Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Off With Barbie's Head!

Removing Barbie's head for any reason can be a scary task for someone who has never done it before. I can't tell you how nervous I was the first time I tried, and I have to tell you, it did not end well. Let's just say that particular doll became "headless" Barbie for life. YIKES! She is still not speaking to me. haha So....I thought I would share how I remove Barbie's head, so your first time might not be disastrous. I did not invent this method, so I can't take full credit for it. Here are a few things you will need to complete this daunting task. A hairdryer, heavy duty knitting needle, and big fingernail clippers are what I use. Some dollie experts use other methods to warm up Barbie's neck area, but I find a hairdryer works the best for me. In place of a heavy duty knitting needle, you could probably use something long, thin, and sturdy. A pair of scissors or jewelry wire cutters probably would work in place of the large nail clippers, but I haven't tried either one of these myself. 



The first step is to move Barbie's hair out of the way so that you can heat the area around her neck thoroughly on one side and in the back. The heat makes the plastic/vinyl more pliable, and it's easier to get the knitting needle under the neckline. This also makes it easier to move the knitting needle around the neckline to maneuver the head up and over the neck knob. I hope this isn't clear as mud. 




I really don't time how long I heat the neck area, but I really try to make sure I do a thorough job. I don't want to have to do it again. Who does? Right?



Here you can see that I start getting the knitting needle up and under Barbie's head. After I have it inserted under the neckline, I start moving it completely around the neck area while pulling up on the needle. 




The above pictures show how the progression of manipulating the knitting needle moves the head up and over the first hurdle of the neck knob. The tricky part is getting the head up and over the prongs above the white disc pictured above. This is where I usually take a deep breath and then hold it. haha Sorry, I failed to get a picture of this, but I will try to describe it so you can get this daunting task accomplished. When you pull on the doll head slightly, you will feel resistance from the prongs. That's when I use my knitting needle to pull up slightly on one side of the neck area to get it over one side the prongs. After that, it is easy peasy as pie. The head can then just be pulled right off. 



This is what the neck knob looks like on your dolls once the head is removed.


You do not have to remove those prongs if you don't want to, but it will be much easier to remove that head again if you do. You just never know when you might want to make another change.


Here is a little tip about cutting those nasty prongs off that I learned the hard way. I cup my hand around the clippers and neck knob so that puppy doesn't go flying as it's clipped. This can prevent putting an eye out of one of your loved ones or precious pet. lol


Here is the final result of removing the head. Success has been achieved. Now....the newer neck knobs are a bit different. But.....I've found the method of removing the heads is the same . Just another word to the wise about using this method. Only use it on your vinyl Barbie dolls. I have not removed any other doll's head other than Barbie...and one Ken doll. That's a whole new post. lol 

Happy Barbie head popping to you. May you have success with this method.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chrissy




22 comments:

  1. This how to on removing Barbie's head is so helpful. Thanks for posting this.

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  2. Thank you for this! It is very helpful! Could you explain how to put her head back on correctly? Thanks:)

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  3. Hi Ash! Sure....putting the head back on is easy really. You just place it on the neck and push down until it's where you want it. Since you asked though, I think I'll do another tutorial to share. I appreciate your comment and visit to my blog.

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  4. oh my goodness this is the very first time I have ever tried this and it worked perfectly! I'm 14 years old and this took me 20 seconds :) much thanks!

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    1. Hey Stitches. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving me a comment. I'm so glad I could help you to try this technique to remove a Barbie head from her body. Glad it worked so well for you. Please come back and visit me again.

      xoxo
      Chrissy

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    2. Thank You so much !!!! My Barbie basics jeans 14 is done, now I waching reroot tutorial ^^ I GREET from Poland

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    3. Hi there! Wow...Poland huh? That's awesome. I'm so glad my tutorial helped you with your Barbie basics jeans doll. I hope you share a picture when you get that reroot of her done. Have fun!

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  5. Hey Chrissy I had just replaced an old barbie head with a new fashionistas body. The technique posted is great! But the head is really loose did I do something wrong?

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    1. Hi Christina. I can't be certain that you didn't do anything wrong, but I suspect that you didn't. You mentioned putting and older Barbie head on a Fashionista body. I have found that neck knobs can vary in size, etc along with Barbie heads. This is my solution for wobbly heads, which can happen. It's happened to me as a matter of fact. lol I save all of those elastic bands that are used for Barbie dolls and their fashions in the packaging. You might have to remove the head again to put the band on the neck knob twisting it around several times. Also...a small regular rubber band can be used as well. Then I replace the head and push the band up under the head to hide it and stabilize the head. I hope this works for you.

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    2. Sometimes that is due to a broken neck pin that holds the knob assembly. I call those "trakes," because when they leave a hole, they look like tracheotomies.

      I will be posting a repair at my Barbie-Jane blog, http://babes-in-toyland.blogspot.com/

      It is presently located at http://babs-poser.u.yuku.com/bloggy/post/pid/1277 (on Yuku).

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    3. New URL, http://babes-in-toyland.blogspot.com/2013/10/how2-fix-trake.html

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    4. I had the loose head problem too, from putting a 90s Barbie head on a 2010 body, and yes, the elastic band trick worked. Thanks

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  6. Hey there! Thank you so much for the tutorial, especially the pictures- I've recently rebodied my 2010 Skipper using Liv as donor, everything's worked out great, and oh, I was so scared at first! Thanks again, next I'm planning to give my old Tonner Marley doll a new articulated body, so hopefully all goes well too!

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  7. Hi Lucy! So sorry it's taken me this long to thank you for stopping by my blog. I'm so glad were able to rebody your Skipper doll. I revodied my Frank Sinatra doll on a Liv body. I shared a picture of her along with some other dolls not long ago. I was scared too the lst time I popped a head, but now it's old hat. lol Have fun!

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    Replies
    1. Why did you remove the prongs? does it make the Barbie doll's head tighter?

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    2. Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog. I really appreciate it. To answer your question, I remove the prongs to make it easier to remove the head again if needed. If you aren't worried about that, then you don't have to take that step. I hope this helps.

      Chrissy

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  8. Thanks. I just got a bunch of custom heads, and picked up a dozen Barbies on Ebay, but didn't think it might be hard to get the heard off. I'll be giving this a try. Thanks

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  9. Love seeing new versions of instructions for removing Barbie's head. I broke my share of necks before posting my own instructions years ago.

    http://dizzysplayhouse.com/removing_head.html

    Big applause for all the dolly customizers and enthusiasts who take the chance and start swapping heads!

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  10. Thanks for your help, I have done this today for the first time, and now I have swapped the heads of four dolls!

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  11. I never dreamed I would actually find directions on removing these contemporary Barbie heads (Lucy Ricardo, in my case), but here you are. The things you can find on the Internet...
    Thank you!

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  12. Hey, is there any chance you could advise me as to what body to seek for my Rio de Janeiro Skipper doll? I love her face/hair, but the inverted triangle of the older body style is killing me, and I'd love for her to be reasonably articulated.

    After some research, I think a Liv doll body might suit her smallish face, or else a slightly slimmer/shorter fashionista body. Bur her skin tone is peach, not real dark, but not as light as a lot of the other dolls either. I'm afraid with the Liv she might look too juvenile, aside from finding a match from a discontinued doll line.

    I recently bought the Made to Move redhead, but her body is too light and I think now seeing them together that Skippers face would just be too small to look right. It would put her closer to real human proportions, but on dolls that tends to look awkward...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey, is there any chance you could advise me as to what body to seek for my Rio de Janeiro Skipper doll? I love her face/hair, but the inverted triangle of the older body style is killing me, and I'd love for her to be reasonably articulated.

    After some research, I think a Liv doll body might suit her smallish face, or else a slightly slimmer/shorter fashionista body. Bur her skin tone is peach, not real dark, but not as light as a lot of the other dolls either. I'm afraid with the Liv she might look too juvenile, aside from finding a match from a discontinued doll line.

    I recently bought the Made to Move redhead, but her body is too light and I think now seeing them together that Skippers face would just be too small to look right. It would put her closer to real human proportions, but on dolls that tends to look awkward...

    ReplyDelete