Kruseling dolls
Small Articulated Dolls – Under £25

Researching online for small articulated dolls sent me down a rabbit hole. I got totally lost and absorbed in vintage Sindy. So much so, that I spent hours on several websites, reading everything there is to know about Sindy.

Amanda Volley’s brilliant write up instantly transported me back to my childhood, triggering long forgotten memories. If only I had kept my Sindy!

Fast forward to now and I’m wanting to buy the newest Sindy, a fully articulated version, totally geared for the adult collector. Only I’m not a collector in the true sense; I simply love dolls of a certain type. They must be easily stored, poseable and realistic. Realistic in the sense that they are able to be handled, dressed, undressed and pose-able for regular adventures. I like a doll to be small enough to come on holiday with me without it taking up most of my carry bag.

I’m not sure if I’d want to do that with the latest Sindy though. Priced at £79.99, she’s too immaculate, smartly dressed and preened with a bit too much make-up, for travelling economy class. So, I took a step back and reminded myself of what I want in a doll, if I intend to buy one. It must be a small articulated doll under £25.

This video from Kid Kreations shows all six Sindy dolls from their Sindy Collectors Range that they launched last year.

I shall carry on searching for my vintage Sindy before I decide if I’ll buy the new 2020 articulated one. But thanks to Amanda’s post with lots of useful links, including Vintage Sindy, with great delight I’ve found and have started following @sindyobsessed, @sewsindy, @jollydolly and @sindycollectorsclub on Instagram. Anyone care to join me!

With the price of ball-jointed dolls these days, Kruselings offer very good value for less than £25. Although not true BJD, they are adequately articulated for realistic posing. They also fit well with economy-style travel, having been tested with my grandchildren of primary-school-age, albeit with my supervision.

If there is a downside to choose buying a Kruseling, it’s the lack of finding UK sellers of Kruseling dolls. Maybe it’s due to the dolls being readily available on Amazon. My latest purchase was Luna Kruseling (pictured below).

I purchased Luna via Amazon and was disappointed with the quality. Everything was perfectly good, apart from one of her legs. It looks like she has two right legs (knee to ankle, photo below). There is a distinct shape to left and right legs of Kruselings and I compared her to the others I have. They are OK but Luna’s left knee definitely points sideways, making that leg slightly longer than the right one.

I’m in two minds to contact Kathe Kruse in Germany to make them aware of this quality flaw but as I purchased from Amazon, I suppose that I should really complain to them. Meanwhile I don’t mind having a 2-right-legged Luna as these days I’m trying very hard to reel in my OCD of perfection!

If you’re looking to buy a Kruseling doll, I found three UK online sellers today with stock of Kruselings. Here they are:

  • NonsuchShop, with a bricks-and-mortar-shop in Devon and an online shop.
  • EvesToyShop, with a bricks-and-mortar-shop in West Wales and an online shop, and voted best independent toy shop in the UK for 2017/18.
  • My Doll Best Friend, with solely an internet-only shop.

Since owning a Kruseling doll I’ve developed a keen interest in ‘scene setting’. You only need to search Instagram for #Kruselings to discover lots of inspiration and I try my best to participate when the time allows it. Scene setting is popular for doll owners and their creativity never ceases to amaze me. Check out @windrose_dolls, @escapetodollworld, @thesunflowerfrog, @bellie_beth_baby, @my_other_world, @wandylovesdolls and @little_miss_dressy of course!

Back to the subject of reasonably priced, small articulated dolls. I’ve yet to check out the complete range of Made To Move Barbies. Although I’ve never been a big fan of Barbie dolls, these ones have definitely caught my eye. There are some great Instagram images showing the doll’s pose-ability and I especially like #barbiemadetomovecurvy and #barbiemadetomoveyoga. There’s certainly a wide range to choose from.

It was this ‘scene setting’ interest of mine that led me to vintage Sindy and where this story started. It’s hard to find interesting 1/6th scale accessories at a good price and Sindy popped up on my eBay search. There she was in all her glory, surrounded by her ‘scene setting’ accessories.

I have attempted to make some of my own accessories and so far I’ve made a garden seat, plates of food, doll’s bed, bean bag chair and slider sandals. All of these are detailed in previous blog posts.

Kruselings are 1/6th scale so I’m hoping that Sindy accessories will fill the gap (I currently have my eye on her yellow scooter). When I finally get to buy at a reasonable price then I shall let you know.

Kruseling dolls bed
Making a Bed for a Small Doll (Kruselings)

Here’s how I went about making a bed for our Kruseling dolls, using lollipop sticks and a glue gun. Once I had worked out how to make it, it took me about an hour to cut and glue the pieces together. Initially there was more thinking than doing but after I had drawn the template the assembly was quite straightforward.

It’s not true 1/6th scale but it’s size was dependent on these 3 factors;

  • Long enough for a 9 inch Kruseling doll
  • Fit within the doll’s house room and still look realistic
  • Shallow enough to fit inside a 12 inch carry case.

Once I had decided on the size of bed I started the preparation;

  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Measuring tools
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Clippers
  • Weights
  • 11.5 cm long lollipop sticks (I used 41 sticks but allowed more for error)

Mark out the paper template

This is a rectangle measuring 11½ cm by 24½ cm (I used my quilter’s ruler to get the angles correct and I drew the rectangle).

Using a lollipop stick, draw around them to mark out their placements within the rectangle.

Cutting the lollipop sticks

There are 6 cuts in total using 4 lollipop sticks. Measure at the 8cm mark and cut 4 sticks to the 8cm length. Using 2 of the remaining 3.5cm pieces, measure 1cm from the cut end and cut to shorten the stick to 2.5cm. You will have 4 bed corner posts and 2 centre-bracing bed frame posts.

Assemble the Bed Frame

The template was used to line up the lollipop sticks and I used my sewing weights to stop the sticks from moving while I glued them together.

Start with the long sides and place a lollipop stick at each corner. Use another stick to overlap at the centre.

Using the weights to keep in place on the template, add the 2 ends to form a rectangle. Turn over and add 3 more vertical sticks (left, centre and right) for rigidity.

Using the paper template a a guide, continue adding vertical lollipop sticks to form the slats along the base. Also add 4 sticks horizontally at the sides.

Assemble the Bed Posts

Using the template, set the 8 cm long sticks at the correct distance apart and with weights in place, glue the horizontal sticks across.

The spacing is up to you, but the lowest stick needs to be situated so that the base is set at the correct height. Draw a line at 2.5 cm from the floor-edge.

Attach the Bed Frame to the Bed Posts

Place the bed post flat on the table and glue the bed frame to it above the 2½ cm line, ensuring it sits at right angles. Add more glue to the underside edge of the bed so that it’s not seen. Do the same for the 2nd bed post. Check that it all sits level.

Attach the Bracing Bar

With the bed turned upside down, glue one 2½ cm stick vertically to both sides at the midway point. Use a 3rd stick to form a bracing bar to help hold them in place.

At this stage I could see the bed was in its final stages and Sophia #Kruseling got to try it out.

Finish

There were glue strands that needed picking off and I tried as best I could to lightly sand any parts that required smoothing down. Then it was ready for painting! It got two coats of Liquitex Gesso and I left it with the matt finish.

After I had made the mattress, pillow and duvet I secretly wished I were that size, small enough to snuggle down in the bed next to Sophia.

With the prices of 1/6th scale beds these days, I was absolutely delighted to have been able to make my own. My 11½ cm lollipop sticks cost £1 for 100 and I used 3 or 4 glue sticks.

Three beds have been made so far, two are for Xmas presents (that fit in a little carry case with a Kruseling doll) and I get to keep one. I hope you feel inspired to have a go!

Party outfit by Little Miss Dressy
Kruselings miniature plate of food
Making a Miniature Plate of Food for Kruselings 1:6 scale

If you want to know about making a miniature plate of food for your Kruseling doll then this post may interest you. I’m always looking at ways for making miniature accessories for my dolls. There are lots available on the internet but it can work out expensive if, like me, you’re looking to build up a good and varied collection.

I was on the hunt for some plates of food and after not being able to find what I wanted, I set about making them myself. I found plenty of 1/12th scale, but not 1/6th which is the size needed for Kruselings (or Mini Amigas, or Barbies).

To make the miniature plates of food I figured that I would need 4 plates, food, glue, tweezers and varnish. I already had the glue, tweezers and varnish, so I scoured online (including eBay and Amazon) for the right size plates and food but again, search results were not quite what I wanted.

Quite by chance I came across nail art accessories that resembled fruit slices and they looked the right size so I took a chance and ordered them. I intended using milk carton tops for plates but they were a bit too deep for displaying the food.

I’m lucky to have a handy husband who made me some aluminium plates to the exact diameter I wanted, otherwise I’d have probably gone with buying 1/12th scale from eBay, which would have been fine for a tea plate but I wanted a dinner size plate.

Materials & Tools Used to Make a Miniature Plate of Food

  • 32mm diameter plates
  • Nail Art Decoration Fimo slices (£2.99 incl postage from uk_beauty_supplies on eBay)
  • PVA glue
  • Small paint brush
  • Reverse action tweezers.

Method:

1) Prepare the fimo fruit slices according to how you want them laid out to get an idea of how many will fit the plate. I chose lines of overlapping slices. (My pack contained 12 compartments of at about 10 slices in each and my plates have 21,29, 31, 33 slices on them).

2) Work on 1 plate at a time and place a thin layer of glue on it using a small paint brush. (I think my slices are 1mm thick and I made the glue layer the same thickness.)

3) Use the reverse action tweezers to pick up the fimo slice and place it on the plate. (A second pair of ordinary tweezers also helps to steady the plate when doing this.)

4) Leave to dry completely. A coat of clear nail varnish on top will give a shiny glaze and finish it off nicely.

If you have the patience to make your own plates, I found some great YouTube videos for making them;

  1. This one uses plain 300gsm card and nail varnish.
  2. This one uses plain card.
  3. This one makes fancy plates using a computer print out.

Here’s Vera #Kruseling preparing lunch for her friends!

Sofia Kruseling sat on her bean bag chair
Making a Bean Bag Chair for a Kruseling Doll 1:6 Scale

Making a bean bag chair for your Kruseling doll is quite straightforward and uses two pieces of fabric of exactly the same size. It can be made in under an hour and the trickiest part is filling the bag without spilling anything.

My inspiration sometimes comes out of nowhere; I recently had a clear out of old gift boxes and discovered some bags of tiny polystyrene beads that had been used as padding. It was these that gave me the idea to make my Kruselings their bean bags. I had no idea if there was enough but I thought I’d start with making one and see how much filling was left. It was mostly guess work by eye.

I started looking for a picture of a child-sized bean bag and came across a great blog post by Project Nursery that details how to sew one up. The child in the post’s photo looked about the same age as a Kruseling doll and so I used those measurements detailed in the blog post and divided by six to scale it down.

I drew out the pattern for a Kruseling doll bean bag as shown below. It’s a rectangle 7.5 inches by 5.5 inches, with one end curved.

To test if the size was correct, I first cut out the pattern using some plain cotton and sewed around three sides with a 1cm seam, leaving the shortest straight edge open. (Folding in the seam allowance and ironing the open edge at this stage helps for when sewing it up later.)

I filled up the bag to about one inch from the open edge. This left enough fabric to sew closed the seam and gave the right amount of bagginess to the bag. I machine sewed the seam closed, as near the edge as possible.

Happy with the size, after testing it out on Joy Kruseling, I made a cover for it in exactly the same way but hand-sewed the opening closed.

The key thing to remember is that the opening seam has to be twisted or off-set, like shown in the photo below; the side seams get brought to the centre.

I had enough filling to make three bean bags, so one for each of my Kruselings. If I were to make any more I think I’d try dried rice as the filling in place of polystyrene balls because no matter how careful I was, static made them dart everywhere.

One bean bag cover requires half a fat quarter but of course it’s not entirely necessary to make a separate cover for the bag because it’s twice the work, but it does give some flexibility for changing colour scheme whenever you like.

The bags were finished just in time to get a shot of the girls relaxing in the garden before the sun went down.

Joy, Sofia & Vera Kruseling
make a garden seat for your doll
Make a Garden Seat for your Doll 1.6 scale

How to make a garden seat for your doll using lollipop sticks and a glue gun. This took me an afternoon to make and I only needed to make a cut on 4 lollipop sticks (4 halves for the seat’s front legs and 4 halves for the seats). The rest were used singly by placing and gluing together. A total of 56 lollipop sticks were used. There wasn’t much measuring involved and I did a lot of this by eye, but I did take photos for each step in case anyone else would care to make their own.

I started by finding a picture of a garden seat that I wanted, purely to give me an idea of the structure. I soon realised that if I wanted to copy the seat in the photo exactly that I’d need to make several cuts, so I changed the design as I went along. I decided to make 2 wide chairs and join them together (somehow). I made both the chairs at the same time instead of one chair and then the next. So for each step that is listed below, I did twice before doing the next step.

Chair Back

For each chair there are 2 rear uprights that are the length of 2 lollipop sticks. The 2 sticks are joined together by overlapping with a 3rd stick. So each upright uses 3 sticks. Be sure to measure the overlapping stick at the halfway mark as this is important to make the chair sit evenly.

The uprights have 2 horizontal supporting bars.

They also have 3 more sticks for the headrest.

Chair Seat

Each chair uses 5 lollipop sticks with 1 cut in half. The image below is showing 2 in half to be ready for making both chairs.

1. Glue the 2 halves to one stick, at right angles on each end.

2. Glue another stick to the other ends (making a rectangle).

3. Glue 3 more sticks in the centre as horizontal slats.

Make a garden seat for your doll

Fix Chair Seat to Chair Back

This is where it can get a bit tricky so best not to rush it. When I placed the chair seat onto the chair back I realised that it needed a horizontal bracing bar to help keep it in place. (I had measured the doll’s legs beforehand and knew that I wanted the seat to be 6 cm above the floor).

4. Mark 6cm up from the bottom of the chair back and glue a stick horizontally across from back leg to back leg.

5. Glue the chair seat at right angles, onto the bracing bar.

Make a garden seat for your doll
Make a garden seat for your doll

Front Legs

This part uses 2 lollipop sticks with 1 full length and 1 cut into 2 halves. It’s basically a long C-shape.

6. Glue the 2 halves to the full length stick, at right angles to both ends of the stick.

Fix Front Legs to Chair

This is also a bit fiddly. I rested the chair piece upside down onto the edge of my work table.

7. Put some hot glue onto the chair legs, place the C-piece firmly onto the chair seat (front), holding in place until glue sets.

At this stage I could see the garden seat taking on a bit of shape so simply had to try it out on Joy #Kruseling.

Joy #Kruseling sitting on a chair made from lollipop sticks

I also had to figure out the best way to join both seats together. I decided that setting them at right angles would be best. This is where the glue went where I didn’t want it to and I ended up with a bog blob, which I left there until the very end before I removed it (it helped keep it in place…..).

Canopy

The idea for this only came to me after I had made the seats. It was the challenge of fixing the 2 seats together that made me think of how to make the canopy, as it needed to help stabilize the whole structure. I used 11 lollipop sticks for the canopy, starting with a T-bar and then fanning out the other sticks so they would span both chairs. I placed the lollipop sticks on the table in a rough shape, holding the chair piece upside down over it, to be sure the size was right. This was also how I placed the canopy when gluing it to the seat.

Make a garden seat for your doll

The steps are shown in the 5 photos below.

Centre Back

The final part was to match the centre piece to the side pieces. For this part 5 lollipop sticks were glued to the back rests as shown in the 2 photos below.

Make a garden seat for your doll

Finish

All that was left was to snip the big dollop of glue off of the chair legs and no matter how tidy I was trying to be with my gluing there were glue strands in places that needed picking off too. It was ready for painting!

Joy #Kruseling sitting on a garden seat made from lollipop sticks

Here it is after one coat of garden fence paint and with Joy sitting comfortably in the sunshine.

Joy #Kruseling sitting on a garden seat made from lollipop sticks, a small doll's garden seat

I think it would make an ideal gift for any small doll lover. As well as Kruselings, this size also fits a seated Barbie. If you have a go and make a garden seat for your doll then do please send me a photo – I’d love to see it!