Q&A with Lilly Wong on customizing dolls

Calina He

How do you customize your dolls? What is the process like?

I usually start out with drawing concept art (of) what I want to do. I look at the materials that I already have—like the props I can make with whatever I have lying around my house. From there, I pick out a doll, usually a store-bought doll, but it is preferable to use a used doll because it’s cheaper. I (use) pure acetone to take off the factory paint and then I cut off all of the hair. The hair on the dolls is glued on from the inside, so I take the head off the body and remove the glued hair from inside the head. It’s pretty gross and a long process. I take hair from online, I suppose it’s nylon hair, which is what goes on wigs, and I put that on the heads. I usually take some acrylic paint and paint on a new face to make it the way I want it to. Then for the clothes, I just take whatever fabric I have and cut out the stuff I need, and sew it together.

What kind of dolls do you use?

I use the Monster High Ever After High dolls. They discontinued the line so it’s really hard to find them in stores. 

How many dolls have you customized?

I have made a total of three dolls. I gave one to a friend for her birthday and I keep the other two in my room.

Do you plan on continuing this hobby?

Yes, probably. It’s a really nice hobby. It’s definitely creepy out of context but it’s really fun.

What is your favorite part about customizing the dolls?

The final product is my favorite part. I like to do small photoshoots with the dolls. I like to go outside, and there’s a lot of plants at my house so I just put them next to the plant and take a picture. 

What advice do you have for people who want to get into this hobby?

If you want to get into this hobby, I would say start off by practicing doing a face and go from there. It’s also good to have experience in sewing. Stock up on material so you don’t have to make multiple trips to buy what you need.

Do you have anything else you’d like to add?

It’s an interesting hobby. It’s really expensive to get into but it’s really fun.