Q and A: Restringing a Toni Doll

Cynthia Geer Wright contacted me recently to ask how to restring a Toni doll. Never having done it myself, I provided her with a YouTube video to watch. The title of the video is How I Restrung My Toni Doll. We posted her question on the Toni Doll Fan Club on Facebook also. Right away, some other members said they needed advice on this too.

Cynthia’s doll – ready for restringing.

Those who had experience doing this project shared their advice:

  • I personally like cord and buy that on eBay. It seems easier than the rubber bands as I can do it by myself. A big hook is the only tool I use to string dolls. You can buy the S hooks at hardware stores for a lot cheaper than on E-Bay. (Kathy Wahlquist Akin)
  • A number of people recommended Dollspart, a website that sells doll supplies.

Cynthia commented, “I’m apprehensive about restringing my first doll. Reassures me that so many others have done it.” Kathy Wahlquist Akin reassured her, “It’s so easy. After you do it you’ll laugh at how nervous you were.”

I was pleased to see a few days later that Cynthia got her nerve up and did the restringing. Here is her experience:

Woo hoo! Success! I’ll be darned. I’m not someone who is confident in my ability to learn manual skills so this is great. Advice: watch the video, The Basics of Cleaning and Stringing Vintage and Antique Dolls. I watched it a couple times, scrutinizing it and taking notes! The Toni doll restringing is about 2/3 way through. And I did use the rubber band. And the hemostat! (a hemostat is a medical clamp that looks similar to a pair of scissors)

I got stuck a place or two but figured it out…Crimped the head post that kept unhooking as I tried to pull the band, but not closed, just enough to stay better. Pulled the wide rubber band all the way down in the hook so it wouldn’t tear. I used the hemostat to grab the band. Then I had to PULL it hard through the opening and set so I could reach the band with the little hook. Yep, more pics of process would be helpful! Next time!

Cynthia Geer Wright
Cynthia, “All back together! Phew! And her limbs and head are much tighter.”

D Is for the Dog Ate My Toni Doll

I sometimes mention my Toni doll to women in their 60s and often their eyes will light up and they’ll tell me about their Toni doll from childhood. Most of them no longer have the doll in their possession. Growing up, moving, and other life events separate them from the doll they loved.

One of the saddest stories I’ve heard was a neighbor’s memory. She had saved her doll even into adulthood with the idea of giving it to her daughter. Unfortunately, the dog found the doll and chewed its leg off. I asked if she had saved the parts, but sadly, she had already tossed them out.

dog chewing on toy
Protect your doll from dogs who might chew on it.

Too bad that she didn’t know how easily one could replace the leg. There are usually several damaged dolls or parts of Toni dolls selling on eBay and you can find on Etsy, the strong rubber bands needed to restring the doll.

cathieledollhospital etsy toni bands restring
The bands used to restring a 14-inch Toni doll. These are sold by Cathieledollhospital on Etsy. The bands come with a diagram for restringing the doll.

When you check for doll parts on eBay, first search for the name of the doll. In this case, search for Toni doll. Next, set the search for lowest price which brings up odds and ends relating to these dolls and also brings up low-priced doll parts or damaged dolls whose parts can be salvaged. The doll shown below is missing one arm but can be bought on eBay. 

The most important part to check is the size of the doll to be sure it matches your own. Look on the back of the torso for the number. It will say P-90 or a similar number. Each number indicates a different size Toni doll, so it is important to get the right one when you are replacing a part.

Toni doll parts ebay