How a 28-year-old Polly Pocket set is professionally restored

  • Kerchie is a YouTuber who repairs vintage Polly Pocket sets.
  • She shows us how she restores one from 1992.
  • This includes repainting the characters and the interior of the compact, creating a new foil logo and gluing it on, and creating new polymer clay wings for the characters.
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Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: I’m Kerchie, and today I’m doing a restoration on a 28-year-old Polly Pocket set from my collection. Polly Pockets are compact toys that come in many shapes. They were intended to be collectibles in the ’90s. This particular set is called Fast Food Restaurant, and it looks like a miniature diner. This was unfortunately discontinued in the late ’90s.

I start by cleaning the entire compact to remove any dirt that has built up over the years. I’m just using a multipurpose cleaning agent, a paper towel, and a Q-tip. Then I buff out the scratches by using Novus. It comes in two steps, and you actually have to work backwards. So, here I’m starting with No. 2, and what this one does is it buffs out any of the fine scratches that you see on this compact. So, I am taking some product onto my jewellery-polishing cloth, and I am just rubbing it in circular motion on the compact itself. And I’m gonna keep doing this till the product is gone. But since I’m happy with how this looks, I’m now gonna take the No. 1 product, which is the final polishing product.I’m gonna spray it on the cloth, and I’m just gonna wipe down the entire compact with it.And what this does is it gives it a final shine and it also makes it a little bit dust resistant.

So, for the logo, it is actually the most iconic part of a Polly Pocket compact from the ’90s. What I’ve done here is I actually vectored the logo itself on Illustrator. I can fit it to whatever compact I’m restoring. And then I use a Cricut machine to cut it all out. And it’s on a gold adhesive vinyl paper, which is basically a sticker, so I can just peel it off and stick it on the Polly Pocket logo.And the logo itself is what actually contributes to the higher price point when you’re trying to buy a vintage Polly Pocket. The logo has definitely changed a lot since Polly has undergone a couple of reboots, but that classic gold Polly Pocket logo, with the oval outline and heart icon, is instantly recognisable.

One of the biggest problems with the set are the characters.They’re chipped. The paint has faded over time. So what I’m gonna do is I’m just gonna give them a fresh coat of acrylic paint and try to match their original colours as close as possible. For this particular character, her hair is pretty much completely chipped. So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna take some dark brown acrylic paint and I’m just gonna completely paint over her entire hair to fill in those gaps. Polly Pockets were popular because it really was the first toy of its kind. It’s an entire world that you can fit in the palm of your hand and take with you wherever you go. For Polly herself, I also don’t like how her face looks, so I’m just gonna draw a brand new face on her. And this is the most difficult part because she’s so small and I’m basically painting with a needle here. So, my strategy here, for her mouth especially, is to paint a blob and then take away some of the paint using an X-Acto knife, so it’s kind of like reverse painting.

For the fairy character, she originally comes with these wings that are made of some kind of cloth. And over time it did curl, it’s folded over on itself, so I’m gonna make tiny wings out of polymer clay. Once I like the shape of the wings, I’m gonna bake the clay till it cures. And once it’s cured, I’m adding some glitter so that it’s extra sparkly. Then I glue it on the fairy with superglue, and now she has supercute wings.

For the inside of the compact, it’s actually in pretty good condition. I only see a couple small chips over here in this orange area. So I’m just taking the same acrylic paints that I’ve been using before, but I’m now taking the orange to match the colour, and I’m doing the exact same thing I did with the character, where I’m just filling in the gaps. And I’m being very generous with the paint here because when acrylic paint dries, it dries very flat. So I’m actually taking quite a bit of paint to give it more volume.

Lastly, I’m sealing all my restoration work on the characters with a glossy varnish. This protects the paint, makes the characters look shiny, and also tightens their little hinges. Keep in mind that restoring a Polly Pocket doesn’t mean it will increase in value. For me, this is for my own personal enjoyment. I don’t plan on reselling my collection, so I just do this for fun.