Stuffed animal repair: antique toy tiger cleaned, repaired & recovered

Stripes the 50 year old tiger

This will be a longer post, because it’s all about the details, and there was a lot of going back and forth with photos and emails to get Stripes and his stripes just right.  So be sure you’re comfy when you sit down to read it. 🙂


Stripes person first wrote to me back in December about her tiger, Stripes, and his companion RedEye the snake.  Both were starting to feel their age, but as she said,

“ As you can see Stripes is in the most need of repairs. Personally, I’m guessing that a full recovering is needed, but I’m certainly no expert and will follow your advice.  Here are some pics which show Stripes fur disappearing and soon he will be bald.  Amazingly he has no damage that I can find. His ears need some stuffing, but they have never been tall, firm standing Teddy Bear ears.”

Here are the diagnosis photos she sent:


As you can see, his belly section was pretty good, but his furry parts were wearing and fading.  His person really wanted his fur recovered, in an orangier rather than tanner fur, and she opted for him to have a spa too.

Here he is in his bubble bath:


Once he was dry, he got restuffed and of course, got a heart with a bit of his original stuffing.  Here’s his heart being made:


Then it was time to choose furs.  As some of you know who’ve been reading for a while, usually with tigers we use a solid fur of the preferred background color, then add the stripes by hand afterwards.  Here were the best fur options:


His person opted for the orangier, furrier one.

Stripes got recovered, and some smaller wounds on his belly were sewn.  Then, it was time for hand striping.  I did some basic  striping, and then sent photos for feedback:


His person’s first response was:

Beth, you’ve made me cry at work.  I’m absolutely over the moon with Stripes new look!!!  Holy cats he’s looking beautiful!!  You are AMAZING!

But I was asking for striping feedback, and she happily provided it:

The stripes.  Thank you for being so conservative. 🙂 I would like to add some more stripes. I’ve included an updated pic that shows where I would like some stripes added.

  1. Tail:   Could you put 2 stripes in a ring pattern around the tail? They continue the black spots you started. I also noticed with other Gund tigers that the ring was painted at a slight angle or sprayed as 2 “halves”, not a straight ring that looked like a raccoon’s tail. (pics)  I know that there was more black at the tip of the tail, but I don’t think the whole tip was black.
  2. Back Leg:   I’ve continued your 3 spots into stripes.
  3. Body:  I’ve added 2 stripes, but if you will notice stripe #2 is in the shape of a ‘V”. (I remember this detail as a child)  The stripes do NOT have to line up with the fabric underneath.  They didn’t before.  😀
  4. Face: I’ve added a short stripe above Stripes’ right eye. This detail always gave him a slight serious look without being mean. (not a lot of slant to the line, if any) I have always loved this detail about him.  And I’ve elongated the stripe on his forhead.

Beth, I’m pretty sure we will be adding some more stripes to the back, especially his head but I thought we might tackle this bit first.

She closed with:

Again, I just absolutely can’t thank you enough for your beautiful and loving work on my best friend. I have been showing people the before and after pics for the last 5 hours.  I’m so happy!!!

So back to drawing stripes on Stripes I went.  Here are the next batch of photos:


Stripes person was thrilled:

Stripes looks spectacular!!  I mean he is just awesome with the stripes that you’ve filled out.

She wanted just one more stripe.  She sent a photo, but it was in another format, so I won’t put it here, but she also described what she wanted very well:

So I just have 1 more stripe for you.  If you look at my pic, you will see that I’ve drawn a line over the small black dot that is on his forehead.  In the last pic you sent me you can still see that it’s just a spot and not a stripe.  Could you lengthen that spot into a stripe for me?

Please note the position. When you are seated facing Stripes, this stripe includes/starts at the black spot and runs towards the right.  You have a pretty stripe that’s higher on the head already placed on the left so this one goes off to the right and is the same length as that one.

Adjustment made, I sent another photo (you can see the printout with her line instruction next to him):


Her response:

Perfection Achieved!  I’m so so happy!!!!   How many exclamation points can I put in an email to show you how perfect Stripes is!!


So Stripes got packed up and headed home to a grateful human and snake.  Here he is at home with his pal, RedEye:


His person was soooo happy!  She wrote a very long thank you, with a history of Stripes and RedEye, and I don’t want to edit it, so I’m copying it entirely here for you to read.  But you can skip it if you want and just know she was happy!

Hi Beth,

Sit back and relax.  This may be a little bit of a long happy read.  😀   Please feel free to use any content or pics from my emails for your blog.

I waited anxiously for Stripes to arrive.  Yes, my husband signed for the box and I couldn’t wait to get home!

And so the moment has arrived.  I brought Stripes best friend Redeye in from the bedroom to help me open the package. We open,  I close my eyes dig in past the packing peanuts and pull out our best friend.  Oh My Goodness!  He is beautiful! bright! and colorful! He practically glows! I see his face. Yes, yes! It’s Stripes!  I see the same face I’ve gazed into and loved for 50 years. And that’s when the tears start. Crying, mouth open in shock but my husband says he’s never seen me happier.  ..After many long years, I can finally cuddle my friend again.

Beth you have given me back something I thought I would never have again.  I love Stripes so, but I couldn’t, didn’t dare to pet him or cuddle him. I had to be so gentle, so afraid that I was doing more damage to him. But now all that is over!  I can sleep with my buddy by my side. I can take him on vacations again!  I’m tearing up just writing this.  I can’t express my joy…absolute joy over the work you have done. Stripes looks like a beautiful and bright toy again.  Thank you Beth.  Thank you so very much.

…And I’ll be sending Redeye to you some time in February.  I’ll be sure to email you first to start the process.

And here’s a little history about Stripes.  Stripes was a Christmas present in 1969. I have always loved tigers and I was in deep love the moment I saw him. He has enjoyed play tea parties with me, and watched drive-in movies sitting in the back window. He has looked over the candy hauls that I collected during Halloween and been in a beautiful oak tree during the crisp dry autumn. (Carefully placed on a towel, but he needed to experience a tree. He is a tiger after all.)   He has been with me in Japan for a year and traveled all over the US northwest  looking out of a train window. And he has done all these things with Redeye by his side.

–But let’s face the facts, in the last few years my friend was disappearing before my eyes. There was good fortune that his seams were okay but the fur was coming off. His stripes were completely gone in areas. He was looking more yellow everywhere. And I dared only to pat him. That’s when I began to search for help to restore my friend and so I found Realms of Gold on the internet.

Beth has been wonderful, corresponding with emails and working out details by sending pictures back and forth. She listened to my input and was absolutely amazing at applying the stripes in the right places. We actually discussed exactly where to put them.  😀  I trust Beth’s skills so much that I will be sending Stripes best friend Redeye along soon.  He was amazed and so happy with Stripes look, that he can’t wait to go to Realms of Gold!

Okay Beth, this may be a little serious but I wanted to express my honest feelings, and let you know why this has been so important to me.

With my 2 stuffed animals loosing hair and looking tired a sobering thought occurred to me. If something happened to me, what would happen to them? We have no children to give them to. We can’t donate them because being so worn out, no one would take them. And the thought that they might end up in a garbage bin was too much. Of course for me, my goal was to pet, play and enjoy them again.  That goes without saying.  But now, seeing Stripes beautiful bright colors, I am happy and secure in knowing that years from now, I can donate or will him to a children’s home where he will continue to be loved. (I have several friends who grew up in orphanages and we think it’s a wonderful idea.)

Thank you so much Beth!!!!!!

I don’t know about all of you, but that made me smile all day. 🙂

Posted by realmsofgold