I have a problem that leads to sleepless nights, and hours spent repeating a procedure over and over again… I am a perfectionist. When I do something, I want to do it well… the best I can. (Hence the reason this site keeps evolving, and will continue to do so.) This preoccupation I have with perfection often leads to disappointment, because nothing can be “perfect”, and of course perfection is in the eye of the beholder. I have learned over the past year that I need to let things go, otherwise I will not get any sleep, and have no joy in my life. As much as I am working and have let some things go, I really, really struggle when it comes to doll repair. I want those dolls looking perfect again!
This past Tuesday I documented how I managed to repair a doll’s broken eye nub, pretty great, huh? Nope, not for me. After the entire procedure was over, I noticed that her eyelashes were bent. I have been pouring over photos trying to figure out at which stage it occurred, but alas I am not sure. I am sure, however that it needs to be fixed! Ready for another doll repair journey? Let’s go!
As you can see here, post eye repair, we have some bent eyelashes to deal with. I mean I should pretty happy as now her opens and closes again, but those bent eyelashes were driving me crazy aesthetically. (That’s the perfectionist in me speaking.)
I went with my first instinct to make a mini flat iron, and heat them until there were straight again. Using my heat gun, and my favourite pair of pliers- yes they are pink, I made that mini flat iron. There are so many factors to consider when using this method: you have to make sure you don’t get too close to the eye, as you don’t want to melt it, but you have to be close enough to the eye in order to grab the lashes and pull them straight. You also have to consider having the hot pliers, and ensuring you aren’t too close to doll’s face as you could also melt the vinyl. On top of those factors, you also have to be careful because if your pliers are too hot you will melt the eyelashes. Gah!!! It was stressing me out, and I wasn’t getting the results I wanted (probably because I was so scared), so it was time to move on to another approach.
I decided to attempt another method to straighten those lashes, one that I had seen thrown around on Facebook. No one had tried this method, they had only heard of it, but since it didn’t include heat, and I just happened to have a bottle of the stuff tucked away in my kitchen cabinet, I figured I would go for it.
Just a warning before you get started, if you do use this method her eyelashes will be stiff and stuck together after this, but if you are desperate like me for eyelashes that are straight, go for it!
Enter “Stiffy” the crafting wonder of the 80s… at least that was the last time I think this stuff was used, the bottle reminds me of some wallpaper we had during that era big bangs and acid-wash jeans. I am sure Michelle could tell you about a hundred different uses for it… at this time it only has one use, and one use only. I found this bottle at my local Walmart, in the crafting area, next to the Mod Podge, and the glue. I am going to show you how this stuff works wonders on your doll’s bent eyelashes, because let’s face it ladies eyelashes are important.
(Before I get carried away, make sure you are wearing and using materials you can throw away, Stiffy is an adhesive and will ruin your paint brush and stick to anything it touches.) Using the smallest paint brush I could find, I dipped it in the Stiffy, you don’t want the brush saturated, just damp. Again, be careful as Stiffy is an adhesive so you want to avoid the possibility of any this stuff getting inside the doll’s eyes.
Using the paint brush (now damp with Stiffy) I used small strokes starting at the base of the lashes, moving out towards the end of lashes until the topside of the lashes were covered. I didn’t do the underside of the lashes, only the top. (If you happen to get any excess Stiffy on her face you can wipe it off with a damp cloth.)
Next, I used my handy pink pliers, grabbed the lashes and held them in place together, allowing the Stiffy to do it’s job. I had to hold them in this position for about five minutes. That may not seem like a long time when you are surfing the internet, or reading a good book, but when you are this position and the kids are cranky, and you are stuck staring at a pair of pliers… please learn from my mistake, feed the kids before you attempt this, and have a book or magazine handy.
And Voila, five minutes later you have some not so bad looking American Girl eyelashes! I know they are not perfect, but they are much better than when I started, and I promise I will no longer loose any sleep over this.