Restoration special projects

1920 Smoking Bed Doll

This 1920 Smoking Bed Doll was a social declaration of the Woman’s Movement and women independence.  Fashion was no longer the tight constricted hour-glass figure of the past, but loose fitting, unrestricted to mirror society changes in woman roles.    Women no longer retired to the back rooms while the men had their smokes, but  smoked right along side.  This 1920 smoking bed doll was made with a composition head and all cloth body with the typical extra long arms and legs for positing.   Her custom outfit reflects the flapper era as well as the Art Deco period.  Made of burgundy rayon, the flapper dress is accented with mink cuffs and stole with 1920 brass button accent.  The Art Deco style bead work is featured on the cuffs and drop waist as well as headband.  No respecting flapper assembly would be complete without and ostrich feather! which accents the headband.

1920 smoking bed doll in chair

Wow! I need a smoke after that beauty treatment!

   Before smoking bed doll  After face 1920 bed doll  Before front view 1920 bed doll
    Before side view 1920 bed doll  After face 1920 bed doll  1920 smoking bed doll

Early 1800 Creche Religious Doll from Italy

Rich in cultural tradition this early 1800 Creche religious doll from Italy from Naples, Italy is a unique art form. Created in the seventh and eighteenth centuries to visualize the birth of the Christ child, the Presepio became .a true and realistic characters of every aspect of daily human life in 18th century Naples. These early Presepios included aristocratic figures, as well as disfigured ones, nobility dressed in silken finery to peasants dressed in cotton and wool. Through royal rivalries and adoption by the wealthy, the Creche figures were collected to display the nativity scene of the Christ child, Joseph, Mary, wise men, shepherds and accessories. A demand grew to out-do each others display creating more and more figures for the collections.

The Creche religious doll is made of detailed carved wood with glass eyes and wire wrapped with hemp bodies, the peasants sported bare feet or sandals, while the nobility and wealthy had shoes. A more rare figure might have carved head wear.

Creche Religious Doll Creche Religious Doll Creche Religious Doll
This Creche religions dollis dressed in a quilted

style and embroidered petticoat,

cork stuffed bustle,

and lined silk dress with a

metallic lace over-skirt. The

dress features authentic

detailing in the lace and

finish. Her stomacher is

adorned with tiny 1800’s

red French glass beads

that are 1/3 the size of

glass beads today. It also

has original metal clasps

to hold the silk tie ribbon.

To finish her assemble is

a brass pole umbrella of

black dupione silk with

cloisonne’ handle and ferrule.

Creche Religious Doll Creche Religious Doll

Flirty Advertising Doll

German flirty advertising doll from 1920 Antique German Flirty Advertising Doll visits Antique Child Doll Restoration

When Bud Denney and his wife stopped into the airport restaurant in Abilene, Texas those many years ago, he had no idea that he would come face to face with a doll of striking resemblance to him. Bud couldn’t resist the temptation to buy the doll. His offered denied, he went on his way. Not able to get the flirty advertising doll out of his mind he approached the restaurant owner again on his return flight. “$500.00,” the owner stated. In 1960 that was a lot of money. Bud paid the owner and home he went to his own restaurant, Denney’s Dine-a-teria, where the baker advertised the specials for the next 50 years.

Made of paper mache, this jolly, antique German made advertising doll features a metronome device in his torso. His ever-grinning head has a counterweight at the base, allowing his brown German blown-glass eyes to flirt back and forth when the clockworks is wound and he is set in motion. His over-sized hands are formed so that one is designed to hold a rod with a banner attached while his other hand points to the message on the banner.

This unusual doll’s history is unknown prior to living with the Denney’s, but it is speculated, because of his blown glass eyes, that he is of German origin and because the majority of German doll makers went out of business by the 1930’s, he was probably fabricated prior to that time. Germany, known for innovation with mechanical toys and dolls, more than likely, made him as a special order doll for merchants. In the original photo of the doll he is wearing bakers clothing, but the Denney heirs wanted him restored to also reside as the Master of Ceremonies in their home, so it was only proper that he also have a tuxedo.


Before photos of Antique German Advertising Doll to show extensive crazing and discoloration due to wear and tear and sun exposure.


German flirty advertising doll with clock mechanism in head

Flirty eyes! Pastry ?

paper mache flirty advertising doll

BEFORE close up of face

Antique German Baker Doll

Front body view BEFORE

paper mache advertising doll

Back winding mechanism

AFTER photos let the charm of this great German Advertising Doll bloom! He is ready to strut his finest with the culinary arts or host the most formal of events.


Antique German Baker Doll

Antique German Baker Doll

German advertising doll

 Antique German Baker Doll

German advertising doll

Antique German Baker Doll made of paper mache

Both outfits are custom made for this paper mache advertising doll. To replicate the original baker uniform, white cotton broadcloth was used to fabricate pants, double-breasted tunic, red scarf, apron and bakers hat. The tuxedo is also made of black broadcloth. The tuxedo includes a white tuxedo dickey shirt with tie and vintage pearl buttons, a red cummerbund, black pants with satin seam details and coat with tails, with satin lining and antique black glass button.


Double Face Doll

The double face doll made of wax was a new mechanical doll on the market in 1880’s.  The 1880’s was  time of change and innovation in doll making where sleep eyes, teeth, ball joints, voice boxes and mechanics were but a few of the new inventions added to the making of dolls.    Fritz  Bartenstein was no exception as he vied for his part of the doll market with his patented double faced doll head filed on July 5, 1881.

Wax had been used previously in doll making and admired for its skin-like qualities.  Many paper mache doll heads had been covered with wax as well as all wax heads to attain the desired soft image qualities of the material.  The downside was that it is not as stable as other materials and tends to crack and, of course, can melt, which is what happened to this doll head.  The original family kept the doll stored away for some 100 years hoping to restore it one day.   Because the antique doll had been stored so carefully, her body was prime and in like-new condition.

As Found

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll BEFORE

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll head BEFORE

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll head front BEFORE

 Paper macheshoulder plate& bonnet.* Heads wereto rotate inbonnet. The dome had been coveredwith a bonnet made of twolayers of fabric and lace.The metal most through themiddle of the head supportedthe faces as a pivot insidethe head. With the facesmelting, one face melted

into the other, with one

melted to the inside of the


Bartenstein 2 face wax doll head side BEFORE Bartenstein 2 face wax doll back BEFORE
Mechanics Bartenstein 2 face wax doll pull string  Pull strings extended out2 holes in the hip area.One string for cry box.Two strings for rotatingthe faces. Bartenstein 2 face wax doll inside body tubeBartenstein 2 face wax doll bottom of shoulder plate

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll body tube removed

Body tube removed

 The cylinder was to house the cry box assembly.  Astring attached to the cry box, exited out a hole in thebottom of the tube.  The two strings to rotate the headwere from the shoulder plate, through the tube andout the other hold at the bottom of the cylinder.The top of the tube was glued to the paper macheshoulder plate, with the  tube sliding into the body.plate seated on top of the cylinder.



Detached – melted faces

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll melted head removed from dome

FACE 1 (Crying) Removed from bonnet dome. Note features present, but smashed. (love original eyebrows!)

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll empty dome with eyes

DOME after heads removed. (heated with blow dryer to remove)

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll head AFTER removal from dome

FACE 2 (Smile) The eyes for the face were found in the melted mass.


Bartenstein 2 face wax doll mold for new face


To construct another smile face, a like- size  papermache head was used. The head was covered witha dental epoxy which hardened to a rubber state.Themelted  heads were separated,  saving theoriginal cry face,  which was melted flat to theinside of the bonnet dome. All excess wax wasmelted and poured into the mold (took 3 triesto get the right shape.


2 Faces

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll Cry face attached to post

Cry Face attached to post

 Two faces Again!!The heads are joined andattached to the post  Thecry face has been cleanedbut still needs detail work.The smile face has had nowork yet to smooth and addfeatures.

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll new smile face

New Smile Face


Bartenstein 2 face wax doll cry face AFTER


 the bonnet dome isattached, stabilized bythe metal post throughthe head. A strip ofhuman hair is attachedat the edge of the bonnetunder the fabric bonnetcover. The head rotates

easily by pulling the strings

out the holes at the hip.

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll new smile face AFTER


Restored! Bartenstein 2 face wax doll Bartenstein 2 face wax doll pull string

Rag Doll Discovery

A rag doll discover was quite a surprise when the owner thought the body was beyond repair and requested a new one. When the china head was removed, underneath was the pristine printed head of a rag doll made by Art Fabric Mills, NYC (1899-1910). Her body had thin spots and a couple of rips with sawdust leaking, but the heavy muslin had served her well. She still retains all the original details of underclothing, button top boots and red socks. After some reinforcing and some new clothing, she takes her place, again, as a found family treasure.

The other part of this family treasure was a Civil War era highbrow china head. At some point in her long life, her shoulder-plate head had been broken in many places. She was repaired with an invisible restoration, a new body fabricated, complete with striped socks and black boots with tassels. Her hour glass body worked well for the new fitted Homespun cotton dress and silk jacket of the era. Of course she wears pantaloons and a petticoat to complete her assemble.

Doll repair, restoration and conservation is the art and skill of bringing dolls back as a treasured memory. Antique and vintage dolls have come to be thought of as a work of art. Learning doll repair is more than being a Doll Doctor and fixing what is broken; it is restoring a work of art to museum quality or returning it as a family heirloom.

rag doll Art Mills Rag Doll china doll art rag doll
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