Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Vol. 3, Issue 2                               FALL/WINTER 2004


by Debbie Garrett

Index  | Welcome | Mailbag | About the Editor | Collecting NewsProfile of an ArtistDoll in the Spotlight! | Doll Care Basics | Resources | FAQ | Closing Words  

How to Repair a Concealed Area of a Porcelain Doll


Normally not a fan of porcelain dolls, I won an eBay auction for what appeared to be an absolutely perfect, Black porcelain doll that was the "spitting image" of a vintage doll that is already part of my personal collection.  After discovering this eBay find, I decided that I would bid during the last seconds of the auction to win, and win I did.  

 Upon arrival, the doll was broken. Fortunately, the breaks in the porcelain were in concealed areas  -- the side/back of the body and the upper portion of one of the legs sustained breaks, as illustrated in the photos below. 


The seller of the auction was immediately contacted and photos of the doll's damage  were shared.  The seller insisted that "it was not her fault," and reminded me that because the doll was shipped uninsured, the post office would not reimburse the $25 cost of the doll.  The seller did, however, agree to offer a partial refund, but wanted me to decide what that should be.    


Because I had no intentions of returning the doll, the decision was made to try to repair the damage.  Ambrosia (which was written in cursive on a small piece of paper and pinned to the doll's back), is so cute and actually is the "spitting image" of another doll in my collection.  Obviously, someone created a porcelain mold using a doll like the vintage doll in my collection to make Ambrosia.  Because she may be a one of a kind,  I had to keep her,  and I had to figure out a way to repair her.  She needed me (and I needed her)!

The first task at hand was to glue all of the smaller pieces back together.  I used  Aleen's Clear Gel Tacky Glue to complete this task.  Because the insertion part of the leg (the part that fits inside the body that contains two holes for stringing the leg to the body) was irreparable, I asked hubby what he thought could be used for the leg repair.  He suggested QuikSteel, which is a putty that hardens in four minutes.  According to the package, QuikSteel "Mixes like putty"; "Bonds like epoxy"; and "Hardens like steel."  

After purchasing QuikSteel from a local auto supply store (its actual intended purpose is to repair car parts), I decided to put its claims to the test. All of the supplies that I used are pictured on the left.   I already had Aleen's Tacky glue on hand and some brown acrylic craft paint, which can both be purchased from Wal-Mart or other craft store; but I had to buy the round cord elastic (from Wal-Mart)  that would be needed to restring the doll's repaired leg.

Supplies used to repair the doll


Much to my surprise, the QuikSteel actually fulfilled its claims:  It squeezed out of the tube like putty, which allowed me to re-create the broken insertion part of the doll's  leg. It also hardened like epoxy by adhering to the porcelain.  Within four minutes, just as the package claimed, the re-created area had hardened like steel!   

Repaired leg insertion

Once the insertion of the leg was formed and before the putty was allowed to harden, I used the end of a paint brush to create a hole in the new insertion, making certain that the new hole was even with  the hole on the other side.  

Even though the re-created insertion and its new hole would be inside the doll's body, I decided to paint this area brown using some brown acrylic craft paint that I already had on hand.  Oh, I know, I could have used a darker color to more adequately match the porcelain, but I decided to use what I had available.   

Repaired and painted leg insertion with newly created hole

The next step was to allow everything to dry completely before proceeding with the restringing.  Once the leg was dried, enough elastic round cord was cut so that it could be strung through the leg insertion holes, carried up the doll's body, and secured to the hook underneath the doll's head. 

With that done, the doll was redressed in the outfit in which it arrived -- a light blue and white dotted Swiss sun suit with matching bonnet that had obviously been made especially for her.  

Having endured the damage and the repair, and having smiled all throughout this entire ordeal, my little Ambrosia is so very happy that I won her in that eBay auction.  She is even more happy that I  decided to keep her (even though the seller did not suggest that she could be returned).  

Amosandra (a doll made by the Sun Rubber company, circa 1949), pictured below, is the doll after which I am suggesting  Ambrosia was molded.  Ambrosia is the "spitting image" of Amosandra, but is approximately two inches smaller.   Amosandra  is as equally as happy as Ambrosia that I decided to keep and repair her "mini me."  

Left to Right:  Amosandra and Ambrosia 

"Me and you, us never part, Makidada..."  Celie and Nettie, from Alice Walker's, The Color Purple 

If you would like to share  doll care tips, doll makeovers, or other doll-care-related  topics  with  The Black Doll-E-Zine please write to: (Deb).