I found another sweet face rubber plush via Ebay, that I fell in love with. Creepy bunny faces, get me every time. Ha. So, I adopted her and she arrived a lot faster then the Chubby Tubby. Here is what she originally looked like...
Vintage Rushton Easter Bunny in White, Yup, she arrived grubby and needing a lot of TLC. She had a hole on her foot, and a hole on her ear. When I held her she was stiff and crunchy sounding. I have often been asked how do I restore my Rushtons, So, I will go into detail. I hope this post will help those that would like to know how I do this. Please be mindful I am not an expert, this is just from my personal experiences when cleaning my plush animals. Before doing anything to your vintage plush, if you feel hesitant to work on it for fear you may damage your plush further, then please do not attempt to do it. I would not want you to be disappointed in yourself and in the loss of your precious vintage plush.
First, what I do is inspect my plush. If there is felt, wires, clothing etc. If felt is on the body, if you decide to wash, felt will simply disintegrate, unfortunately or fray. So be sure to have a replacement felt in the same or as close as possible to the original. Wires will be fine and it can give you the opportunity to fix them. Remove all clothing, ribbons, flowers, etc. Clothing can be washed as long as it is not too delicate. If the plush is large, you will have to remove its stuffing. Some plush are smaller so you can keep original stuffing, if it is in good condition. I decided to remove her stuffing and found out why she sounded crunchy... Foam was used as stuffing. It also made her stiff to touch. Interesting, I guess depending on what the designer was going for, something light perhaps, is probably why she was stuffed with foam. She is quite tall too, about 17inches, including her ears. There were no wires, but instead a plastic flat stick to keep the ears from drooping. All the foam and cloth stuffing below. I also removed her cardboard feet, since she had a hole on her foot, I took both cardboard out and set them aside. After removal, I immediately had her washed. Now, when washing your vintage plush, you can use Tide pods, Gain pods, whatever is your fave preference for smell. I use Tide pods, and Downy Stoppables. The reason I add Downy Stoppables is to add more scent, a clean scent to my plushies. Please put your washer cycle Medium or Small load and wash them with their clothes or alone. Don't do your laundry with them, especially for white, pink or yellow plush. Darker colors like red or black, may also stain your clothing, still wash separate.
After washing my vintage bunny, she was lovely and white! Yay! Exactly what I was hoping for too. Of course her felt feet were gone, ugh, but she was clean again. I began to inspect her one more time, besides the felt being shredded, a lot of the left over foam was all over her fur. I laid her on a flat surface and allowed her to completely dry off. You can also hang to dry. As long as you allow the vintage plush to air dry. This can take a few hours to a day. Since she was not as thick in fur as my other plush, she dried within hours. Next, I took her and used a plastic brush to brush her fur down and take off any foam, shredded felt, debris etc. You can also use this time to cut any long strings, that became loose after the wash. I started to sew her one foot, and used pink felt instead of the cream felt she had. I put back the cardboards that were set aside, and left one foot open to allow me to restuff her.
If you are restuffing and the old stuffing is not usable, you can purchase stuffing from your local craft store or I generally use old pillows, that I've saved for this purpose. Mind you when you use stuffing from a pillow, you can to pull them apart between your fingers to allow air to go into the fibers to open them up. I know it sounds odd, but I've mentioned this before, it gives the cotton stuffing more puff or fluffs it up so to speak. It makes the job take a bit longer, but for me its kind of meditating. LOL After, restuffing your vintage plush, you can sew up any areas that may have holes or slight openings. My vintage plush just had to be sewn on the feet and deciding what to do with her ear was another story. I decided to fix her ear last. Because, I have to find a replacement section of fur, it was not that the fur had an opening, but that there was a bit of missing fur. So, luckily, I have swatches of mohair fur. I could use vintage fur from another plush as a donor, but I didn't have one. So, I cut a piece or section of the mohair fur I had, and began sewing it into the spot with the hole. I then, cut the long mohair to be the length of the fur. It was not perfect, but it was the next best thing. TADA! She was done!
Please note, it never fails, the Rushton tag sometimes fades or frays after washing, ugh. But it is still there. I added a blue silk ribbon and Forget Me Not flowers. Sadly, her original ribbons and flowers were dirty and fell apart as I took them off her. I love that face, don't you?! I hope that my information here, will help you if you decide to take on restoring your vintage plush. Happy restorations folks!