Making a Unicorn Part 1: A Love Story (Or De-Yellowing Part 3)

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So for anyone who didn’t see my previous post, I managed to get my grail doll off the second hand market at an affordable price. I was super excited not just for the chance to finally own a Soom Heliot, but for the project it was sure to be. Looking at the original pictures, I knew it would be a task to build him into the vague vision I had, and to be honest I’m looking forward to it!

IMG_1742[1]The first step in any project is the foundation, and the first task (the foundation) was to clean him up. To anyone who has not removed a faceup/blushing from a doll before, it’s fairly straight forward if the right materials were used on the resin. There are a few different techniques, but most agree that Windsor and Newton Brush Cleaner paired with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser does the trick. Just the original eraser. You don’t need the fancy ones with the febreeze scent (unless you really want that I guess). Then it’s just a matter of scrubbing. And scrubbing. And scrubbing. While it is straight forward, it may take you a chunk of time to actually get all the paint off. A few things about this process:

  • For crevices like lip lines and eyelid creases, you can try dipping a toothbrush or paintbrush in the brush cleaner. Just make sure they’re clean. This is more for the paintbrush than anything. More than a few times I’ve used a brush that looked clean and ended up with a bigger mess than I started with.
  • DO NOT LEAVE THE RESIN SOAKING IN BRUSH CLEANER. For passing over and scrubbing, it works great, but you cannot soak your doll in the cleaner. This is coming from someone who has (stupidly) done this. Learn from my mistakes. The brush cleaner will eat the resin if left on there for prolonged periods of time.
  • Once done, wash off with dish soap and water. That way if there are any stray specs of paint or brush cleaner left on the doll, you’ll get it in this last sweep.

IMG_1747[1]

So we have a squeaky clean (but still yellow) doll. Now that the (not so) fun part is over, we’re gonna smother him in whitening toothpaste and baking soda.

IMG_1760[1]

Not even kidding.

I’ve seen a few people (references at the bottom) talk about this method and the pictures they post show some real results. How many times you do this and how long the intervals are depends on the severity of the yellowing. It’s recommended you allow the doll to sit in the solution for 6-12 hours, so because this is a 10 year old doll, I did 3 passes for 12+ hours each.

IMG_1763[1]

The entire process took 3lbs of baking soda and 2 tubes of Arm & Hammer whitening toothpaste. If anyone else is going to do this three times, I’d recommend getting 4lbs of baking soda just to be on the safe side. I ran out at the tail end of my 3rd pass.

As far as measuring goes, I did not really have any guidelines to go by, so I put a generous coating of toothpaste on each piece and dusted it with baking soda after I was done scrubbing. I also did not time myself on how long I scrubbed, but we will get into that later.

1st Pass:

1

2nd Pass:

2

3rd Pass:

3

Final Result (soaked in Oxy overnight just as a final hoorah):

(with & without flash)

20170928-_DSC7300-Edit

So there is a significant reduction in the yellow-ness of the body. He looks lighter but there are some odd side-effects to this method I have not seen before.

hands

The hands and feet are lighter. When watching the original video tutorial for this method, they had similar results. At first I thought it might be because his hooves and human hands were used more than the god hands and human feet but.. It looks like they whitened evenly compared to each other. It’s not a really big deal in the long run. I had planned on blushing the hands and the human feet will more than likely be in shoes whenever he uses them so things could be worse, I just wish I knew what caused it.

My final thoughts on this method are that yes, it definitely works, and it does lighten the resin just a little bit more than the other methods, but I’m not 100% sure if it’s enough of a difference to warrant all the time and effort.

Some varying factors that may have affected the result:

  • Amount of time spent scrubbing
  • Amount of toothpaste/baking soda used
  • The fact that I used 5 different containers because my kitchenware is not Super Gem size.

Regardless, I now have a clean foundation to work with and just seeing him put back together and blank has my creative juices flowing. I am thinking we are going to have ourselves one dapper mythical pony. His personality is finally showing through, now what he really needs is a name! Stay tuned for the next post where we’ll go through the process of prettyfying him.

References:

Sparrow’s Shop Tumblr

BJD Love YouTube Video

One thought on “Making a Unicorn Part 1: A Love Story (Or De-Yellowing Part 3)

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