Anyway, a former employee who did custom painted shoes had promised to make kiddo a pair with Owlette (aka Amaya) on them. Well, she left, and the promised shoes have never appeared. Kiddo doesn't seem to notice or care, but it didn't really sit right with me to earnestly promise a kid something and then fail to deliver. I always get kiddo something for her birthday since she's such a big part of life at the office and she's my fellow cartoon enthusiast. I'd already picked out a few things when the store reset happened at Walmart, and the Disney toddler dolls suddenly went on clearance for $9 each.
Two weeks until kiddo's birthday.
Two weeks to change the doll's eyes, sew her clothes, and paint her shoes.
I got myself a few photos for reference on the character, including this one, and dove in.
I needed glasses, a barette, spray paint, something to make that wing shape, and some shirts or other fabric to make the clothing.
Here's what came out. The eyes were in these white holders, which initially stymied me. It turns out that some gentle pressure into the seam on the back with a knife pops these things apart easily. Things were going great! I grabbed the acetone and set to work wiping the factory paint off the backs of the eyes.
The acetone was melting the plastic eyes! I tried slapping a cut out print of Amaya's eye that I had prepared to the back of the eye, but it was not happening. The eye was milky and melty, and unless I wanted to have Amaya starring in a kindergarten version of The Walking Dead, the eye was utterly ruined.
I cursed the volatile plastic and launched myself back at Walmart to buy another doll, since for $9 that was going to be the most likely source of a replacement eye.
Maybe some plastic gemstones would have worked better, but I had to make do with what I have access to in this rinky-dink town and its utter lack of decent craft stores.
I refused to buy the same doll twice, so this time I grabbed up a toddler Cinderella.
This time I removed the paint on the back of the eye with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It did leave a fine filmy series of micro-scratches on the back of the eye, but some clear gel Elmer's glue made them virtually disappear.
I adhered an eye cutout to the back of my first successful eyeball and did a little victory dance.
One down, one to go. I repeated my prior success with one of Cindy's eyes, and once the glue was dry, snapped the white holders back in place...
Take a look at the difference in size between the two holders. So Cindy's eye wouldn't fit into the Belle holder, and the Cindy holder wouldn't go into Belle's head at ALL no matter how I pushed and pried.
Well, now what?
I decided to see if Cindy's eye would fit into Belle's head without the holder.
When the head cooled, the eye stayed firmly wedged into place. I grabbed my eraser and went to work on Cindy's remaining eye.
A little while later, I was ready to install the second eye. While the glue dried on the paper backing, I took some acetone and carefully removed Belle's lipstick. Lipstick's fine I guess if you're a small kid dressing up for a fancy party, but Amaya doesn't wear it in her daily life.
I also took Belle's hair down and gave it a quick boil-wash to straighten out the waves and kinks in it from her original hairstyle.
Sorry for the terrible photos, it was about midnight when I did this part.
I spray-painted Belle's yellow shoes watermelon pink with some Krylon paint from Walmart. It adhered beautifully, but it just didn't want to cure. The shoe surfaces wanted to stay sticky, so I dug out some clear matte model spray paint that I used for sealing face ups previously.
I wasn't too worried about ruining the shoes. After all, I had Cindy's in case something went wrong.
As it turned out, the sealant worked perfectly.
A couple of child-size t-shirts were sacrificed to make Amaya's leggings and dress... Although technically what I made is more like shorts.
I added a snap closure, thinking that if kiddo wanted to redress the doll, it would be nice to make it easy for her.
We were now down to one day before birthday time.
I was feeling ecstatic that I'd dug up some glasses that would work perfectly that came from a Walmart My Life 18" doll accessory set. I tried spray-painting them. It was another disaster.
I'd covered the lenses with some masking fluid, and it worked great for keeping them clean. The actual plastic frames, however, refused to take the spray paint. Efforts to clean them off just resulted in a completely ruined pair of glasses.
I went back to my sewing, adding in the sleeves and neck of the dress. While I was messing with it, I somehow managed to sever the thread holding the back of the dress together, and it started to come apart. I was forced to do a quick repair job, which sadly did not look as nice as my original effort.
Kiddo was very thrilled with her haul, and to my relief knew exactly who the doll was supposed to depict. To my utter horror, she decided to try and take apart the wing-shaped barette cover I'd made out of a toddler-size barette and a piece of craft foam glued to the sewn-on felt base.
She did have one bit of constructive criticism though, and that was that I might wanna make Amaya some more clothes so she'd have something else to wear when she was a superhero.
Everyone's a critic, I tell ya. ;)
Here's a closer look at some of the finished doll's details:
Considering the time crunch, I think I did okay on this.