|27-inch one-armed transitional mama doll and her replacement arms|
First seen here in a post about mama dolls (dolls with voice boxes that make the ma-ma sound when the they are tilted or otherwise positioned), this 27-inch doll arrived to me during the late 1990s missing one of her composition arms.
|A closer look at the missing arm area|
My husband suggested that I make a mold of Jane's arm, which I did. He then sculpted, on his own, what looked like the perfect replacement arm for Lynn. Unfortunately, he used a mixture of old and new polymer clay which did not properly bond. The arm was also very heavy.
So I created a papier-maché arm using the mold of Jane's arm, which has served Lynn well. I never was content with the way I painted the fingers, which could have easily been repainted, but deep down I really wanted her to have a composition replacement.
I created and saved an eBay search for "composition doll parts" and received daily updates for years, but arms in the length and shape needed remained elusive. One of these search results included two composition arms from a child-size store mannequin that I purchased. Unfortunately, they were not the correct size. I listed these on eBay for the same price I paid and they sold.
Recently, my eBay search notification included a buy-it-now or make-offer auction for "a pair of baby arms for repair of German bisque head baby" that measure 8 and 8-1/2 inches. An 8-inch arm is what I needed. I made an offer which the seller counter offered and I accepted. My plan had been to use the arm I needed and resell the other.
|Seller's photo of replacement arms|
Him: "Why didn't you buy the other arm?"
Me: "I did. I have both arms."
Him: "Then you can just replace both arms and you'll have a match. You didn't think of that?"
Me: No. I was focused on just replacing one arm, but yeah... I can do that.
Geesh! Why didn't I think of that? Probably because my intent was to keep the doll's original arm intact and because it would be so much easier to replace just one arm. He gave a several suggestions on how the repair should be done. I said, "Nope, you're going to have to do all that. It's just too much." He said, "No, you need to learn this!"
So... I (we) did it!
|Original arm after removing|
|Patient post amputation|
|Fastener centered inside replacement arm with tissue paper stuffed around it|
|Both arms with fasteners centered in place and air-dry clay molded around to permanently hold the fastener inside|
|New rotational disks for new arms|
|Flawed ring and pinky fingers|
I used wood filler to create a new finger pad for the pinky finger and to reinforce and smoothen the fracture line of the ring finger. The wood filler applied to the fingers and the air-dry clay molded around the fasteners were allowed to dry overnight before additional work proceeded.
After everything hardened, the disks were placed onto the fasteners and a metal dowel was fashioned from a metal clothes hanger to hold the disks in place. Not shown in the above photos, but Epoxy was added to areas where the inserted dowel and the fastener meet to secure the dowel in place permanently.
|New arms attached to body (one is a little lower than the other, but Lynn doesn't mind).|
|With two arms now, Lynn is happily redressed and back on her doll stand.|
|Lynn rejoined her friends and Jane, the doll that was willing to sacrifice one of her arms for her.|
After nearly 20 years of being here with only one arm, Lynn now has three. Two are attached replacements and the third (her original arm) has been stored in the event that another left-arm-only doll is in need of an arm that size.
(Note: The arm replacement process wasn't as difficult as I had imagined. Doc Garrett was right, I needed to learn to do this myself.)
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