Poppy Parker: Under the Knife….A Body Mod

I posted about my first Poppy the week before last a couple of weeks ago…

I’m pretty new to Poppy Parker dolls.   I’m still getting used to the proportions of their bodies as compared to the other Fashion Royalty dolls. I do like the fact that they are capable of standing upright, unaided. 🙂 That IS a big plus in my book.

What I don’t like about the Poppy Parker body is a pretty short list: (in order of most disliked to just tolerable…)

  • The totally and completely useless bust-joint
  • The ankle joints.

Sorry, but they could have used a ball-joint there and it would have been great and allowed a smoother line of the foot when “arched” to use in non-flat shoes.

  • The lack of a double joint at the elbow

Something that would allow Poppy (and whoever happens to have her body) the ability to hold a phone to her ear, etc.

So is there anything I can do about any of those problems?

Uh huh. Yep.  I think I may have an illness….I seem to be incapable of leaving my dolls alone and un-customized!

I haven’t tried to do anything with the ankle joint, and I know better than to try to put a double jointed elbow in. I’d have to do so much extra work that at this point I don’t think that’s feasible.

But I did do something about that wasted joint, the bust joint!

*cue scary horror movie mad scientist laugh* MWhahahahahahahahahahahha!*

A long while back I saw the photo-tutorial that Emlia did regarding increasing/improving the articulation on the Fashion Royalty Homme body. After giving it some serious thought I hoped that the Poppy Parker body wouldn’t be that different inside and began to take her apart. After all, I figured that since Integrity Toys made both of them they probably weren’t that far removed….

I was and was not quite right about that…..

Interesting to note that Integrity is not (as far as I can tell) using a giant nut to weight the body. But what I did find inside the Poppy Parker body (bodies actually since I did this mod on all of them except India) is that they are filled with varying amounts of hot melt glue.


Not uber cool in my book, but, eh, whatever.

That glue did present something of a problem on some of the bodies because it was in the way (or there was just too much of it) of feeding the elastic through. However, because I am a determined kind of girl I got it done on all of my girls. >:D

And this is what the body can do after the mod — OIN Giselle has been re-bodied onto the new and improved Poppy body. (There are obviously more poses possible and more extreme but, eh, I’m not in the mood to take pics today.)



Now if, on the off chance you want to try this too and you want me to share the photos I tried to take of how I did it (during the process) let me know and I’ll update the post with some more photos–I just need to resize them etc. I didn’t want to bloat the post with a lot of unnecessary pics if no one was interested.


So in Style Chandra: a custom in progress *pics*

A while ago (like about 2+ years ago! LOL) I bought a So in Style Chandra off of feebay. I had to buy her on feebay because I couldn’t find the So in Style dolls for sale anywhere in the UK.

I got her nude and it’s been a while but I think this is the version:

Anyway, I got Chandra and I popped her on a MZ body (the one with the white hair in lacquered loops on her head) just so that she would have a little more poseability over her default barbie type body. It wasn’t fantastic (the old MZ bodies had hands that were tiny and claw-like and really put me in mind of some kind of horror movie!).

I am always keeping an eye out for re-bodying possibilities…and I realized I had a spare triad toys AA Alpha body (with no head).  I thought I’d see if I could mod it so that it would take the Chandra head. The skintone is similar (not an exact match, but close visually) and I’m willing to roll with that. Since the AA Triad Alpha body has a “cooler” tone I figure that down the line I’ll sand the body and give it a few washes of warmer color to help level out the skintone differences.

As far as getting the barbie head on —it wasn’t going to work initially…the Alpha’s neck is just too thick. As you can see The head just sits on top!

Not good! I decided that since the alpha body wasn’t going to be doing anything anyway, and that the neck plastic was fairly thick–I’d have a go at sanding it down some.  This is what the neck looks like un-modified (ok, mostly. I did make the front neck peg notch wider & deeper since this is Lilith’s body I’m using as the “before” comparison pics):

I hoped that if I could thin it enough to allow the Barbie head to fit on without it flying off (or creating a hole in the plastic neck).  As you can see in the photo below there looks to be a goodly amount of plastic in the neck area….

And I commenced sanding ….

This is how it looks so far.   Not very pretty is it? 🙁


But it’s getting somewhere.

And for those of you who’re wondering how much “extra” plastic there is on that bull neck: here’s a before and after (sort of) pic. Please forgive the crummy photo!

As you can tell I took quite a bit off the neck (rather rough at the moment, I need to find some finer grade sandpapers to make it look more like the rest of the body LOL). It’s looking promising though, don’t you think?

I still have probably another 1-1.5 mm that I’m going to sand off the neck. I can get the head to sit on the neck post firmly now, but I’d like a little more play in that area.

I had to also pare off some of the vinyl inside her head (the “lip” around the inside that hold the plastic barbie head knob inside).

Next on the list to do:

  • continue sanding the neck so it’s a little more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Then I’ll sand the rest of the body and give it some washes of color.
  • After that re-root (I have some restoredoll saran on hand)
  • Repaint Chandra.

I’ll update the blog with that when I’ve gotten the next bit done! 🙂

Tutorial: How to customize barbie chairs

Getting 1:6 scale office chairs/desk chairs is really a pain in the ass.

This has come up for me a few times since I’m working on making college dorm rooms, library space &  1:6 office set-ups.  Invariably in all of these places you find the ubiquitous “office/desk” chair. The problem is that finding them ready to buy isn’t that easy.  And getting them in scale with your figures isn’t always as easy as it seems.

I mean, aside from the ZC ones…the rest of them out there….well. Let’s just say they don’t really fit my notion of an office chair.  (I’d love to drop $200.oo+ on a Vitra one –but hello, broke here!)  The office chair that the ZC dolls made is nice but it’s waaaay oversize for my Volks, Momokos & Blythes.  And yes…I know office/desk chairs come in different sizes.  I do. But this is about my preferences.  If I can’t buy what I want then I’ll make it. 😛

I’m going to work with two particular types for this tutorial.  (I’m calling this a tutorial but it’s more like a bunch of loosely written instructions to kind of run-with.) Mostly because they start off pretty close to what I want and the less I have to do the better, right? 😉

First go out and find the following chairs to work with: They are the chairs from the My Scene So Chic Salon & the chair from the Barbie My House Armoire & Chair set.

The thing that makes me most inclined to work with these is the fact that the bases are pretty sturdy & they bear a pretty good resemblance to the real thing.

The one with the grey wheels is one of the My Scene chair base and the one with the black wheels is from the Armoire Set.

Note: there are actually 2 types used in My Scene doll furniture and both are good with a little work. The thing to be aware is that the My Scene Salon chairs have one type that “clicks” back (apparently for washing hair in the sink) and one that was fixed.  I’m using the fixed ones as an example, but you can use the clickers if you cut down the mechanism and shape the hole to fit them.

Here’s what I came up with: the before & after:


  • Barbie Chair Base(s) *as described above*
  • Wood/Plastic/MDF/ Foamex (to make seat parts-use depending on how sturdy you want the finished piece of furniture to be)
  • Brass/steel/aluminum/ wire or bar (to make the back-rest post)
  • Black aluminum tape OR twine (and paint the twine with acrylics)
  • Glue or Contact Cement (I personally prefer cc)
  • Batting/Foam (to pad the chair with)
  • Fabric & Tyvek (to upholster the chair)
  • Stapler
  • Needle & Thread (to match fabric)
  • Acrylic Paints (for detailing)


  • Draw up an approximate size drawing of the seat you want to make, and the size of the back-rest.

  • I cut mine out of paper (I like to judge sizes that way) and then cut them out of foamex.  You can use cardboard (not good for long term use) wood (bass, pine etc),  etc. Whatever you use you want it to be fairly sturdy.


  • Remove the seat/top from whichever chair you’ve decided to use.
  • Drill/dremel/carve out a hole in the seat you’ve made to fit the post at the top of the chair’s base. (This is a good time to also carve out  the slots in the seat back & the back-rest where you’ll be inserting the brass/wire/metal to hold the back rest in place).

  • Check the fit (height wise) for the kind of doll you want to use this with.

  • I cut out batting (using those paper seat & back drafts) and glued it to the plastic. (Do yourself a favor and rough up the plastic or wood to help it adhere) This helps pad the seat and give it a bit more realism. 😛 At some point I’ll really go to town with one of these to see how far I can push them.
  • After the glue/contact cement has dried & you feel you’re happy with the amount of “puff” on the seat & back-rest then comes the fun part—you get to try your hand at upholstering it with your chosen fabric. I’d like to offer some how-to on this but I basically took some books out of the library and went from there. I’m not an upholsterer–and I never will be!! Experiment & prepare to do it over a couple of times until you get it to look right.
  • While you’re taking a break from upholstery you can cut a couple of thin strips of the black aluminum tape and wrap it around the metal you’re planning on using to support the back-rest. If you’re using twine (make sure it’s a small diameter otherwise it’ll look dorky) layer a light coating of contact cement/glue and then wrap the twine tightly. Once that’s dried then apply the acrylics but do not water them down any more than you absolutely have to.
  • Once you’ve upholstered the chair (the seat & the back-rest) insert the metal piece you’re going to use as the support. If you don’t plan on taking the chair apart in the future you can glue them into place.  I like to be able to flat pack my stuff as much as possible so mine aren’t glued in place.
  • To finish off the underside of the chair cut some tyvek and staple it into place (cut out the circle where the plastic base attaches). Paint it black (or whatever color you want, most of my office chairs usually had manky black semi-fabric-fiber there and tyvek seems very similar in texture to me)

And pretty much that’s it. Sit some dolls in them:

ANYHOW….. if anyone gets any use out of this tutorial….let me know, eh? I could use the encouragement.

Cass’s apartment…part 1 * a piecemeal how-to *

Here I am again…I mentioned in the last post that if there was any interest in how I go about putting together a room set or a diorama that I would share my process here on the blog. You’ve said yes, so I’m going to hold to my part of the bargain as much as possible although as it happens somethings probably won’t end up shown *shrug* but that’s how it goes. I will say right now that this isn’t going to be a fast process since it depends a lot on free time, equipment, materials & general mood in being available. It’ll probably be a month or so in the doing.

Also a word of warning: 1) this is what I do. I’m not saying it’s right, nor that it is the only way of doing it. I also take no responsibility for people trying my way of doing things. This process involves sharp scalpel blades, band saws, routers and any number of potentially harmful things.  If you’re a child, you should have your parents help you with it. If you’re an adult then be careful. Always wear eye protection.

(ok PSA finished)

So, what is my first step when it comes to making a room set?

  • For me the first step to it is actually deciding what kind of room set I’m making.

I take into account if it’s for someone in particular or for a specific use: i.e. an office or classroom, or a bedroom.  How often I think I am likely to use it also factors in a lot.  (here space of any sort is at a premium and storage space is next to nil.  So event though I can generally flat-pack room sets they still take up space  and I need them out of the way if they aren’t being used.) I don’t want to duplicate what I have already made unless there’s a really good reason for doing so.

  • When I know that then I can figure out what the dimensions of it are going to be. I’m not the most realistic when it comes to those—since my 1:6 is about fantasy –I tend to give my characters larger than they could probably afford rooms. So sue me! I live vicariously through them at times!  😉

Looking at the project of creating Cass’s Apartment is probably the best way I can go into it without boring the lot of you senseless.

I knew I wanted to make a complete apartment for Cass to use in the Quinlan-Chronicles. I had given a lot of thought as to where the majority of photostory scenes were likely to be shot and they came down to the campus/student lounge, the classroom, Cass’s place, the cafe, and miscellaneous alleyways.

Why make a complete apartment? When I could probably get away with just one or two rooms?

Weeeeeellll…. this comes down to one of my biggest pet peeves: 3 dimensional roomsets that you only ever see from the actual room itself. Yesss….I’m very guilty of it, but hopefully, with the creation of Cass’s apt, I’ll become less guilty of it as I go along! 🙂 I want to be able to shoot scenes in the stories from a wider variety of angles–in the hallway looking into the kitchen or living room or from the patio into the living room… that sort of thing.

*are you bored yet?*

There were a few things I had to decide before drawing up the plans for the room set group:

  1. was it a studio apartment? (no)
  2. Does Cass live alone? (no. She has a roommate whose rent pays for the mortgage)
  3. How many bedrooms does it have? (2–originally I thought 3 but nah, too many!)
  4. Is it a house or an apartment? (It’s an apartment–but a nice one)
  5. Does it have a backdoor or fire exit/escape? (no. it’s the first floor and plenty of windows to crawl out of–or people to break into)
  6. Does it have a backyard? (No, but it has a patio. I wanted a place for some outside scenes)

After I answered those questions I drew up a quick sketch of what I thought the floorplan might be. I’ve got to admit to being somewhat spastic about that, as I actually cut out full size pieces of paper to help me judge if the rooms will be too big/small/just right. Even so, I mess up sometimes 😕

I have to decide the number of rooms (someday, one of them will have a home office), and where and what kind of windows and doors I’ll want in them.

This is a revised  floorplan for the room sets that are in process:

While in the process of coming up with the floor plan, I have to give some thought to design issues, and fixtures that I may want in the room. I haven’t yet had a room with a fireplace in it and I’ve decided that one of those would 1) look good in Cass’s place and 2) add some visual interest to what would otherwise be a pretty bland and boring room.

I also decided that I wanted sliding glass doors to lead to the patio.  This will create some future issues when I want to shoot scenes and say its dark outside. I’ll either need to get better at photoshopping, or I’ll have to devise a shade curtain for the patio area. Possibly also have hanging drapes to cover the windows when not in use or when it’s night-time. (Little details like this I try to figure out as I go along rather than letting them stymie me and keep me from going forward)

Once I know the general dimensions of the rooms, I then have to ask Mark, the keeper of all power tools (in his locked workroom) to either let me use them or use them for me. (This is a step I look forward to cutting out in the future when I have my own power tools and space in which to use them without potentially damaging his workspace) 😉

  • Cut wood into frames for each room set. (this is very similar to cutting stretchers for making a canvas). Once you’ve got all the pieces (and sizes  you need) then you glue them together with wood glue.
  • Before the glue dries add corner braces to the inside corners. This will make them more stable in the long run & we all like that, right???
  • After the woodglue has dried router out a groove in each piece so that you will be able to slot the walls in. (the walls I am using these days are 6mm MDF).
  • Cut the MDF to size for the walls. Generally I do this whenever I have the money handy to actually buy some MDF from the hardware store/B&Q/Home Depot.

(I’m sorry I haven’t got pictures of this part but next time we make bases I’ll shoot pictures)

Keep your eyes peeled for my next Cass’s Apt post. 🙂

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