Up-cycling dolls and giving them a new lease on life

Many women (and men) today will surely remember the bobble headed Bratz doll (I will admit I had a collection of around 16 at once) Their big googly eyed, heavily contoured face and disproportionate frames were not of social concern in their peak period during the early 2000’s. However upon reflection I can see how it might have confused myself and many others understanding of what a girl transitioning into a young woman would generally look like.

Fast forward to the present. Where the dolls of your youth are being rescued from op-shops and garages by Sonia Singh and ‘rehabilitated’ for a new life.

Tasmanian based mum of two started Tree Change Dolls project following her redundancy as a science communicator…

‘I thought it would be a fun way I could enjoy creating something unique and recycle old toys at the same time.’

Her dolls gained a larger audience when she was featured on a short SBS documentary in 2015 and now currently has orders from all over the globe.

'Maybe I would have had an easier time growing up if I had known some female role models that I felt I could relate to.'

Initially Sonia never considered her dolls to be making a statement on body image, but following the positive effect Tree Change Dolls has had on the public, she wants to ‘encourage others, especially children, to value and feel comfortable with their natural appearance’ … ‘dressing up in different styles and wearing make-up can be heaps of fun for children and adults alike, but it’s only fun if we are comfortable in our own skins’.


With a cup of tea and some classical music, Sonia tunes out of the world around her and in to a blank face whilst thinking of the ‘bright- eyed faces of children in everyday life’ as her inspiration. Intuitively painting as she carefully completes each component of the face, from the teeth to freckles, each doll is unique and realistic so their future owners can see parts of themselves in them.

You can find the Tree Change Dolls shop here

and find them on InstagramYoutube and Facebook

You can also watch the Tree Change dolls SBS Documentary

Sonia describes herself as creative, curious and helpful (some of the many qualities we think she embodies) and enjoys winding down at the end of the day by ‘breaking out the chocolate biscuits and stream some TV shows.’

Living the dream!

Although now comfortable with life/ family/ herself, Sonia’s younger years were not as smooth. She was very shy as a kid and always felt different to others. She didn’t looked forward to growing up and ‘figured it out as (she) went along.

Perhaps Tree Change Dolls is an ode to her younger self and the guidance she lacked in her early years. ‘Maybe I would have had an easier time growing up if I had known some female role models that I felt I could relate to.’

Written By Olivia

Published March 22 2020



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