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General
Customization and Restoration FAQ

Yes, it's true.  I get a lot of e-mail with customizing questions.  
Some customizers are offended and they don't want to waste their time answering e-mails from "rookie customizers".

I'm actually honored that you would ask me your questions! ^_^
However, I'm really busy...I do have another job...the ponies are a hobby for me.
So, please look here before sending me an e-mail.



Also, I'd appreciate a link if you found this FAQ useful!
(right-click and "save picture as" onto your servers,
then link to one of your pages)


Disclaimer: I am not responsible for personal or pony injuries.  
If you choose to use these techniques, you do so at your own risk.

  Pony Designing & General Questions
How do you make a design sketch, like the ones in the midsummer competition?
Personally, I use Adobe Photoshop CS, my battered old laptop, and a Wacom graphics tablet.  Photoshop CS is $650 for a license.  However, any paint program would work...there are free programs available on-line.  A design sketch is useful to evaluate color combinations.  It's far too complicated for me to explain here how to use Photoshop...there are thick books and entire classes devoted to it!  I'm sure you can find a website that will show you how to do digital graphics.  Keep in mind that pen & paper works just fine!!

Are you a designer for Hasbro?  How can I submit my designs?
Although that sounds like a fun job, no, I'm not a designer for Hasbro. ^_^
Rumor has it that Hasbro isn't a fan of Custom Ponies, so I don't recommend sending your designs to them.  However, if you are so inclined, you can search for their address on the Official My Little Pony website

Is it legal to make custom ponies?  Will I get sued for copyright infringement?
Well...this is a complicated question.  I made a new page just to address this:
Custom Ponies and the Law.

I saw this design that I liked & I want a pony just like it!  Can I make one?
Unless you're the original designer, this is not advisable.  Custom ponies, like any other form of art, are protected under copyright laws.  If you're bored, you can read about art and the law here.
Also, there's a huge negative sentiment in the pony community about customizers who "steal" or "copy" original designs. This is NOT something you'd like if you are worried about establishing (or maintaining) your reputation! 

Oh no!  I made a custom pony and, by coincidence, it looks like a pony designed by someone else.  What should I do?
This does happen from time to time.  Ask yourself how similar the design is.  Is it something you can live with?  If it's too close for your tastes, you might need to change it a bit.  If you are uncertain, you can also ask others what they think.
Keep in mind that some general themes have been re-hashed many times.  Like Rainbow, Celtic, Princess, Floral, Gothic, Butterfly, Snow, Season ponies, Merponies.  People are usually more tolerant of similarity here, because they are just so common.

I can't seem to think of any new pony designs.  Where do you get your ideas from?
Ideas come from all over the place.  You just have to keep your eyes open!  Almost anything could work for a custom design.  A pattern off your dinnerware, a landscape from your vacation, even the color scheme of your house could inspire you to make a pony.  I keep a sketchbook and doodle my ideas there.  Not all of them are feasible, nor do I want to make them all, but I could always use bits and pieces of each one.

What tips do you have for someone just starting out?
Besides all of the tips on my website? ^_~  Start small.  See the question below on the "easiest ponies to customize".  It's easy for people to become frustrated with base painting & re-rooting.  These are probably the hardest things to do well.  They are also among the most tedious.

Are you hiring?
First off, customizing doesn't pay well at all.  Given the number of hours it takes to make a custom, I'm probably not even hitting minimum wage.  ^_~  I handle all of the stuff on the customizing and the web design...it's my hobby.  So, the answer is "no".

Can I be your apprentice?
LOL!  Do I look like Donald Trump?  Although I'm greatly honored, I'm not currently looking for an apprentice. ^_^

Can I make a lot of money making custom ponies?
Okay, this is an easy question: unfortunately no.  Customizing is unbelievably time consuming and high-quality materials are expensive.  Right now, most custom pony buyers are poor twenty-somethings who collected ponies in their youth.  There might be a real market for them in the future.

I am looking for a certain pony.  Can you sell me this pony?  Can you tell me where to get this pony?
Lately, I have been getting a lot of e-mails like this.  And it's usually for rare or hard-to-find 3rd generation ponies that are no longer available in the stores.  If I'm looking for a pony, I would search on eBay or post a "wanted" ad on www.mlptp.net or www.mlparena.com
The only ponies I have for sale are listed on my Extra Ponies pages.

Can I use your custom pony's symbol for a tattoo design?
I usually say yes to these requests, if I'm the one who made the design.  Please send me an e-mail if you're interested. ^_^

Can I interview you for a school project?
Sure, if I have time, I'd be happy to help you out.  Make sure you e-mail me at least a few weeks before your project is due.

Can I interview you for a news/magazine article?
Of course!  I love spreading the word about ponies and/or customizing in general, as strange as it sounds to non-pony people. ^_^  Please drop me an e-mail.

 Bait Preparation
What is a bait pony?
"Custom bait" describes a pony that is not worthy of being in a collection.  These ponies usually have haircuts, bite marks, pen marks, missing parts, etc.

Where can I get a bait pony?
You can find baits from other collectors.  These toys are 20+ years old, so it's not hard to find one with considerable playwear.  A bait pony is usually worth less than $2.
Another option would be to buy a 3rd generation pony from the store and customize that.  They are widely available and you can find them on sale for $5 or less.  3rd generation ponies are nice to customize because they don't require excessive cleaning and preparation (except for the ones with "glue excess"...see the questions below).

How come no one's selling custom bait ponies?
I don't know.  Maybe people want to make them into customs themselves?  Or perhaps it's not worth the effort to package & ship a $1-$2 pony?  You might need to buy bait ponies in lots and re-sell the ones you don't need.  Check on eBay, mlptp.net, and mlparena.com

How can I tell if my pony is "rare" because I don't want to customize a rare pony?
You can identify the pony with information from www.dreamvalley-mlp.com, www.mylittleponycollector.com, or www.ponytopia.com.  Then, go to eBay's COMPLETED auctions or www.mlparena.com and check the pony's price.  Most people probably won't object if you customize a pony worth less than $10.

Where can I get ponies to practice on?
You can practice on "fakies", which are fake non-Hasbro ponies.  These are available in toy stores, thrift shops, garage sales, car boots, flea markets, etc.  If you can't afford ponies, you can practice painting on plastic containers. =)

What ponies are the "easiest" to customize?
In general, the smaller customs are easier to customize.  They are easier to paint without getting streaks and re-rooting goes faster.  I recommend a 1st gen baby pony (like Baby Blossom, Baby Firefly) to beginners. ^_^  They are the easiest to prep and easiest to complete.  So few plugs to re-root!  That's really a good thing!
A lot of people prefer the 3rd generation ponies, because they are so easy to find and generally clean.  However, it can be quite a pain to remove the head & the hair, because Hasbro uses a LOT of glue.  See the question below about the 3rd gen manes.

I can't get the mane out of my new (3rd generation) pony.  What should I do?
Yes, some of the newer 3rd generation ponies have manes that are REALLY glued in tightly.  In this case, snip the mane close to the scalp.  Then, boil the pony's head for a few minutes. (kids, get your parents to help with this)  Remove the head & tug at the mane with needle-nosed pliers.  You might need to add more hot water into the inside of the pony's head to soften the glue again.  It's still tedious.  Also note, boiling seems to make ponies less shiny...so you might want to boil the body to match.  One customizer suggested using a heat pack if you don't want to deal with the hazards of dunking a pony into boiling water.

It looks like the mane is melted on my new (3rd generation) pony.  What should I do?
Hmmm...is the mane really melted or is this another case of  "too much glue"?  Clear flaky areas are glue over-run.  This is fairly common with the 3rd generation ponies.
If you haven't started customizing yet, I'd take it back to the store & exchange for another one.
Otherwise, you can try soaking the area in 100% acetone (with standard precautions, of course).  Acetone can dull a pony's sparkly finish.  It can also remove eyes/symbols.  If you are re-painting the entire pony, this will not matter.

Is it "okay" to customize a perfectly mint 3rd gen pony?
Most customizers (myself included) think it's okay since 3rd generation ponies are widely available and really not worth a lot right now.  For $5 or even less when they're on sale, that will barely buy you a drink at Starbucks!  However, you want to check the value of your 3rd gen pony before you rip it apart, since some of them have become "rare".

Should I remove the old symbol before painting the pony?
I highly recommend removing the old symbol for a few reasons: it may show up as a raised outline on your painted surface, some colors may show up if you're painting the pony a lighter color, the colors may bleed into your new paint job.

How do I get a symbol off a pony?
Most people use nail polish remover and cotton balls.  Some people swear by "Goof-Off", a product designed to remove accidental marks.  I have NEVER used this stuff.  I usually just use acetone, the main ingredient in nail polish remover.  More info about Goof-Off here at www.goof-off.com

Okay, I got my symbol off, but there's still some residue there!  How can I get that off?
If you're re-painting your pony, don't worry about it.
I found that red and pink inks in symbols have a tendency to bleed into the pony's plastic.
**keep this in mind when designing your custom!!**

If you want to use the "natural" base color, I suggest leaving the pony in sunlight for a while.  It may take several weeks.  This will fade the base color slightly, so rotate your pony every few days to keep the base color even.  Sunlight will bleach out certain pen marks (especially pink highlighter).  Cover the pony's hair with aluminum foil to prevent discoloration.  

**special note about white 3rd gen ponies: sunlight seems to turn them yellow, so this is not recommended.  You'll have to find a pony that has a symbol that can be cleanly removed.  So far, I've had success with the first releases of Starswirl & Blossomforth**

Do NOT use sandpaper or other abrasives/bleaches...these will damage the finish on your pony or end up bleaching your new symbol that you paint on.  Bleaches get embedded in the plastic and over time, your new symbol will magically fade away.  Don't say that you weren't warned! ;)

I want to make a Gen 3 pegasus pony.  How do I remove the sparkling glitter on her wings?
The glitter looks a lot like the ones on the foreheads/symbols of some other G3 ponies.  It is probably tough to remove.  Hasbro picked some durable glue here!  I suggest soaking the area with a cotton ball or cotton pad dipped in 100% acetone, then scrubbing.  This will likely dull the finish a little, so don't leave it on there too long!  Kids - please ask your parents to help.  Acetone is toxic.

How do I remove the jewels/gemstones on G3 birthstone ponies?
Ummmm...without destroying the pony?  I'm not sure if this is possible.  Here's a mildly disturbing cross-sectional picture of a gemstone pony.  You can see it is VERY firmly anchored in place, likely to prevent small children from removing the gemstone and choking on it.  It's even glued in all directions...talk about overkill.  It might be possible to carve it out using an x-acto knife (kids - ask your parents to help out).

My old-style white pony isn't white anymore.  How can I whiten a pony?
Sadly, there isn't a good way to whiten a formerly white pony, except for a full body re-paint.  You could try bleach or placing the pony in sunlight, but these methods will NOT make a pony pure white again & can FADE SYMBOLS/EYES, etc!!  Don't say you weren't warned!  I do NOT recommend bleach on ANY pony that will be customized.

I have a playset that has turned yellow over the years.  Is there a way to make it white again?
Again, this is likely from the plastic or glue that Hasbro used.  Generally, I'd say no.  However, you could try experimenting with Oxy-clean.  Mix it into a paste with a few drops of water and smear onto a small test patch.  Leave it for a few days & see if it brightened the area.  This may bleach underlying areas, so test an inconspicuous spot first!  And don't forget to e-mail me the results! ^_^

Waaaaahhh!!  Why can't I whiten my pony?!
Take the head off & take a look inside.  You'll notice the yellow, tan, or ivory color goes all the way through.  It's due to plastic aging over the last 20 years or so.  Even MIP ponies may turn brown with time.  There are some white ponies that don't change color...the variations probably depend on the batch of plastic used at the factory.

Can I bleach a colored pony until she becomes completely white?
No.  A colored pony may fade if you soak her in bleach, but it will never be completely white.  Most don't even come close.  See the questions above...I do NOT recommend bleaching for any pony that will be customized.  You risk fading the symbols/paint/dye job over time (we're talking weeks to months).  A "magically disappearing" symbol is NOT your goal.  It's a really, really horrible thing that you want to prevent at all costs. >_<

You mentioned that the pony should be washed before customizing.  What should I use to wash my bait pony?
All of my bait ponies get a bath before customizing starts.  The heads/tails/hair are removed first.  Usually, a gentle, non-moisturizing shampoo and a toothbrush will work fine.  I use soft scrub without bleach for dirtier ponies.  All ponies should dry completely (inside & out) before you start painting.  I shake out the excess water, then leave them upside down on a towel for a few days.  A clean, dry surface makes it easier for the paint to stick.  For more information, please look at the cleaning tutorial.

 Body
Should I paint or dye my ponies?
I recommend painting.  All of my customs that need a color change are re-painted.  It's tempting to dye a pony, since the results are usually more "natural looking" and it's faster than painting ponies.
I don't dye pony bodies for the following reasons:
1. Dyed ponies tend to fade with time, usually unevenly.  Some people swear that they have ponies that don't fade, but they probably keep them in the dark and they haven't waited long enough!  I dyed Beanie Babies years ago and almost all of them have faded with time.  Yes, I did use vinegar to set the dyes too!  Believe me when I say dyeing is NOT permanent.
2. They can stain other ponies they come into contact with
3. It is difficult to dye them evenly to begin with.  Heads may dye darker/lighter than the bodies.
4. Ponies must be 100% clean.  Even the tiniest trace of glue/dirt/grease will resist the dye.  It's sometimes tough to get all the glue off the 3rd generation ponies.

I'd rather dye my pony.  Is there a way to do this without dyeing the eyes & symbols too?
Although I haven't done this before, another customizer told me she used wax to cover the eyes & symbols before dyeing.  It worked well & those areas "resisted" the dye.  This is adapted from a technique used for batik dyeing fabrics.

What kind of paint do you recommend?
Most customizers use acrylic paints.  They're readily available at any craft or art supply store.  Acrylics vary in quality and price.  50 cents a bottle up to $200 a bottle!  I find the more expensive (artist-grade) stuff gives better results in terms of color brilliance and durability, but you should use whatever fits into your budget.  I don't have a specific brand that I recommend...try a few and use the one you like the most ^_^

I want to know, what brand of paint do YOU specifically use?
Please read the answer above.

Where can I buy paint and other customizing supplies?
Try your local art store.  If you are in North America, check out Michael's, Joann's, and Wal*Mart.  There are millions of places on-line to buy art supplies too. ^_^

Okay, can I use spray paint or nail polish?
So...you really want your custom to start deteriorating after one week?!  These paints are not designed to be permanent.  Also, if you sell customs, good luck explaining to your customers why the paint is peeling all over the place.  Avoid spray paint & nail polish at all costs!

What about spray paint that was specifically designed for vinyl products and plastic, like Krylon Fusion?
I haven't experimented with this yet.  These products are available in limited colors.  Make sure you get the "satin" versus the "glossy", if you're testing them out.  And drop me an e-mail. ^_~  The reviews for other plastic products look good so far.  Hmmm...perhaps I should buy some and test it out? ^_^

Ugh!!  My painted pony has streaks!  What can I do to eliminate the streaks?
Check here (birth of a custom pony) for painting tips.  Be patient.  Practice.  Use a soft brush (I use sable hair brushes exclusively).  Use gentle brushstrokes.  Many thin coats are better than a few thick ones.  Also, the coats have to dry before you put the next layer on.  Be sure to thin your paint out properly before painting.  Some brands of paint produce more streaks than others.  You might want to give other brands a try if changing your technique doesn't help.
Some people say using a hair dryer to dry the paint between coats helps.  I've heard of people using fine grit sandpaper to sand out the streaks after painting.  Sounds kind of dangerous to me ^_~

What other advice do you have about painting?
Wait 24 hours after your last coat before handling the pony further.  The top coat will dry quickly, but the under coats may not be 100% dry.  You don't want to smudge that beautiful paint job you just gave your pony!  I usually wait 24 hours after symbol painting as well.  Patience, grasshopper!

Also, take care of your brushes.  Do not allow paint to dry on them.  I wash out my brushes all the time in a container of water & I clean them thoroughly with soap after I'm finished painting.

Why is my paint job scratching?
It's likely that the paint was not completely dry before you added the new layers.  This is more likely if you live in a cold or humid environment.  Wait 24 hours before adding the next coat of paint.  If the pony's paint is still scratching after it is dry, try different brands of paint or consider adding a clear coat of matte varnish.

Why is my nicely finished paint job cracking?
There are a lot of factors that can cause this: the brand of paint you are using, the age of the paint, using too much water when thinning out the paint, not cleaning the pony thoroughly before painting, etc.  Make sure your pony is well cleaned & dried before starting to paint, so the paint has a nice surface to adhere to.  Also, if you use a lot of hand lotion, this can hinder paint adherence too.
Be sure to use fresh paint.  You can experiment with different brands & mediums too...some brands and even certain colors are more likely to be brittle than others!

What can I do with a pony that has a damaged paint job?
Well, I hope you saved some of the base colored paint.  You can patch small areas with paint of the same color.  If you didn't save any paint, keep in mind that acrylics tend to dry darker.  Test a small sample in the neck seam and wait until it dries.  Adjust as needed to match the color of the pony.

What should I use to seal my pony?
I don't think it's necessary if your pony is for display purposes only.  If you do want to seal your ponies, I recommend a matte sealer versus a glossy one.  I don't seal my ponies, so I can't recommend a specific brand.

Can I paint a pony without removing the mane?
Yes, it's possible.  I use tape to cover up the hair and paint carefully around the mane with a fine tipped paintbrush.

Why is my custom pony sticky?
Certain brands of paint are stickier than others.  It might also be an interaction between the paint and the pony's plastic, or even the type of moisturizer you have on your hands!  You might try a matte sealant.  Also, keeping the windows closed helps to cut down on dust particles stuck to your pony.

Can you paint a darker colored pony white?
Yes, this is possible, but difficult to do.  You will need many coats of white paint to obscure the underlying color.  Other light colors like sky blue or yellow are also difficult to achieve.

 Symbols
Should I remove the old symbol before painting the pony?
I highly recommend removing the old symbol for a few reasons: it may show up as a raised outline on your painted surface, some colors may show up if you're painting the pony a lighter color, the colors may bleed into your new paint job.

What do you use for painting symbols?
The same stuff for base painting - acrylics!  I usually thin out the paint a little more.

Any tips for painting symbols?
Practice & clean your brushes often.  See the question below.

How do you get those tiny details?
Lots of practice & high quality brushes.  Unfortunately, there's no way to make fine details with a cheap brush.  I use tiny brushes made for watercolors.  Acrylics tend to damage these delicate natural-hair brushes, but I can make them last longer with very careful cleaning.  Always clean your brushes immediately after use.  Never let the paint dry on your brushes.

How do you make those realistic Hasbro-like glittery symbols?!
Ahhh...I've tried many different techniques & happened to ruin a good number of ponies in the process.  This technique definitely needs some refining...it doesn't seem to work 100% of the time =(
  I'm going to refrain from posting it at the moment, simply because it would take too long to explain how to fix things if something goes wrong!

Where can I buy glitter from, to make the symbols?  What's the "best glitter"?  What brand do you recommend?
I suggest using the finest glitter that you can find.  Pure glitter is better than the stuff mixed in paint or glue.  Sometimes, you can find it at scrapbooking supply places or custom supply places on-line.  I don't endorse a specific brand...the stuff I have is from all over the place!
One visitor has suggested Folk Art gems paint which has glitter mixed in it.  Although I haven't tried this, it sounds very easy to use with good results.

I want to make a Replica Rosey Posey (rare 3rd generation pony).  How can I make a decal for her symbol?
I've never made a pony with a custom printed decal, so I can't give you specifics.  However, if you search on-line, there are custom-decal kits that work with your printer.  To attach your water-slide decal, take a look at my Decal Tutorial for store-bought decals.

I want a water-slide decal of a ______________.  Where can I find one?
Most of the decals I've seen are of flowers and things like that.  You can try looking at craft stores like Michael's, Wal*Mart's craft department, or scrapbooking stores.  If you have something really specific, you can try printing your own.  Please seen the question above.

How can I make a pony with gradient colorpoints, like your reindeers?
One of the best ways to do this is by "dry brushing".  Take a dry bristle brush & dip the tips in thinned acrylic paint.  Dab the paint on the hoof and lightly brush the paint on.  Use a slightly moistened cotton swab to blend the color in.  To achieve a smoother gradient, use many thin layers. 
Some of the nicest gradients are actually dip dyed.  Although this looks nice when the pony is "freshly made", the color may fade in time.  Click here to see the gradient tutorial.

What about using embossing powder to make symbols?
Now this is an interesting idea.  A new customizer e-mailed me about this technique.  I experimented with this stuff a few years ago (actually trying to MELT it directly onto the pony), but never got good results.  Embossing powder is extremely fine & available in many colors & finishes.  It's worth trying if you have access to the supplies.

 Hair

Click here to get to the hair FAQ

 Twinkle eye removal
Why would I want to remove twinkle eyes (TEs)?
Well, you can use the TEs in another custom, like a Baby Mimic for example.  Or perhaps your TEs are badly damaged/dented and you'd rather have a non-twinkle eyed pony.  Or maybe you just think they look like zombies with those TEs =P  

How do I remove twinkle eyes?
TEs can be difficult to remove.  You'll need a sturdy pair of needle-nose pliers and an exacto knife.  First, remove the pony's head.  Then, cut around the eyes (from the inside) carefully with the exacto knife.  You won't be able to reach around the whole thing, just the bottom part.  Then, pry away with the needle nose pliers.  I can't stress this enough, but BE CAREFUL!!  The last thing you want to do is to poke the exacto blade through the pony's head and into your palm.



A pic of second series and first series TEs.  The top pair (second series) in blue-green was removed from Quackers.  The bottom pair (first series) in aqua blue was removed from a Gingerbread, if I remember correctly.  The second set of TE ponies included Locket, Bright Eyes, Quackers, Tic-Tac-Toe, and Mimic.  The remaining TEs are all from the first series.
Second set TEs are harder to find than the first set...don't even think about customizing a Mimic.  I've also seen Bright Eyes sell for quite a bit!

Second series TEs are more securely fastened...just look at that huge base that's stuck inside the head.  Consequently, they are more difficult to remove.  First series TEs are the same on both sides.

Just as a side note: if you're looking for a TE match for the ever popular Mimic, Quackers seems to be the closest without using the real thing.  Since Mimic usually sells for over $50, I strongly advise against using her for parts...if you do this, other collectors may want to remove YOUR eyes =D

How do I insert the twinkle eyes?
This is an extremely difficult technique.  I paint a ring of glue around the eye, then I grasp the back with a pair of needle nose pliers.  You might need to try a dozen times before it's in the right place.  Use an x-acto knife to scrape the excess glue off after it's dry.

What can I use if I can't get a hold of real twinkle eyes?
It's not a perfect match, but I've seen other customizers use flat-backed plastic gemstones.  The backing looks like foil.  Check your local craft store in the jewelry making supplies area.  Also, people use things like that to decorate jeans, so they are currently easy to find.  It looks better if you glue them over the existing eye, instead of cutting a hole for them.

What about removing rusty beddy bye eyes?
I've done this before, pushing from the inside with a pair of pliers.  However, it is highly likely that you will ruin the mechanism.  You can try boiling the head in water to soften the plastic first.  Kids - be sure to ask your parents for help.
 

 Sculpting FAQ

Click here to get to the sculpting FAQ

 Additional Parts / Packaging / Photography

Where can I get patterns for pony clothing?
As far as I know, there are no websites with pony clothing patterns.  So, for now, you will have to draft your own patterns.  You could take apart an existing ponywear item and trace it onto a piece of paper.  For my ponies with custom outfits, I usually "eyeball" the pattern and start sewing.  If it's a little off, I'll try to correct it later. ^_^

How do you make the flutter wings/clear wings?
This isn't an easy thing to do...most of them do not turn out perfectly.  My technique is very complicated & it still needs a lot of refinement!  Sooo...you'll have to develop your own technique for now.  ^_^ 

What about the other wings, like the glittery ones on your custom Lady Night?
If it's not listed on her page, I probably don't remember by now, LOL!  Lady Night's wings were originally transparent & then given a generous coat of glitter.

What kind of glue do you use to attach the extra parts?
All sorts of stuff!  Usually what I have on hand...tacky glue is good for almost anything.  This kind of glue is flexible and it won't harm the reflective backing on rhinestones either.
Feathered wings are usually NOT glued onto the pony's body, but I like to build them on a wire base & have them wired in.  Same goes for horns, etc.  Takes a very long time to do, but they are VERY securely fastened.
I've heard people using special glues designed especially for plastics, but I have yet to try them.

What about reattaching the head?  Can I use super glue?
I've used super glue in the past, but now I'm worried that it might disrupt the composition of the plastic.  Sometimes, it causes color changes.  Also, super glue isn't too user friendly - it gets all over the place and it's hard to remove.  I suggest a thin layer of tacky glue.  Apply it to both the body & neck, then twist the pony's head back in place.  Before it dries, use a cotton swab or cloth to remove the excess glue.

How do you make custom G3 boxes?  They look so real!  Will you make me a custom box?
I edit a scan of the box using Adobe Photoshop.  Then, I print it out on regular paper, cut it out, and glue it to the front of the boxes.  It looks pretty good, but you can tell that it's not identical to the original.  You might be able to print it on photo paper & use a higher quality scan for better results.
I've only edited one back panel & it took forever.  So, I'm not offering custom box making services.
For my own customs, I offer a custom printed Front Panel only...this isn't too difficult to make.

How do I take a picture of glowing symbols and glow-in-the-dark hair?
For the glowing pictures, I use the "night scene" feature on my digital camera and the auto timer (mine has a 10 second delay). The "night scene" feature has a really slow shutter speed. My other settings: no flash and macro mode for close-ups. Focus the camera, expose the pony to really bright light, then quickly shut off the lights. Don't delay here...glowing paint doesn't glow strongly for long!  Click the auto timer & step back. Don't touch the camera or the display until the picture is completely captured, otherwise you'll get a blurry picture.

 So-softs

Why can't I make a so-soft pony?!
The so-softs have some real fans out there.  Unfortunately, there isn't a good way to make a so-soft that resembles the original.

What can I use to patch a so-soft?  What about the custom baby so-softs I see on eBay?
I believe they're using a product called "Fun Flock".  It's basically short fibers in a jar.  I've seen Fun Flock at some craft stores, but mostly at embossing/rubber stamping supply stores.
Fun flock will NOT result in a perfect so-soft pony because the fibers are randomly aligned.  Notice how an authentic Hasbro so-soft has the fibers all aligned perpendicular to the pony's body.

I'm flocking a pony for the first time.  Can you give me some tips?
I've only flocked a few items: the antlers for the reindeer ponies, the catkins on Baby Willow, and the box/stand for the gargoyle custom Shadow Watcher.  Paint the base of whatever you're flocking first with a matching color.  Remember, the base color will show through the flocking material. Most of the time, you're going to require more than 1 layer of glue & flocking.  It helps to dilute the glue a little bit. It also helps a lot if you have a flocking applicator like this one (http://www.craftflocking.com/shopping/pgm-more_information.php?id=90&=SID)  I use a cardboard box to contain the fibers. I also have a respirator that I wear.  Safety first!  Do NOT breathe in the flocking!!  Most importantly: be patient & wait until it dries before touching it or applying another layer.

Where do you buy acetone for de-flocking?
100% acetone is what I recommend.  But this will also take eyes/symbols straight off and turn hair into a crispy mess!  Also, it is VERY toxic...this stuff is a powerful solvent, which means it MELTS stuff.  INCLUDING LUNGS/SKIN/BRAIN.  When using acetone, please go to an outside location and use a respirator.
Acetone can be found very cheaply at hardware stores or Wal*Mart.

How do I de-flock?
I usually de-flock for customs, so I dip the whole pony in a bowl of acetone.  I don't care about removing eyes/symbols, because they will be re-painted.  Scrub with an old toothbrush to remove the flocking.  Use cotton swabs & cotton pads for a final swipe.  Make sure you work in a WELL VENTILATED area.  Acetone is a powerful solvent & toxic if inhaled in large quantities.
Click here for detailed de-flocking instructions.

How can I de-flock without damaging the symbols/eyes?
Very carefully!  Use acetone on a cotton pad & slowly work on a small section at a time.  Use cotton swabs dipped in acetone and go around the symbols & eyes carefully.  Light pressure over the symbol can help to dislodge the flocking.  Usually, you will end up removing some of the symbol & it will need a touch-up.

Can I use hot water for deflocking?
Hot water only works on some SS ponies, mostly the older ones, and it isn't very effective. At best, you can get a few patches off.  You'll still have a fine layer of frizz stuck to the pony and a sticky layer of glue.  Yuck!

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