Ballerina Push Mold Project – Part 6

A Little About the Doll’s Waist:

I like to leave the waist pretty thin when I do a half-bake lock-down back.  Then I bake, cool and then scrape off any big lumps and bumps.  Then once the doll is cooled, I add fresh clay and build up the waist to look more in scale.

The Waist and Costuming:

For this project, I will be adding a clay layer and then a tulle skirt.  Because there will be no “fabric bulk”, I built up the waist to a pretty realistic scale.

If, however, you are going to add a fabric skirt, you need to take this into account when filling in the waist.  Leaving the waist very thin will allow you to make up for the bulk of the fabric and still keep the doll in scale.

Once your waist is built up, the doll should be ready for the final bake.  If you want to lock down your pose completely with a half bake, you can do this too.


ballerina-clay-costume-foil-protectionOnce you are ready to do the final baking, be sure to go over the doll carefully and fill in any of the cracks or crevices with fresh clay.

The picture to the left is jumping ahead a little bit, but if you have a small oven, you may want to cover the hands and feet to protect them from excessive heat.


Once the doll is cool, you can do your final sanding from 60 grit all the way to 600 grit.  Wash with a little dishwashing liquid and wipe her dry.


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Ballerina Push Mold Project – Part 5

Create the Final Pose

Create the Final Pose


Once the doll has been fully baked at 250 degrees, the waist is very thin.  Add pads of clay building up the torso to a more believable width.  I will be adding a clay costume, so I can build it up more than normal.

If you will be adding material of any kind, you might want to keep the waist pretty thin to make up for the bulk of the fabric.

If this will be your final baking, be sure to bake according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Also remember to go over the entire doll carefully and be sure to fill in any cracks or indentations with fresh clay so you will be finished with the doll after this baking.

ballerina-posed-on-side-of-tableIf you will still need to scrape and sand, then hold off using the higher temperature until you are ready to do a final baking.


Once you have done the final baking, wait until the doll is completely cool and then do a final sanding.  Just to repeat, start at 60 grit, then 100 grit and dry 220 or 320 sandpaper.  Then move to the sink or a bowl of water with a drop of dish detergent in it.  Then use wet-dry sandpaper beginning at 220/320, then 400 and finally 600 grit.  This will give you a really fine porcelain-like finish.


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Ballerina Push Mold Project – Part 4


At this point it’s time to solidify the pose by locking up the body parts.  Once the thighs and lower torso are in place and baked, you can then slip the ballerina’s feet onto the leg armature wire, and with Liquid Sculpey and fresh clay, you can attach the feet onto the legs in the final pose.

Put the ballerina in the oven for another half-bake (250 degrees for 10 minutes) to harden the lower torso.  Allow to fully cool.


Now it’s time to start sanding.  Scrape off any big lumps or bumps.  Then, starting with 60 grit sandpaper, sand the doll smooth at this point.  Then switch to 100 grit sandpaper, then to 220 or 320 dry sandpaper.  Be sure to wear a safety mask.  You can get them in Home Depot or Lowes for a few dollars.

Next, I sanded the doll at my sink with water, 220 grit sandpaper, and a little dish soap.  This sanding begins to remove the sanding marks and starts bringing the doll’s finish to a porcelain finish.


In the same way that we did the legs, you will do the arms.  Start by adding clay over the “bones” we already created.  You can either use the arms formed from the mold, or if you are comfortable, just add clay a little at a time until you sculpt your own arms.

Keep checking the doll for her pose.


Because I chose to have such an elaborate pose, I had to make sure that the upper right arm and the lower right arm would match up on the stage she eventually sits on, so I left the elbow to last.  I baked the upper and lower arms and then came back with more clay and created the elbow to make sure that I had the upper and lower arms draped exactly how I wanted them on the stage.


Once the arms were done, I was ready to fix the doll’s waist.  Scrap and sand as best you can.  Then add Liquid Sculpey and clay and fill in the waist and finish the pose.  Put in the oven for a final bake.


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Ballerina Push Mold Project – Part 3


In the last lesson, we left off baking the top half of the doll and the head for 15 minutes at 250 degrees.  Above I also put a photo of the baking contraption.  It is a 10 x 10 inch ceramic tile with two metal (oven safe) book ends, and two “goal posts” with a holding wire between them.  This crazy thing accommodates pretty much any pose I choose to use, so I use this all the time.

The second picture shows where we left off in the last lesson, we baked the upper torso and make sure we had a hole for the arm wire.


Now it’s time to add the arm armature wire and the arm “bones”.

Create a twisted white-cloth wire to be the armature for the arms.  Pass it through the hole you created with the toothpick and adjust so you have enough wire for both arms and hands.  You can see by looking at the third picture above how it will look when you cover the wire with a little clay, very thin, so you have a hard surface to work again.

Bake this again at 250 degrees for 10 minutes.  Allow to fully cool.


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Ballerina Push Mold Project – Part 2

ballerina-strapped-in-5We left off at adding the lower torso onto the armature wire, and posing the doll in her ultimate stage.  Because the stage might not be oven safe, I found a small tart pan that was the same height from the ground and am using that to bake the doll at this point.

I had already formed the feet, head and hands on separate toothpicks so I could get in really close and do a very detailed sculpting on them.  They were also baked separately.

I added the feet to the base of the legs to make sure I have the scale of the legs right as well as enough room to pose the entire leg when we are done.

Using strips of paper and scotch tape, I have seat-belted the lower torso into place and she will go into the oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes.  If your own is preheated, you only need to put her in for 10 minutes.

I allow the lower torso to cool completely before I work on her anymore.


After the bottom is fully cooled, I added the top of the torso onto the armature wire.  I added the head to make sure the scale was good.  Notice that I also ran a toothpick through the arm area and wiggled it to make sure I can pass the arms armature wire through the torso later in the project.

Again, using strips of paper, I have seat-belted the doll safely for baking.  I have what I can only call a “baking contraption” that I have created through the years so I can seat-belt and hold the doll in various places.  If you look closely, I have the doll secured around her hips and also I have her head tethered to a metal book end (oven safe) so that she doesn’t fall over during the baking.

Once again, I will allow her to fully cool, before I move on in the project.



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