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Aliexpress 1/3 Doll Review and Customziation

Currently Feeling: peaceful

All hail my Sailor Pluto icon

Currently Listening: Bluemind ASMR podcast

My newest doll project

Doll enthusiasts and collectors know that one of our favorite pastimes is scrolling through AliExpress to see what weird hybrids and cast-offs they have available for sale. This is how the doll community discovered the Catwalk Kitties and the Trashion Alley dolls, and many of us have discovered different brands after they’ve been ripped off or sold as extra stock through the site.

This is also how I discovered UCanaan/Doris dolls a while back, but not before I had purchased a “factory” doll under a generic name, covered with a few defects here and there but otherwise fine. This used to be the most commonly found doll body sold under the “BJD” label that wasn’t actually a resin BJD, but now they seem to be using Xinyi bodies, which are slightly different. There's been some discussion about these in the doll community and how they're all rip-offs of the original Night Lolita dolls, and how these companies keep getting bought out and/or changed. I'm pretty ambivalent about it myself when it comes to non-resin dolls, because I suspect these companies trade and sell things to each other behind the scenes, and business tends to work differently over there, and we'll never really figure out what belongs to who.

Anyway, I paid a grand total of around $20 for this girl out of curiosity and then threw her in my closet after looking her over, because I didn’t particularly feel inspired by her at the time. I don't like to start work on a doll until I have a clear idea of what I'm aiming for, because I feel I run the risk of not liking the end result. Under the cut, I'll talk a bit more about my process and what I finally decided to do with this one.
Stretching out and relaxing on the lawn

When it comes to doll sizes, ¼ is my favorite scale to work with. Dolls this size are usually around 40-45 cm., and include dolls like Minifees, Mini Dollfie Dreams, Resin Soul Rong, and Iplehouse J.I.D. lines, and are usually associated with kids and teens. This is partially because of how little space I have to store my dolls in, and also because I just find collecting and crafting for this size to be the most comfortable for me. I’ve never really wanted to get into ⅓ collecting, but I made an exception here because I was curious about this particular doll, and I also wanted to see if I would hate the ⅓ scale as much as I worried I would.

Hanging out by a nice tree

After doing some sewing and styling with it, though, I realize it’s actually much easier to manage than I thought it would be! Sewing at this size allows for a little bit more detail and decorating, which is really gratifying when done well. It also allows for a larger palette on the face, and finding eyelashes is much easier. Will I get more ⅓ dolls though? I don’t think I will. I still don’t really have the space for them, though I probably will make more clothing for the one I have. I had originally thought of selling her off at some point, but she’s grown on me now, and I think I’m going to keep her around.

Chilling in the grass

After finally pulling her back out of my closet, I decided I wanted to make her a Pastel Tumblr Girl. I’m not sure if there’s an official name for this type of style, but I do know if you type that title into Google images you’ll get exactly what I put together, so I think it probably conveys what I was going for. I bought one pattern for this look, which was the shirt, and the rest was drafted by myself, including the rainbow sweater. The pleated skirt allowed me to use some really cute plaid fabric that I’ve been hoarding for a while, and it happened to go with the color scheme really well too!

Isn't she just precious?

Once I had sewn the clothes, I went hog wild with accessories. Piercings (made from rhinestones and metal jump rings), jewelry (seed beads and charms), and a TON of pins. I basically bought a package of blank brooch pinbacks at the craft store, and hot glued pastel-colored pompoms and foam shapes to them. One neat trick I found was to take some of the kawaii stickers from my journaling supplies, stick them to craft foam (sometimes a little extra glue is needed), and then cut them out. These end up making some really neat, cute, charms, and I ended up using this method not only on the pins, but on her earrings and necklace as well.

Gazing at the clouds

I wish I could point to a specific pattern I used for the sweater, but the truth is that I kind of just winged it. It's just a basic t-shape, so I made five differently sized rectangles, comparing them to her body as I went along, and then sewed them together when done. The pompom "buttons" are just hot glued and aren't usable, but they sure are cute! I also wish I could have found a better way to get her earrings to stay in, but making them from scratch presents a few problems. When you buy store-bought doll earrings, they're made from molded plastic that fits very snugly into the holes that are already in her head. I'm stuck with using wire, though, and since it doesn't have any give, there's no way I can make it fit tightly without causing problems. On top of that, I wanted these to be over the top and heavy, so unfortunately they fell out every time I put them in. I resorted to using hot glue to make them stay, which isn't ideal, but hot glue is removed easily, so they're not permanent if I don't want them to be.

she's almost able to cross those legs!

The Doris/Ucanaan doll body is nice, though it's not nearly as flexible as a resin or elastic strung doll would be. Her elbow joints are not quite bendable enough to touch her face, and get stuck at around 90 degrees. She makes up a little bit for this by adding some additional twist joints directly below her shoulders, so you can twist the arms around backwards to get closer to some poses. There are also additional rotating joints at the tops of her thighs and at her waist. The Aliexpress listings usually describe this as around 22 points of articulation, though they're double counting the elbow and knee joints because they're double jointed, and I'm not sure I would count it that way myself.

her hair is soooo soft, I'd be touching it too

Her body is made from hard plastic, except for her feet, hands, and head, which are made from soft vinyl. This means she can be custom painted using the same materials you'd use for a legit BJD or play-line doll, which you've probably guessed because I've custom painted her face here. I kept her makeup light because of her small features, but I may go back later and make it a bit darker in the future, not sure yet. There was a small scratch on one of her cheeks that made a bunch of pink pastels get caked up in one spot. I couldn't seem to get them out without ruining the rest of the face, and they looked a bit like veins, so I replicated the effect on the other cheek, making her look like her skin is slightly translucent. I'm actually really happy with the way it turned out.

so sweet...

I could probably talk even more about the things I made for her here, but I think that'd be stretching your attention pretty far, so I'll just end with some more pictures. It was a lovely day outside this morning, and she's very photogenic!

had to use the stand for this one
The little backpack is a keychain from Walmart
More chilling on the grass
See you later!


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