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So, you finally want to try doll repainting! Brace yourself! It is a lot of fun! Make sure to gather all the essential MATERIALS here which is what I use in all my face ups :D

The victim will be Bubbles, because it is easier to demonstrate on a large face!


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prep and prime

It is a must to have a clean canvas, so the materials will show up clearly and crisp. Preparing the face is essential before you start repainting, so make sure you have all the hair out of the way and start this journey!


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Factory wipe out

First is we need to work with a clean canvas, so grab your Acetone or nail polish remover (make sure it has acetone in it), and use a cotton swab to remove the factory paint off of the dolls face. The more acetone it has the easier it is to remove the paint.

Some nail polish removers do not have acetone, so that may or may not work at all.

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clean and clear

Sometimes the doll head may still have some Acetone residue, which is not a good thing since it may affect how the MSC may behave. It could make your work patchy and the materials may not grab onto it even with MSC, so make sure the doll head is completely clean by washing with soap and water. Of course, wait for it to be completely dry before moving forward.

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MSC can you see

Now, we take our MSC (MR.SUPER CLEAR UV FLAT) and spray the face 3 times to create a paper-like texture onto the rubber head. This will protect the actual head, and it also let's us actually draw onto the doll.


MSC is used through out the repaint process and is used like layers:

  • 3 Primer, used before the face up

  • 4 throughout the process of painting (but it definitely depends on the doll)

  • 2 to set and "save" the face up permanently

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sketch and scratch

I take my Water colour pencil in a light brown color (try not to go for dark color), so it is easy to erase any mistake I make. This is the sketching stage to make sure you like where you placed the eyes and how you drew them. Usually drawing the eyes to be symmetrical can be tricky, but just keep at it and take your time. After you have laid down the face, it get's so much easier


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No idea? no problema!

If it is really the first time you're repainting, it is really tricky to draw on a 3D object since some eye styles can look so different depending on the doll you use. It really is a trial and error for the most part. 

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With the same layer, continue adding details as much as you want and can. You will notice what you need to either add or remove, and make sure you like it before adding other colors and details. 


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After the sketch part, you can now add color in the same layer. The key is to use the right amount of layers. The more layers you use, it will be prone to the face up cracking. I add as much color as I can until it does not let me anymore. Usually colors will need 2 to 3 layers to reach their true opacity especially lighter colors.

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Play with shadow

It is not necessary to have a playful eye look all the time, but that is just a personal style of mine. I love highly pigmented colors on the eyes, and it has become a go-to for me. Don't be afraid to experiment with it and have fun. I usually have a color wheel with me to see how colors will react with each other, so that might be helpful as well.

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Each layer I work with pencils and chalk pastels together. I usually add the pastels after drawing with the pencils because it is easier to erase when mistakes are made. You can apply the pastels with various sizes of brushes or even cotton swabs. I even use an actual make up eye shadow brush for the blushing part. 

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Going to the dark side

After applying all the fun colors, we can now add the darker colors like the blacks for the pupil or eyeliner. Of course, you don't need to have dark colors if you don't want to. I prefer playing with different shades of colors to add dimension and depth to the face. Usually after I add the dark colors, then I spray the face again with MSC. That way we can build up the colors and have the previous work be "saved" in place.

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Paint by number

Time to add more color, and now let's whip out the acrylic paints. This is vital for me to create sharp colors and highly pigmented looks. I usually use white for the teeth and catchlights and black for the eyeliners. This is optional of course, but it does give the entire face up a cleaner look.

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Not everyone will share the same work flow, so discover what works for you. I usually take breaks from the face up and walk away to see what else I need to do. Sometimes when you're focused too much, it can be hard to see mistakes or if you went overboard, so take a break and step back.

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Like I said, it takes layers for a face up to be highly pigmented​, don't go too crazy though because the more layers you do, the more prone it is for the face up to crack. Just make sure to refrain from putting force onto the head when you finish the face up.

Just repeat all the steps until you are happy, then we can move on.

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my lipgloss is poppin

Make sure you are happy and spray the face with a final coat of MSC to "save" the entire face up. I take my Sculpey Gloss Glaze to add the shine on the lips and sometimes the eyes (I stopped adding it on eyes because it makes it challenging to photograph them). This is definitely optional, but most artists loves this part because it adds more texture to the face up, and it does make the lips pop.

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lashed up

Another step I love to do, but I always dread to execute is adding fake lashes. You can use human fake lashes or actual doll lashes from craft stores. I prefer the human kind since it's more accessible. Using Elmer's Glue All to adhere to the face, and glue it one by one

( Y_Y) 

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After all the hard work, you are done with your first doll repaint! You may now scream of happiness! You can end your doll customizing here, or you can also continue to custom hair, clothes and accessories. I would say face ups make up 50% of the doll's character, so go all out! It will really elevated the skill level and it will help you think outside the box!

Hope this helped and good luck! :D

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