Monday, March 25, 2013

Cleaning and fixing

You surely know how rare (and thrilling!) it is find vintage Lundby dollhouses, furnishings, or dolls in pristine or like-new condition. Most bear the marks of time and use—from tiny tears, chips, and scuffs to heavy dirt and grime.

For me, part of the fun of collecting is fixing vintage items and attempting to return them to their former glory. Read on for some mini cleaning and restoration techniques I have found useful.

Yellowed or scuffed plastic

Use a slightly damp “magic eraser” type sponge on white plastic railings, dollhouse frames, and even plastic fencing and furniture (like the early 70s Pop chair above). Scour well, being careful not to get floor or wall papers wet. This may not remove yellowing entirely but it does help, especially on scuff marks and dirt.

Soiled or dull fabrics

To brighten dingy or stained curtains, bedding, and rugs without bleaching, soak them in warm water with a denture tablet for about 15 minutes. Then rinse and let dry.

Do not soak upholstered furniture. Instead, wipe it gently with a damp soapy sponge and dry with a hairdryer. Rather than remove clothing from dolls (as it’s often glued on), put the dolls in for a bath, fully clothed!

Here's one such doll (Lundby's version of Elvis?) and two curtains that have received the denture bath treatment:

Chipped paint

Hide blemishes on painted wood with grease/wax pencils of a matching color, then buff up. A good match for touchups to ivory-colored furniture is Plaid’s “FolkArt” series of acrylic paint in Tapioca (color 903). Plaid’s also makes a metallic paint that can be used for gold detailing.

Furniture repair

To mend broken furniture, I use a clear-drying white craft glue like Aleene's Tacky Glue.

I hope you find these tips helpful for your Lundby restoration work. I'd love to hear about your own special techniques and projects!

I owe many of these great ideas to my super resourceful friends Sue, Linda, and Sieglinde. Thank you all!

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