What’s going on in Barbie’s head?

10 Jul

Today, I decided to have my first go at re-bodying, so at last I am in a position to answer this question.

When I was a child in the eighties, I remember easily removing the head of either a Barbie or a Sindy and finding a little ball – like a tiny, blank mini head – on the end of her neck (quite spooky really). With modern dolls, its much harder to remove the head. I had two old dolls from my junk/ selling on bag who had the right kind of skin tone for my Mermaid Fantasy Kayla, so I decided to investigate why exactly this is.

1999 barbie neck with no head

I removed the heads from the two dolls, both bodies marked 1999. This is what I found inside –  a swivel joint inside the neck connected to a wide circular base with two little prongs that sit inside the lip of head opening. On the first doll, I damaged one of these prongs by pulling too hard. I don’t think this would matter so much if your doll was just going to be used for display as I don’t think they are needed to keep the head on, the wide base of the swivel joint does this. I think the prongs are there to stop children forcing the head off. ADDITIONAL: I’ve been thinking about it and I also think these two prongs might be there to stop the head from tilting too far to one side or the other, so without them it might wobble about a bit. Probably best not to break them then, eh?

Forewarned is forearmed and with the second doll, I stopped when I’d managed to get the wide base through the head opening, then sort of tilted the head to one side to get the prongs through.

When I removed the head of MF Kayla, I actually pulled the swivel joint out still attached to the head by mistake. This might have been more difficult because the swivel joint was connected inside to the lever on the back of her original body, which makes her arms wave and head tilt (a swimming action, I presume). Instead of trying to pull the prongs back through we just twisted this bit off with some pliers and left the detached prongs in the head. Getting her head on to the new body was surprisingly easy, I just pushed it on. I don’t think it looks too bad at all:

Mermaid Fantasy Kayla re-bodied

I would have liked a body with jointed arms, so I might find one at some point and re-do it. However, I have seen this doll re-bodied onto a fashionista body and I didn’t think the skin tone or the joining of the neck and the head looked right, so I think I’d look for a body manufactured around the same time as the doll.


3 Responses to “What’s going on in Barbie’s head?”

  1. Maria July 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    Wow she looks great! I do love the mermaid dolls but the no legs things puts me off…was it easy enough when you got the hang of it and would you do it again? I removed some broken earrings from a few of mine a couple of weeks ago and they have that arrow design too. I suppose it does stop kids losing the bits (Even now I still have trouble keeping hold of shoes!) but it does make it a pain if you want to change the look. I picked up a couple of fairytopia dolls that I love the tattoo patterns on their arms and I love the eyelashes but Im not so happy with the light and wing bits that just dont want to come off in any easy was at all and Im one of these people who HATES breaking things…

  2. barbielea July 10, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Yes, I’d do it again, but not sure if I’d do it with very expensive dolls – not any time soon! – just with broken or damaged dolls like poor old MF Kayla. Its a bit scary because you have to use some force to get the head off and I’ve heard that can make them split. But it was satisfying when it worked out well. I have two fairytopias on the way myself – they were cheap because they’re not fully dressed and their wings are damaged. If I can restore them on their original bodies I will, I need to look them over first, but I’m already thinking “rebody”. If I have to rebody, at some point I’ll get good-condition ones I can keep as-is as well. This is my answer to the breaking-things fear, which I understand very well!


  1. Adventures in Rebodying – Chloe the Chinese Clone (or, how to convert a clone neck fitting for full head rotation)  | barbiebeauties - October 18, 2015

    […] you need some help with getting off Barbie’s head without breaking anything, here’s a post I wrote about it some years ago. Firstly, let’s get the clone body ready. You will need to hacksaw the end off […]

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