Over the years Jerry and I have met some Troll doll makers and restorers through GlassEyesOnLine. We have a Customer Creations Page and Pinterest Board where we post photos and information we find about restoring and collecting Trolls.
I started doing more research on the subject and reached out to some troll makers, restorers, and collectors that were willing to share their expertise. Patty at TROLLfun talked with me recently about the hair used in vintage Trolls and shared some of the joys and challenges she experiences with running her online business.
PF: My friend and I like trolls and she restores them. I was trying to fix a troll of mine from my childhood and could not find the hair. It evolved to me buying and selling the hair and buying, restoring, and selling trolls. I love working with Dolls and Fiber.
Is there a must have tool for restoring hair in a troll doll?
PF: My must have tool is my Head Band Magnifier. I have a Mageyes Tool and use it for all my craft work including restoring trolls and needle work. There are 4 different lens magnifications available and you can find the tool on eBay, Etsy, and the Mageyes website.
PF: First I prepare the head by removing the old hair and glue. I use acetone. You need to be very careful not to get acetone on the eyes because it will ruin the dolls eyes. Make sure to cover the eyes to protect them. I also use an X-Acto knife for scraping; but they are very sharp and if you are not careful you can be badly cut. I don't recommend someone new to crafts using this sharp knife.
PF: Although you might see in some of the literature that Troll dolls originally had mohair; that is not correct. There is a lot of confusion about mohair and wool. I even use the word mohair in some of my listings because that is what everyone asks for; but it is technically wool.
Mohair comes from Angora Goats. It is sheared and comes in locks with no leather backing.
The original Troll doll hair was made mostly with sheep skin which is wool. I like to use Tibetan lambskin, Icelandic sheepskin and Teeswater Sheep hair. The Teeswater Wool is long, curly, and has a high luster. I sell the types of hair I use to restore dolls in My Shop .
PF: I have a small collection of some Norfin Trolls from the 80's. I like the Dam Trolls. There are so many different kinds of Troll dolls. I refer frequently to Debra Clark's Trolls, Identification and Price Guide. She has great photos and descriptions of unusual trolls; but the prices are not current because the book was written in 1993. I also like Pat Peterson's Collectors Guide to Trolls. It was written in 1995.
PF: I use wool fiber roving to make felted clothes for trolls. I have the vintage McCalls 7589 Sewing Pattern for Troll Dolls from 1964. I also use crochet clothes for trolls that I make or buy from several Etsy and eBay Shops. They do a fantastic job with crochet doll clothes.
PF: I also sell my restored Troll dolls on eBay when I have a stock of them. I really like being my own boss and setting my hours. I run every aspect of the business.
I find taking Pictures to be the hardest part of having an online shop. Great pictures really sell the product. You need to know something about photography and have the right equipment to capture good images of your products.
There is also so much competition online. You really need to have something that is unique and I don't recommend counting on it for the sole source of your income.
I was able to find and purchase used copies of both books that Patty talked about at Barnes and Noble. They have descriptions of the types of hair used and how the hair was installed by different manufacturers in the 60's. According to Peterson, "Because it was more expensive to make, rooted hair was relatively uncommon. As a result, trolls with rooted hair are considered more valuable than trolls with glued or patched hair."
If you have questions for Patty, you can post a question in the comments below or contact her through her Etsy Shop.
In October, Debra Gewand, a Troll doll restorer will be our guest newsletter writer.
She will be sharing a tutorial for replacing eyes in a troll doll and more. Sign Up for our newsletter to learn more. If you are a troll collector or restorer, and want to share your knowledge and expertise, we'd love to hear from you. Send us an e-mail or share your information in the comments below.