Tuesday, 10-04-2012 at 23:35 | 1 Comment | by manikamanila Under Guides

SURVIVAL GUIDE #1: HELP! My BJD Just Fell Into The Water!

Accidents do happen. You’re taking some seaside or poolside photos to show off. Then suddenly – SPLASH! Your doll had fallen into the water! Oh noes! What can you do to save them?

SCIENTIFIC FACT: Both sea and pool water can do serious damage to the resin. This is because sea water contains a lot of salt and harmful acid that can corrode your doll by “eating” away the epoxy/PVC filling in the resin. Pool water, on the other hand, has chlorine which is just as hazardous!

But, DO NOT PANIC! Get your doll out of the water and immediately unstring them and dry the resin parts off. Dry off the elastic cord and any metal parts as well. Wipe your doll down in a cloth with drinking water. Do not use water from the faucet! Our tap water also has chlorine!

While you might be tempted to lay your doll parts in the sun to dry, doing it will allow the acid from the sea water to dry in the resin’s “pores”, and that will do permanent damage. Instead, follow the rescue steps listed below:


To put together an alkaline wash, combine the following:
– warm water
– a table spoon of baking soda
– a table spoon of face soap

The important ingredient here is the baking soda. This will regulate PH levels and neutralize the acids. Now, take your unstrung resin parts (except the head) and submerge them in the wash for five minutes. When that is done, gently clean the resin surface with a cleaning sponge and rinse the inner walls of the body. Follow this up by a soak in a basin of warm water before drying them off with a clean towel.

As for the head, wet a piece of cloth in the mixture and wrap it around the piece. After five minutes, lightly dab the moisture away with a clean towel.


Do not dry your doll out in the sun! Grab a hair dryer and cotton buds. Now that your doll is dry from the alkaline wash, make sure to clean out the little gaps in the joint areas and the hollow of the body with the cotton buds. Think it’s not dry enough? Just give a brisk, strong blow into the hollow of the part to force out any water droplets.

When you’re confident that your doll is totally dry, it’s time to do some hot air fuming with the hair dryer. In this step, hold the resin parts with a cloth. The heat from the dryer can make them too hot to hold. Keep a distance of 30cm (that’s just a little taller than a Yo-SD) between the resin and the dryer.

When you do hot air fuming, move the dryer in an up-and-down motion while continuously rotating the part. Do not overexpose the part to the dryer for more than three seconds to prevent overfuming, which will make the resin turn brittle over time.

After you’ve done the hot air fuming on all the parts, leave them in room temperature (not an airconditioned room) to cool down for 15 minutes.

3. DO A POWDER WASH (only if you want to be extra-sure).

While this is an optional step, it will help to get rid of any condensation and dampness from the last two steps. To do this, you just need baby powder. Lightly dust the surface of the resin parts with the powder and shake off any excess. Afterwards, leave your doll to set overnight for at least six (6) hours before restringing, preferably with a brand new elastic cord.

Once that’s done, your doll is ready to go out once more! Just make sure they don’t wander too close to the water again!

QUICK SURVIVAL TIP: Tap water has chlorine which is as harmful as seawater. You might think you’re giving your doll spa treatment, but you’re actually helping him yellow! Remember to use drinking water to clean your beloved BJDs!

SURVIVAL GUIDE #2: Help! My BJD is Turning Yellow!

One of the things we’ve all learned as BJD owners is never to leave our dolls under the sun. The question is… why? Resin is a type of plastic, isn’t it?

WARNING: This is going to get very technical, but aren’t we all nerds here?

While resin is definitely a type of plastic, its components mke it very different from your average vinyl Barbie. The resin used in our dolls is composed of resin fiber and polyvinyl ether/polyester/epoxy. If the resin in the doll has more resin fiber, it becomes stronger and harder to mold. The fillants (polyvinyl ether/polyester/epoxy) are used to make a smoother material that allows for easier molding, sanding, and surface handling. To bond the resin fiber and the fillants, a high temperature is used.

Now, to be able to bond through high temperature, the resin mixture needs to contain heat resisting compounds known as ‘oxides’ and sometimes ‘dioxides’. These two compounds will play the starring roles in the story of why our dolls yellow.

Oxides in general react to heat to form a stable fusion during fixing. Commonly, these are made from metal and carbon pigments. Although these oxides exist in microscopic volumes, their characteristics are visible in our dolls.

When oxides are exposed to ultraviolet rays, they absorb it and turn dark. Furthermore, since they react to heat, exposure to the sun’s rays makes the oxides “busy” and slows the reaction to the shading. But over time, the resin loses its natural surface and becomes a dull brownish shade. This reaction also makes the resin vulnerable to oil from your body, or from the environment.

Since metal/carbon oxides are rare and carry a high price tag, this type of “yellowing” is found in high quality resin, like that of Volks Super Dollfies. Volks SD owners will notice that as the dolls age, they “tan” more than “yellow”.

Notice the color difference between Uno (left) and Lugosi (right). They are of the same mold: Volks SD Tsukasa Konoe. Uno has been tortured with all kinds of UVs: sunlight, camera flashes and klieg lights during Mistula shoots. Lugosi is of the same age (7 years) but he rarely ventures out into the sun and is often fully clothed.

On the other hand, dioxides are a commonly used compound as it is easily “hidden” during the fusion process due to its natural white/crystal color. There are two types of dioxides: one yellowish, and the other white. Bonds using dioxides are generally stronger and harder compared to oxides which are “creamier” and smooth. Just like the oxides, dioxides will react to ultraviolet light.

When dioxides react to ultraviolet light, they turn white, making the resin take on a powdery color. For some dioxides, discoloration will occur. Just like oxides, heat will make the dioxides lose their color and turn dull. Heat also leaves them vulnerable to oil.

Dioxides are cheaper in price and carry good heat retaining properties, which means less of it is needed in the fusion process. Thus, this “yellowing” process with the powdery effect will be seen in lower grade resin.

Source: Den of Angels

If you think that sunlight is the only enemy to doll resin, think again. The worst kind of oxide/dioxide pigmentation will occur when there is “cool UV”. This “cool UV” can be found in camera flashes. What makes things worse is that the UV content in a single flash is a highly concentrated dose, able to give off almost 500 times the normal dose from sunlight in five minutes.

Because “cool UV” comes with no heat, it catches the oxides and dioxides in a “sleeping” state (as opposed to busy) and releases the shading properties immediately. Within five minutes of exposure to “cool UV”, discoloration will start to show on the doll. With that said, try to prevent exposing your dolls directly to camera flashes whenever possible.

So, how will you be able to save your doll from all this UV exposure?

First of all, you can use UV protective sprays on your doll’s body. This can temporarily reduce the damage done by the sun’s rays. Sadly, this won’t be effective against the highly concentrated dose of “cool UV” from a camera’s flash. Also, UV sprays need to be periodically renewed as it can chip off over time.

Don’t fret when you notice your doll is yellowing, though. Think of it as them getting accustomed to life under the Philippine sun. After all, yellowing is but a part of the life of a BJD and it doesn’t mean they’ll get less pretty. In fact, some owners do appreciate the way their dolls age over time. But don’t use this as an excuse to leave your doll sunbathing. Remember that moderation is key and the less you put your doll in the sun, the nicer their resin will stay.

TRIVIA: Did you know that our dolls have the same material as G-Shock watches? If you owned a G-shock, especially a light-colored Baby-G, you will notice how quickly it yellows with constant use because of the three abovementioned factors: 1. Sunlight, 2. Oil from your skin and occasionally, 3. Seawater (for those who swim with surfer G-shocks). So if you want your doll to stay as fresh-from-the-box-white, give him or her a quick wipe with a moistened sponge and wipe dry with a clean cloth after handling!

AND REMEMBER: AVOID USING THE FLASH! It’s bad for the resin and does not make for very flattering photos!

Special thanks to Krishna for editing and Mori for sharing his scientific know-how with ManikaManila!

1 Comment for “BJD Summer Survival”

Jam-Di @ 28-04-2012 - 15:39

Wow! They are very helpful!

I don’t have a doll but interested in the hobby. I don’t know if I’ll be able to have one since a BJD’s price can worth a new house furniture. But if I’ll be ever to have one, this guide is very helpful and will help me sustain my doll. Thank you very much!