American Girl Doll Tips and Tricks

Hi! Today I’ve put together a post on how to keep your dolls looking their best, outfit ideas, photography tips, and more. Here, you do the math. Good outfit+awesome hairstyle+’healthy’ doll= great photoshoot= amazing blog!


MIX AND MATCH. Guys, you can make so many outfits with different pieces. I try to make my dolls look trendy and cute. Here are 3 outfits- all with the same shorts.

DSC04816.JPGThis one is bright and makes me think of summer. 🙂 DSC04817.JPGLazy day outfit! DSC04818.JPGSame as before, but cuter- with a vest and black sandals. Also, what I do is pick out the base for the clothes first, like a simple tee and pants, and then add shoes and accessories. (sample outfit idea: short sleeve t-shirt, black leggings, brown boots, high ponytail, wristwatch)

Does your blog have a certain theme? Mine does! It’s bee- themed, so that’s why my header picture is my dolls all dressed in the Bee Myself Outfit from AG. You can get creative, and I promise this is one of the most fun parts of dressing your dolls.

Another tip is to use one of your t-shirts as a dress. This is one of my tank tops, pinned back on Ruthie with some trim around the middle.It’s so easy for a quick evening gown, and it looks really cute! DSC04822.JPG



It’s always important to give your doll an appropriate hairstyle before she stars in a ‘shoot. I base my hairstyle on the type of clothes my doll is wearing. Take for example this photo of Saige: DSC04762I put her in a flowy, fancy dress for that photoshoot, so I needed a hairstyle that matched. I’m going to try to explain how to do it as best as I can. Make sure to grab a doll with longer, wavy hair,  dolls like Saige, Kanani, and Lea would look great.

Gather your materials:


First, brush out your doll’s hair. IMG_0702.JPGThen take a small section and braid it back. IMG_0703.JPGI put her on the edge of my bed so braiding it was easier. IMG_0704.JPGDon’t braid it all the way to the bottom. Secure with a clip in the back and repeat on the other side. IMG_0705.JPGIt should look like this. IMG_0706.JPGSorry if this is hard to see, but starting on one side of her head, take a slightly smaller section and braid it over to the other side. Repeat, so you have 2 tiny crossed-over braids. IMG_0707.JPGThere should also be one small piece of hair dangling out in each side. It looks messy, but don’t worry. Spritz it with water and curl it. IMG_0708.JPGThe water helps the curl stay. IMG_0710.JPGLastly, take the leftover hair in the back and twist it into a bun. And that’s it!

It’s kind of a tricky hairstyle, but it looks super elegant.

Now onto my next hair hack: water. NEVER brush your doll’s hair without spraying it first! It tames flyaways and makes it look much better, especially in photos.

If your doll has really dry hair, it might be time for a hair treatment. I did this a while ago with Saige, and I also did it once for my friend’s doll Josefina.

Before:IMG_2122 I took her to the sink for this, and put her into clothes that covered her whole body. She’s wearing socks, but you can’t tell. 😉 IMG_2167.JPGI took a pea-sized amount of conditioner and rubbed it into the bottom of Saige’s hair. I didn’t do her whole head because the top of her hair is still soft. Be sure to cover your doll’s body with a towel. Like I said, I only did this to the bottom of her hair, but when I did this for Josefina I washed ALL of her hair so I taped cotton balls over her eyes to keep water out of them. Now, rinse.IMG_2195.JPGAm I crazy saying that this actually looks kinda pretty? 😛 IMG_2138.JPGNow comb it out, and wait for it to dry! IMG_2036.JPG

I clipped a blue hair-extension into her hair and it looks super pretty. 🙂

Now moving on to a hairstyle for dolls with layered hair! C’mere, Brooke! She wore this style in this post. It’s super simple, but chic!IMG_0712IMG_0714Gather a small section of hair.IMG_0715Start fishtail braiding it. (If you don’t know how to fishtail, click here.)

Once you’ve reached the desired length, clip it back and you’re done!  DSC04819.JPG

A lot of people just use plain water on their doll’s hair, but an AG salesperson said that putting a bit of conditoner in the water helps keep your doll’s hair soft. And it does. So…go try that out! 😉


I’m a total rookie when it comes to photography, but it’s really fun and I’ve picked up a few tips to share. 😀

*take photos with natural lighting. It makes your photos much prettier and better. Compare these two photos: DSC04633I took this one in my basement. Guys, basements are HORRIBLE places for photos. Well, unless you have windows.Mine doesn’t and I have to turn on the light if I don’t want to bump into anything. But do you see what I mean? Ruthie looks way too yellow and that’s just weird. DSC04642However, this one is much better.  I took it on the same setting as I did the last picture, but  in my living room, where I have 2 really big windows. Those let in a lot of light and make for clearer, better, photos.

*Give your doll props! They make stories and photoshoots so much more interesting. DSC04424.JPG* Or have her play with a pet! They up the cuteness factor by, like, a million.DSC04728.JPG

* Put her somewhere interesting. I take most of my doll’s pictures outside, in my backyard. Scenery is just so beautiful, and your photos will have a really pretty background. As for indoor photography, you can use scrapbook paper as a background, (like I did here)  or you can use a scarf.

* Show her doing the things she loves. This kind of goes along with the props idea. Is your doll a writer? Soccer player? Show off her skills in your photos!

*Use your zoom! It helps SO much.IMG_0722.JPG


Here are some ways to spice up your doll’s wardrobe and other helpful random things!

  • If your friends have dolls, too, invite them over and tell them to bring their dolls. I did that for this  post and it’s just super fun!
  • Have her do things that people do in real life. You see morning/night routines, what’s in my backpack, and other videos all over Youtube. Make your doll take over! You can see Brooke’s morning routine here. I loved doing that post and there will definitely be more like it.
  • Give each of your dolls a different personality. Loren and Jaclynn both have a LOT of dolls, and each one has different personality. I find that kind of remarkable! For example, in my doll family, Ruthie is the reader rabbit. Some people might think she’s a nerd, but in reality she’s just really smart. Saige is the fashionista/ artist. Like me, she always needs to be doing something. Anything. She just can’t sit still. And Brooke is quiet and shy. Not painfully shy, though, she still has lots of friends. She’s pretty much the opposite of Saige. 😉 She also loves to cook!
  • Lyric photoshoots! Take photos of your dolls, and then add in the lyrics of your favorite song. These are so much fun and I love doing them. (credit for lyric photoshoots goes to Adaline)

    What was your favorite part of this post? Are you going to try any of these?

I also have a few things to tell you:

  1. I’m almost out of free photo space! :/ Thank goodness for Clara’s tutorial!
  2. I GOT MY AERIAL!!!!!! AAAAH!! I told my coach I was going to try and get it before we perform at spring show, and I did it for the first time at gymnastics yesterday!
  3. I…also got a rip at gymnastics. That’s when on bars, your skin kind of rips a little and you have to pull the skin off. It hurts. And, okay, this is kind of gross, but one time I got a rip and I didn’t realize it until I saw the bar, and there was blood on it. Ew! Don’t worry, though, it’s clean now. 😛

That’s it! I know it was a really long post, but I really wanted to share these with you. It took me a long time to put together, I hope you liked it!

I’ve turned into a rambler. Oh dear.


~Rutvi ❤

32 thoughts on “American Girl Doll Tips and Tricks

  1. This was a great post, Rutvi! Full of lots of great tips and tricks 🙂
    Thanks for mentioning me! I’m glad it’s noticeable that my dolls have different personalities – it definitely gets harder to think of a different one every time I get a new doll XD

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great tips and tricks! I love the hairstyle ideas, and the part about each of the dolls having different personalities is awesome! It makes them so much more interesting, just like real people!

    The main theme of our blog is that we are not professionals. Nope, nope, nope! LOL!
    Instead, we are just winging it. We like to see what we can come up with using what we already have on hand. That’s why it’s called We never know if a project will work out or not, but we always have fun! LOL!

    I just recently had to free up some photo space on my blog too. I checked and discovered that my photo files were uploading at 2MB!! Way too big! I now adjust their size in the previewer before I upload them to the blog. Way better!! 🙂

    ginnie /

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on getting your aerial! 😀 Those can be really tough!
    My sister and I like to use our tank tops to make fancy doll dresses, too! 🙂
    How did you make that pretty white and pink dress that Saige was wearing?

    Thanks for all the tips!


    • Thanks SO much!
      Saige’s dress is a piece of material just wrapped around her, secured with a pin at the top. Then I just tied a piece of trim around her waist! Ta-da! 😛


  4. I read through this, and one thing stuck out in my mind: You use a plastic-bristle brush.

    I was just curious, how did you choose that kind of brush? Does it make the hair more stylable? Molly’s hair is bushy and I like it that way, but I was curious…

    Liked by 1 person

      • That is so cool! I tend to keep my dolls in modern outfits, as I only have one historical doll, but I do love the historical outfits. ☺️


      • I also only have 1, but my grandmother has made so many little costumes that I couldn’t not showcase my girls in them! (Some of the 70’s ones are just strange…lol)


    • Well, AG recommends to use that kind of brush because it keeps the doll’s hair looking nice. I use the one shown (from OG) and the AG one. I think Molly’s hair is kind of naturally bushy because of her braids, my friend has Molly too and her hair is frizzy to the point where it’s sort of unmanageable. But after spraying it down with water and brushing it carefully, it was fine. Hope this answered your question!


      • Yes! I use my AG brush, a spritzer bottle, the occasional Downy spray (Easier than Downy Dunk!), and a toothbrush. One time at the AG store, the hairstylist told me that Molly’s hair wouldn’t bush out quite so much if I brushed it with the toothbrush. She was right!
        I also, for stains, first use Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser, then if the stain is still there I use those little nail polish remover wipes (acetone free, hypoallergenic, strawberry scent!). If the stain is still there….Acne medication. LOL! The stronger the better. (I usually use the mildest. That’s what our local drugstore usually has.)
        Sorry for the long comment! I just have discovered so many things about doll care.
        I should do my own doll tips post…. but I probably will forget to do it. XD

        OH! I also use shampoo…. probably once a month on certain dolls. Dolls like Jenna-Grace, for instance, never get washed. Harriett (my MA) gets hers done frequently. I use Pantene, and a dime-size amount.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my gosh! This is SUCH A COOL POST! (I don’t now if you call it a post or if you call it a blog 😛 lol) I’m new here. But this is awesome! I’m making my blog site (again, I don’t know what you call it) as a dolls perspective of life. I just started today and so I don’t really know what I’m going to do but I’m hoping to ad in some cool stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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