A Makeover Fit for a Queen

Today I am finally writing a post which I have been wanting to finish and share with you all for a very long time!
This doll project was different from my others in that I decided to keep the details secret and share everything at the end instead of piece by piece like with Celeste and Kanade’s projects. Pictures were taken over a year, and some are even from my cellphone. Not all progress shots look good, but the ones that matter do!

Perhaps you have heard of Frozen. It is the movie that has essentially invaded the world and flooded everyone’s minds with the song that we dare not speak of. As with most popular movies, I did not watch Frozen until it came out on DVD, so I was surprisingly unaware of the phenomenon it had become. But one thing which caught my eye before seeing the movie was Disney’s Classic dolls of Elsa and Anna. I spotted them in a video by My Froggy Stuff who reviewed the deluxe set which includes the two sisters and both dresses they wear in the movie. Both dolls looked cute and well made, and I was surprised by how much they resembled the on-screen characters. I quickly searched for the dolls and found that they were long sold out and very hard to find thanks to Frozen’s popularity. I put the dolls out of my mind until I saw the movie, after which I decided to at least pursue Elsa who had become my favorite.

Devoted searching led me to pay a lot, but not too much for an Elsa on Ebay.

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Elsa was finally mine!

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Right away I took her out for some photos.
red elsa 5

pink wonderland

spring bride
I did notice that her faceup was not perfect quality and a little difficult to photograph, but there was nothing I could do about that. Besides, there’s not much else to expect from a toy. Overall, I was content with Elsa.

Until I logged into DeviantArt.

There I found Lulemee’s work on the front page. Lulemee is a faceup artist who has done a lot of work repainting Disney dolls to be more faithful to their movie counterparts. Her recent work with Frozen dolls was very popular, and as soon as I saw it, I knew what was wrong with my Elsa. Sadly, a Lulemee commission is far beyond what I can afford, so there was little I could do. Still, I continued to admire her work and browse Frozen doll repaints on DeviantArt. It was while doing so that I clicked on a beautiful faceup which I thought was also by Lulemee. I was stunned to learn that these dolls were by Yvely. Unlike Lulemee’s, Yvely’s dolls had a profound and refined sweetness. Their glimmering eyes and delicate features were something I had not seen much of on other repaints, and I was surprised they were not more popular. I was even more surprised to learn that I could commission dolls of my own like this from Sunabrush.com. Not only this, but a sweet shimmery faceup for my Elsa was something I could afford!

However Sunabrush commissions are not always open, so I decided to make Elsa’s makeover a full one while waiting. I owe Lulemee for sharing the customization of so many of her dolls as it gave me a guideline for supplies and helped me decide what features to bring to life in my own Elsa.

First was hair. I learned that it is possible to dye some doll hair with acrylic paint and warm water.
I washed Elsa’s crispy hair the day I got it which made it very unruly, so there was little to lose by working on it.

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First came cutting. I cut it to reach just beyond her chest like in the movie.
Bandana for censorship.

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Then some rub a dub dub with dish soap before dying.

Censorship bandana has failed me.

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I purchased acrylic paint in warm white for the dying.
The doll’s hair is blonde, but Elsa is the Snow Queen, and even her skin is a bluish white, so I wanted her hair to be more pale to reflect that.

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Just a few drops!

I tested using the cut hair to see what effect dying would have.

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And here are the results!
This is not a difference in lighting, but a very subtle lightening of the hair– just what I wanted!

Now dyed, the hair also needed to be styled. Peeking at Lulemee progress shots showed me that she uses Loreal Elnett hairspray.
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This spray(which I bought in extra strong) has excellent hold and hoes not make human or doll hair sticky at all. I found a travel sized can at Walgreens for around $8.

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Elsa’s ahir had become pretty unruly.

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Blech.

To tame it with the spray, I used a small paperclip and straw segment to create a mini hair curler! I learned this trick from reading about styling My Little Pony Hair, but rather than using boiling water to perm the hair, I shaped it with the curler, and sprayed it. Soaking the strand in spray and letting it dry hardens it and lets you get that cool sculpted look.

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I made her hair more round later, but here’s my first try which had lots of sharp strands and overlapping.

Where are you, censorship bandana?

With hair finished, I was ready to remake the dress. The original dress is fine, but what bothered me most was it’s lack of a long train or cape. A big part of Elsa’s silhouette is the train, so I wanted that to not be missing from my recreation. I also decided to look for more fitting fabric for the skirt. Rather than making my own pattern, I settled on using the one from the original dress. Might as well make use of what I have!

Surprisingly, I found the best fabric on Amazon. Frozen’s amazing popularity means that many people are making Elsa costumes, so there is an abundance of wintery fabric available. That which I chose for the dress is actually an exact replica of Elsa’s skirt in the movie.

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A photo I shared on the blog’s Facebook page(now past 200 likes!) showing how much extra I had left. The downside of buying fabric on Amazon is that you can’t always choose how much you want. Most people are making dresses for larger Elsas, after all!

You’ll see the rest of the completed dress later.

Now with hair and dress finished, all that was left was the faceup. And in December 2014 Sunabrush began taking orders once more. I was super excited and determined to get a spot. You can never be too careful, so I prewrote my email and set an alarm to make sure I didn’t miss time starting time. *is a dork*

Choosing an expression for Elsa was very fun. I liked the demure and sassy looks some repainted dolls had, but seeing that I photograph my dolls regularly, I wanted Elsa to be somewhat neutral. I was faced(haha) with the challenge of having Elsa look neutral, but still retain some of her personality since she is not as blissful as Anna.
I had trouble finding a picture to express that online, but my luck changed when I spotted this image on the back of a crossword puzzle at the grocery store:
Elsa face 1
Exactly what I wanted!

So after securing my spot and shipping Elsa out to South Korea, I waited.

And just last week that waiting came to and end. I rushed to complete the details of Elsa’s dress and admire my new beauty with dyed and styled hair, a new dress, and a full facial repaint!

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Behold!
Also, we just had an ice storm which is why I have these pictures so quickly. If I had gone through with crafts as planned(like with all of those figmas…), it would have been much longer. The ice looks like flowers. Isn’t it lovely? But what’s even more lovely is Elsa!

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Her bodice and sleeves are recycled from the original dress since the fabric I bought ended up not matching what came from Amazon. It looks better anyway.

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I sloppily painted the designs on her sleeves using white acrylic and glittery fabric paint.

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I’m shocked by how perfect the skirt fabric is. It really looks just like in the movie! Definitely a fray monster though. I had to glue the seams so that they wouldn’t separate while I was dressing her.

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I made the train as long as possible!
The fabric is sheer blue with silver glittery snowflakes. I also cut out the design from the original train and sewed it to the new one.

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And topping it off is Sunabrush’s gorgeous faceup. I think this makes the doll what she is, and would not have been as enthusiastic about making her over without a new faceup.
Her eyes have tons of detail and a glossy finish. She has eyelashes, blush, and my favorite part: tiny freckles!
I-I’m just so happy.

Wanting to do Elsa justice, I headed out with her into the icy landscape!

We usually have snow at least once a year, but this time it was ice instead. Cold rain coated everything outside turning it into a world of glass!

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I was in just the right place for this to happen, as there was no ice down town. And not many tall trees meant no serious damage.

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You don’t get these same dramatic landscapes with snow!

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A shame that better weather a few weeks ago meant some trees had begun budding.

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Thistles edited
Leg is wonky, but posing anything besides the arms on these dolls is a pain.

rosy morning copy

sapphire copy
Background is the windshield on my dad’s truck.

winter wonder

frozen autumn copy
I love the leaves in this one because it looks like Elsa froze autumn
thus ruining it for everyone.

winter garland copy
Everything was so hard and icy that the plants didn’t bend at all and anything plastic slid right off.

portrait copy
Shimmery ice makes great bokeh!
And means lots of readjusting the camera.

autumn princess copy

circle of color

And with that, Elsa’s long journey to completion is over. But her new life is just beginning! I have lots of fabric left over and want to make other outfits for her both based on the movie and my own imagination. What do you think of Elsa as an ice mage? Or saucy sorceress? Or just in a casual gown? I plan to play around with her a lot!

As for Anna, as much as I would love to have her, customizing Elsa was expensive enough on its own that I will have to put that plan far off into the future. Until then, let the Snow Queen reign!

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11 thoughts on “A Makeover Fit for a Queen

  1. A makeover fit for a queen indeed ! XD
    I also want to ask, how does the acrylic hair dyeing affect the hair texture? I have a white bjd wig I want to give a slight pink undertone, but not if it will affect the texture. It’s a heat resistant wig btw ^^
    I can’t wait to see more of your dolls, it’s been a while.

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    • Hmm I’m somewhere between recommending it and not. The acrylic in small portions doesn’t really affect the texture, but it washes out pretty easily with water, so you would have to seal it somehow. I can’t say it’s a bad idea, but I wouldn’t personally do it for one of my larger dolls. Perhaps you could look into other types of dyes like RIT ? I’m afraid this and the time I tried to dye a cosplay wig are the only experience I have.

      It has been! I’m afraid I’ve been in an anti sewing/doll funk as of late ^^’

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      • Thanks! Seems like I’ll at least have to try it then, since there aren’t really a lot of synthetic dyes available in my area at an affordable price.

        Awww, hope you get into it sometime again ^^

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  2. Pingback: January 2015 Loot | Never Outgrew Toys

  3. I love her face, what most people did when repainting these dolls are overdoing it, subtler repaints made them look more like their original character. You can use the extra fabric to make her frozen fever dress, unless all the fabrics are covered in snowflakes.

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    • Ah interesting observation. I don’t know if I’ve ever thought of a repaint as overdone(although I have seen some I’m less fond of), but many of them are far more expressive than what I opted for. I suppose it’s easy to get caught up in crazy faces and makeup.

      I would like to do that, but yeah…everything has snowflakes on it. I’m most interested in making her Frozen Fever and Epilogue outfit(cut from the movie; such a shame), but getting everything for just that one dress was so much that I’ll have to ride the ice theme for a while XD

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  4. This was just too cool… I had no idea you could dye doll’s hair with water and craft acrylic! I’ll have to give this a try!!! I’ve got Elsa and Anna and have been contemplating repainting them… your post is inspiring… although I don’t think I could redo her dress, LOL… I’m not that skilled XD

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    • Neither did I! I knew human dye wouldn’t work and was looking into bleach when I learned of this method. It doesn’t seem to be used very often but definitely works.
      There are a lot of Frozen repainters now! I am very tempted to try myself since having to pay for repaints limits the dolls I can get(maybe that’s good), but supplies are expensive and I don’t want to halfheartedly pick up too many hobbies. Yaddayadda.

      The dress was really easy! It was just taking the skirt and train apart, using the pieces as patterns for a different fabric, and putting them back on. The finishes for my dress are rough, but you can’t tell in pictures =P. I probably wouldn’t redo Anna’s dress since it looks ok, but Elsa’s needed more glam.

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