There are lots of doll collectors these days, thanks to eBay and many other online auction houses. Many collectors buy dolls at garage sales in less than mint condition and try to repair the dolls themselves before going to eBay to sell them.
But it’s not that easy to restore tears in the dress, sculpt the missing pisses for the body, repaint and reglaze the face, style the hair. There are professional doll restoration experts who have the skill and experience in repairing antique dolls. Most of theses restorers specialize in invisible restoration. However, professional repair is not cheap, because the process involves many steps, such as gluing and bonding the existing pieces, sculpting additional pieces and fragments for a perfect fit, matching and replicating the color and pattern, airbrushing and glazing.
If you are on a budget, you can try restoring the doll yourself. There’s a good article about do-it-yourself doll repair on About.com called Doll Restoration and Conservation: What You Need to Know.
The article highlights several very important points:
1. Don’t do anything that cannot be undone at a later point.
2. Use proper conservation techniques by keeping the doll out of harm’s way –
excessive heat, humidity, dust and dirt.
3. Wash your hands often. Oil from your hands can get absorbed in the doll’s body and dress. Wearing gloves is a good advice, but it’s hard to restore anything with gloves on.
4. Do sketches or take photos of the doll before you take it apart, so you can put the parts back together.
5. If you plan to sell the doll after the restoration, you MUST disclose all the changes you made to the doll. Note that styling the hair or cleaning the clothes does not need to be disclosed.
See our Recent Projects page for photos of the doll repair process.