How to Repair an American Girl Doll

By Adrienne Warber
American Girl Doll

You gave your daughter an American Girl doll and it was love at first sight. The two are now inseparable. Whether it's a tea party or a jump on the trampoline, the doll is always in your child's arms. Now your daughter is in tears because her favorite toy needs repair. The good news is that you can fix minor problems yourself. (Major issues like a detached limb are best left to the manufacturer's doll hospital.) Here are some easy ways to fix your American Girl doll at home.

American Girl doll heads are held in place by strings tied at the base of the neck. Over time, the doll's head can be loosened by regular play. The head can even fall off with rough play. However both problems are easily remedied.Locate the knotted strings at the back of the doll's head where the neck and cloth body meet. Untie the knot. Check the strings for signs of damage, especially if the doll's head has fallen off. If the strings are damaged, you will need to send the doll to the manufacturer's hospital for string replacement. If the strings are fine, proceed to the next step.

If you are tightening a loose head, remove the head. Put it aside.Gently widen the neck hole on the cloth body. Make certain not to stretch the hole too far, so that the strings retract.

Reach into the hole and carefully push the stuffing down.

Place the head into the hole. Gently press the head down firmly until the neck fits the hole and rests at base of the neck.

Tie the strings in two knots at the back of the neck. The doll's head should feel secure but still be able to turn.

The manufacturer's doll hospital will repair loose limbs by restringing the doll. Restringing a doll at home is possible with the right equipment but not recommended, because you can easily damage your doll. Restringing is best left to the experts. However, there is another way to repair loose doll limbs at home that works just as well. This method is fast and easy.First untie the strings at the base of your doll's neck and remove the head. Put the head aside.

Widen the hole in the cloth body so that you have room to reach inside. Be careful not to make the strings retract.

Take all of the stuffing out of the doll and put it aside. Once you remove the stuffing, you will see elastic cords attached to joints for all four limbs.

Reach inside the doll and find the elastic cord and joint of the loosened limbs you plan to fix. For loose legs, you need to fix both. Sometimes, only one arm may need repair. However, you may want to tighten both, to prevent the need to repair the doll again soon. You will notice that the joint consists of a plastic cup, ferrule and washer. The ferrule looks like a flattened metal clip. Examine the cord for excessive wear. If the cord is severely worn, you should have the manufacturer's doll hospital restring the doll.

Grab the elastic cord and pull it tight. Take an elastic-covered rubber band and loop it around the elastic cord so that it rests on both the cord and the ferrule. Tighten the elastic-covered rubber band until the elastic is again held tight. Repeat on the second limb and any others that require attention.

Put the stuffing back inside the doll. Pack the stuffing firmly, so that the doll's body is even and soft.

Place the head in the neck hole. Make sure the head is secure and then knot the strings twice. Your doll should now be ready to dress and play with.

Tip

Your doll can last a lifetime with proper, gentle care. Follow the manufacturer's care instructions.

Warning

If you have any doubts about being able to fix your doll, send her to the manufacturer's doll hospital.