To customize, or not to customize

Should you customize your pullip? We're not talking eye switching, or wig switching. This is face-up land.

People like having custom pullips, because they're more unique. More personalized. I don't really care if my doll is the only one of its kind, so long as I like it.

If you're here, you've probably seen a lot of customs, and are considering doing it yourself. Hopefully, you've read the materials and what not to use sections, know what size wigs you need, know how much it costs, where to get supplies, etc. If no, go do that now.

I'll wait.

Ok, now you're educated about customizing, and you are considering doing one yourself.

Question #1: Can you afford it? New eyes, a wig, and art supplies run an extra $45+ on top of a $100+ doll. And there's no guarantee you won't ruin that $100+ doll and decrease it's value to $40 or less.

Question #2: Do you have the skill to customize? The problem with pullips, is that they're 3D, and most people are used to nice flat surfaces. It's completely different. If you have developed good fine motor skills with drawing and painting, good. That will help. But you still have to relearn lots of things. Here's the customizing test:

Buy an apple of a solid, light color like a green or yellow. A nice medum sized apple is about the size of a pullip head. Now paint a face on it, making the lips as small as a pullips' and keeping the eyeliner and eyebrows as thin as you'd do on a doll head. If you can, even paint the eyelashes. You can prime the surface to remove the natural wax with sanding, just like with a doll head. If you managed a nice symmetrical face after a few tries, good. You should try customizing. If you couldn't manage to get a face that looked anything like what you want on a doll, damaged or destroyed the apple, you might not want to customize yourself. An apple is actually easier than a pullip head; apples only have one curve. The good news is, you only lost about $1 on an apple.

If you tried 'The Apple Test' and failed, it's not the end. You can practice on cheapo big headed dolls (I think 'Little Big Eyes' are similar and can be had on ebay cheap, if you can't find any in your local toy store bargain aisle) until you get better. You can hire customizers whose work you like to do faces for you. It might cost a little more, but you won't have to buy supplies, and you get the guarantee that your doll won't be ruined.

And if you do customize and screw up? Don't worry about it. Most people screw up their first doll. I certainly did (and my second time, and my third...). So long as you don't do anything that will cause permanent damage, put the doll aside for a while until you calm down. Figure out where you went wrong, and practice on something else if you can until you are satisfied you can do it this time around..

Remember the basic rule: Don't customize a doll you can't afford to lose. That doesn't just mean the money. When you start out, don't start with your favorite doll you have an emotional attatchment to either. Use a doll you got but haven't bonded with. Buy a nude doll. Or buy a doll that has already been customized unsuccessfully from another collector on the secondhand market.