blythe, craft, Doll, Uncategorized

My First Blythe: Part 1

Disclaimer: There is Doll Nudity ahead. I’ve seen enough videos and web pages to now know that people put a disclaimer for this fact. I have NO idea what sort of angry mail they get when they don’t. I hope it’s just because naked dolls exude a eldritch sadness and not for doll sexuality.

I bought a “Factory Blythe” off Wish. When you’re in Japan, knockoffs from China come quickly. There are conflicting reports of if Takara makes the Factory Blythes and they just don’t get marketed or they are crazy factory hodgepodges of parts that don’t pass minor quality control from multiple dolls.


Mine isn’t obviously fake…not the sort of bootleg you’d have to call Brize or Blype… There are no mismatched skin colors or fit issues. It has the Takara trademarks on the head and the body and the legs bend as they are supposed to.

But, it was affordable (around 30 dollars instead of 100 or higher) so it’s not “real real”

Real Blythe dolls are haunted by the spirit of pug dogs who have passed on but still want to pee on things.

Because I’m going to open it up and carve into its face plate, I don’t care that it’s not the genuine article. My doll joy isn’t in finding and collecting released dolls. I’ll never make a youtube video bashing fake or factory Blythes and neither should you…it’s a bad look.

Second Disclosure: On FaceBook I took a poll… because this Blythe started getting super creepy quickly.

Poll: Yes, more creepy dolls. Do you want to see photos throughout the process as it happens OR should I wait until the end of the face up and show those freaky process photos all at once?

  • 71%Process! eyeless dolls
  • 29%Nightmares all at once.

Let’s continue.


Like a lot of my friends, you may have thought that Blythe had one pair of eyes. Like a human…. or the pugs that haunt them.

WRONG! They have four pairs of eyes: two that look directly at your and two that side eye. Each set is a different color. Like Pullip dolls you can remove the eyechips and replace them. Unlike Pullip dolls, this involves melting the tip of a hot glue stick, adhering it to the eye chip and pulling the chip out that way.

With a pull of the cord at the back of her head: Blythe’s eyelids roll down, her eye-mech makes an ungodly noise, and her eyes change.

The below video loaded right-side up on my phone but appears to be upside down here.
MAYBE this is a different Blythe, a full knockoff, but I’m not ready to talk about that.

Sorry, not sorry

I’ve learned the way to customize a Blythe is not just to remove it’s face and sand away the shiny finish…you CARVE into it. So, I picked up some carving tools and more files.

Then I knew what this Blythe would become..and that the dream I’ve had since high school art metals class would come true: buying my own router/dremel.

Perfect time to get one! Because it came during Japan’s Golden Week Holiday which I spent like this. Tendonitis flareup! Dolls and Ice!


No worries, because today was this sort of day:


Between two outdoor shows with the studio and other dance teachers/students today. I’m on my feet again.


Why the corner triangles at the eyes?


She’s becoming Aggretsuko!
Now, I’ve been on the Aggretsuko bandwagon for over a year. I have a LOT of little goodies AND a HUGE Aggretsuko purse. I’m pleased that she got her own show on Netflix AND it’s on Netflix Japan in multiple languages. You should be watching it.

And this is either genius or a horrible monster in the making. The early stages of carefully priming her face and building up layers of chalk pastel/watercolor pencil, scared even me…and was why I posted a poll on Facebook.

I know.

We’re going to crazy town and this is just the first stop.

craft, Doll, Uncategorized

Ariel from the Box.

I’m now 43. I started using dial-up modems to access local chat lines when I was 14/15. So the raw amount of STUFF, good and bad, that accessing the world from your computer is not new…those early days in fact made me love using e-mail early and often to maintain and grow connections to people I’d met but reluctant to blog or participate in online communities in my early to late 20’s because WHY INVITE MORE DRAMA?

It wasn’t until after three years in Japan, on the cusp of turning 30, that I opened myself back up to blogging to maintain old friendships and express myself…and suddenly make far more connections than I’d expected.

One of the magical things about my years of sharing my thoughts and my assorted arts online has always been the support I’ve found. There are dramatic moments, like people coming out of lurking mode to contact me during the Tohoku quake and nuclear aftermath to tell me what my writing and creativity has meant for me (and, literally, providing me and my friends a safe-house in Nagoya).  There has been my ability to network with dancers internationally and teach workshops abroad.

And then there has been the physical stuff.

With my costuming and costume rehab people have contacted me over the to send me fabric stashes, older costumes, newer costume and more…no strings attached…just to see what I make or encourage me to keep making and sharing.

And then there’s Gina and this box of dolls…which won’t be the last box of dolls.


Gina met me on Live Journal and we’re still in each others lives via FB.

She cheers me on and thrift shops for me. I, in turn, bought thrift Pokemon goods for her daughter…but neither one of us is really saving any money on this right now, what with international shipping, but we’re building a friendship and encouraging each other. We’re saying “this and this if you see it but surprise me otherwise!”

More dolls will eventually come and I will custom repaint a doll for her daughter and we’ll both be richer in our way.

Toddler Moana has lead to the wrap dress I designed (and you can make) and is staying her adorable self… at least until I have and idea and skills that will make her even better.


But I’m STILL waiting for some Pullip Eyechips and I still have tendonitis issues and the second half of Japan’s holiday/Golden week is coming so I went BACK to the Box.


Ariel, you’re the next contestant.

Watching repaint videos from South Korea is where I first saw 100¥ socks being used to keep bodies and hair protected from fixative spray. These are 100¥ arm warmer things. This is easier (and far less creepy) than trying to wrap your doll in plastic wrap and tape. Swadling clothing vs. mad scientist.

Working on dolls is creepy. Period. But it doesn’t have to be Peak Creep.


See? Once you’ve used acetone to remove paint off your vinyl doll you’re already near the Creep Summit. I’ve come to love the sculpts on the Disney Animators Collection dolls, from different angles they seem to relay slightly different moods, but no face is no face.

This is when the doll gets her first layers of fixative to create a slight tooth/texture for the pigments to adhere to. In looking at this photo I wish I’d really gotten all the paint grit out of the inner corners of her eyes/under her lashline.


The background you see are the Ikea outdoor tiles for my mini balcony. I set the dolls up on cinder blocks, put my filter mask on, and spray them.

I’m glad I don’t live in the first floor. “Yeah, those foreigners always leaving half assembled dolls on cinderblocks on their yards.


This photo was after I built up the eye whites with acrylics,  I wouldlater regret not doing that even more obsessively on the edges, and the eyeliner. I also started putting in the eyebrows with water color pencils and a little bit of shading above the eyelid with sanded pastels an Elf makeup brush I reserve for doll-use-only.


Still creepy. The gunk in the corners of her eyes were making her look strung-out.


Disney Animators dolls are generally all looking away. Some read more “side eye/that’s none of my business” than others. It took a lot of penciled-on circles and erasing to figure out the placement and size I wanted. I ended with “looking up at you/looking wistfully up towards land” depending on the angle.

I started adding more color to her face with chalk pastels and water color pecil and brush. The irises are acrylic at the base and built up color pencil layers with a few coats of fixative now and then.


I thought I was finished. I even put acrylic gloss on the eyes and lips. There were no added white dots in the iris in the above picture, that’s reflection….

But something still bothered me.

I ended up obsessively sanding her eye paint to remove the gloss and then smooth the imperfections. With a pointed file I cleaned out her eye edges. I gave the edges of her lower eye whites a liiiiiiiitle gray line to create depth/transition . I made the water line more pink and less rusty.


Time to add more eyelashes and some gloss.

I thought about adding fake lashes but when I pressed one in place with my finger (no glue) she looked too pagent-girl.


Added eye-reflection highlights, onto gloss. Soon she would be free of her swaddling.

It was around 11pm when I took this photo in my kitchen. No bands to do her hair and too sleepy to iron her current dress.

I’ve got news for you girl, on land dads don’t always understand and they do reprimand daughters.

But I do have plenty of thingamabobs and I’m glad you’ve left the box.

But between you and me, reader, if I get into rerooting Disney doll hair it will be so I can make a toddler Ursula. Shhhhhhhh.