so you only
need to cut the straps in order to remove all the vinyl pieces.
Or, if it is an all vinyl doll then pry the arms, legs and head off. Be careful not
to rip the soft vinyl limbs when you pry them off the body! If you use a flat blade
screwdriver you might have less trouble prying the pieces apart and less chance
of ripping the vinyl. Just use the screwdriver to pry the pieces, but not hard
enough to damage them.
OPEN UP THE PIECES. When the doll is in pieces, then you need to open up
the ends of the arms and legs so you can get a long handled paintbrush inside.
(If you prefer to dye the vinyl pieces then
you don't need to do this.) Cut away the
vinyl from the center core of the
arms/legs so there is a hole in the end.
Use a good scissors or an exacto blade
or sharp knife. Be careful. Do not
remove the flange edge of the joint: just
widen the center hold as much as you
COLOR THE INSIDE OF THE
PIECES. Some people like to paint the
inside of the vinyl pieces. I prefer to
stain the vinyl using RIT dye. You can
read the chapter on "purple wash"
methods by clicking on this link.
CLOTH BODIES. The photo at left
shows an example of an ethnic cloth
body (jointed) with cable ties inserted.
It is easy to attach the doll's vinyl arms
and legs to the body. Just stick them in
the holes and pull the cable ties so they
are snug but still able to turn the
arms/legs a little bit.
make their own cloth bodies using our doll body patterns. And, there are ladies
who make and sell cloth bodies that are specially designed for the Berenguer
The chapter on Cloth Bodies explains options in more detail.
CUT A SHOULDERPLATE FROM THE VINYL BODY. I cut a shoulderplate
for Judi Linn by cutting the neck and shoulders portion off of her vinyl body. I
used a good pair of scissors and it wasn't very difficult. Don't be skimpy, be
sure to cut a nice big shoulderplate so the neck will be well stabilized. Put the
head on the neck of the shoulderplate you just made.
If you started with a cloth/vinyl Berenguer doll then you don't need a
shoulderplate. The neck of the doll is already shaped to fit a cable tie.
FINISH ASSEMBLING THE DOLL.
Stuff the body and weight it with a beanbag. I
pour plastic pellets into a plastic bag and put a
twist tie around it. Drop the beanbag into the
butt and then pack the rest of the body with
Judi Linn is a big heavy girl and didn't need
any more weight than what I put in the
beanbag (which was generous.) You can also
fill the arms, legs and head with beans, sand,
gel or other material to make the doll heavy
like a real baby. Put the weighting materials in
plastic bags so it doesn't spill all over, and
stuff the bags in the limbs. Then pack the ends
of the arms, legs and head with polyfill to plug
the holes. Do this before you attach the pieces
to the cloth body, of course.
If you started with a cloth/vinyl doll that was stitched together (instead of made
with cable ties) then you need to pack the arms and legs with filler such as sand
and plug the ends of the limbs with polyfill. This will make the arms and legs
firm. When you pull the cable ties around the arms and legs, pull them tight.
Since there is no flange to hold the limb in place, you need to adjust the ties
tighter. Some people apply a little glue also, just to be sure the pieces hold. You
can use a good quality glue such as E6000 for this purpose.
Another option is to sew the cloth body onto the vinyl pieces. You can poke
holes through the vinyl with a hot needle heated over a candle flame and then it
is easy to stitch the cloth to the vinyl. (This is only necessary if the vinyl pieces
don't have the flange on the end that will hold the cable tie.)
Last of all, put the head back on. I put the shoulder plate inside the neck of the
body and draw up the plastic tie so it is snug around the neck but can still turn
Judi Linn is re-assembled!! Now we just need to make her pretty. Hair, blush,
eyebrows, clothing... next we get to do the FUN stuff. :)