China Doll Repair

China Doll Shoulder Plate

When a china doll shoulder plate is gone and the family loves the doll, What to do, What to do??  This doll head had been saved for 150 years by the original family, thinking some day she will be whole again.  The second owner of the doll, not 97 said, “Let’s do the china doll shoulder plate NOW!”

Made by the Kestner doll company, this china doll is from the Civil War era.  Arriving at Antique Child missing everything but her smile, she was an interesting doll  to work on.  When complete she was a striking 28″ and would fit well in child’s chair.  Her body was fabricated with leather boots and accented with antique boot buttons.  Her body features a well rounded bottom for sitting as she was much to heavy for a doll stand.  The body is stuffed with refined sawdust, packed hard to make a firm body.  Her clothing consists of straight legged pantaloons and gathered slip, made of embroidered lawn.  Her day dress is reproduction Civil War fabric, lattice braid and cording at the hem and bodice.  Her sleeves are 3/4 with faux lower sleeve and cuff.  her outfit is complete with a faux collar and antique broach at the throat.

     kestner civil war china doll Kestner china doll shoulderplate broken kestner china doll shoulderplate restored
civil war kestner bk head broken (640x633) china doll shoulderplate restored back
 Customer Comment:  
Oh Janie!My doll arrived late yesterday. I couldn’t wait to open the box. I was completely overwhelmed by the doll.

She was so much more beautiful than pictures or than I had even begun to imagine. The restoration is flawless.

I can’t believe that this is the same head that my grandmother used to carefully unwrap from a piece of cloth

to show me as a child. She would always comment about how it was old and broken. How pleased grandmother

would would have been to see her mother’s doll restored to be passed down to her granddaughter and to my

granddaughters and future generations.  Thank you so much for the care you have put into this family heirloom.

My mother and I are so pleased that we found you.  Nancy Coulson

civil war kestner bodice kestner civil war full dress civil war kestner sleeve
  china doll leather boots civil war china doll boots layered embroidered slip

Antique China Dolls – Common Repair and Restoration Issues

Common repair and restoration issues that come of with antique china dolls are, of course breakage, rubbing of the color on the hair and features and discoloration of previous restoration.  In years past the *fix* for antique china dolls in covering up repairs was to paint the area and then spray with an art or acrylic.  While the acrylic spray covered up a world of imperfect work, it also discolored and yellowed over time.  Modern methods used by Antique Child Doll Restoration do not have these same results.  The finish we use does not discolor over time so you should never have to worry about discoloration again! 

Prime examples of discolored & broken shoulder plates in antique china dolls.CLICK photo to Enlarge
china shoulder plate  china head discolored repair
china yellow plate back china yellow plate
blondbisque8 IMG_3176 china curly top IMG_3175

civil war era china head

completed invisible restoration of china shoulder plate

1850 restored china head

Before with almost no shoulder plate.

large blond china

Shoulder plate broken off on both sides.

large blond china doll

After shoulder plate restored.

1860 Pearce before (3)

1860 china head with 1/3 of shoulder plate gone

1860  Pearce after (7)

After with china shoulder plate restored

Dolly Madison 007

Dolly Madison – Before with completely broken shoulder plate

1870 Dolly Madison China Head

1870 Dolly Madison China Head – After

Currier and Ives china doll head

Rare china head with top of head gone.


curls restored.



Lowbrow China Doll

This lowbrow china doll had only the head with no shoulder plate. The shoulder plate was completely gone, as was the body.  He had a vision of making this doll into something different, but ALSO interesting.  The head is an 1890 blond lowbrow of fairly substantial size.   The restoration began with fabricating a complete shoulder plate and adding a muslin body with leather arms.  The costume is a facsimile from a photo of a French infantry ensemble.  It was unclear whether the hat was supposed to go from side to side or front to back.  Historical research reveals that the hat does both.  While addressing the troops the hat is side to side, but while in battle it is front to back.  The hat was made from a felt form made into a cap with black cotton velveteen for the outer brim.  Added features included braid and a metal applique with ostrich feathers.  The uniform jacket with tails done in black cotton velveteen included a breast lapel with gold buttons and shoulder epaulets with rayon tassels. To finish the uniform the pants featured inset braid and cording up the side seam and oilcloth boots (available in the shoe section).

China head before
China head before
Headless china body

china doll repair

Front view of shoulder plate after

china doll repair

After back view of shoulder plate

china doll repair

Side view of restored shoulder plate

Original military photo to inspire creation


Complete Military ensemble

military china back view

Military Back view

china head military hat china head military breast plate
china doll military shoulder

Details of completed military uniform


What a way to end the day today Janie!!! Absolutely AWESOME!!!! Got home from work and this box had been waiting for me to open it. This General could not be happier to come back home from battle! And boy did he have some battle! You’ve done an incredible work in completely rebuilding his shoulder plate! Just amazing this can be done and so perfectly! And the uniform!!!! WOW!! WOW!!! WOW!!! You are not only wonderful at restoring the porcelain, but the your magic on his uniform is PERFECT!!! Down to his boots!! Thank you!!! Going from a nasty ‘decapitated’ buddy to a General is quite a task! Wonder know how long he stayed in such deplorable way… 116 years? It was about time this guy got some of his pride back!! LOL!!! He proudly says ‘Vielen Dank Janie’!! Thank you so much Janie!!

Countess Dagmar China

This lovely rare Countess Dagmar china head is a fairly small china head, but was missing almost half her shoulder plate.  Because of her rarity and unique features of decoration, she warranted repair.  Other unique features of the  china head is her  elaborate hair style featuring long rolls of curls, a high coronet of hair and head band, along with pieced ears.  With the shoulder plate  half gone, it had to be rebuilt as well as painted. to match the original finish of the doll.

Rare china head f

Rare china head BEFORE

Countess Dagmar China

Rare china head front view restored

Countess Dagmar China

Rare china head view restored

Countess Dagmar China

Rare china head back view

Countess Dagmar China

Rare china head side view

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.


Thanks so much for your hard work - she looks awesome! Kurt is very pleased. :)

Lori Hammond & Kurt Greenwood