Friday, March 25, 2011

Bed Dolls



Remember bed dolls?  Off and on through the years they have been popular, long skinny dolls with long skinny legs, dolls with crocheted skirts, and the kind I remember from my childhood, milk filter dolls.  Those little 6-8" dolls with huge skirts made from milk filters.   They came in a kit, and were extremely popular.
Most of my friends had bed dolls at their homes.  Some sat in the middle of a bed, and some adorned a couch.  Ours was in the middle of my parents' bed.  We weren't allowed to touch it, of course.  Too much time put in on it, and too dirty little hands.  So we leaned on the side of the bed, as close as we could get, and admired.  Did you ever have a bed doll?     

11 comments:

  1. Wow, did that bring back memories! My older sisters, 13 and 14 years older than me, grew up in the fifties and I was still quite small when I remember them making these. Seems to me that the filters came in different pastel colors. And it may have been that they belonged to some sort of craft-of-the-month where these dolls were featured.

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  2. Oh yes, I remember these although we never had them in our house. As late as the 80's my aunt was creating similar bed dolls but with crocheted dresses.

    Darla

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  3. We didn't have them either but I do remember seeing them! My mother's house is still loaded with dolls around every corner!

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  4. Oh wow, I have been looking for directions on how to make this, but I can't read it.....I have a 5 year old who I would love to make one of these for. I have tried to enlarge it but it just isn't big enough.

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  5. I have been making these dolls for 65 years. Making 24 a year, I give them to the Children's Hospital. When I was a foster child in Ohio, the mother of the home had us girls make them and she would sell them at her veggie stand. The doll were 5 cents at Woolworth store. The yarn - well everyone had yarn left over from something. The filters, we just went to the milk barn. I even know how to dye the filters. The dolls came in black, white and tan. The hair was black, brown or blond. It was about 1940's when Johnson & Johnson came out with the yellow, pink, green and blue milk filters. But I already knew how to dye them any color I wanted. My two grand daughters have now been making them for their friends. These dolls are truly a lost art form. Lily:

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    1. how do you dye them- thanks much

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    2. Using large sized diaper safety pins, punch a hole in each 24 filters - leave the pin on the filter.
      Wear gloves when working with the dye. Buy the liquid fabric dye at the store. Dark Navy, darkest pink, darkest green, darkest yellow, darkest red, darkest orange come out the best. You have to be the judge as to how dark you want the filter. Pour dye into a large enough bucket to fit the round filter. Add half the amount of hot water called for to the dye. Dip a filter into the dye (leave it there - then dip another and so on) until all the filters you want dyed are in the bucket. Let sit for about 1 hour (longer they set darker they get). Rinse each one (both sides) under cold running water to remove extra dye. Using the safety pins hang each filter on a clothes line until dry. When dry remove the pins. This tiny hole from the pin will be one of the holes you will use when sewing the filter together with the yarn. Save your safety pins for next time. You can save the used dye by placing it in large plastic jars with lids (I have save this dye for months - only adding more dye or water as needed for color). Sometimes I use a white filter in-between a colored one when sewing the skirt. I have made 60 dolls this year - they sold for $45 to $85 each at auction I was very pleased for the hospital.

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  6. How wonderful that you are passing on the making of bed dolls! I hope the lucky recipients enjoy their dolls.

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  7. Okay, now that I have told you how to dye the milk filters, I will now tell you how to make the dolls darker colors. This may sound mean, but you have to pull the head, arms, and legs off. Now pull off the hair (and save). Using spray paint (Lowe's, Home Depot) from the locked shelf. You want brown- only (do not use black paint). For a Black or a Mexican doll just paint each piece until you have the color you want. Hang all up using your safety pins until dry. Put the arms and legs back on. Using super glue - carefully glue the hair on and replace the head back on the doll. Now using finger nail polish paint the lips, eyes, etc. There you have it!. My Mexican and Black dolls were the hit of the sale this year. The hospital made $85.00 each this year just from my 24 (color) dolls. Plus, $45.00 for the 60 dolls (white) I always make. The auction went very well this year. I have been asked to teach others for next year. Already have 10 ladies signed up for a class.

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  8. Where do you purchase the 6-8" dolls. Can,t find them.

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  9. had these dolls as a teenager my aunt used to make them along with crepe paper roses trying to find dolls to make some for granddaughtrs

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