Our model is the Magic Attic Club
Heather doll, made by MarianLLC in 2003. She belongs to
my niece and her leg fell off.
In order to restring the doll, I
also removed the arms and the other leg.
Magic Attic dolls are strung together using a
cup system. The white plastic cup is shown in the center
of the photo. Each arm and each leg has it's own cup that
goes inside the body. Originally, the stringing cord is
knotted through this cup.
The arms and legs are only attached to these
cups: the strings don't go to any of the other arms or
legs. So, each arm and each leg is strung separately.
I know of a few dolls that are assembled with
the cup system. Baby Face by Galoob is one. And believe
it or not, Baby Dollikin is assembled pretty much the
same way but Uneeda used metal spring coils instead of
the white cups. (We have special instructions for Baby Dollkin: CLICK HERE
HOWEVER... we are not going to use any of the
original cups to restring the Heather doll. You can
discard them or save them.
I chose to discard the white cups because they
are defective. The Magic Attic dolls that were made by
MarianLLC have defective cups that are brittle, so there
has been a serious problem with the legs falling off.
Which is really a shame, and it's possibly the reason why
the company chose not to make the dolls anymore: they had
too many problems at the factory.
SO... I have chosen to restring this Magic
Attic doll using a classic stringing method. I am not
going to put her together the original way.
I do have instructions on how to string a doll
together using the cups, but it's a difficult method. CLICK HERE for the
Okay, let's get down to business. The Magic
Attic dolls have only a small round opening in the top of
It would be nice if we could use
HOOKS on this doll, but there's not
enough room. The photo shows are the joint hooks that we
like to use, when we can. If these will fit in your dolls
limbs, then go ahead and use them. They are ideal for
many of the vintage and porcelain dolls. I think they
will work for Baby Dollikin.
Whenever possible, I like to get
the old pieces out of the limbs, but with Heather I
didn't try. The opening was too small for me to fish the
parts out. If she rattles a bit, that's ok. My niece
didn't even notice when the doll was finished.
For this job, I'm going to use
wing nuts from the hardware store. I used #8-32 wing
nuts, along with our size 3 STRINGING
CORD. I used zinc coated wing nuts,
so they won't rust.
Thread the wing nut onto the cord
and then tie a heavy double knot in the end of the cord.
Slide the wing nut down the cord
a few inches, and push the knot into the hole first.
Then, slide the wing nut up the cord and push it inside
the limb. You will slide one "wing" in the hole
first, and then the other wing.
Notice the direction that the
wing nut is arranged on the cord. The "wings"
are aimed down, away from the knot. This is important,
because when I pull back on the cord, the widest part of
the wing nut will brace against the vinyl. It's less
likely to slip out again if the wing nut is positioned
You can warm the vinyl with a
hair dryer first, this might make it easier to push the
wing nut in the little hole. HEMOSTATS
are a very useful tool for stringing. I use hemostats for
pushing, pulling and grabbing.
Do the same with the other limbs.
Now... pay attention to this next
step. If you want the doll's limbs to position the way
they should, you need to arrange the cords properly
inside the body. The photo below shows the arrangement,
but the body isn't there. So this is kinda like an
The string from the LEFT arm is
tied to the string from the RIGHT leg. And, the string
from the RIGHT arm is tied to the string from the LEFT
The wood ball spacer in the
middle helps to hold the cords together and also controls
positioning. All the cords go through the big wood bead
in the middle. You can also use a short piece of small
PVC pipe instead of the wood bead.
If you don't arrange the cords
like this, the doll's legs will end up in a wide leg
stance, with ankles far apart. This wood bead arrangement
helps to control the leg position so it is more relaxed
and natural in appearance.
I arrange the limbs and cords
loosely until I have all the pieces in place. You really
need the hemostats at this point (long ones!) in order to
grab and push the cords where they need to go inside the
body. The large wood bead is in there too, you just can't
When you have the cords arranged,
then tie them. I pulled the ends through one of the
armholes and tied it as tight as I can. It's possible to
tie it too tight, and then the arms and legs will stick
OUTward too much and look awkward. But you really do want
to put a LOT of tension on the stringing cords so the
limbs will be snug.
Tie one arm & leg together,
then tie the other arm & leg together, making sure
that the cord goes through the wood bead before you tie
Heather is back in one piece!
Methods & Suggestions
If only the arms have
come off the doll, you can tie the cord from arm
to arm. This works fine.
It does NOT work to tie
the LEFT leg to the RIGHT leg directly. The doll
will do the splits when you are finished.
If your vintage doll has
her original hooks, then use them. That's
probably better than replacing them with any of
the hooks or wing nuts suggested on this page.
If you have a vintage
doll with the head off, then string the LEFT leg
up to the HEAD, and back down to the RIGHT leg.
Then tie the ARMS to each other. Many vintage
dolls were assembled this way.
Heather's head needs to
be attached separately. I
use the original system to restring the heads. NOTE: I'll be adding additional information for Magic Attic dolls especially.
You can buy stringing cord, cord hooks, hemostats, elmers glue and other doll supplies at PrillyCharmin's Doll Shop.