Ear Piercing is the modification of making holes in the vinyl through or near a doll's ears to allow the doll to wear earrings.
Through American Girl
Starting in 2008, any Truly Me doll can get her ears pierced--if ordered off the website, this must be done at purchase. Otherwise the doll must be taken to a store or shipped to American Girl directly. For Historical Characters, ear piercing is often not available as an option at the time of purchase online. A purchase at any American Girl Place can be done soon after purchase, and AG will perform piercing services for any 18" doll for a fee of $16.
Prior to Isabelle Palmer, Girls of the Year were not available for ear piercing at purchase. Isabelle was the first to have ear-piercing available at purchase and could receive the same earrings that modern dolls were offered. Starting with Grace Thomas, Girls of the Year came with optional, exclusive earrings for the duration of her availability. By default, Girl of the Year ears are not pierced.
The permanent holes are drilled with a rotary power tool and are sized for American Girl earrings (about 12 gauge/3mm) which are bigger than standard human earring posts (18-20 gauge/0.812 mm) Any doll may wear any available earrings. The doll comes with a set of Stars and Hoops Earrings which are only available through piercing; originally the Silver Star Earrings were the included earrings.
The same drill method is used for applying hearing aids, though the post hole is placed at a lower position. A doll thus may have both hearing aids and pierced ears.
American Girl recommends that earrings be left in for two to three hours post piercing since the drilling moderately heats and stretches the vinyl; this prevents the piercing from shrinking too small to accommodate the earring post.
Before ear piercing was available directly, the only official earrings available were stick on earrings, generally of a small gemstone style (e.g.: Gemstone Earrings).
Some collectors prefer to pierce ears themselves. In this way, they are not limited to American Girl earrings only; before ear piercing was offered this was the only way to have pierced ears. This is generally done with a large needle or pushpin, or the earring post directly. The vinyl can be warmed up with a heat source such as a blow dryer to prevent cracking and/or the needle or pushpin can be heated directly. The needle/pin is then gently pushed into the vinyl to make a hole. The hole is permanent but is smaller and more discreet than the piercing holes made by American Girl. Sizing generally allows any regular small gauge standard post earrings to be placed into the piercing.
A person can also make earring holes the same size as the American Girl sizes using a hand drill and a correctly sized bit. A thumb tack or needle can make an initial guide hole, and a 82/1000 or #42 drill bit will make them the correct size. One may have to ream the hole a bit with the drill bit on high speed if too snug.
Dolls with Earrings
Since piercing has been available, the following earring packs have been available:
- Silver Star Earrings
- Everyday Play Earrings
- Pretty Party Earrings
- Birthstone Earrings
- I Love Sports Earrings
- I Love Pets Earrings
- Fancy Earrings
- Fresh and Fun Earrings
- Pets Earrings
- Doodle Earrings
- Elegant Earrings Set