Shrinking heads is the craft of using acetone to break down the plasticizer in a vinyl doll’s head to make it smaller (and less elastic). The chemical make-up/proportions of vinyl can vary wildly so it’s not an exact procedure.
I mentioned on FB that I’d be using my down time to catch up on my blog and a friend asked, ” Is the topic of ‘why shrink the heads’ covered in the blog? I’ve been wondering.
That IS a good question.
A few of my friends check in and read this blog. For most of them I’m the only insight they have into doll crafting. It is for them I that I try to explain why to shrink heads, even though I’ve only done it once and don’t know much myself.
Here are Four Reasons Why.
- HEAD TOO BIG WANT SMALLER.
I know that seems obvious, but is it? Many of the dolls I’ve been working on thus far have deliberately large heads (all the Pullip/Groove dolls, Blythes) so I understand it seems odd I’d start shrinking heads now. What makes one oversized head fine and the next becomes an issue I need to address?
For me the line has been Ever After High dolls.
Their heads are just too big and round for my tastes. This one is also missing hands and has glue head.
Because I have more box dolls from GINA for my BIRTHDAY.
Back to EAH heads. I’ve used them at original size twice; once for Wednesday (because she’s got a huge forehead and is still partly a child) and one for Raven because she’s not human.
But when it came to making Terra, a human girl who just happens to have powers, I wanted that head a bit less large. The difference is small and I wish I’d taken better photos. Still, I give you the Professor replacing Drake….Because the Professor doesn’t groom underaged girls.
It’s still a big head but less so. In an attempt to prevent head collapse I may have filled it with too much stuffing as it shrank. not sure.
2. Shrinking heads highlights aspects of head mold/design.
Sculpting of heads creates variability in the thickness of vinyl at different points of the face. These differences become more pronounced when the plastizicer is removed, creating sharper, more dramatic features.
This is where I steal photos from people who’ve done this longer than I have. these come from Dirili Doll’s Website, I used her videos as a guide.
Below is a Lagoona Monster High doll. Right is untouched, middle is a slow shrink, left is a fast shrink. See how defined the eyes (although with paint on it’s hard to see) and the cheekbones get? Yeah.
3. Photos of heads in jars.
Probably my favorite reason.
4. Can do minor reshaping when the vinyl is pliable.
After you remove the head from the acetone it will be fragile (and if you shrank fast, it will also be giant, bloated, and jelly like. After about 24 hours it won’t have completely set and you can sinfluence the head shape with consistant pressure (over 2-5 days)
This photo is from another tutorial of Dirilli
Which, as you can see, I’ll probably do just because of the photos I’ll be able to send friends.
And that’s why you might want to shrink a head.