Create Your Own American Boy Dolls

I am so excited to have my friend Brianna guest posting today.  Brianna and I go WAY back.  She was the Eeyore to my Piglet in a summer touring production of Winnie the Pooh that we acted in almost 20 years ago.  When she posted pictures of how she transformed a girl doll into a boy doll for her son, I invited her to share her tips. Disclosure (3)

Both of my children love leafing through the American Girl catalog when it comes in the mail. We don’t own an American Girl anything but it still shows up. The last time it arrived I happened to be nearby as my 9 year old son and 6 year old daughter giggled and dreamed their way through the pages. My daughter said the usual, “I wish I had that” and “That looks so fun” while my son was saying things like “I wish there was a boy doll” and “I wish that skateboard weren’t pink”.

My daughter has a playroom full of Target’s much more affordable Our Generation Doll merchandise. There have been many times when my son has joined his sister and her dolls on a camping expedition, Jeep trek, baseball game or dinner party. Our Generation makes some seriously awesome stuff! I love that they don’t limit their accessories to the stereotypical girly stuff but everything is pink- bowling ball, baseball bat, flashlight, scooter, etc. He’d usually use a stuffed animal instead of another girl doll when he played. I wanted to encourage his imaginative play with his sister and I wondered if having a boy doll would make him more comfortable.

I assumed that since there were so many inexpensive 18″ girl dolls that their boy counterparts were just hiding online and less popular in retail stores. I found quite a few adorable boy dolls but they were all either custom creations or made by premium doll companies. My daughter’s dolls are all under $30. They have matted hair and they get shoved in a toy bin. My son would no doubt be just as rough with his so $100 or more was absolutely out of the question. After a last ditch stop at Target where the Our Generation Dolls were on sale for $22, I decided I’d just have to make my own!

I started with a basic doll.

GENIUS!! Step-by-step directions on how to turn a girl doll into one that looks like your own son. Because boys like dolls too!

The doll had a slight cheek blush and pinker lips than I wanted so I used acetone nail polish remover and some cotton swabs to remove the coloring. I also removed the eyebrows so that I could paint them in thicker. It all came came off easily!

GENIUS!! Step-by-step directions on how to turn a girl doll into one that looks like your own son. Because boys like dolls too!Using a very tiny, stiff brush and some matte brown acrylic craft paint I painted on the eyebrows. I went through several variations and used the nail polish remover to “erase” and correct mistakes as I worked. I made short hair-like lines trying to mimic a natural eyebrow rather than drawing a shape and filling it in. 

GENIUS!! Step-by-step directions on how to turn a girl doll into one that looks like your own son. Because boys like dolls too!He was beginning to look more like a boy now but the hair really intimidated me. I don’t even cut my own bangs so I really had no idea how to pull off a full haircut. The doll had rooted hair so I knew I had to keep it a bit longer to hide the roots. I started cutting just a little at a time with scissors – going shorter and shorter as I got more confident. It looked a bit choppy so I used an electric hair clipper to create more blended, razored edges. I also trimmed his eyelashes because they were pretty long and curled.

It all made a huge mess! I’m still finding doll hair all over the house.

GENIUS!! Step-by-step directions on how to turn a girl doll into one that looks like your own son. Because boys like dolls too!A few hours later, I had a boy doll! The shorts are the denim capris from the original doll with the pink cuffs cut off. I found the white tee shirt and a soccer outfit at Michael’s while buying the tiny brush for his eyebrows. They were the only gender neutral items in their Springfield doll line. 

GENIUS!! Step-by-step directions on how to turn a girl doll into one that looks like your own son. Because boys like dolls too!

I had so much fun and my kids loved it so much that I immediately made another one!I also found an outfit set in the Our Generation Doll line that included a gender neutral shirt and shoes as well as red glasses just like my son’s. They came with pink corduroy pants which I dyed navy with fabric dye. I used a light brown permanent marker to draw freckles across his nose and cheeks and added the red glasses I had found to make him look like my son.

GENIUS!! Step-by-step directions on how to turn a girl doll into one that looks like your own son. Because boys like dolls too!

Right now their clothes and accessories are limited but they fit in that pink Jeep a lot better than his stuffed animals did!


Brianna Tenuta

Author at No Guilt Mom
Brianna Tenuta is a nearly native desert dweller living in Tucson, Arizona. She spends her time conducting kitchen science experiments, building Lego projects and trying to find shade during endless sports practices with her son, daughter and very patient husband.

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  1. I would never think to do this. I’m surprised there are not more boy dolls. I had a boy cabbage patch doll as a kid. Nice of you to do this for your son.

  2. This is awesome! I love it and may make one for my son. He plays with a baby doll of his sisters but it has a blue outfit, but I’ll see what he thinks about having a boy doll! Thank you! I never really noticed the lack of boy dolls. Although girls have more of everything it seems, clothes, toys, shoes etc. kinda frustrating at times.

    1. Yes, Melissa, I agree. My son sees his sister play with dolls and mimics her. I think its important to let boys have that type of nurturing play as well 🙂

  3. Your boy dolls are wonderful and I”m sure your son is thrilled to be able to play with his sister in a ‘real’ way. Do you sew? Children’s clothes are so easily adapted for dolls…the knit, corduroy, lycra and softer denims lend themselves well to becoming great wardrobes.

    I did this with AG dolls I’ve found on ebay and in thrift shops. Being a hairdresser in a past life I knew the hair wasn’t going to act the way I wanted so I bought boy wigs instead for about $15 each online. Now my granddaughters all have boy dolls to go with their AG dolls. Having also been a seamstress forever they each have wardrobes for their dolls that grew so large they needed substantial closets. Enter their grandfather the (real life) builder, retired. 8 closets each with drawers and shelves above and below appeared from the workshop. Each granddaughter has a pr of beds, a table & 2 chairs and assorted other whatevers we can dream up. Did I mention that I also have a doll? Mine is a Disney Girl doll discontinued from retail sale and she also has a companion. Everything we make is in multiples of 4 or 8, depending. Now that my girls are all in high school and college their dolls are displayed in the costumes made to match what they play or played – sports, band, color guard. My dolls will someday go to my little great granddaughter who is just having her first birthday. This way my grandson’s family will also be playing with their own doll ensemble.

    If you can find them on ebay, Vogue had 2 fantastic patterns that are now discontinued. One was 4 outfits relating to farm and horses, the other was a horse which I made (a herd, actually) from suedes and/or wool. There are also barn patterns on Pinterest along with the accessories. And this is a great time of year to find sleds, sleighs, little Christmas trees…….have a great time with your kids and don’t forget to get down on the floor and play, too!

    1. Great work. I have a doll collection. One of the dolls I bought because it had the same name as my DGD was just plain ugly. I removed her wig and have put a cheap boy one on her, toned down the pinkiness as you did and used ordinary makeup to redo lips and thicken brows and paint freckles. Far cuter as a boy than a girl!
      I do have a Heidi Ott Benjamin doll who was cheap. When redressed he is really cute.
      I needed two boys to model a folk costume I am designing. I have 2 girls dressed so need the boys as their dance partners!
      Great blog.

  4. Great post! I always remember having about 15 girl barbies and only 1-2 boy barbies. The boys play an important part in role playing! These guys are great!

  5. I did the same thing for my Grandson, I gave my Grand daughter an American Girl doll, she rarely plays with her, but the Grandson thought is was so much fun. Since my Grand daughter is very protective of her doll, I found another doll who I cut the hair short and did the eye brows over. Since they know I enjoy sewing, Grandson asked for various clothing. Grandson likes details, pockets, buttons etc. He wanted shirts and shorts pants, PJ’s, hats and a back pack for his doll who he calls Mario. I bought Mario shoes and made him socks. My Grandson is only 6 years old and he likes playing with his Mario. Thank You for posting the make over.

  6. I have been searching for a 2 to 3 feet tall Polish Folklore Boy doll with striped pants. Vinyl. It is for my daughter-in-law’s grandma who is 99 years old. She has the Polish girl doll. I have come up empty. Have you any idea if such a doll exist? Could a doll like this be made with getting the clothes and buying a doll. I have no experience in this and would like to give Grandma Stella something that she really wants.

    1. I so wish I could help and knew where to find one of these dolls. You can definitely make your own using these instructions.

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