Sunday, 7 May 2017

Tiniest Barbie review and makeover

Hello again! Today we'll talk about the smallest "Barbie" in my collection. I was never into unarticulated figures with plastic hair which I saw on other blogs, however this one came into my possession unexpectedly and I found her small size irresistible. I also thought customizing her could be a fun little project that, if successful, would make her even more charming, and boost my confidence. I had got amazing new glasses a couple of months ago that fix most of my past frustrations with painting and this was a great opportunity to test my new super-vision :)

I found this doll in a pink Kinder Surprise egg. I didn't look for her and I didn't even know Kinder eggs can come with Barbies. For Americans: Kinder are hollow chocolate eggs the size of a hen egg that contain a surprise toy in a capsule inside. We have only original Kinder eggs, but in the EU there are also gendered eggs - with pink or blue splotches on the wrapper. An egg costs a little under 1 euro. The surprises are usually plastic garbage and I would never look at them if they were sold as blind bags, but this way I tell myself I get chocolate, even though I'm not very fond of it - it tastes good, but way too sweet.

Anyway, I got two of the "girl" eggs during my latest trip to Romania. One was a kid bracelet, but the other was this!

A real, miniature Mattel Barbie! She is tiny!

Here's everything in the capsule: Babs herself, a bag, a stand, a sticker sheet and a collection leaflet. I already put a sticker on the bag and two on the trousers. The dolls come in two pieces.

This is the figure from every side:

Her face has amazing detail - eyelashes and a Cupid's bow. The paint is more evenly applied than on 90% of my big dolls. Mattel, you're full of surprises.

The leaflet shows all the dolls in this series and informs us that they are interchangeable at the waist.

I like most of them

One thing I didn't like about this doll, besides the highlighter nightmare palette, were the heelless shoes.

But overall, she had great potential. I could think of several improvements:
- Adding heels and repainting the boots
- Matching the eyebrows to the hair. I doubted I could repaint such tiny eyebrows, but I could paint the hair instead.
- Putting a skirt between the two halves of the body. I don't like super skinny trousers that look like tights where the butt is not covered by a long tunic or something. Just a pet peeve of mine.
- Making a new bag. The pink one is huge and awkward, it always fell off.
- Repainting the top. I don't mind that shade of green, but not on so large a surface. Besides, I had to cover the uneven neck seam somehow.

All of that seemed doable. I dared not think about changing anything about the face because, well... have I mentioned how small this thing is?

With a 1:6th J-doll minutes before going under the knifebrush

I started with the hair. At once it became clear the endeavour was more complicated than it had seemed at first. See that deep ditch between the face and hair?

To make matters worse, an eyebrow got somehow smudged in the process and required fixing.

But worry not, I was prepared for everything.

I managed to fix the eyebrow and paint the first coat on one side, and meanwhile I glued heels made of toothpick tips cut with the scissors at an angle.

I waited to see the hair painted before I decided on her colour scheme. I wanted to make her black with either red or purple. To be honest, what made me choose purple was the fact that I liked the shade straight from the tube, while the perfect red had to be mixed from two paints. Babs's lips were hot pink, that could go either way with a little help. So I dared to put some purple on the lips. I knew I could wipe the fresh paint off with a wet toothpick if anything went wrong.

I also mixed a hint of black into transparent medium to make a simple eyeshadow. I even put a tiny dot of diluted purple in each eye to tame the bright Barbie blue. I was beginning to like the result! It looks backwards at this stage because the figure is shiny and my paints and medium are matte. It should be the other way around.

The next day, I decided the trousers had to become striped tights. There was no risk of wiping off anything important, so I went for it. Painting even stripes on this size of doll is very challenging! If only I had had some striping tape (it's a very narrow decorative sticky tape for nail art)...
To make matters worse, my paint isn't very pigmented and I had to go twice. See the fresh stripes on the thigh? That colour fades to almost black when dry.

Meanwhile, I tried some skirt designs. None of them, be that fabric or paper, wanted to sit nicely. It was such a clever idea in theory, having real removable skirts to change the look! I didn't give it up, but I needed a backup option, so I painted some shorts. The trousers were already black, I just tidied the stripes at the crotch. I also painted purple streaks. Babs was now ready to go to my parents' house where the rest of my art supplies were.

To make the shorts more finished, I painted silver buttons like on my own pair.

I put some varnish on the neckline and stuck black caviar beads. Unfortunately this is my best photo of the step:

At last, I coated everything but the shorts and boots with matte varnish and glossed the eyes and lips.

I was very happy with the look. When I came home, hubby made me the best compliment - "it's as if she was intended like this all along"

I let the varnish dry completely, then added gloss highlights in the hair. At the same time, I started working on the bag. I thought of a kitty bag at first, but I changed my mind and went for a coffin one instead because it would be easier. I can always make the kitty bag later, as they are removable. I started by eyeballing the size.

Then I made a neat pattern and copied it twice on cardboard. I also cut a narrow strip for the side.

I split the side into top and bottom, leaving gaps between them to accommodate the strap. I put the measurements on the strip, but I shortened the top part more after gluing the bottom in.

I bent the strip at the marks and glued it to one of the coffins. I had to hold it in place securely while it dried, because it tended to spring back.

The strap, after some experiments with paper, I cut from vinyl fabric. It looks a little fuzzy on the wrong side, but it's hard to see without magnification. The strap hooks into one of the side gaps with a hook made from a soda can. I simply cut a strip with scissors and bent it.

The construction of the bag is really simple. After gluing the sides to one of the coffin shapes, I glued one end of the strap into one side gap.

Then I glued the other coffin shape, closing the bag. I glued the metal hook to the free end of the strap. The biggest problem with working in this scale is that all your details look like tiny bits of random garbage.

This is where the strap hooks:

I painted everything black and got some filigree nail art for decoration.

I attached it with some varnish. I later shortened the strap and glued it to the outside of the bag, as I couldn't fit it into the side hole any more.

Lastly, I made a new stand. I liked the shape, so I traced it on thick cardboard, the kind that's used for framing pictures. I used a mini drill bit with a pin vise to drill a hole for the foot peg.

I filed the edges and painted the stand black with a purple gradient in the middle. I think I'll make another stand because I don't like the placement and the angle of the hole, but it will do for now.
And this is the doll after the makeover!

The leopard is a bit out of scale, but it's the closest thing I have to a matching feline for this doll. I found it in a Kinder egg, too. It came with a piece of bark to sit on.
Here are some more angles of the finished doll:

I made Babs's skirt by gathering a lace ribbon and sewing the ends together. It took a lot of headscratching to figure out how to stop it from riding up, but ultimately I cut a piece of the same lace and cut a hole in it just big enough for the waist peg. It isn't even centered.

The doll comes apart at the waist, as it used to before the repaint. I wanted to glue some of the same lace to the sleeves and collar, but the glue didn't hold, so I left the top bare.

A better look at the bottom half with the stripes and the heels:

And the makeup, with the matte and gloss in the right places:

Here are all the extra items I made from scratch:

I have to admit that although putting a tutu over the leggings was the starting point of this makeover project, I prefer the no-skirt look.

Some of the photos look horribly messy, so much that I need to remind myself just how tiny this doll is. Here she is with some standard Barbie shoes.

In fact, let's take the whole doll:

Nice lighter you have there for a purse.

What do I think about repainting big Barbie and her accessories after this experience? Piece of cake :D


I really, really liked the concept of tiny Barbies with interchangeable halves. The following time I went abroad, I got a whole case of pink eggs (12), but alas, I found no more Barbies. The closest thing to a doll was a mermaid, but she has more child-like proportions and doesn't go with anything in my collection. It was to be expected, because I rarely find anything worthy in Kinder eggs. Babs and the panther were my only good finds, overall. I also have some dino skeletons, but those were given to me by a friend. I'm tempted to keep trying until I find one more to mix and match, but I don't know how long this series is going to be out and how often I'll have the chance to buy gendered eggs.

What about you, do you collect Kinder egg surprises? Did you find any interesting toys inside? What do you think of my makeover project? Thanks for reading!

The Black Kitty


  1. Like what you did - amazingly different look! Maybe you could check out german evilbay for lots of surprise eggs novelty toys - mothers try often rid their places of that plastic bric-a-brac.

    1. I'd like to get rid of some plastic bric-a-brac myself! But ordering those from Germany is cost-prohibitive for me, seeing as I don't live there.

  2. She's so tiny and looks SO AMAZING now! I'd buy a line of gothy gals like this!

    1. Thank you! Making a line of tiny gothy gals (for myself) is why I wanted to find more of these Barbies :) Bleeding Edge had cool Goth figurines, but they were pretty big, 7" if I'm not mistaken.

  3. Wow, the difference is amazing! :D Honestly, the before is cute, but I'd never think she had all this potencial, she looks super cool now! And what a tiny little thing she is. It's incredible all the details you were able to give her. Congrats on another fabulously successful project! ^^

    1. Thank you! I liked the before version, but customizing is more fun :) What I did is nothing, you should check AkameruKawaii on Youtube, she recently painted a doll about this size from scratch, pupils, highlights and everything D:

  4. AWESOME project! The fact that you were able to do so much with something so small is AMAZING!
    Signed, Treesa

    1. I'm glad you liked it! I recommend AkameruKawaii and SugarCharmShop on Youtube if you like tiny dolls and other miniatures.

  5. Amazing work and suuuuch tiny details ♥♥♥

    1. Thank you! I can't take credit for everything, most of the work was already done :)

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you! I see you have a fashion blog, looks interesting!

  7. What a great job giving this doll a makeover! I don't think I would have dared trying the stripes on the pants. Then again, I'm always afraid of messing something up.

    Mr. BTEG and I enjoyed buying Kinder eggs when we were in Germany *cough* years ago. The only thing I remember getting was a little plastic train, which was cool mainly because it was so tiny. I just saw a few weeks ago that chocolate eggs are being made with brands like Ever After High, Strawberry Shortcake and Hello Kitty. If they had chocolate eggs here, I would definitely buy them.

    1. Thank you! I dared to paint the tights because they were far from the face and I could always wipe them with alcohol or scrape them if I didn't like them. But they turned out alright for the size.
      It's too bad Kinder eggs are outlawed for you, some of the toys are cute. I have a tiny tractor and a car I like. There's something about the small size that makes these toys special. But then again, more often than not you get stupid toys that aren't miniatures of anything, like ugly Angry Birds themed "flying" toys that don't even work.

  8. You did such a good job! I love miniatures of cute. :)

    1. I agree, the smaller, the cuter... and takes less valuable space! Thank you for stopping by (^^)~

  9. AMAZING! This is so clever. I've never seen these minis before and I like the concept of them being interchangeable. I'm not knocking her original look, but she appears so much more interesting now.

    1. Thank you, Muff! If I didn't like her initial look and concept I would have tossed her with the rest of my Kinder garbage :)

  10. Love what you did with her, BlackKitty! She does look more interesting now. I like how HUGE her bag was - like she meant to do some serious shopping. Thanks for sharing your process and the result.

    1. Thank you, D7ana! I think that was supposed to be a gym bag - I found some versions of the leaflet with more information and this Babs is labeled "sporty".

  11. Great attention to detail! I love the makeover. :)

    1. Thank you! Sorry I forgot to warn you about the non-gothiness of my blog...


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