MAKING THE HAIR:
Once again, the hair I use is mohair yarn, pulled apart and tied into little bundles. They are then strategically glued on the head to create the doll’s hair style. This process is also covered in detail in the Sculpting Fairies in Polymer Clay DVD and also a slightly different version on the baby dolls in Making Baby Dolls in Polymer Clay.
Once you become proficient in making polymer clay dolls, you may want to switch to actual angora and goat hair. You can find suppliers on the internet, Most professional dolls use this type of hair. It can be pricey for a beginner, but once you start producing collectible art dolls, you will want to start using the highest grade materials in making your dolls.
This doll, I used a blonde-colored wool and glued it into a bun type style.
MAKING THE BALLERINA SKIRT:
I tied the skirts onto the doll and using a glue gun, flattened them down onto the doll.
I laid down a bead of glue on top of the skirt along the waistline, and then sprinkled and pressed tiny glass beads into it to give the skirt a little “costuming” an a little “glitter”. I did the same along the neckline, and then added two larger pearls.
At this point, the doll is done.
GALLERY OF THE FINISHED DOLL:
Once your doll is completely “half-baked” with all of it’s parts, it will be time for a final baking. This is the time you will bake the doll at the manufacturer’s temperature and time recommendations. I use Super Sculpey and Sculpey III, so I bake my dolls at 260 degrees (because my oven runs hot) and leave it in there for 30 to 40 minutes, depending upon the size of the doll. It is best to follow your manufacturer’s directions as they know all of the safety precautions and they have run many, many tests.
All the doll to fully cool, and go over the doll for any last minute scrapings or sandings. Once it is sanded, wash with a little water with dish soap and dry completely.
PAINT THE FACE:
I’ve gone over the painting too many times to go over it again in this project. I do also cover this in close up gory detail in my Sculpting Fairies in Polymer Clay Video and my Making Baby Fairies Video.
I use acrylic paints, tiny liner brushes and a blending gel to keep the paint smooth and give you an extra little working time in case you have to wipe off any uneven eye brows, etc.
Once you are finished painting the face, the body suite (if you need to cover any spots on the clay body suit), and the ballet slippers, it is time to coat the doll in resin.
COAT IN RESIN:
To the left is the resin I found that comes out without any yellow cast, It is easy to use and lasts a while if you are making 7 inch dolls in polymer clay.
I put a big clump of clay in the center of the popcorn bucket so the doll was stable and then using a throw-away paintbrush (Dollar Store), I coated the doll in resin. Off camera, I also coated the painted base.
They both needed to dry overnight. Once they are dry, the doll is way too shiny.
So I paint one layer of ModPodge Matt finish and that takes away a lot of the shine, but then I coat it with a layer or two of Johnson Paste Wax. This gives the doll a “porcelain shine”. It mimics the porcelain dolls the best.
PREPARING THE PLATFORM:
During the project, before I chose the color of the actual outfit, I worked with the wooden plaque as raw wood. Using a 1/4 inch drill bit, I drilled a small hole in an area for the doll to stand. I chose a drill bit that would fit a common bamboo skewer.
Once I knew I would make the ballerina’s outfit pink with black shoes and she would have blonde hair, I then painted the stage a neutral gray that would not class with any other color.
After painting, in the next stage, I will be coating the stage with the resin coating so it will be pretty much indestructible.
THE BALLERINA HEAD/FACE RIGHT OUT OF THE MOLD:
The Ballerina Push Mold, like the other push molds at White Gothic Studios, can be used right out of the mold, or you can make a bit of a “skull” out of it so you can sculpt our own unique face onto it. To the left you can see a gif showing you how this works.
It’s easy to use. You can see the fast version by looking at the gif. You will make the head or heads separately and put them on toothpicks so they can be applied later in the project.
I prefer to attach the ears to a baked face or skull, so you can add a hole on the side of the head before baking and then add a little Liquid Sculpey on the ear area and apply the clay ears to the baked head. You have more control while forming, attaching and smoothing the ears.
MAKING THE MOLDED FACE INTO A “SKULL”:
At some point during your doll making, you will want to make unique dolls. These pictures will show you how you can cut into and remove clay so you can add your own features and perhaps add your own hand made or glass eyes.
Cut out eye sockets and you can change the shape and look of the eyes. If you will be inserting glass eyes, push in deeper cavities to accept the glass eye backs, whatever they may be.
You can cut away the mouth/lips and even part of the chin so you can change just about everything. By using the heads as skulls, you can reduce sculpting time in half. By baking the skulls, you will be sculpting against a hard surface, which is much easier especially for beginners.
APPLYING THE HEAD TO THE BODY:
Once your heads are fully sculpted, ears attached, you can then pose them on the doll’s body to get the right angle. By keeping the neck section very skinny, you allow yourself plenty of space to attach the head onto the body and build up the neck so the pose is very convincing.
As a reminder, be sure to check the toothpick before baking. Be sure you can twist it and remove it. If you don’t do this, you may not be able to remove the toothpick and you don’t even want to know how disappointing this is at this stage in the project.
The hands will be done as usual, scrape off all of the flashing, make sure the fronts and backs are aligned. Smooth out the connection lines, rub the fingers and stretch them to make them more thin. Cut off any finger that gets too tall or out of proportion.
Keep in mind your ultimate pose. While the hands are still on toothpicks, just “try them on the arm wires and make sure they are in a believable pose. Reapply them onto the toothpicks. Bake them, making sure to twirl the toothpicks before baking to make sure you will be able to remove them too.