Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fixing a Journey Girls Arm

How to Put a Journey Girls Arm Back On (And Take it Off)

The Journey Girls are made pretty well, but every once in awhile something happens and they fall apart.  When this happens getting a new doll is not always possible.  So fixing the old, loved doll is the only solution.  To help with that, I am going to show you how to take an arm off of a Journey Girl and then put it back on.

The first thing you need to do is get your tools you are going to need to make this repair happen.  You will need an embossing heat tool (or a hair dryer), curved tip needle nose pliers (if you don't have those, regular needle nose pliers will work) and then a small Flathead screwdriver.

The embossing heat tool works better than a hairdryer, because the heat is concentrated in a more precise space.  This makes it so a smaller area of the dolls vinyl is heated.  If you don't have an embossing tool, the hair dryer will work, just be careful not to burn your hand.

Find a nice table to sit at to do this project.  Stretch the dolls arm out to the side as far as it will go.  Use the heating tool to heat the shoulder joint, going all the way around the shoulder on the arm side, not the body side.  Do this for 30 seconds to a minute.  You should not have to do it any longer than a minute. 

At this point the vinyl around the shoulder should be warm, but not hot.  It should also be more pliable. Pinch the arm, right below the shoulder a little to loosen it, then pull back on the arm, staying close to the shoulder.  Don't yank or wiggle it, and don't pull from too far away from the shoulder joint.  If you do you run the risk of breaking the plastic cup inside the joint.  If the arm is not coming off, heat the vinyl again.  The arm should start coming off of the joint cup inside.

Once you can see inside the joint (like above) you should be able to gently twist the arm off of the joint cup.  If it doesn't easily come off, heat the vinyl again or use the screw driver to pry the arm off.  Pry towards the arm, don't push down on the cup with the edge of the screwdriver as you are more likely to break the cup.

The arm should look like this when it is off.  It will have a hole in the middle of the shoulder.  Coming out of the doll's body is a cup with a plastic dowel attached to the bottom, that goes into the doll's body.

Lay the doll on her back or tummy (not her side).  Using the curved needle nose pliers (or the straight ones), get under the cup joint, pull it out a little until you can grasp the plastic dowel with the pliers. Pull it out as far as you can.  It will stop, don't pull it any further.  You just need it out enough to get the arm back on. 

Leave the pliers underneath the cup if possible.  It will help when you go to put the arm on.  Again, this just gives space so that you can get the arm around the edge of the cup. 

Heat the shoulder of the arm, especially around the hole.  Again only 30 seconds to a minute.  By that point the vinyl should be plenty soft.

You can also heat the vinyl around the shoulder on the body.  On older dolls you may need to do this because the vinyl on the arm is less pliable (even with heating).  If you can get the arm on without heating the body, that's better.  So skip this step at first, then go back and do it if needed.

Once the arm is heated squish it so that it makes more of an oval at the opening.  This makes it easier to get around the side of the cup.

Starting at the back of the cup, put the arm around the edge.  Once you have the arm on the cup a little bit you can let go of the plastic dowel with the pliers. 
(If you are having a hard time using the pliers and getting the arm on, get rid of the pliers.  Squeeze the arm so that the hole becomes an oval, scoop under the cup with the bottom of the shoulder hole on the arm, and push the arm on.)

Push the arm on to the cup.  It will not be able to go any further because of the plastic down at the bottom.

At this point you will need to squeeze the sides of the arm (not top and bottom), push onto the joint gently and kind of pull the arm forward (right at the hole).  The idea is to get the arm hole around the cup.  Make small motions.  Don't yank!  Don't go too fast!  If you are having lots of trouble use the screwdriver to kind of help the cup into the shoulder hole.  If the vinyl is beginning to get hard, warm it up again.  Keep working it around.

The first time I did this, the arm slipped off the cup a couple of times.  Take a deep breath and try again.  You will be able to get it back on.

When the arm is back on a massaged the vinyl around the shoulder on the arm to make sure that the cup was in okay.  It also helps the arm to get back to it's original shape.  Let the arm cool a little, then check the joint for any issues with flexibility.

The arm joint should be as good as new.  If you have any questions please leave a comment below and I will try to answer it as best I can.  Hope this helps save few Journey Girls.


Farrah Lily said...

Great tutorial! Beautifully photographed and a great resource if I ever need it. :)

Anonymous said...

This is a great help - thank you! Do you happen to know how to put the plastic "cup" back in the arm socket if that happens to come out with the arm?

Anonymous said...

What should we do if the cup is broken?