Help me re-create this awesomely creepy doll
March 7, 2013 12:39 PM   Subscribe

When my partner started dating his now ex-wife, his first Hanukkah gift to her was an well-intentioned but ill-received doll that has become an ongoing joke for over 20 years. Now I want to see if I can have another doll made in the same manner, but I don't know where to look to have this done.

So my partner had this doll created on a total whim - he had been walking in the west village sometime in the 80's, where he came across some novelty store that would make a doll personalized with your face. Each doll was made of cloth and stuffed, and came in a generic male or female body that is about 3 feet tall, with a blank head. The way it was personalized is that they would take your picture, print it on a cloth sleeve, and then secure the sleeve with your face printed on it over the blank head. The effect wound up hilariously creepy - a bland, cotton body, with a photo-realistic picture of one's head.

Needless to say, my partner's ex did not find this the most romantic first Hanukkah gift, and stuffed it into a closet, where it still managed to serve as the butt of many a joke all those years.

Fast forward two decades, where I get told the story of the infamous "Ted Doll" - not only was my partner's ex happy to show it to me, but she decided that the Ted Doll now gets to live with us. Ever since then, we take turns leaving the Ted Doll in varying locations in the house, even leaving notes to each other from the Ted Doll.

With my partner's birthday coming up, I had a flash of inspiration - I want to have an equivalent Neely Doll made, to keep the Ted Doll company and join him on adventures. But none of the personalized dolls I can find use photo reproductions of one's face. Does anyone know of a company that does this? Or a way I can make it myself? I'm hoping the hive mind can make my creepy doll idea become reality!
posted by Neely O'Hara to Shopping (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you checked Etsy? Also, google personalized bobble heads. Probably not big enough for what you want but my hubby had one made of his business partner and it turned out very well...
posted by pearlybob at 12:42 PM on March 7, 2013

It's easy enough to print on plain muslin fabric with an inkjet printer -- you don't even need to shell out for the spendy special paper-backed fabric at the craft store, just iron it really well. From there it's just plain sewing!
posted by at 12:42 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you tried to do it yourself? Try all of the different iron on transfers you can print with a home computer and put it on a t-shirt and make a doll from that! Get a t-shirt that has a bit of stretch so you can create the distortion.
posted by Yellow at 12:43 PM on March 7, 2013

I'd try this -

1. Get a muslin doll body.

2. Get some iron-on photo transfer paper.

3. Use the paper to make an iron-on transfer of your face in the right size for the doll's head, and iron it on.

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:44 PM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]

PillowMob makes similarly creepy face pillows.
posted by mollymayhem at 12:48 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

I should mention that I don't have a sewing machine and don't sew, and my inkjet isn't working at the moment - but I had no idea you could get muslin doll bodies, so that's a great suggestion! I might be able to enlist the help of a friend. But I would also pay to order one if it was reasonably priced, so any suggestions along those lines would be great too. Thanks!
posted by Neely O'Hara at 12:49 PM on March 7, 2013

I don't know what you consider reasonable, but there is someone on etsy who does this with images of your pet who might be willing to do a one off.
posted by redindiaink at 12:53 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

There are Little Me Photo Dolls.
posted by Ery at 12:56 PM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

I keep seeing this exact service offered at kiosks at local shopping malls (second tier malls, the kind anchored by a JC Penneys or Sears). There's this place online, no idea if they are reliable but they sure do fit the bill for horrifying results.
posted by jamaro at 12:58 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Got all excited when I found the Little Me dolls, but Ery beat me to it.

These are pretty creepy, not as good as Little Me.

This woman makes custom rag dolls on etsy, or so it says on her blog. You could contact her and ask if she can do a doll with a photo transfer face.

Might also just search "custom dolls" on etsy.

I'd offer to do it myself if I had an inkjet!
posted by bunderful at 1:08 PM on March 7, 2013

Oh Lordy, I have to admit that I've actually done this. (Girls weekend when one of us couldn't attend, made a doppelgänger, brought it along to all the festivities, took lots of pictures.) Mine was life sized. Muslin head with iron-on transfer for the face. Long sleeved tshirt, muslin hands, old jeans, old anklet-style house shoes for feet. Stuffed with plastic grocery bags. Yarn or wig, depending on hairstyle. It really isn't that hard if you can find a friend with just basic sewing experience. It was VERY creepy.
posted by raisingsand at 3:14 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

You Doo Doll, don't know how easy they are the get in the US though
posted by missmagenta at 5:43 AM on March 8, 2013

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