Today in my doll hospital I got a new patient, a Bitty Baby Twins dolls named Harmony. Harmony needed an eye replacement and hair styling and while she was here her owner wanted her ears pierced as well. The American Girl Hospital will pierce the 18 inch dolls' ears but they won't do the Bitty Babies' due to earrings being considered a choking hazard. So before you proceed please consider if your doll will be a play toy and don't pierce the ears until your child is five years or older and you are confident they won't put the earrings in their mouth.
Choose the spot where you want to pierce the ears and scratch a little mark there so you can make sure the placement is even. It's easiest to put the earring just at the edge of the ear lobe rather than in the center of the lobe the way human earrings are placed. You want the earring to look like it's in the ear but not to have to pierce the thick ear vinyl. Choose the thinnest spot as close to the ear as possible. I use a sewing machine heavy duty needle for both the marking and the piercing. For vinyl dolls, it can be helpful to fill the doll's head with hot water prior to piercing to soften the vinyl. I forgot to photograph that step, but this doll's head was still soft from her eye replacement when I did the piercing.
Bring some water to a boil. This step is also mostly for vinyl, not resin or hard plastic dolls. You are going to use the hot water to heat the needle.
Place the needle in the hot water for a few minutes until it is very hot. Use a hemostat or other tool to hold the needle so you won't burn your hands. If you are piercing a hard plastic doll you will probably need to heat the needle by passing it through a candle flame in order to get it hot enough. That method will cause a black mark on the doll's face where you pierce it unless you wipe off the needle before you pierce the doll. Be careful not to get burned!
The needle should be so hot it's difficult to hold, so I use a napkin or cloth like an oven mitt to protect my fingers. Press the needle steadily and forcefully into the spot you marked previously. Press until the needle breaks though the vinyl.
Now you may insert the earrings. It's helpful to do this while the vinyl is still warm. If you are doing it later you can heat up the earring posts beforehand the same way you heated the needle. If you are going to keep the earrings inserted all the time it's important you choose gold or gold-plated posts. Other metals, including sterling silver, will oxidize and turn your doll's ears green. I use human earrings or make earrings myself from gold-plated posts. You can use wire cutters to trim the posts if they're too long. If you're having trouble with the earrings falling out you can bend the tip so it's square. You turn it while you insert the earring and it will hold itself in. This is how the Revlon doll earrings are inserted and that's why it's important to cut those posts before you remove the earrings. If you just pull the Revlon doll earrings out of the ears you will tear the vinyl ear.
Harmony's owner chose pink faux pearls for her and they're very cute! She's all fixed up and headed home. You can use the doll repair request form below to ask for a repair or service, such as ear piercing.
My name is Amanda, but my childhood nickname was "Mandaline". I am a mother of three turning my passion for creating into a full-time business.