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Monday, September 21, 2009

Common troll repair questions

I have found that there are very common troll repair questions that every troll lover tends to come across, so a while ago I made a list compiled of my own knowledge, and the (copy and pasted) suggestions from members of the Yahoo Damthings group:

Cleaning & Repair
  • Vender for Icelandic mohair and a variety of replacement eyes (including spiral):
    • Timm Zitz:
      • He also will do the repairs for you for a very reasonable charge.
  • Cleaning dirty mohair and vinyl (suggestions from several members)
    • If the mohair is very dirty I found that using CLEAN & CLEAR Oil Free Foaming Facial Cleanser from Johnson + Johnson gets that dark residue that keeps in their hair. Shampoo won’t remove it for some reason. Now if you just want to wash the hair to make it fresh and there is not silt, dust or dirt staining use a standard shampoo. I like Suave daily clarifying shampoo. Next rinse well with warm water (not too warm you don't want to loosen the wig). Ring out the dripping water and apply conditioner. I've tried several, the best one I've seen work is Pantene Pro-V Ice Shine Brillo Glacial Condition Twice The Shine. Let it sit for a few minutes then rinse with cold water. Dont completely rinse but don't leave too much.
    • I discovered the Twin Pines of Maine products (see or call (800) 770-3655) for products specifically designed to clean and restore vinyl dolls and action figures. I have used three of their products, and have them on hand at all times. Formula 9-1-1 is the basic cleaner, which can be diluted, as can the Perk, so goes a long way, then Perk which though formulated for doll clothes cleans mohair wigs exceptionally
      well and removes smells.
    • I use an orange oil type cleaner and it tends to get those dirty place cleaned right up. Avoid using any mineral oil or petroleum products, as this can melt the vinyl.
    • I use mild dish detergent for the hair - be careful not to pull on hair - rinse thoroughly and either air dry (comes out a bit wavy) or gently blow dry. Do not comb the hair for a couple days though, to allow the leather part to dry thoroughly. Not much you can do with the felt clothes though- if they are very dirty, I would recommend removing them and use the old clothes as patterns for the new ones. I've used carpet tacks to simulate the grommets and they look great!
  • Cleaning dirty felt clothing
    o If they are very dirty, I would recommend removing them and use the old clothes as patterns for the new ones. I've used carpet tacks to simulate the grommets and they look great!
    o Quite often on the older trolls the clothes were held in place with rivets. I have found no way of opening these and re-using the clothes and original rivets. I have removed and repaired old clothes, given them new snap fasteners and put them back on the troll. When I have done that, I also usually remove the old rivet from the body of the troll. It must be done with great care though and sometimes it is better to leave it in place.
    o I have also had great success carefully washing felt outfits either on or off the troll. Wash with Woolite in cold water paying attention to stains. Rinse carefully and gently squeeze out then reshape and place on kitchen roll to dry. Iron on low heat. If washing on the troll, take very great care if the outfit is two different colors, the color's may run. If I do this with two colors, I squeeze out excess water using kitchen roll, reshape the outfit and separate it with a wad of paper towel. Never do this with red felt, red is the worst dye to fix and will always run into another color.
    o If an outfit is just dusty, brush it up, wipe over with a damp cloth and you can remove light soiling with carpet spot cleaner on kitchen paper. Freshen with Febreeze to remove musty odors.
  • Rewigging trolls
  • Replacing tail mohair on little horses
    • Cut the old mohair at the tail, very close to the base, and then with the mohair already removed from the head, you can use a small screw driver put into the head cavity and pull the mohair tail out from the inside by grabbing the pelt of it with the screwdriver and inching it out. You can soften the vinyl before hand by putting the troll in the oven on a towel. Set the oven to 180 degrees and leave the troll in there for about 10 minutes. That way you can easily remove heads, eyes and insert mohair from the outside.
  • Cracked eyes
    • Many older trolls and banks have cracked plastic eyes - this occurred as the vinyl shrunk over time and the company did not allow space for this and thus the eyes - being hollowed out- cracked. You can get replacement eyes either by contacting Timm (see above), or they sometimes sell them on eBay.
      • 5mm or 6mm fit 3” trolls
      • 8mm fit 6” trolls
      • 10mm fit 6” Dam Cheerleaders & Vikings
      • 12mm fit Banks/Large Dams
      • 14mm fit Dam Animal trolls
      • 15mm fit 8” trolls
      • 16mm fit larger 8” Dams
      • 20mm fit Iggys
      • 24mm fit 16-18” Dams and Euro Iggys
  • Removing the head on bank trolls
    • Heat your oven to 180, and place the troll on a towel and leave in for 10 min. Remove the troll and the head will pull off quite easily. Be careful not to grab the hair too much, since the glue is softer as well. When you need to replace her head, just heat up the head and it will easily go on the harder, cooler body.
  • Removing ink stains
    • 1) Purchase some 10% benzoyl peroxide acne cream or gel. It does not matter if the product is name brand or generic, but it must contain AT LEAST 10% benzoyl peroxide.
      2) Make sure you have a safe place (away from pets or small children) that allows you full access to natural sunlight.
      3) Before beginning, clean all inked areas off with alcohol-soaked cotton balls to remove any residue that may interfere with treatment.
      4) Apply a light coat of the peroxide cream/gel to the marked areas of the doll and put the troll, inked side up, under DIRECT SUNLIGHT.
      5) Every morning - wash the old benzoyl cream/gel off, apply a new coat of peroxide and place the doll back in the sun.
      6) Repeat this process until the markings have completely oxidized.
    • This can sometimes take up to 2 weeks. The harder the plastic, the more time it can take to fade away.
  • Types of glue to use to re-glue mohair (some preferences from members):
    • Scotch adhesive (a little goes a long way, dries fast, and wig never comes off)
    • E6000 (its thick and it sticks)
    • Dolly Hair Glue (it says on the bottle "Ideal for gluing wigs or hair onto vinyl dolls, porcelain doll, wood dolls, or fabric doll heads.")
    • Fabri-tac
  • Removing a strong smell


  1. Ashley, I luckily came across your blogsite while trolling for info on troll repairs. Thx for the great info. The rest of your blog has been greatly interesting and informative. Since you obviously have much experience with revamping trolls, can you tell me if there is a method for getting old dried on glue off of the troll doll plastic, without hurting the little darling's skin? Scraping with a knife or other seems like it would introduce scratches and damage. Thx ahead of time!

  2. Hi Pam! Ugh, old glue is just the worst, and is really hard to get off, if you even can (unfortunately). I have found that sometimes your fingernail is more gentle than a knife, but for very old glue on vintage trolls from the 60s, simple scraping may not work. Try heating your oven to 180 degrees, placing your troll on a towel, and bake him for 5 - 10 minutes. That will sometimes soften the glue, and may enable it to be scraped off.

  3. Have you ever tried GOO GONE to remove the glue? It's pretty good for most adhesives but I wasn't sure if it would be safe to use on the trolls.

  4. You know, I sure haven't. If you try it, let us know how it went! Does Goo Gone work on hardened glue? Many glue problems with trolls tend revolve around old, hardened glue on vintage trolls.

  5. I've been able to remove hardened glue with acetone (fingernail polish remover). Put some on a white terrycloth wash towel and rub it over the old glue. The yellowed crust will slowly dissolve away with each stroke and will not hurt the vinyl troll (unless grossly overused or used with a scraping tool).

    WARNING: Keep the acetone far away from the doll's plastic eyes. Fingernail polish remover dissolves them, too.

  6. the oxy cream can also be used in the oven on low temp. it works quickly, usually less than an hour. caution, over treating removes the troll color from the plastic and can leave white spots.

  7. as for old glue, soaking in efferdent seems to loosen the glue somewhat. I'm still in the process of working on my first experiment, but the glue is flaking off slowly.

  8. Thanks for the great info!

  9. Where can I find pretty mohair or any kind of pretty funfur for a new wig...the one I am working with needs some attention and washing it only went so far. It is the funfur type.

    1. Write to He sells gorgeous mohair. I rewigged 12 little trolls and they all have different colors. I hope he's still selling. I found him originally on ebay.

  10. For mohair, Timm Zitz ( is a really good seller. I'm not sure if he has fun fur... for that you may need to go to somewhere like eBay. I'm not as familiar with fun fur since I only use mohair when replacing their hair, and recycle old (but still good) fun fur from trolls I've redone when I need fun fur.

  11. any advice on how to deal with moths?

  12. I had a terrible amount of moths everywhere all of the time. I would be i my room at night with just my TV and laptop on and I'd have moths flying into the screen and down behind it. It was driving me crazy. I put a moth trap behind it and at the end of the month it would have 30 to 40 moths in it. I cleaned my pantry but I knew I didn't have anything that would draw them in. It took me forever to figure this out - I had straw bales of hay in a Breyer horse barn scene. I thought it might be the problem and I tossed all the hay I had and I've seen 1 moth since then. I've heard not to put the moth traps right near the item because the pheromones draw the moths right to that are so your basically telling them where to go. I'd put the sticky moth traps about 6 or more feet away from where you are displaying your doll. I have mohair Dam trolls that were around when the moths were still active and I took 2 off the shelf and the hair just shed completely off. They were completely bald. So I have to get my box of mohair I bought from Tim Zitz years ago when I was restoring little trolls and give my 2 trolls new hair. I think you either need to put an acrylic or glass case over them or be religious about checking for moths. They just love mohair.