Take the Doll
and then
Put Her Back
Together Again


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 "glow"
  • 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:

  1. Put the all vinyl doll back together after you have painted it and/or weighted it.
  2. Replace the vinyl body with a cloth body instead.
  3. Take the cloth body off the cloth/vinyl doll and replace it with a new cloth body when you reassemble.
  4. 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 can.

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.

The difficulty is finding a cloth body that is appropriate for the Berenguer dolls. You can purchase Apple Valley doll bodies. Some ladies 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 dolls.

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.



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 polyfill.

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 a little.

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. :)

Copyright (c) 2002, 2012 Cynthia Stevens All Rights Reserved