Gumji, the Ruby-Haired Blythe

Blythe dolls are a curiosity to me. Their large heads, shiny faces, and eyes that change colour. It was through browsing Flickr and seeing Almond Doll’s and Hola Gominola’s that I started to love this weird little gal.

The first girl that came my way was a Curly Blue Babe which I had gotten in a lottery. Research told me she was a little rare one, and I started to fall in love with her little spunky attitude – she was a bit too precious to me to be the first one that I scrubbed her face off! So after some research I ordered a ruby-haired factory Blythe to learn customization skills.

She came with a Takara body, a red scalp, and four ridiculous eyecolours – one of which had pink love hearts in it. My mother exclaimed “Oh that’s cute, she’s in love” whereas my partner thought she was possessed. At any rate, I read heaps of tutorials before I completely dismantled her – I also had to “Dolly Shampoo” her hair.

I had had some practice customising Pullips before this and I understood the theory. Sanding was a family territory, and it really did surprise me how big her face plate was in comparision!

Gumji Carving

Gumji’s face plate – the extra size made sanding 100% easier than in Pullips!

The first thing that I wanted to try was carving her face. I loved the little cute lips in all my favourite dolls, so I thought, how hard can it be? (I mean I make products, models and stuff for a living… right)?

The answer, in short, is very, very hard. As in, damn, that plastic is REALLY HARD?

Gumji Carving 2

Diamond Filing…

Man, those tiny scalpels and the diamond files… I thought my hand was going to fall off! I was getting callouses that I only remembered from furniture carving. My goodness. I couldn’t tell if it was because it was a factory doll? There were moments where I completely lost hope that I would ever be able to carve this nicely and keep my fingers (I exaggerate… ever so slightly!) At this point, I was complaining to one of my artist friends who goes…

“Why don’t you use use your dremel?”

Why. Didn’t. I? Good question. No idea. Once that dremel started spinning I entered this world of beautiful, easy, carving. I could have cried. I was outside, with the doll faceplate, when my brother walks past “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” (I look like I was drilling into a tiny head… so yeah, I digress)

After I finally finished the carving, the next step was to do her face up. I did this twice. Sanded twice! I was so indecisive.


Progress shot

I decided to gold leaf her eyes after putting on a pewter-coloured acrylic paint. Added new lashes, lipstick, cat-eyes, freckles, sleep eyes. I was super-happy how she turned out! Finished pictures of her can be found below. I decided not to boggle her eyes this time round – she looks a bit sultry this way 🙂

More photos of her completed can be found in her Flickr album here.