Custom Vinylmation Tips and Tutorials with @ArtistAaralyn : Prep Work

Now that you’ve gotten the needed materials and an idea for a design going, it’s time to prep your Vinylmation for painting. Even if you have a white CYO vinylmation that seems ready to go, you still might want to consider doing some prep work. In this article, I’ll explain my prepping process.

As always, all artists have different methods. This is not the only way to do things; it’s just the way I do things. Artist’s techniques vary a lot in this area.

 Disassembling the 9” Vinylmation

Whether it’s a 3” or 9” vinylmation, I disassemble it. It makes painting easier. Please disassemble at your own risk. Some of the seams in the arms are rather thin and can break easily.

Tools I Use:

– X-acto knife

– Martha Stewart Heating Tool (or a Hair Dryer…I do not own a hair dryer, but I had this from another craft project)

General Tips Before You Begin:

– The arm where it connects to the joint has a seam, and this seam is relatively thin. If you put too much stress on it, the seam will break. With patience, this will not happen. However, if the seam does break, realign the seam exactly how it broke and use super glue.

– In this process, a heat source will be used to soften the vinylmation to make taking it apart possible. If you apply the heat too closely to the vinylmation, the figure can start to bubble and melt. Always use a sweeping motion with your heat source and don’t put the source very close to the vinylmation. Be careful not to burn your fingers.

– The vinylmation can absorb heat and become hot after the heat source is applied, so when touching it, use caution.

– The X-acto knife is a knife…when you start cutting down the joints, go slowly. The blade can quickly end up in your finger. I know this from experience. When you say you put blood and tears into your custom, you don’t want to mean it literally.

Step 1: To Remove the Head

Grab the head of the vinylmation and gently tilt it back. Apply your heat source at the base of the head near the neck joint in a sweeping motion about three to four inches away from the figure. After a little while, turn over the figure and tilt the head again, heating the other side.

Turn off the heat source and tilt the head back as shown, attempting to take it off. If the head doesn’t come off easily, apply more heat and repeat.

Step 2: To Remove the Arms
Taking off the head is much easier than the arms. The arms to me are still scary, because in many cases after heating the vinylmation a good bit of force is still needed to remove them. Lift the arm just like the head and heat around the joint, not putting the heat source too close.

After heating, push your thumb down into the side of the vinylmation. This will help free the arm. Lift the arm directly upward, while continuing to push down on the body using your thumb. If the arm seems like it’s not moving, reheat the area around the joint again. Patience is key; applying too much pressure will cause it to break. Repeat until it pops out.

Step 3: Putting the Vinylmation Back Together Again
Without trimming the joints of the neck and arms, they will not go back onto the vinylmation. This is where the knife comes in. For the head, you can either cut a cross section into the bottom of the vinylmation head with a knife, or you can treat the arms and the head in the same manner. When I cut cross sections, I found that they showed up when looking up at the chin of the vinylmation. If you are interested in trying this method, I encourage you to try it as you might get different results.

I trim down the joints with an X-acto knife in order for them to fit back in.

After trimming, both the head and arm joints as pictured, you can reattach them.

To reattach the head, put it down on the joint and move it back and forth, while gently pushing down. For the arms, line up the hole and the joint and make the natural swinging motion of the arm while pushing down until the arm goes back in.

Putting the vinylmation together should be done after painting because if you have to remove the arms again it may still require heat and heat and paint don’t go well together sometimes. If you want to put the vinylmation together before painting to see if you cut enough and then disassemble it again, you can do so, but I would still use heat to take off the arms.

Disassembling the 3” Vinylmation is much less complicated. There are no knives and heat required. Simply pop the parts off. When taking off the pieces, I recommend rotating them while applying pressure.

I wash all my Vinylmation pieces in warm water and hand soap. This helps to get any debris and oil off the figure and ensures a clean surface. After cleaning all the pieces, leave them to air dry or dry them with a towel. (Be sure not to lose any pieces through the drain.)

In my next article, I’ll discuss painting the Vinylmation, which will include information about priming your custom. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments below!

As always, feel free to follow Aaralyn or you can check out her awesome custom Vinylmations at any of the links below:
Facebook Page at:
Her website at:

Twitter: @ArtistAaralyn

Finally, if you have any questions for Aaralyn, feel free to ask them in the comments sections below.


  1. Crglrsn /

    Thanks for the copious amount of photos as I’m a visual learner and plan on doing a 9″ in the near future.

    Word of caution about the 3″ arms, with my experience; some come off relatively easy, but some are very stubborn and nearly snapped when putting back on.

    Looking forward to the next article.


  2. Thanks Craig! I always find that rotating the arm piece while putting pressure helps get it back into the socket. It’s more of a natural motion for the piece instead of just trying to shove it back in there. Hope the tips helped!

  3. Crglrsn /

    Ooh, that does work better. I just need to be careful and not let too much paint in to tighten the arm socket. Great tips. 🙂