"How to fix a wooden mannequin?" is a common question among wood doll owners. Having many articulated joints, this type of mannequin is at high risk of being damaged if not used properly. Not to mention the paint and marker stains that once ended up on the wood are hard to remove. Here is a handy guide on repairing a wooden mannequin. 

1. Dusting

Before proceeding with the main steps, consider dusting the doll with a wet cloth to remove debris. Follow with some rubbing alcohol to lift oily spots. Remember that washing a dirty wooden mannequin with soap and water will hardly result in the expected effect. Besides cleaning the wood with difficulty, the water can negatively affect its structure, making the wood swell due to its highly absorbent nature. That's why any deeply embedded stains will be removed via sanding. 

2. Sanding   

Sanding is the safest way to clean the wooden mannequin to a like-new condition. Attach a piece of sandpaper to a rotary tool and start running the tool across the dirty areas. Do it slowly to allow the sandpaper to do its job properly. Avoid pressing the rotary tool against the wood with vigor, as it will cause extreme friction that will exfoliate the wood too much, compromising the mannequin's shape and appeal. If you use coarse sandpaper, you are good to follow with fine sandpaper to remove the created tracks on the wooden surface. 

For joints, curvatures and small areas, you can sand manually, performing slow and precise movements. Don't be surprised if the stain doesn't go away easily. Hand sanding requires more effort and repetitive motions to lead to the desired result. If the base also requires treatment, you are better off removing it and clean it independently. Place a piece of sandpaper on a flat surface, then rub the mannequin base against it until the wood gets like new.   

3. Painting

Painting is also a way to mask flaws, like cracks, dents on the wood mannequin. Choose a paint color that corresponds to your taste and would correlate excellently with the activities you perform with the mannequin. If you have previously sanded the doll, you need to remove the papery flakes first using a wet and non-abrasive cloth. Let the surface dry, then proceed with the painting. Apply the paint gently, treating each area with care so that no gaps remain behind. If the crack or any other flaw is too visible, you are good to apply the second coat of paint to ensure your wood doll looks new. Make sure you let the first layer properly dry, then start applying the second one.     

4. Fixing a broken arm

Many people asking how to fix a wooden mannequin are referring to how to repair a broken arm, which is quite likely to happen in case of high mannequin abuse. A recommended solution to fixing a broken limb is epoxy glue. It interacts greatly with wood, providing a powerful bond. Another reason epoxy suits wood is the lack of water in its composition, is based on resin and an adhering agent. Epoxy also works as a sealer, filling gaps and cracks if any occur in the wood structure. 

Before applying the glue, remove impurities from the surface using rubbing alcohol or sandpaper to ensure the glue adheres well and doesn't lose its properties over time. Once you do so, spread the epoxy on both surfaces, then join them. The glue doesn't provide instant effect, so you have to hold the arm until the bond occurs. You can alternatively use some masking tape to hold the arm in place. In case of irreparable harm or leg damage, you may need to ask a specialist to replace it.   

Bottom line

Knowing how to fix a wooden mannequin will significantly prolong its lifespan. If the issue is restoring the stained and messy mannequin to a presentable condition, then sandpaper is your best friend. By sanding the wooden surface, you will exfoliate the dirty flakes, leaving the wood perfectly clean. In case of cracks, you may opt for some painting job to mask the ugly drawbacks. Broken limbs are best secured back using epoxy glue, as it is water-free, is a good sealer, and adheres to wood excellently.