Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lend Me a Hand

For any of you who have Integrity Toy's Fashion Royalty dolls, you are already familiar with the "handspeak" models. Most of the dolls created from 2009 on come with hands that can be removed to facilitate getting clothes on and off. This also allows the doll to wear cuff bracelets designed in an uninterupted single piece. Often these dolls are delivered with extra hands, which can also be used to create gloves with fingers! From time to time, you can find FR "gloved hands" on eBay.

I was so impressed with the idea of gloves with fingers, I began looking around the internet for more ideas. I stumbled across a blog, "Emilia Couture," who offered a short tutorial on painting gloves on spare hands (which you can also find on eBay).

But one thing still bothered me. What about my Barbies? Their hands cannot be swapped. As you know already, I do not like opera length mittens. While I'm happy enough with the fingerless gloves I featured on "Little Stuff" a couple months ago, I really wanted to create the illusion of gloves with fingers! And so the idea hit me.....temporary paint-on/peel off gloves with extensions or cuffs.

For this I needed some sort of masking agent that wouldn't harm vinyl dolls. Acid free rubber cement was the first thing that came to mind. One of its uses is to mask out dyes while working with silk screen printing. For this you must work in a well ventilated room away from flames.  I also decided to play with a peel-away facial mask. The latter is my favorite because it is non-toxic and it usually dries faster than rubber cement. Both work, however, to create a barrier between the doll's "skin" and the paint. For paint, I tried both artist's acrylic paint (some of which dries matte), and nail lacquer (which always dries shiny). Personally I like the nail lacquer because it goes on smoother and has a better finish when dry. When you have finished playing or photographing your doll in her fancy gloves, simply rub the paint off with your finger and wash the doll's hands with soap and water. Her hands are clean once again and there is no damage to her. Out of precaution however, treat this technique as you would dark garments. Don't leave this on for too long a time. Also be careful when getting the doll in and out of the garment, because the "glove" is fragile and might well off in the process.

Preparing Barbie's Hands
1. Begin by applying a thick layer of peel-away facial mask to the doll hands. Don't worry if it globs in between the fingers or forms drips. When dry, you can slide a sheet a paper between the fingers or carefully cut away the glob. Go beyond the area you intent paint to avoid getting paint on the doll. Allow to completely dry.
2. If you will be using acid free rubber cement, use a cotton swab to brush on one layer. Allow to dry and then apply a second coat. Again, paint a little beyond where you intend to paint. Allow to completely dry
3. Now apply paint or nail lacquer. Depending on the coverage, you might have to let dry and apply a second coat.
4. When completely dry, add your cuff or tube.
5. When you are finished playing, simply rub the "glove" away from her fingers. Wash with soap and water.

Designing Your Extension.

The cuffs simply slide on and are held closed with a tiny pin. If you will be using these often, you can always use a little Velco or hook & eye to close your cuff.
For this post, I have created glove extensions that work for both FRs and the Barbies. The initial concept is the same--a painted hand with a cuff added to the wrist. The possibilities are limitless. And though I've used mostly black, feel free to experiment with a mix or match of color and painted patterns.

Barbie painted hand and the tube extensions: leather crushed over wrist (l), cotton pinched at wrist (c); black cotton with beaded stickers (r)
FR "gloved" hands with a tiny tube of trim fashioned over the wrists

Barbie painted hands. Tiny leather mini-belt (top); the same velvet & tulle cuff we used for the FR glove

Fur trim cuffs

Ruffled cuff

1. Begin by pleating a length of satin ribbon.
2. Pin a straight piece of ribbon over the pleated piece then stitch in place.
3. Fold the end pieces over and glue down. Wrap around the doll's hand and hold in place with a snap or tiny piece of Velcro.

 This cuff is a small length of lace hem tape that I have gathered along the middle into a ruffle. It's simply pinned into place to make my "wedding" gloves.

A similar glove, but in silver. I've used wired ribbon. Again, I pleated the ribbon first. I wrapped it around the doll's wrist then squeezed it in place. A few hand stitches helps keep it pinched in. The wire keeps the ruffles in place without sewing. I used a tiny pin to hold it shut in the back.

 My fringed cuff is easy. This is simply a small strip of leather with fringes cut on both sides.
I put this around the doll's wrist and mark where it should pinch shut. I make a tiny hole on one side and add a "brad" (attaches parisienes) face up on the wrong side of the leather. I make a tiny slit on the other side so that my cuff can be buttoned over the wrist.
Oh yeah, we're full of surprises this summer!
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  1. Hello from Spain: the gloves are a stylish accessory. Nice proposals. You are very creative. Great photos. We keep in touch

    1. Thank you Marta, for your kind words. See you again very soon!

  2. This is a wonderful idea April, I wonder how you manage to come up with such incredible solutions!
    I'm not really crafty, so I don't know if I'll ever dare to try, but the girls look amazing with their new gloves. But I shall try my hand at cuffs, and maybe painting a pair of FR spare hands....a pair of black gloves could be handy!
    Kisses Billa

    1. Thank you, Billa. One thing about fashion is that it is a living, breathing, endless entity always awash with lots of ideas. But my biggest secret is that I see dolls as little people and the question is always...."what do I want to wear today" or "would I wear that?"
      I do like Emila Couture's gloves and would like to try my hand at painting a pair myself. But I think the idea of painting the hand then adding the cuff lends a more realistic look to this accessory. I just bought two more pair of hands--one to make beige gloves and the other, perhaps to do the peel-off gloves for variety sake. And yes, the black gloves are definitely handy!!!!
      Big hugs, April

  3. What a great idea, for every outfit now there can be gloves added! You are so creative! And the gloves look so much more realistic this way, a great post! xxx Linda

    1. Thank you, Linda. Yes, every outfit can have gloves and not just those FR dolls with removable hands. I played and played with this for a full week and every time, it worked like a charm. The best part....while I'm painting gloves on my Barbies, I can give myself a facial, too--using the same product!

  4. Some dolls dress head-to-toe - yours dress head-to-toe AND all in between! Thanks for sharing these glamorous tips!

  5. Thank you, D7ana. Fashion was always a way of life at home....handed down from my most stylish (late) mother to me and from me to my dolls!

  6. Brilliant!!! Not only the highest of fashion but learning about what's safe for their skin! Such great ideas, April!!

    1. Thank you.... oh we're FULL of ideas! That you can always count on!!! LOL!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this idea! I was trying to make gloves for may Batgirl Barbie and after three failed atempts I was getting quite frustrated but now I know how I'm going to do it. Awesome!

    1. Welcome to my blog misscixi! Glad you found your way to this post. Personally I don't like mittens unless it's for cold weather looks. So this was fun to finally find a way to do gloves that look like gloves. Come back any time!

  8. I was re-reading this post and wondered about using one or two of my 'swapping styles' barbies to have permanently painted hands then all of my girls could get a chance wear gloves.
    Of course this is a project that will have to wait as since buying barbies to help fill spare time I no longer seem to have that time!

    1. Well, I had not thought about that, but why not if you have the spare bodies!!!


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