Posted in Dolls

by Ruby Lane

Doll Collecting Isn't Just for Kids Ruby Lane Blog

Doll Collecting Isn’t Just For Kids. This sentence is the tagline of my doll blog. I wrote it because when I first started to collect dolls seriously more than twenty years ago, I felt that people might think I was a bit odd. After all, I had no children or grandchildren to save them for. I didn’t collect dolls for their rarity or value, and when I bought new fashion dolls, I took them out of their boxes and played with them. All of the photos in this blog are from my collection of dolls.

Baby Alive_1024x757

Fortunately, I also discovered the internet and found that I was not alone. As I searched for new dolls or researched the ones I already had I found websites and online doll clubs where I met fellow collectors for the first time. This gave me the confidence to ‘come out of the closet’ and tell people that I collected dolls. I was lucky because if anyone thought I was weird they were too polite to say so and I’ve had few negative reactions.

I started my doll blog in May 2013 and have met some wonderful friends.

So for you on the Ruby Lane Doll Blog, I came up with my top seven ways adult collectors can play with dolls. I hope some of these ideas inspire you to take your love of doll play to the next level.

1.    Dressmaking:   You can create clothes and accessories for them. A keen needlewoman, knitter or crocheter with limited time and a small budget can have a lot of fun making doll outfits.  I don’t have the patience to knit for myself anymore, but I often do for my dolls or my sister’s teddies.

Ruby Lane Blog

2.    Dollhouse Craft: Model makers make furniture, bags, hats, shoes and all sorts of other bits and pieces. I especially admire those people who make things for tiny 1:12 or 1:24 dolls house dolls.

Tammy House Ruby Lane Blog

3.    Repair and Restore: Those of us who find their dolls at flea markets, thrift shops and the like are prepared to buy a doll that needs a little TLC. It can be very satisfying to sort out untidy hair, repair broken limbs and repaint features. I know collectors who buy cheap dolls, fix them up and then donate them to charities.

Ruby Lane Blog Doll Repair

4.    Re-imagining:  Take an ordinary doll and make her into a one of a kind special by repainting, restyling or rebodying. This is a hobby within a hobby for people who work with Reborn baby dolls or fashion dolls. I had no idea that rebodying Barbies was a thing when I was young.  My mum would have had a fit if I had started swapping my dolls heads but I can see a lot of appeal in the modern trend for modifying inexpensive, playline Barbies to be more interesting.

Ruby Lane Blog

5.    Photography: A doll is a model that won’t get tired or argue with you. If you enjoy photography, your dolls are great for trying different techniques.  Creating dioramas to pose them in makes them seem all the more lifelike.

Knitted outfit
knitted dress

6.    Research: Finding out the ID of a mystery doll is like solving a puzzle. My sister Naomi who also writes for the doll blog is particularly good at this. We have a small reference library between us but we use the internet a lot and encourage readers to share their knowledge.

The Ultimate Barbie Doll Book by Marcie Melillo, 1996, Ist. Ed.

The Ultimate Barbie Doll Book by Marcie Melillo, 1996, Ist. Ed.

7.    Writing:  You can write and produce your own story starring your dolls whether it is a simple one for children or the doll version of Days of Our Lives. Or you can become a doll blogger and write about your collecting hobby. I decided that I would like to have a photographic record of all the Fashion Fever Closets I owned on my blog so I started to post my Barbies modelling each outfit one closet at a time. As time went on, I decided to make it a bit more fun and turned each session into a little story about the “fashion shoot.”

Ruby Lane Blog

I think that any child could have a lot of fun doing things like this with dolls but hey, why should the kids have all the fun?

About the Guest Author: Vanda Jensen


“Born in England in 1957 my family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. David passed away in 2015 and I’m here on my own now but I have Cindy the dog and Polly the cat to keep me company.

I currently write two WordPress blogs. My doll blog “Dolls, Dolls, Dolls“, which I co-edit with my sister Naomi; and “My Other Blog” which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania.”

Visit Vanda’s Blog for weekly doll blogs:

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