dressed up like a lady: DiY Hawkgirl Barbie

Jan 17, 2014

DiY Hawkgirl Barbie

hawkgirl barbie
Hawkgirl barbie doll
Gbear is a pretty big fan of the animated show Justice League. It's an excellent series with clever writing and well developed characters and  I doubt that Warner Brothers will come up with anything for the supposed upcoming live action JLA movie that can match what this kickass cartoon from 2002 has already covered.

Anyway. Gbear wanted a Hawkgirl Barbie for Christmas.

Gbear has a ton of Superhero action figures (they live in that red case the doll above is leaning against!), but any girl who's ever played with dolls knows, they're kind of their own thing. She already has the Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl Barbies that Mattel made, all of which were luckily going for a lot less on Ebay when I scored them a couple years ago than they seem to be now.

But they don't make a Hawkgirl Barbie. Which sucks, because Hawkgirl is a really awesome character. She's got a strong personality, an explosive sense of righteousness, and she's wry and irreverent and funny. 

Tonner makes a $450 collectable Hawkgirl doll, but that obviously wasn't an option -- and she's 16 inches tall anyway, she couldn't trade clothes and stuff with the other Barbies. Mattel makes a 10" inch Hawkgirl action figure, which is closer to a Barbie's height, but she's got molded hair and you can't take off her mask. I decided to take matters into my own hands. 

Which actually wasn't that hard. I only had to scour Ebay and Etsy a couple of times to come up with everything I needed, and for fairly cheap -- most of this stuff was about 3 bucks a piece. All it took was:

1 Red Haired Barbie (also known as Barbie's friend Midge) I held out for one with green eyes who wasn't grinning, since Hawkgirl usually looks more determined than anything else. She was $11 shipped.

1 Pair of green Barbie tights

1 Red Barbie bikini bottom that happened to already have a black band at the top. I otherwise would have just found or made that part.

1 Gold colored strapless Barbie top, which I cut into a slight sweetheart

1 Pair of red Barbie boots

1 Outfit from a "Holiday Angel" Barbie, which came with velcro-on wings. I gave Gbear the dress from the outfit separately in her stocking.

1 Admittedly random Wolverine toy mask from a totally unknown figure/doll, which I sculpted with a box cutter into the right shape. I realize it looks massive, but that's because dolls' heads are so disproportionately huge!

And one last thing: I splurged on the only toy-sized mace I could find floating around Ebay, which was apparently made by Kenner for a 1985 Hawkman action figure (hence it's a little small). It was $8.50 shipped, which I admit is slightly ridiculous but it was totally worth it.

The rest is pretty self explanatory. I used a couple stitches to fix some velcro onto the back of her top so the wings could stick on, and changed the shape of the coloring on the mask with a fine tipped Sharpie. I'd have colored over the yellow with brown but I probably would have messed it up. Gbear didn't seem to notice.

When it came to wrapping the doll, I thought about sticking her in some kind of makeshift box. But then I realized that as a different gift, I was already giving Gbear another of these big, metal doll trunks to keep these dang Barbies in (the one already housing her Jem dolls is stuffed). These things are useful! They're all vintage and look a little, you know, well loved, but they can really take a beating! They don't fall apart or have hinges come loose or anything like with plastic toy storage. She drags these things all over the house and they're totally indestructible! Mid-century American manufacturing, you guys. Plus, I decopage them with pictures of superheroes and Barbie Fashion Comics and stuff, so they look less jank. 

Anyway, I secured Hawkgirl in there by opening up the trunk and  putting a dot of hot glue on the inside. I stuck the middle of a ribbon scrap to that spot, then stuck a cutout of a Superman logo to cover the funky looking glue spot (though it could have just been a heart or a star or something).


Then I tied it around Hawkgirl's waist to hold her in place, closed the case, and wrapped it all up. 

You never know what will or won't strike a big chord with kids, and Christmas is a time when they're already getting inundated with stimuli, so I prepared myself for Gbear to not be ecstatic about this doll I'd sourced for her. After all, this is for her, not for me -- me attaching a bunch of emotional expectations to her reaction to the things I do for her as a parent would just be shitty and probably give her a complex. Not to mention that it would just be dumb, because she's a child.

Luckily, SHE LOVED IT. She giggled and sqealed and I heard her later on Christmas morning making up a song that went "Hawwwwk girl, we need to taaaaaalk girl!" 


  1. This is brilliant. I love your parenting posts (this one and the one about the american girl dolls come to mind). I don't read any "mom blogs," but I'm always filing away ideas from your blog for future use. You've also taught me that while I hate craftiness for craftiness' sake, craftiness for people you love is awesome.

    1. I am beyond honored by your comment, Sandy! I don't know about you (though based on your awesome blog, I feel like I do a little bit, and I think you'll dig this vibe), but I think I'm more handy than crafty. I'm great at fixing and installing things. That aptitude can be channeled into less utility based applications -- like fixing the spring on a clip-on earring, or making a dollhouse tissue box.

      I guess I only feel the strong need to make or modify something myself if A) there's no other way to get it the way I or the person I love want it (like with Hawkgirl), or B) the markup on purchasing it the way I want it is too ridiculously high compared to what I know it costs to source and assemble its parts (like with whole food veggie burgers). I totally give it up for folks who want to make their own deodorant and crochet beautiful things just for fun. But that stuff doesn't motivate me at all -- plus, I can't knit for a damn. Is any of this making sense?

      Anyway, thank you for being so incredibly sweet. This comment has made my week. :)

  2. I have to agree that while I am not as crafty as many of the women I am close to, I am still inspired when you post stuff like this! Plus, and maybe it goes w/o saying, but Gbear is sooooo lucky to have someone encouraging her to embrace strong female characters. It DOES make a difference.

    1. Thanks, babe! I think it's a notch short of actual "crafting" to find the stuff you need on the internet and then put it on a doll, but I appreciate your support. ;)

  3. i just bought my second grown up (???) barbie yesterday ... my first blond vintage barbie girl was missing a friend. barbie elvis was too expensive .... so i got her a brunette girl friend and they can share dresses soon. may be i should turn them into comic characters as well. hm ...


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