Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Getting Stuck In

I finished drilling the holes for the new eyechips on Friday afternoon, and on Friday evening set about glueing them in.

Just out of shot is the Hobby Craft Tacky Glue I used to stick them in with. I decided to use craft glue instead of super glue because I don't want all the hassle of removing them like I did with the original ones, if I ever decide to remove them at all.

I also used some laser paper, also from Coolcat. I used the free ones you get when you buy Eyechips from them, but you can also buy them seperately here. Here's the results!

CoolCat (Ⅱ) Enlarge Pupil Smooth Blythe Chips.BA-10

CoolCat (Ⅱ) Enlarge Pupil Smooth Blythe Chips.BA-29

CoolCat (Ⅱ) Enlarge Pupil Smooth Blythe Chips.BA-17

CoolCat (Ⅱ) Enlarge Pupil Smooth Blythe Chips.BA-13

I'm really happy with them! I made a mess with the right grey eye - my hand slipped when I was drilling and took a big chunk out of the white bit :( But I don't mind too much, I'll just know to take easy next time!

I'm ahead of myself now, I have already finished the face carving :) More later...

Thursday, 21 July 2011

EyeChip Removal Win

After an evening of frustration over the state of Umi's eyes, I wasn't really in the mood to continue, but I'm glad I did.

On Tuesday afternoon I went into town with my Mum to purchase a Dremel drill. I found an alternative in Maplins for £27.99/$45.62 - a Rolson 61pc 18v Rotary Tool Kit. It's basically a Dremel, but a bit cheaper. And it comes in a nice box!

The next day I was wondering how on Earth I was going to get the remaining chips out, when I thought I'd have another go at the Glue Stick Method. This time I didn't soak them first, I just grabbed a glue stick and stuck it on. I waited for about 3 minutes only, then, certain it wouldn't budge, pulled it lightly and 'POP' - it came out! I couldn't believe it! I did this with the remaining 5 chips, again with no problem. Why couldn't this have happened on Monday?!

There were still some little bits of chip around the rim of the eye hole, so I got out my Rolson and started drilling. It was very therapeutic, really! I got the coloured bit out, and tried one of my new chips in the hole.

Problem - it didn't fit properly. This might be because I am using a Blybe, and the chips I bought (CoolCat (II) Enlarge Pupil Smooth Blythe Chips) were, obviously, for Blythe. Grrrrr..... The eye hole in the Blybe slope, very gradually, to a small point deep in the hole. The problem I was having was that the slope was stopping the enlarged pupil from sitting in properly. So I got out my drill...

... and removed the slope, to make the deep part of the hole bigger! The eyeball on the left is how they are originally, and the one on the right is the one I drilled. And the chips fit in perfectly!

So my advice to others customising a Blybe with these chips is, unless you are willing to go at the eyeball with a drill, I would stick to the normal sized pupil chips from CoolCat. And I'm not even 100% that they would fit perfectly, but, again, if you have a Dremel/Rolson type drill you can make them fit :) Plus - don't soak the eyeballs before attaching the glue sticks! If anything I think the colder they are, the better.

I'm having lots of fun with the Rolson! Today I finished a whole eyeball and I'll start the second tomorrow. Oh, and I painted the back of the pupils too. Very messy - I will show you tomorrow...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Eyechip Removal Fail

I was all excited 2 evenings ago to start removing the eyechips from my Blybe, Umi. It started off well, I managed to get the eye mech out (with a little pushing and pulling)...

I don't mind some of the original chips - infact the light grey ones are quite pretty, but I want to change them anyway. So I went straight ahead with the Glue Stick Method. I started with soaking the eyeballs in hot, but not boiling, water...

After about 10 minutes I took them out and dried them off. I scuffed up the eye chips abit so the glue would have something to stick to, them melted a glue stick to each of the chips I wanted to remove and left them for 30 minutes...

And off they came!!


It didn't touch them. I had heard the horror stories about Blybe eyechips - how they are really tough to get loose as they are super glued on. It looks like that's what's been going on with Umi's. So I reverted to the deaded Hot Screw Method...

I did everything you're ment to, but when I went to pull the chip out...

Again, it wouldn't budge. I felt stuck, so consulted my Dad (who knows nothing about dolls, but does about DIY stuff).

We were standing in the kitchen trying to get the bloody thing out for nearly an hour. It finally cracked into tiny pieces, with the help of a little force...

Ta Da! It isn't perfect - as you can see there is a big hole in the back of the eye where the screw went in too far, plus there are still stubborn bits of chip around the corners. I tried to chisel them off with some diamond tipped burs I got to carve her face with, but it won't move. I realised that I would have to buy myself a Dremel Drill...

More tomorrow :)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Stage One Complete!

I finally finished the hair last night :) Took exactly one week - I don't know if that's a long or short time to take doing a reroot, but it seemed like forever to me! Here are the results...

I'm really happy with the way it turned out - the yarn is very full and soft, even though I only filled in about half the plugs. I don't plan on trimming it - I like the way it is all different lengths.

Like I said, I only filled in about half the plugs, but made many new ones around the parting line. I used the Knot Method (knotted in the middle of a strand). I would use this method again rather than the Lock and Loop method because with the Lock and Loop method, if you break a strand of yarn when it's been plugged in the scalp, you would have to undo all of the plugs back to the point of the breakage. With the Knot method however you only have to undo that particular plug.

I've already started the second phase - carving the face! It's fun so far! More to come...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

So Far So Good

In the end I chose to use yarn for Umi's reroot. Strange choice, I know, but I am used to working with yarn through crocheting, and have applied yarn hair to my amigurumi dolls many times.

I am using some Sirdar SuperSoft Aran yarn, in Minty, that I had in my gigantic stash. I was going to use Double Knit, as there are a huge range of colours in that weight, but I felt the yarn would be too thin for what I wanted it for. Instead of just cutting the yarn into strips and plugging it straight into the scalp, I am going to split it, so that it is thinner and wavy. I might then brush it when it's all done, so it has an almost mohair look.

So I started the reoot about *thinks* 4 night ago now, and have been working on her for about 2 hours every night. I am using the 'Knot' method, as shown here in My Little Customs YouTube video (I am using the 2nd method shown, where you knot the strands in the middle).

First of all I punched new holes and applied plugs low down on the scalp to help her with her receding hair issues...

Then I started on the parting. This took a long time as I had to, again, punch new holes in the plastic because I want her to have bunches, which means a parting all the way down the back of the head.

While I was there I took a picture of my 'work station' (kitchen table!) lol

Like my little Jukebox speaker?!! XD

And tonight I finished the 3rd and 4th rows of parting (I read somewhere you get best results if you do 4 rows of parting, to make it a bit thicker and less see-through). This is what it looks like from the inside of the scalp.

Look at all the little knots! :D And Yep, I know it's wonky! It's ment to be - she has a side parting at the front and a middle parting at the back :)

So that's as far as I got tonight, I'll continue tomorrow!


I was reading through the fab Blybe, Basaak and CEE blog the other day and found a post about a great website people are using to liven up their Blythe photos. It's called Pixlr-O-Matic, and features tons of different effects for your photos.

I had a play around and made this photo of Umi...

I like it as she looks all beaten up and glum lol! Try the site out for yourself!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Preping The Scalp

I started the second day of customising Umi by first taking a good look at her scalp. In this picture you can see what I was talking about yesterday - the big gap between the scalp line and the start of the hair...

I intend to sort this out by adding a couple of extra rows of hair plugs, so the hairline is neared the face plate.

This is what the layout of the hair plugs was like inside the scalp; they were installed with a 'lock and loop' technique as discribed on Punchi Collective and demonstrated by My Little Customs on YouTube...

I then got out the scissors! It was lots of fun cutting her hair off, but in hindsight I would like to have taken my time to look at how the hair was layered before going mad with the scissors, and also to have practiced my hair cutting skills :(

Here's a sombre looking Umi, feeling very sorry for herself indeed!

And from the top...

I had a glass of Pepsi Max, then went to work removing the remainder of the hair. I used tweezers and a seam ripper to take out the stubborn roots, took about 15 minutes. I then had a completely bald scalp to work with, but with one problem - it was painted dark brown...

Aawww, poor Umi! :'(

I spent the evening searching round the internet to see how I could either A) Remove the paint or B) Use to paint over it and leave the scalp both flexible and waterproof. I found a handy guide, again, on Punchi Collective that said the best thing to paint scalps with was vinyl paint, like V-Color and Monster Color. I live in the UK and am unable to get these brands, and I don't want to mess her up by using the wrong type of vinyl paint, so I looked for something to remove the paint itself.

I read on Blythe Kingdom, and I quote, 'No Acetone or Nail Polish Remover that is NOT safe for Acrylic nails, if its not safe for those its REALLY not safe for Blythe'. So I figured it wouldn't be safe for Blybe either as they are basically made of the same thing. So I went shopping the next day and bought some Cutex Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover, for £1.60 from Boots. And it worked!

It got rid of most of the paint, just some little bits that wouldn't budge remain. I probably won't be painting the scalp, I think it should be ok like this. I hope...

I then sarted thinking what colour I would like the hair, more of that to come :)

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Where To Start?!

I returned from my recent holiday in Cyprus last week and found Umi waiting for me, all the way from Thailand! I was so eager to get going, I didn't know where to start!

The first thing I did was compare my new Blybe to my Blythe, Zoe...

*Warning - Nude Dolly Alert!*

As you can see, they look very similar from here. The body and head are the same size, though the Blybe is a different, darker colour pink than the Blythe. I hope by sanding the face I can tone it down abit. Also the body on the Blybe is very limp. I don't know if this is true of every Blybe, or just mine. She needs quite abit of support to stand up.

The biggest difference I found was the scalp and top of the face plate. The line where the face plate meets the scalp is very obvious on the Blybe, and the hair line is at least 15mm away from the bottom of the scalp, which makes the forehead look rather big. Also on the Blythe the scalp is very sturdy - I think it would take quite abit to take it off. But on the Blybe...

... it just pops off! Seriously, it just lifts off - you can't even hold her upside down without the scalp, and the top of her head, falling completely off. This is great for me - I wanted a doll that was quite easy to take apart. It may prove awkward when I go to put her back together though, but I'm sure it can be held in place with some tacky glue.

Upon removing the scalp I was faced also with the inside of the head, and the dreaded eye mech...

Looks scary! I had a fiddle about with it, using what I had learned from various videos and tutorials from YouTube and Melbourne Doll Market, and removed the spring from the back of the head. She now has semi-sleep eyes - you can pull the string and they close and change, but remain closed. She just needs a second string to open them again.

This is as far as I went on my first day. I had just come off of a long flight and needed to sleep lol! The next day I removed the hair... more on that to come soon :)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Mission Statement

Hi! First off, let me introduce myself...

My Name is Sarah, aka EssHaych. I am 26 and live in Essex, England. My main hobby is crocheting, mainly amigurumi. I have a blog for my work over at EssHaych.blogspot.com. Crocheting is something I very much enjoy, and I have met many great people through the years because of crocheting.

One of these friends is Jillie, from OnePinkHippo, who one day told me she'd bought her first Blythe doll, a Simply Bubble Boom called Coral. I have liked Blythe dolls for a long time, and on hearing this news decided to buy myself one too. So within a month I too had a Blythe, a Simply Thumpty Thump I named Zoe...

I am so happy with her, she is everything I expected in a Blythe doll and more. I love buying and making her clothes, shoes and little miniture accessories!

Whilst doing some research into buying my first Blythe doll I was amazed by the great custom work I found on Flickr. There are so many great, talented people on there, and I was inspired. I didn't, however, like the idea of opening up Zoe, as she is my first Blythe and cost me quite a bit of money. So I kept a look out on Ebay for an alternative.

I came across the Blybe doll by Basaak - Blythes evil clone! I know she isn't a Blythe, and for many Blythe owners just the thought of buying a Blybe is blastphomous. But for my first custom I wanted a cheaper doll that I could experiment on, and they look so similar I decided to take the plunge and buy one. I bought this girl from Ninabella9 on Ebay.co.uk...

So this blog is essentially about my adventures in customising my Blybe doll. I will post about every stage of the customisation, and include handy links to the tutorials, shops and products I use. I hope you will find this site helpful, whether you're customising Blybe, Blythe, CCE or any other type of doll :)