How to Attach a Bisque Doll Head to a Composition Body

This is actually a very simple procedure, but if this is your first time, it helps to have an assistant. I strongly recommend you work on a large, soft surface, like the middle of a bed or a sofa, facing somewhat toward the back of it. It isn’t at all common, but it is possible to lose the head and have it shoot free. You will be much happier if this happens where there is padding.
When the body arrives new, there is a wooden button showing in the neck hole. Lifting the button (You might need pliers or some sort of rod to grasp the small metal eye protruding from the top of the button if you don’t have strong fingers.) will reveal a hook that is connected to the elastic that holds the legs in place and allows for free movement.  Insert a pencil, dowel, knitting needle, chopstick or something of that sort into these leg loops to hold them above the neck hole. Use something that will not break under fairly strong pressure, as it is irritating (but not at all impossible) to have to fish the elastic up through the body if your support breaks.

Wandie gets body

When you have your stick in place, slip the wooden button with its hook out of the elastic. Drop the hook & button assembly into the doll’s head through the top, with the hook hanging out the hole in the bottom of the head. I like to put one finger into the head to hold the button in place at this point, as it makes it easier to control the hook. Slip the hook back onto the two leg elastics, double check to be sure it is seated securely, slip the pencil out, and gently set the head down into the neck socket. Whatever you do, do not let it snap together, as it can do serious damage to both head and body. Run a thin bead of water soluble glue (Tacky Glue is perfect.) around the appropriate size pate and hold it in place with a thick rubberband for about an hour to dry thoroughly. Voila! Your doll is ready to shop for a wig and new clothes!

Wandie reading
Published on March 26, 2008 at 7:23 am  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] attachment surgery is quite easy, and if you would like to know how to perform it, click here to see the tips page. Wandie was up and moving around in minutes with no ill effects, and looking for a pate to cover […]

  2. thanks for this article. It’s very easy to understand. I am thankful to have found it as I will be attempting the procedure soon.

  3. I’m glad to know I could be of help. Best wishes with your upcoming “surgery!” I’d love to hear how it goes. :o)

  4. Awesome tips – thank you! I’m going to be repairing an old SFBJ doll and was wondering what the best way to do this was.

  5. Thank you for such clear easy to understand instructions. I was able to easily attach my first bisque doll head after reading this!

  6. […] How to Attach a Bisque Doll Head to a Composition Body March 2008 5 comments […]

  7. Could you please tell me if I can attach a 26″ dolls head to a 30″ dolls composition body?

  8. Lorraine, It’s not necessarily a matter of “can” so much as whether it will look good if you do. One of the tough things about doll repair is trying to find a suitable head/body set when there has been a separation of same in the past. Not only do you have to consider the balance in appearance to avoid your doll looking like a pinhead or some sort of troll, but you need to have a body socket that fits the neck “ball” properly. This is one reason why it is such a tragedy that unscrupulous dealers buy lower priced dolls and remove the head to put more valuable bisque on the body. The match is seldom an accurate fit. You can often see this on ebay and know that it’s not an “all original” doll. The neck will be lost in the socket or overly large for it and not seated well, and often this affects the doll’s posability. If possible, try the two pieces together and see how well they fit, and use your judgement as to balance. There are charts online that show the head/body ratio of the human body at various ages. I use those and my choice of how old I want my doll to look as an assist to mating stray bodies and heads when I end up with them. If you are buying online with no ability to try the pieces, it’s honestly just a gamble, and part of the reason I have so many spare parts is that I lose at least as often as I get it right. I’m sorry I can’t give you a more definitive answer than this, but I hope this at least helps a bit.

  9. thank you. this is a great help.

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