I love GUND teddy bears. I find them very comforting. They seem to be the perfect combination of soft and cuddly, while also being just a little bit retro. It seems like all is right in the world when I am curled up on my bed at night after a long day of kids, running a house, and working on my Blythe custom dolls. They are so sweet and I am a sucker for their button eyes and soft brown noses.
Firstborn and GOTTA GETTA GUND.
I originally got them for my daughter but now that she is almost 18, Now, I find myself collecting GUND teddy bears for myself. Life can be very stressful and they bring me comfort. They really are a form of therapy.
We got a new kitten and she likes to hide in my girl’s closet. There I discovered GUND’s now retired Manni and Marmalade at the bottom of one of their toy bins and cleaned them up a little. I always loved Manni. When I found out they re-leased him back in 2016 in a bigger 16″ size, I decided I had to have him.
The next thing I know, I’m looking at GUND’s latest releases. First here are the Philbin’s.
I couldn’t stop there so I also added Pinchy in both colors!
Last but not least, there’s Finley. Amazon was having a sale so of course, I had to add him!
My son has special needs and a lot of sensory issues so I wanted to let him pick out a teddy bear for himself. He’s nonverbal but I showed him pictures of stuffed animals. We eventually settled on this cute floppy thin bear named Toothpick.
Teddy Bears for Therapy
I find these bears very therapeutic. When I stroke their fur and their soft feet it soothes my nerves. Their friendly faces look up at you unassuming. It’s no wonder Teddy bears are given to children who just experienced some sort of trauma. They can bring emotional comfort after traumatic events.
In fact, there are programs out there that give out Teddy bears to children in need. I will list them down below and hope you’ll check them out.
I was telling you about fake Blythes and how they are ideal for making customs. There is another doll that has been labeled as a “fake” Blythe. Icy Dolls were considered to be copies of our beloved Blythe. It’s no wonder why people would think they’re fakes!
Arker Icy Dolls are modeled after Blythe. They use the same mechanics for color-changing eyes that Blythe dolls use. But I wouldn’t say they’re copies.
Let’s say that they’re cousins. Icy dolls have their own look. Their face shape is very different. They have more of a square face and they have almond-shaped eyes that give them more of an Asian look.
As you can also see from the photo above, Icy dolls have molded lids around their eye socket. The one pictured is actually a fake Icy doll.
That’s right! Even Icy dolls have fakes now! Much like the fake Blythes, they have lots of choices of hair color and style.
I buy a lot of my dolls and parts from Aliexpress and found Icy Dolls available with many choices of hair colors and styles.
Lisa Frank Inspired Custom…
So onto my latest custom. Introducing this sweet Lisa Frank inspired Icy Doll!
She belongs to a dear dolly friend who has gifted to me some amazing Blythe custom dolls from other artists. I probably wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise and do depend on trades to be able to have any in my collection. We did a few trades as well but she also just gave me some dolls.
Alas, she decided I could customize this cool green haired Icy doll in her collection and asked for a Lisa Frank Theme.
When it comes to painting and drawing, I’m out of practice. However, my very talented daughter draws a lot and loves to draw Anime characters the most. I showed her some Lisa Frank art and told her I needed her skills. I commissioned her to do the back plate and eye-lids.
I love how it came out and her owner is thrilled!
Before and After…
Ok, here’s some fun. I did a side-by-side shot of my latest Icy custom doll and before she was customized.
She is just waiting on some sparkly unicorn pull charms and gemstones and then she’ll be ready to go back home! I will enjoy her until then.
Lots and lots of sanding is involved when customizing a Blythe doll. Sanding off the original make-up, smoothing and refining after carving, prepping to a matte surface to receive pastels or airbrush paint. Can’t do without them.
It’s make-up for your Blythe. You’ll need lots of pinks, browns, and flesh tones to start and some cooler colors for eye-shadow and lids. I’ve been using Sennelier for many years even before Blythe became my medium of choice.
Mr. Super Clear is must-have product to use for your Blythe doll because it gives a nice matte finish and makes it easy to apply make-up. It also helps seal pigments so that they won’t rub off or fade away. Start with UV flat or Matte at first. Then as you gain skills and confidence, Semi-gloss and gloss create a nice sheen on finished face-ups.
Aleen’s tacky glue is a great craft glue for gluing eye-chips to Blythe dolls. It’s easy to use and dries clear, so you can be sure the eyes look good when they’re attached. I like Aileens Fast Grab as I can change the eyes on Blythe doll without waiting too long to dry.
Photo below is self explanatory. Safety is must! Protect your lungs.
Just the beginning…
This list should be enough to get you started in creating a Blythe custom doll. It is by no means exhaustive and as you gain skill, you may be brave enough to try a Dremel. But for now, this is a great start!
How using Fake Blythes for Blythe Custom Dolls can expand creativity and experimentation.
Blythe dolls have become a popular way for artists, creatives, and collectors to express themselves. Even more so now that fake Blythe dolls are so readily available. However, fake Blythe dolls can be a bit of a controversial topic.
In this blog post I will be sharing everything I think about Fake Blythes including what their quality compared with official Takara releases, how much they cost, and where you can buy them online,(My preferred suppliers are on AliExpress!)
The Blythe hobby tends to attract creative and artistic collectors. Official Blythe releases are expensive and for the beginning customizer, a bit intimidating.
That’s where fake Blythes come in! Fake Blythes are often cheaper than the original doll which makes them perfect for beginners or those who are on a budget. Certain official Takara Blythe dolls can be limited and many collectors want them in their original minty condition. That makes fake Blythes perfect for altering with carving tools, pastels, and paints.
The origins of Blythe dolls…
Blythe dolls were a counterpart to Barbie dolls. The original dolls were designed by Allison Katzman and released in the early 1970s by Kenner. There are two categories of these dolls: Kenner and Neo. Kenner Blythes are the original Blythe dolls. This big-eyed girl was a bit creepy to young girls and didn’t do well when originally released in 1972. Kenner Blythe doll went out of production shortly after.
Blythe doll is resurrected!
Back in 2000, a New York city video producer, Gina Garan, published a book of photographs of a doll she collected. This little book called This Is Blythe.
Here’s a good video on that.
Thanks to Japanese company CWC, Neo Blythes have been in production since the early 2000 and Blythe has loyal collectors from all over the world. The original Kenner Blythe dolls are highly sought after and collectible. They can go for at least $1000 depending on their condition.
Neo Blythes are usually more affordable. They can usually be purchased for just over $100-200. Some can go for a bit more depending on how rare or limited it was.
Anything with tan or darker skin tone will go for more. They don’t make the darker skin tones very often and there is higher demand when they are released.
The Fake Blythes come on the scene…
But, alas, the fake Blythe dolls came along and finally catered to those of us wanting Blythes of color. Some of them come with big black curly hair. The official Takara releases never offered anything like that.
My thoughts on fakes…
At first, I was excited by all the hair and skin colors. They’re very inexpensive, so if you want to experiment more, you won’t be out a lot if you destroy the face-plate. But there was a lot of controversy and many collectors refuse to buy fake Blythe customs. Personally, I didn’t like the way their eyes looked. The face-plate might have been molded from one of the Neo Blythe molds but the eye-mechs were not and their quality wasn’t as good as the official Takara dolls.
The fake Blythe dolls flooding the market also caused a flood in amateur customs taking over the sales pages on Facebook and other social media. Newbies saw dollar signs in the Blythe custom doll market and wanted to cash in. Not all had greedy motives. Many talented customizers broke through the flood of mediocre and atrocious customs and made amazing Blythe custom dolls that were affordable to the more discerning collector on a tight budget.
Eventually, things even out. Fakes are here to stay and there are some sellers offering their own version of Blythe. I really like these new fakes that are called NBL Blythes by this seller on AliExpress. The quality is very good and they offer something unique.
Here’s one of my NBL Blythe custom doll.
It’s nice for artists to be able to have access to these less expensive materials. You can also buy just the face-plates and practice and improve your skills before going all-in on a full custom.
With the use of epoxy putty, some of the alterations on these dolls can be so extreme that the original mold gets obscured. Fake Blythes offer a neutral canvas to go as extreme in altering the dolls as someone likes.
Guilty as charged… I do customize Fake Blythe dolls.
So yes, I will use fake Blythe dolls to customize. I understand why some are against it and that’s OK! However, they’ve been around for a long time now and they offer things the official releases won’t offer.
I’ll also add that there are still many collectors who want untouched pristine official Takara Blythe dolls. In fact, it has been recently announced that Takara Tomy Inc. will no longer be manufacturing and distributing Blythes. CWC is taking its production to a different manufacturer.
That will make it even less attractive to break into a new Official Takara Blythe doll and do plastic surgery on her.
So that’s the quick and dirty on Blythe Fakes and using them for Blythe custom dolls. I’m looking forward to what this new manufacturing company does with our favorite girl.
I made another Blythe doll custom with teeth. In my last post, I gave hints on what to use to make pearly white realistic teeth.
Here’s what it looks like behind the scenes…
Now, I’m going to assume if you’re wanting to make Blythe teeth, you already know how to do some basic carving and sculpting. You can play around with the clay and decide how you want to shape it to look like teeth.
I baked the clay on parchment paper in the toaster oven set at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for around 5-7 minutes. You have to watch it because it will start to turn yellow if you leave it in too long.
After baking them, once cooled, I used a coat of gloss medium and tried fitting them. Make sure you seal the inside of the faceplate with Mr. Super Clear to prevent any pastel residue from staining the teeth.
Trim and fit…
Getting the teeth to fit in place was a little tricky and I ended up having to trim them with an Exacto knife to fit. Thankfully, this clay has some flexibility to it and can be easily trimmed.
Next, I used Aileen’s Fast Grab tacky glue which has enough viscosity to it to keep the teeth in place, and yet you still have time to adjust it.
Because this doll has such a wide-open mouth, I needed something behind the teeth to hide the inside of the head. What’s behind teeth? A tongue of course! Got some regular Sculpey clay and made a tongue shape, baked it, painted it a rosy color, and then glossed it and installed it with tacky glue.
So here she is! Introducing my latest toothy custom! April!
Alas, after 4 years, I have resurrected this blog! For some time I thought it was a bit redundant just showing pretty pictures. I use Instagram for that. However, it occurred to me that I could show you my methods, tools, and techniques to my Blythe customs.
The last time I posted here, anytime I made a girl with teeth, I used bits of a gift card or other plastic card. As long as it was white, I could cut to shape and glue them in.
But as with anything to do with Blythe customs, things evolve and now customizers are using other materials to make Blythe teeth.
I actually went on a google search for how to make teeth for Blythe customs that look more like the desired pearly whites. I couldn’t find specific instructions.
Taking notes from other Blythe customs…
Luckily, I did acquire a Blythe custom doll with teeth and was able to peek inside. I could tell it was some kind of polymer clay and went from there.
Check out my most recent toothy girl, Bappy! (Her mom has renamed her Trixie…)
Her teeth are made from Fimo clay. It is translucent and is perfect for making teeth. All you have to do is make individual teeth shaped to size.
Try and do a dry fitting to get an idea of how it will sit and then bake according to package instruction. You have to really watch it to make sure not to burn it. I think it took less than 10 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
After it’s dry, you can test again to make sure they will fit. Then I gloss them with a glossy sealer like this one.
My favorite glue to use for attaching this, as well as eyechips, is Aleen’s Tacky Glue Fast Grab. It has the right consistency and it stays in place right away but you still have time to adjust the teeth.
So that’s the quick and dirty on Blythe teeth. If I get some request, I can show more details on install the teeth and what it looks like on the inside.
Let me know in the comments if that’s something you all would like to see.
My husband got me Ayanami Rei either for my birthday or Christmas. I can’t remember which one as he got me 2 different anime dolls and my birthday is a month before Christmas. Usually, he will get me a not-so-limited special release Blythe doll because he knows I’m just going to customize it and then turn around and sell it. It’s sort of like he’s getting me art supplies and canvas. But of course, Blythe dolls are expensive canvas.
We both love the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. So he decided to go ahead and get Ayanami Rei. I told him I would just customize her and actually keep her. Here she is below. My first Rei. I did keep her at first. But then I had a few people ask if I’d consider selling her. And of course, money is always tight around here. I eventually took up someone’s offer and she ended up going back to whence she came. Japan. How fitting is that?
But alas, I missed her and I felt a little guilty even though my husband didn’t really care one way or the other. He likes when I bring in some money from time to time. But I love the doll and the character and eventually searched on Mandarake. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone it’s sometimes a good place to find Blythe dolls and not pay inflated prices…) I was able to find another one for a good price. So I decided I’d make another Rei for myself.
And to make it extra difficult to part with her, I put in some Alice Blice galaxy chips in her.
My latest custom is a Zinochika. I love the FBL mold once customized. Such a sweet face they have.
Her hair is pretty long and I think FBLs foreheads tend to look big so I gave her eyebrows and bangs to help frame her face better.
And of course, I call her Bucky because of her teeth. She’s a sweet little ginger. She has already found a home and I hope her new mama gets a lot of enjoyment out of her.
I will be working on some personal projects and need to find a new doll to customize to offer for adoption. I have a Middie waiting for a new face so we’ll see if I make her available or decide to keep her.
Say hello to my latest custom, Arcadia. This is the name her mom has chosen for her. She is a trade with a dear friend in Argentina. She had a Stable House custom that I was smitten with and she finally agreed to let me have her by trade. So I got this Marrakesh with her in mind as she had always wanted a custom of her.
She has that wonderful color hair like the much sought after Princess A La Mode doll. I’m happy to report her mom is thrilled so I get to keep the girl she traded with me for her. I’ll do a photoshoot of her soon so I can show off a new girl in my collection
She just waiting on her Puppelina chips and then she’ll be ready for her flight home. I hope she gets there fast without getting stuck in customs!
I’ve been having more time to customize and trying to have a goal of what I can get done in a month now that school is back in session for the kids. September came and went fast. Last week of September I took a quick inventory of the dolls I did that month. Wasn’t hard at all as I found it was only two! I had another commission on my desk waiting and decided to get cracking to see if she could be finished before the month’s end. I went to it, working on her in my studio instead of in my kitchen. Less distractions that way! I have afternoon help now with my son because of his special needs. So I took advantage of the extra help. I almost made it too. But my help cancelled on Friday, the last day of September so I had to stop working once the kids arrived home. Otherwise, I may have made it.
Saturday, I did have help so I was able to complete her. Technically she’s my first doll of October.
She’s a custom Candace Majorette. Isn’t she sweet? Her mama seems very pleased. I had to pack her up and send her back already.
As you can see she has little teeth and perhaps you can see some eyebrows peeking out too. My last three dolls have had eyebrows. I do like them from time to time. I can’t say I’d want them on every doll. Part of what makes Blythe a Blythe is that she for some reason never had eyebrows. But now it seems eyebrows are all the rage on these girls. Ah well, they’re fun to have on some girls. They can add a lot more expression for the overall look.
So October is officially here. I will set my goal to do 3 more girls this month. Stay tuned!