Sindy Special 4 – Doll Challenge Sulky

29 Mar

In February, I did a post about a Hasbro Sindy repaint. I mentioned in this post that I had also repainted another Sindy, and here she is.


I did the most work that I have ever done on a doll on this Sindy. When I first got her, she looked like this:


I really wanted a brunette Sindy last year, and I bought her knowing she was a fixer-upper – but not to what extent she would need fixing. She had red nail varnish on her face. Somebody had tried to remove it and had accidentally taken some of her face paint including half an eyebrow off. The nail varnish was also in the joints of her active body, and her lower torso had been kind of bleached by the nail varnish remover. Her hair was much worse than I had anticipated, dust dry with thin plugs and unevenly hacked off as well. Her eyelashes had been pushed right in on one eye. Her toes were badly chewed. I promptly put her in the “needs repair”‘ draw and tried not to think about it.

When I had some time off after Christmas, I decided I was going to tackle this.

So firstly, I cut off all her hair and dragged the remaining stubble out through the neck cavity with a combination of scissors, tweezers and pliers (I got instructions on this from the very useful

Then I dug out a rerooting tool I bought from American eBay seller debi255. This basically consists of a two-pronged, incredibly sharp needle-like tool with a wooden handle. Instructions are sent with it; you trap a hank of hair between the two prongs, hold the prongs together and shove it into one of the empty plug holes on the doll`s head (or right into the vinyl if there aren`t any). If you`ve got the right amount of hair, which does take a bit of practice, the vinyl sort of seals itself shut and holds the hair quite firmly in place. On the plus side, this tool is easy to use and works like magic. I managed to re-root my Sindy`s whole head in about three hours, which I think is probably quicker than the knot method of re-rooting, although I`ve not tried the knot method myself yet (if you are interested, gives full instructions on this method). On the minus side, unless you hold the prongs together firmly when you insert the needle into the plug, you can risk ripping the vinyl, and this is hard on the fingers – near the end of the re-root I split the sewing callus on the thumb of my right hand, which meant no sewing until it had healed up, and it bloody hurt too. I`ve also tried the needle on a barbie and because her plug holes are smaller and denser, its pretty hard not to rip the holes with this tool, although maybe I just need more practice.

By now, I already had a brunette Sindy in decent condition (see my post on Starlight Sindy in February this year) so I went for red instead. The hair I used was from nylon clip-in hair extensions I bought from the pound shop. I loved this electric auburn, and I used a different reddish-blonde extension to create highlights. It turned out OK, but it isn`t as soft and pliable as normal doll hair so I think from now, I`ll be using Saran instead.

Here`s Sindy during her re-root:



Next, I got rid of the remains of the red nail varnish, from the face with some nail varnish remover and on her body with either nail varnish remover or – very carefully – a pin to scrape it out of the joints. I repainted her eyes a sort of greeny-blue, to go with her red hair, but I left her lips alone as they were undamaged and a nice colour to start with. When it came to her eyebrow, I had read by now that re-painting Sindy`s eyebrows and getting it right is one of the hardest painting jobs you can do on her. Well, that`s the bloody truth. Because they are painted by machine, the slightest mistake in line placement or thickness looks ridiculous, and I must have tried about twenty-five times or more before I came up with something I was happy with. Do you know how I did it? This is bizarre. I was desperately examining her other eyebrow so I could try to get the placement right again when I realised that the tip of my index finger fitted into it pretty well, and the brow seemed to follow the shape of it. I tried repainting using my index finger as a guide, and it worked. Its still not perfect, but I don`t think I am going to get it any better.

Next, I had to re-root her eyelashes. I did this with a needle threaded with black hair from a hair extension, sewed through her eyelash holes. Its not an easy job, but it is a very satisfying one when you have finished. Here she is before I trimmed her lashes back:


When I cut them, I purposefully left them a little longer than they were originally, as I had seen some other doll restorers do this and I think it suits Sindy very well.

Next, Sindy`s hair needed to be flattened as after a re-root, it sticks up everywhere. I banded it down to her neck for a couple of days, but it didn`t get much better so in the end I just boil straightened it.

After this, I started to make her the dress she is wearing in the top picture. I didn`t use a pattern but I think its one of my better efforts in dressmaking. I love the fabric, which is suitably retro. My Mother donated this to me from her patchwork stock. Patchwork fabrics are great for dolls dresses, as the patterns are often small and intricate. Anyway, I got the buttons as a little treat for myself from wildness4u (they sell on eBay and I think on Etsy too). They are old mother-of-pearl doll dress buttons and they were relatively expensive, but like all the things wildness4u sells they are unusual and beautiful, good especially if you want to make something special.

So, she’s pretty much finished. There is nothing I can do about the bleaching to her torso or her bitten toes, but at least these can be disguised.

Here`s Sindy “getting her hair did” in a vintage Sindy hairdryer:



And because I like her so much, heres some extra pictures of her in the 80s Sindy dress called (appropriately) “Springtime”:




5 Responses to “Sindy Special 4 – Doll Challenge Sulky”

  1. bat6660 April 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    I don’t know how you have the patience. A great job x.

  2. barbielea April 2, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Thanks love. I have the patience because in my ideal world, every little object would be nurtured, used for its purpose and made beautiful – nothing would be forgotten or discarded or taken for granted. It’s hard to follow this principle in real life, so doing up old dolls is one of my “stand-ins” I suppose 🙂

  3. kewpie83 April 8, 2012 at 4:34 am #

    Awesome job on the re-root/re-paint! I use a similar tool for my re-roots. 🙂

  4. barbielea April 8, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    Thanks very much! It was my first, and actually I’ve just completed my second Sindy re-root this weekend. I love re-rooting Sindys, it’s so simple and satisfying. I’d be interested to know what dolls you re-root with this tool, as I’m struggling to re-root smaller dolls with it and want to know if I should persevere and practice more, or whether I should give up and use a different method.


  1. Sindy Special 8 – Jubilee! « barbiebeauties - June 5, 2012

    […] To celebrate the extra bank holiday – sorry, the Queen’s Jubilee – I have made some patriotic outfits for my Sulkies. This is nothing new for Sindy, who was regularly decked out in red, white and blue, most famously with the “weekenders” range. However, these outfits are pricey now, and I just don’t fancy paying the money they command at the moment (although they are very cute, so never say never). The dolls in these pictures are my beautiful brunette Starlight Sindy and my revamped active-bodied sulky. […]

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