Caleb Sasha Doll Restoration

Sasha Doll Caleb Restoration...

I bought a nice looking (still tagged) Caleb Sasha Doll from eBay where just the front part of his hair has been singed by (apparently) standing too close to a candle.

Otherwise he looked in good order, but upon inspection, I noticed that he´d been displayed on a doll stand which had deformed and marked his torso as they often do.

He also had a few rubs and minor scratches to his forehead in particular and could no longer hold any position with his arms.

My Restoration Work on this Caleb Sasha Doll

  • My first procedure is to take the Sasha apart and clean each piece in warm, soapy water and repair the cords.  In this case, I only had to tighten the arm strings which were still strong and elastic, so did not require replacing.
  • I then submerged the torso into a bowl of boiling water, leaving it to reform for several minutes.  Once removed, the vinyl is very pliable so it can be manipulated, but generally it returns back to its original shape by itself during the drying and re-hardening process.
  • Turning my attention to the head, I cut off all the remaining hair, right down to the stumps.  It is not necessary to take out the stubble that is left because the needles will do the rest during the re-rooting process.
  • I examine the layout of the plugs, checking out how many there are and if there are any issues such as the positioning of the holes where the gripping tool was used during the manufacture.  These holes are normally found around the crown area and can be a bit of a nuisance for where I want a parting to be.   I also look carefully around the hairline which can be quite uneven, but often unnoticeable when covered up by a fringe.  And with the later Sasha´s, the plugs have large gaps between each one that l may wish to tighten up if the style is going to be swept back with little to no fringe.
  • With this Caleb, I used a magic sponge to gently rub over the uneven skin tone where it was marked and polish away the few little scratches he had to his forehead.  This must never be applied anywhere near to the eyes or mouth or the process with remove the paint as well!  So it´s a fine balance to go steadily, bit by bit, so as not to overdo the work and take off too much vinyl.
  • I had chosen to use a mix of a soft black and dark brown for some subtle light and shade, but because there was such a fine contrast between them, I could re-root each colour alternatively rather than go through the complicated process of hand-blending the two colours together.
  • Because this Caleb wasn´t having any partings, the rooting took about 4 days to do, turning him from a boy to a girl.  I closed up the hairline gaps though because the style has no fringe and looks far natural without the visible gapes showing at the front.
  • Once fully rooted, I applied a waterproof fabric glue inside the head using a long brush.  This is only as an extra precaution because my self-devised knotting technique is super-strong to endure any amount of abuse.  I then washed the hair (after all its handling) and re-assembled the doll, making sure the limbs are nicely balanced to stand and pose in all positions.
  • To merely add to the fact that I have changed a boy into a girl, I lightly stroked a few eyelashes into place following the same format as the Sasha´s have.
  • For the styling, my plan was to re-create one of Sasha Morgenthaler´s own Studio Dolls which I love.  She can be seen on the front cover of the book, Sasha Dolls / Sasha-Puppen, where her hair has quite a tribal design of a top bun and an array of braids.  With my newly-named Lula, I took much smaller sections to plait and weaved them longer than the original, finishing each end with a clear, plastic band.  The top bun was simply twisted into place and secured with a fine, black net to hold neatly into position.  At the front, I saved a few super-fine strands of hair which were tightly curled and trimmed to sit around the hairline, just as if there was a natural growth of baby hair.
  • My intention was to dress Lula in a full, tribal regalia, but as often happens, my dolls tell me who´s the boss when it comes to their personality and Lula wasn´t having none of it!  I think it was because she has such a baby-face asking for a prettier look, so l changed her dress to a white frock and adorned her hair with a pretty little flower.  In fact, I could do more with finishing the ends with ribbons or a scattering of pearls….but that was for another day and I am happy now with her end result.
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