Bisque Doll Repair

Kestner Hilda

The Kestner Hilda character doll has always been a favorite of mine and is near the top of my bucket list of dolls I would like to have.  This Kestner Hilda is a bit more rare because she is a toddler body style.  I purchased her on ebay after she had been dropped by her family.   Sometime in her history she had lost her lower legs and been stored in a drawer.  With the passing of her owner, the family took her out to display.  Not realizing that the stringing hooked everything together, she fell apart and went crashing to the floor.  You can see in the photos that her face was separated from her head as well as her neck socket was in fragments.  Her lashes were gone so they were  restored when I made the other repairs to the eyes.  Restoring the missing foot portion of her legs was a bit of a challenge.  Toddler bodies are a unique body and parts are not all that common.  I had one foot portion in my inventory so fabricated a marching leg.  Balls were added and all was painted to match the original Kestner Hilda doll toddler body.   NOTE: clothing and oilcloth shoes fabricated by Antique Child Doll Restoration

Kestner Hilda doll broken in pieces

From this . . .

Kestner Hilda doll repair and restoration


Hilda face sections

From This disaster . . . . .

Hilda face taped

Kestner Hilda invisible restoration


Hilda  complete side of head

Hilda broken socket

From this . . .

Hilda neck done


Kammer Reinhardt 115

Invisible bisque Restoration

K & R 115

K& R 115 After

Charming Kammer Reinhardt 115 character doll circa 1915 with sleep eyes and wig on bent limb baby body.  There  had been previous repaired by someone using not-so-great paints and doll repair materials.  The head had been broken into sever pieces so when it had been put back together, some of the pieces were not aligned correctly so that some pieces had a lip at the join areas.  The lips prevented the pieces from joining smoothly so attempts were made to  fill in the recessed areas.  One such spot is very evident in the before photo on the inside of the bridge of the nose.  In addition, the previous repair was done with paint that flaked and discolored.  Addition cracks included obvious ones above the eyes and forehead ad well as across the cheek.  The Kammer Reinhardt 115 head had to be completely taken apart and put back together again.  As is common with some repair people if they don’t know how to do something they just wing it.  The previous repair had the eyes plastered in solid. The eye rocker was gone.  After taking the eyes out, it was discovered that while the iris matched, the size of the eyes did not, so a bit of creative rebuilding was done to bring the sizes closer together for building an eye rocker.

kammer Reinhardt 115 before restoration

BEFORE showing facial breaks

                image7              K&R after left
 K&R before invisible restoration Kammer Reinhardt 115 after inviible restoration K&R face after

Kammer Reinhardt 115 after back of head

There were 4 large pieces broken in the back of the head.

K&R after right cheek area

Opposite cheek not shown in photo had large crack through cheek to eye

Kestner Baby Jean Doll Head

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid was heading on the email I received when the owner told me of the disaster to her Kestner Baby Jean doll head.   Adjusting a new head button, she had bumped the antique Kestner Baby Jean doll head resting on the counter. Down it went and was now in about 15 pieces.  She had bought the doll from a collector who had provenance that this Kestner Baby Jean doll head had been used as a model for collector doll plates.  While hard to visualize to scale the Kestner Baby Jean doll head is HUGE!  Real baby size.   In restoring it, the pieces and sections had to be done in sections and took several months to complete.

My letter asking if you could fix my doll started out “Stupid, stupid,  stupid.”   This one starts out with “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I  cannot believe you did such an amazing job on my big Kestner baby. She is  just gorgeous! How you managed to put that puzzle together amazes me.  Every detail of her head, face, hair, is perfect. There must be some kind  of award for the best Doll Doctor in the country! You are the best!  Thank  you!  Kay Schrader   Darby, MT

Kestner Baby Jean face

AFTER – Restoration complete

Kestner Baby Jean front

AFTER- full body front

Kestner Baby Jean character baby back

AFTER – full back view

Kestner baby Jean Kestner baby Jean  Kestner baby Jean
Kestner Baby Jean Kestner Baby Jean Kestner Baby Jean
 Kestner Baby Jean  Kestner Baby Jean
 Kestner baby Jean  Kestner Baby Jean
Kestner Baby Jean Kestner Baby Jean
Kestner Baby Jean  Kestner Baby Jean

French Thuillier Doll

This highly desirable antique French Thuillier doll head was well worth the effort to repaint.  Marked AT Thuillier, this  bisque  French doll head  is a later child model with an open mouth and molded teeth. A previous restoration on this French Thuillier doll head had been done incorrectly utilizing paints that were heavy, flaked and did not last.  The beauty of this French doll head is the translucent qualities of the bisque, which done incorrectly, are hidden under gobs of heavy paint.

French Thuillier bisque doll head

AT Thuillier antique doll head restoration

Antique Thullier head 009-001 Antique Thullier head 008-001 Antique Thullier head 007-001
French Thuillier doll head French Thuillier doll head French doll head

Kestner 164 Doll

Lovely Kestner 164 doll showing invisible bisque head restoration. Originally with several breaks and cracks. it is restored to perfection. Kestner antique dolls show the exceptional work of the Kestner company in Germany at the turn of the century. Read the rest of this entry »

Alt Beck Shoulder Plate

This antique German Alt Beck shoulder plate is from the  Alt Beck Gottschalk doll company, commonly called ABG.  The shoulder plate is considered of high quality and worthy of a quality invisible restoration repair.  The Alt Beck shoulder plate  had been broken across the back and shoulder areas, so after fusing the edges together again, the affected area will filled and smoothed for a seamless invisible restoration.   After completion this  beautiful doll head was ready to be place back on an antique leather body for dressing.

Alt Beck shoulder plate repair finished repair to the Alt Beck shoulder plate
ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk invisible restoration

Kestner 143 doll head

This is such a great  Kestner 143 doll head antique doll in that she is not a baby and yet not a child. She is like a toddler with her chubby face and impish look.  Her bisque head had been broken in about 10 pieces.  The challenge with any invisible restoration is that, when the eyes and decoration are involved, to do only what is necessary.  It is so difficult to match the edges and because such a small surface is involved, the tiniest irregularity will show.  These types of restoration are expensive because of the time involved.  I can work on one of these and think I have everything right so I spray it and WHEW! do the areas that are not right jump right out!  It takes several times to get the surfaces prepared just right and then the paint applied is done VERY thinly several times in several colors.  The technique for invisible restoration is very specialized for the perfect results.  I teach this technique in my Restoration Seminar class for those that want to learn how to get the best results.

143 Kestner doll head Kestner 143 Head restore Kestner 143 Head restore
Kestner 143 Head restore Kestner 143 Head restore Kestner 143 Head restore Kestner 143 Head restore

Jumeau Head Restoration

Measuring 9 1/2 ” around, this lovely French Jumeau head restoration was worth the effort to restore.  The bisque on this Jumeau is a lovely translucent shade with a smooth silky texture.  The break on this jumeau head was from the crown, through the ear, down the cheek to the mouth, exiting on the other side of the mouth, looping to the neck and up back to the crown.  These types of bisque restore is tricky because of the curves in the head and also the differences in the colors, with the forehead lighter, darkening toward the cheeks, additional shading near the mouth and then back up to the crown.  The application is in several very thin coats to allow the beauty of the porcelain to remain and replicating the several colors in the head.

French Fashion restoration

Before facial view

French Fashion restoration

After front view

French Fashion restoration

BEFORE Neck Area

French Fashion restoration

AFTER Neck view

French Fashion restoration

BEFORE cheek area right side

French Fashion restoration

AFTER right side

Jumeau head Restoration

BEFORE left side

Jumeau Head restoration

AFTER left side

Jumeau 8 Restoration

This lovely antique French Jumeau 8 restoration is a doll head that had forehead and temple cracks.  The head is lit with a bright light to see the exact area that the cracks have traveled to so that a reinforcement can be added to the inside to prevent further damage to this wonderful antique doll head.  The porcelain forehead crack was from the crown to the eye and the temple crack was from the crown to the eye, down the cheek to behind the ear.

Jumeau 8 restoration repair on bisque doll head Before front view Jumeau 8 restoration repair on bisque doll head front view

Jumeau 8 restoration repair on bisque doll head side view


Jumeau 8 restoration repair on bisque doll head side view

ABG Bisque Doll Head

This antique bisque ABG Bisque Doll Head is probably the worst I have seen in that it was broken in many pieces, with some pieces missing.  The bisque doll head had been previously, restored some 20 years ago.  It had not been reinforced on the inside and glued with an inappropriate product, so it was now coming apart.  The paint used was a heavy acrylic with did not allow the translucent beauty of the head to come through.  My photos show the head with and without some of the previous work as well as a completed head.

ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk antique doll head pieces before

After previous paint was cleaned off there was nothing to hold the pieces together.

ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk antique doll head back pieces before

Back after previous paint was removed.

antique doll head before repair  ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk antique doll head face
 ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk antique doll head R side before

ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk antique doll R side after

 ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk antique doll head L side before  ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk antique doll L side head after
 ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk antique doll head back before  ABG Alt Beck Gottschalk antique doll back of head

Tete Jumeau 10

This lovely Tete Jumeau 10 had a previous head break that had been filled, as well as a hairline crack extending from the eye.  The previous repair had been done badly and was now unstable, paint flaking and chips in the fill areas.  To effectively do the bisque head restore and repair all the previous paint and work had to be removed.  As is typical in previous techniques, the paint was heavy and flat looking.  A bisque finish is not flat, but shows dimension and texture, which should also be present after the restore.  What is not present is the translucent qualities of the bisque, so restoration is limited to the areas of repair and not the whole head.

Tete Jumeau 10 Tete Jumeau 10 Tete Jumeau 10
IMG_0419 IMG_0421
IMG_0422 IMG_0413




Alt Beck 1362 head

This Alt Beck 1362 head is the image of a young child.  The mold is unique in that the head is more long than round.  Repairs to this German child doll included invisible restoration of her   The  German firm of Alt Beck Gottschalk is one that collectors look to in producing a smooth bisque quality head so it was well worth the family’s effort to restore this doll head as a family heirloom, to be passed down  from the grandmother to the family.  Held in a place of honor, the  doll head was accidentally dropped, shattering the areas around the eyes and mouth.  The restoration included reconstruction of the majority of the face.  The Alt Beck 1362 head was fully restored so she is lovely and ready to take her place of honor again!


Alt Beck1362 Head in piecesAlt Beck 1362 headAlt Beck 1362 headAlt Beck 1362 headAlt Beck Gottschalk doll head

Armand Marseille Floradora . . . . .


After all put back together with a dress that is a replica of a factory original, she is ready to go home!



A complete restore is  always interesting when I open a box in which the owner declares “I had to buy her because she has such a sweet face.” That is the long and short of how this doll came to be restored. She retained her upper thighs, one full and one half arm and her torso. Her poor head had multiple breaks from a large section gone from the rim, to a large crack at the back, temple and on her forehead. After appropriate parts were installed, her body repaired and her head received invisible restoration, she is indeed lovely.

Customer Comment:

“WOW JANIE!!!!!!   Man!!! INCREDIBLE!!!!OK, first of all… Good Morning! Nice way to start the day today! Thank you!!!  The doll is AWESOME!!! It is so INCREDIBLE that she went from a nasty pile of dust, and bisque to a beautiful doll!! WOW!! And the dress!! IMPRESSIVE INDEED!!! Not only do you show how she looked before and after, but you certainly show the actual process of her head going through the various steps of restoring it to ‘as new’ condition!! AWESOME!!! I just cannot find the right words to describe how cool it is to see your amazing work done on this doll! And yeah, she sure is a beautiful doll! It definitely is more a piece of artwork than just a play thing! Never in a million years did I think she would look this good!! AWESOME!!!!  Felipe Nistal”


Before – missing lower leg parts and one arm


Note crack in side of head


Crack to the back of head


Additional damage

IMG_7515 IMG_7520 IMG_7528 IMG_7524

Talking French Jumeau

Talking French Jumeau

AFTER wearing duplicated original Jumeau dress

This talking French Jumeau had a “Ma-Ma, Pa-Pa” non-working voice box  She had some paint loss and lifting of body  paint.  Some of her joints showed extensive wear.  The parts were all repaired and her body paint was matched.  After the repairs were complete, she had to have a new dress.  The dress that was chose is made from a floral lawn and trimmed with authentic cotton lace.  The dress was replicating an authentic Jumeau dress.






Juneau body and voice restored

AFTER legs restored

Juneau body and voice restored

AFTER fully Mama Papa voice box and finish restored

Juneau body and voice restored

BEFORE showing wear and socket

Juneau body and voice restored

BEFORE thigh and leg wear

Talking French Jumeau

BEFORE leg and joint wear with vice box ready to work on

Talking French Jumeau

BEFORE apart

Kestner Color Restore

Antique Kestner color restore where it had no color on one temple near the eye that included lashes and brow due to a surface rub of the tinting.  This could have happened in the making of the doll or an accident over the years. 
There was also no color on parts of the forehead, one side of the nose and around the other eye.  The tricky part about redoing the color was the head was only a couple of inches tall, making it difficult to place color and then restore the lashes, without making it overdone.  The Kestner color restore was done with an airbrush scaled down to spray only a pencil width of paint at a time to get just the right shade and thickness to blend with the original finish.


Kestner color restore after photo

AFTER all dressed

Kestner color restore closeup

BEFORE Kestner lacking facial color around eyes, nose and cheek

Kestner  facial color restored

AFTER facial color restored

Kestner  facial color restored

AFTER Kestner facial color restored


Ready to Send Your Doll?


Janie Nafsinger
17122 W. Locust Lane
Caldwell, Idaho 83607

Process & FAQ
 Process & FAQ

CLICK here to find out how the process works from sending your doll, completion time, payment info and shipping.


Wiley Parker talks about her 28" Kestner 211 character doll who had bisque and body work. She was missing a lower arm, among other things . . .

Wiley Parker