Artist Spotlight: Arnaldo’s Restorations

Back in 2012, my mom and I crashed the room sales at the Kenvention.  It was there that we met Arnaldo.  His room sale was practically an art gallery.  Seriously, this guy creates amazing OOAK creations.  For that reason, I decided Arnaldo should be the first doll artist to spotlight here on Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter. If all goes well, I plan on spotlighting a new artist each month or so.

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Arnaldo.  Arnaldo was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for me regarding his work.


Arnaldo of Arnaldo’s Restorations

Name: Facebook, Arnaldo’s Restorations

Location: Jersey City, New Jersey

Customizing since: 1995

Question:  When did you start working with dolls?

Answer:  While finishing my first Masters in Art and Art Education at Columbia University in New York City around 1989, my way of relaxing from stress was going every weekend to the Chelsea Flea Market. I found dolls and action figures but in deplorable condition. It was then that I started to repaint the missing lips and eyebrows of dolls that were in played-with condition.

OOAK Skippers

Restyled Skippers/Skooter

Question: What started you in customizing?

Answer:  Most of the dolls I started to find had missing hair. Thanks to some doll magazines I learned that hair can be rerooted. Then, I found dolls with such bad hair that all their hair needed to be rerooted. To respect the age of the dolls I started to reroot using hair from similar dolls with cut faces and much damage. Later I realized that nobody was able to do that; instead other people used new hair with a different feel and texture.

Titan American Girl Re-root

Titan American Girl Re-root

Question: In what do you specialize?

Answer:  I specialize in restoring vintage Barbie dolls and her family and friends. What I am known for is for rerooting with original vintage Barbie hair. What I do appeals more to the vintage collector. Instead of customizing I consider that what I do is to restore, studying the lip color, shape, correct hair style and hair texture of the doll I will be working with. I also like to try to create dolls that were never produced like, for example, a titian #3, a titian #4, and titian sideparts. I also do Grandpa Kens that are bald and bearded. Allans were all red heads so I make them brunettes with blue, brown and green eyes – overall, dolls that are one-of-a-kind but that keep their vintage look.

Twist and Turn Pigtails OOAK

Twist and Turn Pigtails

Old Man Ken

Grandpa Ken

Question: Are you a collector yourself?

Answer:  Yes, I have a big collection of vintage Barbies and Kens, including European and Japanese exclusives. I also collect GI Joes, Captain Action, Mego, Tammy, Ginny, Madame Alexander and German and Hong Kong Lillies.

Restored Lilli's

Restored Lilli’s

Japanese Midge

Japanese Midge

Question:  What are some of your favorite One Of A Kind creations?

Answer:  I have many favorites. I love my #4 and bubblecuts with #1 face paint, My Midge with brown side-glance eyes, my titian sidepart American girls, my pigtail TNT and Francies, my TNT and Francies rerooted with real vintage color magic hair, my Grandpa Kens, my latino Ricky and Allans and my brunette Malibu Kens with goatees. I also adore my silkstones for which I also make their outfits. However, every time I restore a doll it becomes my favorite. It gets harder and harder to depart with them.

OOAK Color Magic's

More Examples Of Arnaldo's Work

More Examples Of Arnaldo’s Work

Question:  What is the most fun/enjoyable thing about customizing?

Answer:  Collecting is fun because people remember the dolls they had when they were kids; however, when people get something that they know was never produced and that is special, the admiration for the work and the respect provided by the people that purchase my dolls is the most enjoyable part. The most fun part of all is the amount of doll friends me and my partner Dale have acquired through the years.

OOAK AA Francie's

OOAK AA Francie’s

Fantastically Flocked Color Magic Kens

Fantastically Flocked Color Magic Kens

Question: Where can people find your work?

Answer:  I usually sell all my dolls at the National Barbie Convention. During 2013, I will be attending the (GAW) Grant-a-wish convention in Michigan during April, the National Barbie Convention in August and the Kenvention in October. Also, starting in March, I will be posting my new collection of One of A Kind dolls on my Facebook page. You can find me by searching Arnaldo’s Restorations or email me at Hope all of you keep experiencing the joy of collecting and appreciating what doll artists do.

Ricky in various hair colors (How cute!!!)

Ricky in various hair colors (How cute!!!)

Bearded and Flocked Ken dolls

Bearded and Flocked Ken dolls

Personally, I’m a huge fan of Arnaldo’s and hopefully will own one of his pieces eventually.  Which one?  After seeing his work in person, I’m not sure!  I’m a huge fan of his Ricky repaints, as well as the new takes on Color Magic and Japanese exclusive repaints.  He truly is talented!

A big thank you to Arnaldo for answering my questions and sharing his work with us.  I encourage you to visit Arnaldo’s Restorations on facebook and check out his photo albums.  There are a ton of great dolls that I just didn’t have space to feature in this spotlight!  And as always, feel free to let us all in on your thoughts in the comment area down below.


January 23, 2013. Tags: . Uncategorized.


  1. Barb replied:

    Ashley, what an interesting interview! Arnaldo does a beautiful job restoring and creating these Barbies! I would love to see what his workshop looks like. His photo albums on FB are amazing! Instead of working on my reborns tomorrow, I am going to get my Barbies off the shelf and give them some attention! Thanks for this great blog! Have a groovy day! Barb

    • kewpie83 replied:

      I’ll have to add the workshop question to future Spotlights! Seeing his work in person made me really interested in learning to flock. I’ve put it off, but maybe I should get on that… But then again, I have so many dolls wondering when they’re going to get new hair!!! You, too, have a groovy day!

      • Barb replied:

        Ashley, I was given my first blonde ponytail Barbie doll in 1959 when I was 7 yrs. old. Naturally, my aunt had to give me one because my name was Barbie. Then two yrs. later, the flocked Ken doll came out and my aunt gave me the blonde Ken. Well, my brother and I decided the flocked “hair” was weird, so we scrubbed it off his head, removed the rest with paint thinner from my brother`s model car paint set and then we painted his “hair” yellow blonde with paint from our paint by number oil paints! Everyone was jealous of my Ken because he was definitely different! Wish I still had them! When my niece was a little girl, I gave her all my Barbie stuff. I don`t know what happened to them after that. Have a groovy day! Barb ps- btw, it is very easy to apply flocking, they have it in craft stores, you just apply paint or glue, dip or sprinkle the flocking on and carefully and softly brush off the excess.

        • kewpie83 replied:

          Oh, thanks for the flocking info! It seems like you’ve pretty much been customizing most of your life!

      • Clara Azucena replied:

        Please let me know- I have bought one doll from Arnaldo on Ebay. would love to know more about him . thanks a million

  2. Molly replied:

    These are really cool, I’d have a hard time picking a favorite too!

    • kewpie83 replied:

      Imagine being surrounded by his work during a room sale. My eyes wanted to look everywhere all at once!

  3. barbielea replied:

    I love his stuff. I don’t collect vintage Barbie but I do love looking at them. Those Grandpa Kens are just brilliant! 🙂

  4. discodiva1979 replied:

    What an excellent article-I love the “litte rickies” this artist is phenomenal, Thank you so much for sharing-seriously-you need to write for a magazine!

    • kewpie83 replied:

      I adore his Ricky’s, too. I don’t know if you saw his FB images, but he does Japanese style Ricky’s, too, that have similar eyes to the Japanese Skippers. If I had had money one me at the Kenvention, I would have gone home with one!!!!

  5. Madeline replied:

    Wow they all look so nice.

  6. Dolly Field Trip: Kenvention Open Sales Room | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […]  My mom and I met Arnaldo back in 2012 during the room sales.  He was even kind enough to do an interview here for the blog.  From his booth, I snagged an ooak Skipper repainted with brown eyes and rooted […]

  7. Skipper Highlight Reel: A Trio of Customs | Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter replied:

    […] working on Barbie customs for years and has even been featured in popular doll magazines! I met Arnaldo at a Kenvention a few years back. His customs were pretty awesome looking, but even more so, his […]

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