Baby Face Dolls by Galoob:
Restring Your Baby Face Dolls ~ Early Methods

The Galoob Baby Face dolls are strung dolls. They have a very unique system of plugs and cords and cups. Each limb (and the head) is strung separately. This system was OK for the factory, but makes it difficult for Baby Face collectors to restring the dolls when they need it.

We do want to advise you that we're not experts. These methods work for us, but may not work as well for you. Anytime you're working on old dolls, there's a risk involved.


I use the following supplies, which are available in our Doll Shop:

  • Stringing cord, approx. 2 yards. I use our #3 cord.
  • Hemostat medical forcepts (clamp). I like the straight ones in several sizes. Sometimes I need two at a time, to hold one thing while I work with another.
  • Needlenose pliers and blunt nose pliers
  • Scissors
  • Hair dryer or pan of boiling hot water



This is the easy part! To unstring the doll's limbs, pull the arm or leg out so you can see the cord, and cut the white cord using a good pair of scissors. Remove the head in the same way.

WAIT! You only need to remove the parts that require restringing. If the arms are loose, then you can string the arms by themselves. If the legs are loose then you need to remove both arms and both legs.

If you need to tighten up the neck string, then you will need to remove the arms in order to do the head.

NOTE: You do not necessarily need to remove the head in order to tighten the neck cords: we do have a minor "fix" that might work without having to cut cords. So read through this entire page before you do anything... you might save yourself some unnecessary grief. :)


The doll has plugs, cups and cones inside. Here is a photo of black Natalie in pieces:

  • 1.) shoulder cup
  • 2.) lower arm plug
  • 3.) large hip cup
  • 3b.) small hip cup
  • 4.) lower leg plug
  • 4b.) different kind of plug
  • 5.) head cone
  • 6.) neck cone inside the body neck

Make sure to look carefully at the parts as you remove them so you don’t get confused about what goes where. You may even want to put some of the pieces in baggies so they don’t get separated from one another. (For example, put all the arm pieces for each arm in separate baggies until you are ready to string them. )


If the head of the doll is loose, you will want to try this first. To tighten the head is easier than removing it and starting over.

Take off the arms. Bend a cable tie in half and put the end in the connector to hold it but do not pull tight. Put the folded part of the cable tie in the armhole and slide the loop underneath the ends of the two neck cords.

Use the hemostats to pull on the two neck cords and pull them tight. Then slide the cable tie in the gap above the crimps on the cord ends. The washers get in the way but after maneuvering around them you can get the cable tie around the two cords. Pull the cable tie tight. One cable tie might be good enough, but it is better to slide another cable tie ABOVE the first one.

Now the doll's head should be good and tight. If not, proceed to the next step.


1. Cut the neck cord so the head comes off. Do Not remove the cone from inside the head. It is very difficult to remove that cone, so do not try because it’s not necessary to remove it.

2. Remove the old pieces of cord and throw them away. Use the hemostats as necessary to grab the pieces and pull them out. In fact, use the hemostats whenever you need to go "fishing" or need to grab something or need to pull on something. If you need to pull HARD on something, then the needle-nose pliers is better for serious pulling.

3. Use the smaller size hemostats and reach inside the head to grab the cone shaped piece. Hold it in place with the wide end of the cone near the neck opening.

4. Cut a piece of the stringing cord. It should be approximately 10 to 12 inches long. You can attach the head using a single length of this cord, or a double length. The head will be much more sturdy if you use a double piece, so I fold the length of cord in half and tie a piece of string at the center (in the photo I used red cord.)

5. NOTE: the holes in the narrow end of the head cone and the neck cone might not be wide enough for double cord. If this is the case, I push the hemostats through the hole and twist it around. This does widen the hole a little bit without damaging the cone.

Push the piece of string through the cone shaped plug. Grab the cord on the other side using the hemostats and turn the cone so you can manuever. Use the string to pull your double cord through the narrow end of the cone.

6. Once it's through, cut the cord and tie a nice big knot. This will hold your #3 cord. (The cone is inside the head this whole time. The photo illustration does not show the head, of course.)

7. Turn the cone again so the wide end is nestled around the neck opening. The two ends of the cord will be hanging from the neck.

8. Push the stringing cords through the neck hole on the body. Pull them out through an armhole. Slide the neck cone in place.

The narrow end of the cone will be down, the wide end will fit up inside the neck.

Or, you can also use a wood bead inside the neck, rather than the cone. The wood bead doesn't fit up inside the neck, as far as the cone does. The lower placement is VERY helpful when you tie the big ol' knot underneath.

At this point, you may need to ADAPT to the circumstances. Sometimes I add a spacer below the neck cone, such as a big pony bead. Sometimes I use a 1 inch wood bead with a big washer underneath it. I use a washer because the hole in the wood bead is too wide and the knot will slip through the hold.

I have different options for finishing the neck... and mostly I want to be sure the head is on good and snug. You have to pull on the elastic cord very firmly in order to get it tight enough. I use a pliers to get a good hold on the elastic cord, otherwise I mangle my hands from pulling. One time I pulled too hard with the pliers and broke the cord. That stung!

9. Tie a knot below the neck cone or the wood bead.

10. Trim off the excess cord. In order to save on cord, I sometimes work with the entire piece (a couple of yards) and only cut it when I'm finished attaching the head to the doll body. You can apply glue to the knot, to help hold it.


Sometimes you only need to string the arms, and won't need to do the head or the legs...

1. Remove the arms from the doll.

2. Pull the plugs out of the lower arms using the hemostats. To do this, trim the cord as close as possible and push it through the other end of the plug using a crochet hook or the hemostats or something similar to push the cord into the hand.

Then turn the plug (inside the arm piece) so the narrow end comes out first. Sometimes it's very difficult to turn the plug around. Sometimes a strong piece of string threaded through the middle helps to turn it. I use the hemostats to grab the other end of the string and pull it out. Then, the string helps me to turn the plug around. (Some arm pieces have more room inside than others, I think.)

Once the plug is turned around, heat the vinyl so it's soft enough to pull the plug out. You can dip the lower arm piece in hot or even boiling water to soften up the vinyl and this will make it easier to turn the plug and remove it. Some people use a hair dryer to warm the vinyl because they don't want to get water inside the pieces. I wait for the pieces to dry out, it's not a problem. I use both the hairdryer or hot water depending on what I'm doing. The boiling water really softens vinyl the best, IMO.

Then pull the plug out, when the vinyl is soft from the heat. You will want to grip as much of the plastic plug as possible with the needlenose pliers, and hold on tight.

It does require some strength and some pulling to get the plug out, but it’s not too bad. After the plug is removed, pull out the old pieces of cord that are inside the hand and throw them away. KEEP THE PLUGS! You need them to put the doll back together with.

3. Cut a piece of 1/8 full cord, approximately 8 or 9 inches long or more depending on how much extra you want to work with. Tie a knot in one end of 1/8” full cord and thread the cone shaped plug onto the cord with the narrow end against the knot.

4. HEAT THE VINYL. Then, force the plug back into the lower arm, with the knot going in first and then the narrow end of the plug. Sometimes it helps to lean on a countertop when forcing the plug in. I frequently us a blunt nose pliers to PUSH the plug into the hole.

Needlenose pliers are great for getting it OUT, and regular blunt nose pliers are great for pushing the plugs back IN.

5. Next, thread the upper arm on the cord and push the cord through the armhole, using the hemostats.

6. Prepare both arms this way, so the cords are hanging out the shoulder hole.

7. Push the cord from one arm all the way through the body and out the other side of the body. Now, tie the cords for both arms together until the arms are nestled snug as you can make them. I pull firmly on both cords, several times, to stretch them as much as possible.

8. Tie the knot as best you can, working in the armhole... pull the cords as snug as you can without being too snug. Tie a good big knot and trim the cords fairly short but not so short that the knots might come undone. Push the ends of the cord inside the doll body. The arms are done!


To restring the legs, you also need to do the arms.

1. Remove the arms and legs.

2. Pull the plugs out of the lower arms and legs. Pull all the cups and pieces out of the doll body.

The only pieces you want to save are the plugs from the arms and legs. Save the other pieces in a small bag, in case you decide you need them someday..... The dolls were originally strung using all these cups, but it's too difficult to put the doll back together that way, and besides: those cups actually restrict the doll's movement. If we string her back together the TRADITIONAL way, she'll have better range of motion.

2. Put the plugs back inside the lower arms and legs.

Push the cord through the upper arms and legs (make sure you get the correct parts back together, now!) Your arms and legs will look something like this (the photo shows a MAC doll.)

Now... pay attention to this next step. If you want the doll's limbs to position the way they should, you need to arrange the cords properly inside the body. The photo below shows the arrangement, but the body isn't there. So this is kinda like an "x-ray" photo.

The string from the LEFT arm is tied to the string from the RIGHT leg. And, the string from the RIGHT arm is tied to the string from the LEFT leg.

The wood ball spacer in the middle helps to hold the cords together and also controls positioning. All the cords go through the big wood bead in the middle. (You can also use a short piece of small PVC pipe instead of the wood bead.)

If you don't arrange the cords like this, the doll's legs can end up in a wide leg stance, with ankles far apart. This wood bead arrangement helps to control the leg position so it is more relaxed and natural in appearance.

I arrange the limbs and cords loosely until I have all the pieces in place. You really need the hemostats at this point (long ones!) in order to grab and push the cords where they need to go inside the body. The large wood bead is in there too, you just can't see it.

When you have the cords arranged, then tie them. I pulled the ends through one of the armholes and tied it as tight as I can. It's possible to tie it too tight, and then the arms and legs will stick OUTward too much and look awkward. But you really do want to put a LOT of tension on the stringing cords so the limbs will be snug.

Tie one arm & leg together, then tie the other arm & leg together, making sure that the cord goes through the wood bead before you tie it.

Becca is back in one piece!

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