This From That : Playroom Dolls



This From That :

Thrifted Playroom Dolls as Good as New



( This is a Madame Alexander doll from Savers at $4.99 minus 30 % )

Her designer’s name is embossed into the back of her neck.

I had to decide about the dolls. If dolls live in your playroom I knew that they have to have baths and beds and high chairs and clothing, blankets, pillows, binkies and other dolls and animals for friends. I thought that they would take a lot of work just like real babies do. Possibly.

There is only so much space in a Grandma’s playroom. So. I made a plan. One for big dolls and one for all of the other-sized dolls.

This is the big doll plan:

  • Dolls that are interesting, unusual and clean and in good condition.
  • Dolls with thoughtful eyes and kind faces.
  • Dolls with soft bodies and moving parts such as hands, legs and heads.
  • Dolls that can be dragged around by an arm or leg and live to tell about it.
  • Dolls from thrift stores only with original prices below $5.
  • Dolls that I purchased on a discount day for an additional 30% off.
  • Dolls easily dressed in thrifted 0-12 months-size clothing with original prices of $1 or $2.




Most thrift store dolls are undressed when they are piled on the shelf. I am sure that is very hard for them but they usually do have bodies made from soft muslin and arms and legs with muslin for 3/4 of their length. That means they aren’t cold. I suspect that most discarded dolls have been loved, have been outside in the dirt or in a tree or at the dinner table eating a snack and so their clothes may not be clean.  Maybe that’s why they are rarely in their original clothes when I find them.

I clean the dolls SOFTLY with a Magic Eraser and wet wipes. I lightly use a spray disinfectant. If I can’t get terrible tangles out of the hair, I am not afraid to trim it. Yes. With scissors. But I never trim it when a child is in sight lest they think they can do the same to the dolls or to themselves.

I love this beautiful doll. Her head, arms and legs are heavy plastic and her features are stunning. She stares at me with dark, brown eyes and whispers with a little, pink mouth. She is wearing a Deseret Industries $2 dress with very pretty soft tulle flowers. The $1 textured jacket is a 0-12 month size, originally from H&M.




There is quite a contrast in the color of hair, eyes and skin between these two dolls. Most of the big dolls I have found have been similar in size so I can keep a small basket of clothes for them in the playroom closet. The big dolls are easy to dress and little people are creative.




I almost left her on the shelf. Her hair was long and every curl was fuzzy like a dread lock. I finally parted the hair enough to find her little face which was not very clean. I put her in my cart and for $2.99 minus 30% I took her home. I tried a trick I had learned on the Internet. I soaked her hair in fabric softener for a couple of hours and was then able to re-direct some of the frizzy parts. Not all, but some. I trimmed her little bangs which would not settle down and pulled the hair up into a pony tail.

Her little shirt is covered with gold kitties and the $1 TAGS sweater originally came from Baby Gap. I already had the shoes, which are cute but won’t stay on. I’m surprised there are actually still two of them.







It is pretty funny to see a little girl drag around a doll that is just about the same size as she is. Right now, I have two big baby dolls. They look quite a bit alike but they are different in a couple of ways. One has eyes which are always open and one has eyes which close when she is ready to go to sleep. Both are bald and both have soft cloth bodies which are stuffed for hugs.  Both are flexible but floppy and easy for little hands to dress.







Thrifting doll clothes is really fun. Preemie and newborn sizes are great for smaller dolls and anything in the 0-12 month size might fit these larger dolls depending on the piece of clothing and the brand. This baby doll may be wearing my favorite outfit. She is wearing footless polka-dot tights and over them a stretchy leotard in wonderful colors. I found the sweater very recently and sure enough, it was the same color of coral as the leotard’s flowers.






I have a set of twins.

Embossed on their necks is

Dorene van Ausdohl.


These beautiful little toddlers were together on the shelf at Savers.

I have no idea why anyone would give them away.

They are perfect.

Both were dressed in their soft, white, muslin birthday suits and were as clean as a whistle. They were $4.99 each and it was Tuesday so they were 30% off of that price. Believe it or not, I already had the two pink dresses which I had thrifted at Deseret Industries. They had been in the doll clothes basket for some time. I pulled them out and dressed the two. These little twins are slightly smaller than their playroom friends so they needed the tiniest size leggings.  I gave one an owl necklace from my little box.





These dolls are connected to a very funny story.

I told Grandpa and he laughed and laughed.

When I took these little twins to the counter at Savers to pay for them, I was helped by a very pleasant but hard-to-look-at clerk. The hard-to-look-at part included multiple piercings in her lips, nose and ears, and other markings that were really wild.  She took one look at the dolls and said

“wow . . . these dolls are really creepy !” 

There was some irony in the situation.  I just smiled and said, “OH?”






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