MH Tutorial Painting a Custom Face


Removing Factory Face Paint

**Super secret tip, (I haven’t seen posted anywhere else) : before you do anything, put a layer of clear nail polish over the face first, let it dry, and then use the nail polish remover. The paint on the face adheres to the nail polish, and it all come off with nail polish remover MUCH more easily and fast

1) Use nail polish remover, plus paper towel (works better than kleenex) and qutips
2) Smudges up the face a lot if you’re not careful, rub off in small bits at a time
3) Just keep rubbing!
4) Though it is possible to keep the eyebrows untouched if you’re very careful, I find with almost every doll I get one eyebrow is raised a lot higher than the other.
5) More in-depth reading tutorial here or a video from doll customizer Retrograde here

Face Repaint
1) Plan it out before you start! Have references handy, of illustrations or monster high doll repaints that you admire
2) Essentially my process is: Seal, pastel, seal, acryllic +gloss finish.
3) More in-depth tutorial here

MH Tutorial Making Custom Doll Clothes

This is my list of tutorials I have found, I will add to it as I find and use more.

Clothes
Knit Sweater Dress
Pleated Doll Skirts (Many variations)
Accessory Mods and Dyeing Clothes (Using the clothes that come with the doll)

Fairy Wings
Cheap Cellophane Wings
Cellophane and Glass Paint (Fairy/dragon/bat wings)
Simple Nylon and wire (gloss drops to make look like water drops):
Ornate Cellophane and Skeleton Leaves
Foamboard and Craft Leaf wings

Bird/Angel Wings
Simple Hot Glue, Board and Feathers
Silk Feather Wings

Shoes
Heeled Sandals

Boots

MH Custom Doll Supplies and Where to Find Them

This is a comprehensive list of the supplies I use, and locations to find them. I am located in Canada, and will do my best to supply US equivalents.

Paint:
I’m an illustrator and art student before I’m a doll customizer. I know the value of good paint, though let’s be honest that paint-so-expensive-it-must-be-made-of-crushed-diamonds isn’t really necessary. Just my opinion, as it is such a small area you’ll be painting. That said, don’t be roped in by the dirt-cheap prices of bad quality paints either,  definitely no tempra school paints, children’s paints or cheap art sets. They’ll try to sweet talk you, but you must be strong. Buy each of the colours you need from an art supply store. Go for a nice middle ground acryllic. You’ll save yourself so much time and frustration, and the doll will be grateful you’re not flinging it across the room in a huffy rage.
Specifically I recommend Liquitex or Winsor and Newton. I would say soft body selections of these brands are better than the hard body, as soft goes on smoother and is more transparent. You want to be working transparently and working up the layers to opaque.

I also use both Liquitex matte and Liquitex gloss medium for eyes and lips. Mix with a bit of water, also works as a sealant.

Pastels:
Once again, don’t be cheap with these. Pastel looks gorgeous on dolls, and it’s virtually impossible to get the same flawless blending with any other medium but airbrushing. Use soft chalk pastels. The brand I use is Mungyo Gallery, this is the brand they carry at Currys Art Store.

Sealant:
For the life of me, I haven’t been able to find Mr. Super Clear here in-store in Canada. I have tried Wal-mart, Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Curry’s, Deserre’s, Michael’s and it is no where to be found. So far, I buy it from ebay and haven’t had any problems. It is the best sealant for the job.
I have also looked for Testor’s Dullcote, but they seem to have gone out of business, or so the woman at Michael’s told me. So, my solution was:
Modge Podge Clear Acryllic Sealer Matte I found it at Michael’s, and it is very reasonably priced. It does not react with the doll heads. Make sure to shake well before using. The problem with it, though, is that it is never totally waterproof. Great for touching it up, but not ideal as a final sealant.
So, my solution has been ordering Mr. Super Clear online!

Doll Hair:
My Little Customs: Ships from the UK, but is reasonably priced. Shipping costs are not as bad as I expected. They have a huge range of colours in Nylon, Saran, and Polypropylene doll hair. They also have some really neat ones like UV colour change hair, and glow in the dark.
I have found so far that I like them best, for more places (and their pros and cons) check out Dollycare’s Doll Hair Review for information on Dollyhair.com and Restoredoll.com

Accessories and Clothing
If you’re making them yourself, the best advice I can give you is to just keep an eye out. There are great, useful things everywhere. Of course I would tell you to go to fabric/craft supply stores, but don’t stop there. Everywhere you go, you’ll find stuff. Some of the best things we have found have been from our own old/unwanted clothes, little knick-knack shops, garage sales, thrift stores, Ardene’s, department stores, etc. Some of the ribbon I have used were on the packaging of chocolate’s, save everything and anything that looks at all useful!
On that note, be resourceful! I found a nice piece of ribbon once in downtown Toronto that was pleated and scrunched on one side, it made the perfect skirt for a doll!
Tear apart old, unfitting clothes to make new dolly ones! You can find them at thrift stores and garage sales easily.

Eyelashes:
So far, the best location I have found is Shoppers Drugmart. We have tried beauty accessory places like Ardene’s and Claire’s but haven’t found much. Try your local drug mart. They usually have a variety of shapes, try to get one with the lashes very close together, don’t pay attention to the ends because you’ll have to cut them off anyway.

MH Wigs and Rerooting Doll Hair

Wigs
Liv Doll Wigs fit, and Moxie Teen generally fit monster high BUT because each monster high doll has a slightly different head size and shape, some will fit better than others.
Moxie comes with a plastic cap inside the wig that allows it to fit snuggly without coming off. Liv doll wigs come with a peg for sticking in holes of the Liv doll, which ofcourse Monster High dolls don’t have.
BJD wigs also work, just make sure you get a minimum 5inch/13cm/ sized one (or there abouts). Don’t go too much larger either(unless you’re willing to risk cutting and sewing to resize), 5.5 inches is pushing it. Or you can simply measure your doll’s head to get an exact measurement. BJD wigs will generally be very high quality(more expensive), but have tons of options.

Feather Wig Tutorial (A very clever way of making a doll wig out of feathers)

Preparing for Rerooting
For chosing you doll hair, see the page on supplies.

Step 1: Remove the head, most people will tell you to run the doll head under hot water until the vinyl loosens up and you can just yank it off the neck plug. Another option, which is faster and doesn’t require you to wet th doll hair is to use a blowdryer for at most 30 seconds. You have to be careful, just as you do with hot water. You don’t want to melt the head!
Step 2: Cut off all the hair! As close as you can to the scalp. I suppose you could also do this step first if you really want.
Step 3: Remove the hair. Use your tweezers to go up the neck whole and remove all the hair. Every MH doll I’ve done this for had no glue in the head, they seem to melt the ends of the hair to keep them in. Luckily this is easier than glue to get out. If you’re having a hard time, just squeeze the head to get the hair closer to the neck hole where you’ll have more leverage.

Now that your doll is prepared, onto the actual rerooting process. There are many different ways to do this. But all of them are guaranteed to be tedious, you’re forewarned!

Here are video tutorials of the way that we reroot our monster high dolls: My Little Customs Rerooting Videos

MH Removing Frankie’s Stitches or Toralei’s Stripes

This is a tutorial on removing all factory paint on the bodies of Monster High Dolls.

So the other day I bought my first Toralei and Frankie doll.
I was so excited to get started on customizing her. But when I tried removing Frankie’s stitches with nail polish remover, bad bad things happened. Using nail polish remover/ acetone for the vinyl heads of the dolls is fine, as long as you don’t soak it for long. But the plastic of the bodies isn’t nearly as strong. When doing faces, remember to rinse the face with water after using acetone, if needed also rinse between removing the makeup.
Learn more about why acetone eats plastic dolls but not it’s plastic bottle/container here.

I repeat; on the heads is fine, on the bodies… do so at your own risk. For Frankie, the nail polish remover started to melt her ankle. The remover I used was supposedly acetone-free, but it still melted. If it’s not acetone, they use a different solvent that does the same thing. That’s what nail polish remover is- a solvent for the chemicals in nail polish. What’s a solvent? “a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves chemicals”. I used acetone nail polish remover on Toralei, and darker skinned doll’s plastic turned a blotchy lighter colour and changed the texture. If you are going to use it, do so carefully and sparingly.

NOTE: I’ve gotten 2 comments strongly expressing how they have had no problems using nail polish remover with frequent rinsing. I’m not going to say its not possible, I’m just going to say that I really don’t recommend it because it doesn’t seem to be worth the risk. Especially when there is a perfectly safe alternative. End rant.
Here are some examples of nail polish remover damage on the bodies:

Nail Buffer

So, on with how to remove them properly: The solution is simple: Nail Buffers, or sandpaper. Don’t know what nail buffers are? You can find them at your local drugmart in the nail section, just ask. They are rectangles with very fine sandpaper used for nails, and range in prices but mine was 5$ (Canadian, at Shopper’s Drugmart). Its worth it, filers are too rough and will leave scratches/rough surface.
Most of them come with more than one side, for mine it was labelled:

  • Contouring Side: Very rough sandpaper, use sparingly because it will take off a lot and leave scratches. Good for raised edges/seams.
  • Smoothing: Your main one, takes off the bulk of your stripe or stitch.
  • Buffing: Less grip then the smoothing one, takes longer to remove stripe. Good for finishing, removes dust and small scratches and makes it look smooth and professional.
  • Shining: Really does make it shiny, and new looking! Use at very end.

I got a second one recently that was not labelled, and had no contouring edge so I figured out what they were by touch and what it was doing to the doll.
It’ll take a little while, but just experiment and work with until you get every bit buffed out. This tool also works for sanding the edges/seams of the dolls. I’m sure you’ve noticed the factory imperfections on the dolls where arms or legs will have a thick seam of plastic. You can also buff off the panties texture on the dolls but that takes a very long time without using a mini mechanical sander.

Also, How to Remove Frankie’s Bolts: Pliers! Just grip and twist out. Does leave a hole, which you can seal up with air dry clay or apoxie (can be bought at most art or craft supply stores).

MHScreamQueen’s Youtube video on the removal, this is where we found our info before trying it ourselves. (Be warned, the process is not actually as instant as as shown there, but is definitely easy)
Taking Frankie’s Bolts out. A short clip

Here is our Toralei doll without her strips! You can see on her leg where the seam has been buffed and where it hasn’t. I also sanded over the acetone parts to remove the damage.