Build a Doll?
November 19, 2013 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Besides American Girl, are there any other sites that will let you enter some basic characteristics and create a doll for you?

My daughter is turning 5 on Christmas eve. The doll question below made me think of getting her a doll for her birthday. But not just any doll. I want to be able to create a doll that kinda looks like her, or at least has her characteristics.
1. African American skin tones
2. Afro hair (that can be styled into buns/puffs or braided also) - she's having some hair envy regarding her classmates all having straight long "pretty" Caucasian hair and doesn't like her "poofy" "horrible" hair. So I want to use it to teach her to love her hair just the way it is.
3. Regular sized that can take standard sized doll clothes and accessories (if there's such a thing).
or alternatively, can someone recommend a pre-made doll with the above listed characteristics?
(I have nothing per se against American Girl, it's just I don't really like their selection.)

Note: She's on the autism spectrum, (high functioning) and the doll will help with role playing in her ABA therapy programs too.
posted by ramix to Shopping (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Sure. Search for "build a doll that looks like me". You'll see lots of sites, including


My Lookalike Doll
posted by blob at 2:15 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

These look amazing. It looks like they're in pretty high demand though, the waitlist for custom dolls is long.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:17 PM on November 19, 2013

18" doll fan here. That's the "standard" American Girl size. I find MyTwinn dolls to be incredibly creepy looking and not so great for this. Our Generation Dolls, available at Target, also have spooky faces but might work if you like the look. Journey Girls, available at Toys R Us, have two models of their Chavonne dolls that might be good: here's one and here's the other. The Divah line for Positively Perfect Dolls are also lovely, but may be hard to find.

Keep in mind that the cheaper dolls are likely to have rooted hair, which may be thinner and not hold up so well to styling as more expensive dolls like those made by American Girl, who are wigged. But five year olds can be pretty hard on dolls, so a budget doll might make more sense, anyway.

You might find the black doll collecting blog a helpful resource.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:28 PM on November 19, 2013

For a slightly different twist, how about the Muppet Whatnot Workshop? (Larger than standard doll size, but might be just the thing to spark her imagination for role playing?)
posted by xedrik at 2:29 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

I was trying to find out if there was a company that makes these dolls specifically for girls with natural hair and I found a tutorial on how to give a cheap straight-haired doll a natural 'do. Maybe you can use it if you can't find a doll with the right hairstyle.
posted by Biblio at 2:33 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Did some Amazon searching and apparently Madame Alexander has an 18" doll line with some lovely AA dolls as well.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:34 PM on November 19, 2013

posted by kmennie at 2:43 PM on November 19, 2013

Following kmennie's lead, it looks like Gotz' AA 18" doll is the Mina, which is distributed by FAO Schwartz in the US. Also has rooted hair, but the quality looks slightly higher than other brands.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:50 PM on November 19, 2013

You could try Etsy, there are many lovely handmade dolls.
posted by travelwithcats at 4:07 PM on November 19, 2013

Check out Makie, a totally custom 3D printed doll company. Different type and scale than American Girl, but pretty cool.
posted by griffey at 9:13 PM on November 19, 2013

Can you crochet? This book helps you make your own customised doll. There is a pattern in the book for an Afro, but you could use one of the regular wig patterns with a textured or kinky yarn.
posted by mippy at 3:53 AM on November 20, 2013

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