Friday, July 13, 2018

Need Inspiration?

Straw Hat Tut

We recently made hats from straw braids using instructions we found here:
http://dragonflyintl.com/Straw%20Hat%20Tutorial.html

You will find more links to instructions on how to make all types of hats here on this blog. Check our Index for Costume posts.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Our OOAK Pinterest Page

The boards on our Pinterest page cover many doll making topics. We have collected information and links here and you will find lots of links there too. Here is the link to our Pinterest page:
https://www.pinterest.com/dollmakers/

Finding Sculpting Mistakes - Part 1


Part 2 of this video following below.

Finding Sculpting Mistakes - Part 2

Friday, June 8, 2018

Scale Converter

We found this easy to use hobby calculator and thought we would share the link with you:
http://www.printmini.com/calc.html

Thursday, May 31, 2018

How To Make Polymer Clay Dimensional Paint


We have seen one doll maker who used this technique on her doll's facial features. The only way to learn if it will work for you is to try it!

Monday, May 28, 2018

LED Lights Used In A Prop For A Doll

When asked about how to make a figure holding a lit lantern we looked for instructions on using tiny LED bulbs operated by a battery. One source we came across has a page of video tutorials on using these bulbs. We thought we would share these links to videos with other doll makers. You can view one here:
https://www.modeltrainsoftware.com/pages/video 
We also found a video on YouTube that is a basic explanation about wiring hobby LEDs yourself. You can view it and other videos here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LW3yGASLLk

Monday, May 21, 2018

How To Paint An Eye Demo


We love this over-sized eye used for this demonstration.It allows you to see in detail exactly what this painter is doing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sculpting A Head


So many art doll makers who sculpt with polymer clay tell us to sculpt the basic shape of a head first, before we add facial features with all the small details. This video is about just that; understanding the planes of the head.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Head Proportion

This is one of our favorite proportion charts (source unknown).

Make An Armature


Lots of tips on this video. It is about a kit for a fairy but discusses making the armature for a standing doll, including bulking out with aluminum foil and how to make the invisible stand.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Length Of Arms

Illustration  (source unknown)

Facial Features

Follow this link for information about the human head; male vs female and  differences of age, ethnic characteristic, etc. Lots of information for sculptors of polymer clay figures.
https://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/human-anatomy-fundamentals-advanced-facial-features--cms-20683

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Foil Under-Sculpt


Many doll makers use foil to bulk out the figure before adding polymer clay. This keeps from adding clay that is very thick. The larger the scale of your doll, the more this technique becomes important. For more information be sure to check in the Index for the topic"Under-Sculpt'.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Wigging With Both Tibetan Lamb Fur and Mohair

Check out this 'Great Hair Secrets' photo tutorial for wigging a doll. This is one of our favorite tutorials from one of our favorite doll artists. Print or download the PDF here:
http://www.sculptuniversity.com/great-hair-secrets-pdf/

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Proportions of a 4 Months Old Baby

Thinking of sculpting a baby? This proportion chart (source unknown) for a 4 month old infant that is 24 inches tall may help.  Be sure to resize the chart for the scale figure you want to create. For example, if you are creating in 1:12 scale your sculpt will only be 2 inches tall.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Where The Padding Goes!

As we were sculpting characters with a bit of extra weight we found this image helpful (source is unknown).

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Arms and Attaching Them To The Shoulder


You might like to try this method of sculpting arms and attaching to the figure's baked torso.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Bees Putty Plastic Tip


This sculpting product is rather hard and crumbly straight out of it's package. We tried this method of warming and it really does help the conditioning process.

Bees Putty Plastic

This link is to a review of Bees Putty oven hardening modeling plastic. It  has some different handling properties from our more familiar sculpting polymer clays. This link is to a review if you are interested in learning more:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6aj_i81OBw

Friday, March 2, 2018

Fabric Draping For Doll Makers


In real life, gravity makes fabric fall in folds. In small scale, fabric costumes have to be 'helped' to fall in folds.  Doll makers sometimes use pins to hold folds in place, often pinning skirts to a pinning board (cork or foam, or similar). This doll maker is demonstrating how she pulls and presses fabric into shape and then uses a wetting agent to set the folds. Pull and pinch fabric while wet and then let dry completely before touching!!!
Some wetting agents are; fabric stiffener, spray starch, hairspray, and water. Some fabric costumes must be wet all over so that any color change is even and not noticeable. Be sure to test your fabric before wetting your costume.
And one last tip: if the glue you used on your costume was water soluble, such as Tacky, only use hairspray. Solvent based glue, such as FabriTac, should not become unglued by any wetting agent

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Basic Shape Of The Head


This is a drawing tutorial but the information it contains will help you with understanding the shapes you should be looking for as you sculpt.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Tool For Shaping And Smoothing

Color shapers (AKA clay shapers and paint shapers) are a silicone tipped artist tool. Polymer clay sculptors use them to shape and smooth small areas of clay. We love the soft tips for sculpting facial features, especially for miniature figures. Sculpt the shape you require and add fine details with size 0's and 2's.  If you haven’t tried this tool, you may want to see what you’re missing.

The silicone tips are color coded; black is extra firm, gray is firm and white is soft. The tips are shaped: taper point, cup round, and 3 types of chisel; angle, cup and flat. And they are sized 0, 2, 6, 10, and 16.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

How To Make Your Own Proportion Chart

Thanks to this doll maker for sharing information about making art dolls.The link below is to a tutorial by him where he explains how to make a proportion chart for any height doll using the 8 head model. Below is his illustration from his blog post.

Be sure to look for it here:
http://madsculptor.blogspot.com/2011/02/proportions-simple-guide.html

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Monday, February 5, 2018

Guideline For Working With Under-Sculpts

Has this ever happened to you? You make an armature and add and bake an undersculpt. Then you add some top clay and begin to sculpt your doll but get sidetracked and your sculpt hangs around in your studio for awhile. When you get back to it, the top clay cracks and is crumbly and difficult, if not impossible, to continue sculpting. What happened? The oil in the top clay gets 'absorbed' into the baked undersculpt clay. So here is the guideline recommended by several doll makers; once the undersculpt clay is on the wire armature and is baked, it can wait for a very long time for you to finish it; but once you add the top clay over an undersculpt you must finish sculpting and bake your doll within a week.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sculpt A Baby

This link is to a You Tube video that will help you achieve correct proportions for your baby sculpt. It also shows how to smooth your sculpt in the raw clay stage and then, after the clay has been baked, how to complete smoothing your doll. The doll maker demonstrates scraping the baked clay with a blade and sanding with wet dry sandpaper. Be sure to watch this informative video: 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Tips From Lots Of Doll Makers

I found a collection of tips and techniques for smoothing polymer clay on the Mini Doll List. These were written by people who are very good doll makers. Be sure to check out the web site:

Monday, January 1, 2018

Problem: Overbaked, Burnt, Broken? Don't Throw it Away


An inspirational message for your sculpting in 2018. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

Understanding A Head In The Round


This sculptor is not working in polymer clay and the head is much larger than we are sculpting for our small scale dolls but you may find this video helpful for understanding proportions of a human head.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Blushing With Pastels - Part One


See part two below.

Blushing With Pastels - Part Two

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Simplified Understanding Of Muscles

For doll makers sculpting with polymer clay it is quite enough to start with a simplified understanding of what shows through the surface of the skin; the underlying muscle and fat layer (and in a few areas, bones). This website discusses the muscle layer of the body, since that defines how things look on the surface. We like their diagrams of muscle groups in color, with a black line to show the forms that would show through the skin. Be sure to check this out:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Painting And Shading Using Heat-Set Paint


This video is one doll maker's WIP - a demonstration that you may find helpful. We like that that this face paint is masculine as most demos we find are on female faces

Monday, November 13, 2017

How To Make An Armature



NOTE: rolls of Aluminium Foil Tape is available in hardware, home improvement stores, etc.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Make A Pinning Board For Draping Fabric

Draping fabric on your dolls costume requires a surface that you can push pins into and will not be damaged by water, hairspray or fabric starch. This link will take you to a web site that shows you how one person constructed a simple pinning board.  Hope this gives you some ideas so you can make one for yourself.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Problem: Lint/Dirt/Specks On Baked Clay


NOTE: Acetone is available at hardware stores. Be careful when looking at nail polish removers because some are pure acetone but most are mixed with other chemicals.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mixing Chart For Heat Set Paints

Some doll makers like to mix their own colors because they only need 5 basic colors of Genesis heat-set paint that can be combined to make many more. These 5 colors are Burnt Umber, Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, Genesis Red and Genesis Yellow. A handy mixing chart can be found on this web site:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Iris Placement

Thanks to this dollmaker for her guidelines about placing the iris when painting your doll's eye. A very helpful picture tutorial. You will find it here:
http://www.sculptuniversity.com/amazing-eyes-pdf/

Friday, October 6, 2017

Painting Eyes


Be sure to watch this video full screen to catch all the details.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Under-Sculpt or Under-Armature

There are many reasons to use an under-sculpt; to hold the clay together while it is baking, keep delicate parts from breaking, control the thickness of clay on the figure, and to help you control the difficult to work with polymer clay. An under-sculpt has the added advantages of reducing the final baking time and making the figure stronger.

Think of your wire armatures as the doll’s skeleton. The under-sculpt is applied over the wire armature. The under-sculpt can be anything to bulk out the thick parts of the figure and to firm up the thin wire armature and will be compatible with polymer clay and baking temperature heat. Materials to use to fashion an under-sculpt are polymer clay (bake hard) and modeling epoxy (air dry). Some doll makers use hard packed aluminum foil. 


This link will take you to a 3 page photo tutorial demonstrating an under-sculpt:

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Basic Wigging


If you are new to wigging, be sure to watch this video. It is a tutorial for basic wigging using viscose fiber. We find it so much easier to see something done than to read written directions. Don't you?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Costumes For Miniature Dolls

Did  you know that American Miniaturist magazine is running a series of 1:12 scale doll costuming? The photo tutorials are complete with costume instructions, patterns, and wigging directions. Check these out if you want to dress a miniature doll. They began with issue #166 and are continuing monthly. You can order these magazines at:
http://www.americanminiaturist.com/issues

Invisible Armature Tutorial

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Doll Armature Tutorial For You


Doll makers wrap wires with tape: masking tape, floral tape, etc.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Draping 101

Love this photo tutorial by one of our favorite doll makers. This demonstrates, step-by-step, draping a long skirt with a train. Be sure to check it out here;
http://www.miniatureart.com/Learn/FF%20Archive/FF3/DANA/Comtesse1.html

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sculpting a Female Head - Part 1


Find part 2 of this video below

Sculpting a Female Head - Part 2

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Proportion Calculator

Looking for an anatomy/proportion calculator? This site has a really good one. To use it you must register with anatomy4sculptors. The calculator asks you to choose male or female, the age and height of your sculpt. Find it here:
https://anatomy4sculptors.com/hpc/

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sculpting A Male Face


This video demonstrates sculpting a doll's face inspired by a movie character. We especially like this video because it shows building up the mass of a male face.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1:12 Scale Miniature Doll Information

OOAK Art Doll Makers has a special board on our Pinterest web page to assist you with making your own 1:12 scale dolls. These little pose-able figures are fun to make and add so much to any miniature setting. If you are not already a Pinterest user, you can easily sign up! Pinterest is FREE to join. You will find our Miniature Doll board here:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Adult Male And Female Proportion Charts

Our favorite adult male and female proportion charts are from one of Andrew Loomis' books. We like these because there are front, back and side views. To use, copy image and paste on a Word doc. Once you have it, simply click on it and drag a corner to size the image to any height you desire.



Saturday, July 22, 2017

How To Make a Mermaid Armature And Beginner's Sculpting Tools Information


You will find the proportion chart used in this video at:
https://www.patriciarosestudio.com/mermaid.pdf

Mermaid Tails and Fins

There are many ways to add color to the tail and fin of your polymer clay mermaid sculpt. One very easy way is by painting with heat-set or acrylic paints. Another way is to add  a very thin layer of a polymer clay in a color you like. You can also add a thin layer of a liquid clay. And don't forget that glitter is often sprinkled onto the tail to add sparkle. This doll maker shares his method of 'painting' a mermaid tail using embossing powder in a photo tutorial: 
http://madsculptor.blogspot.com/2011/07/scale-painting.html

The fin part of the tail can be made from polymer clay or other materials. Thanks to this doll maker for some photos of fins she made using Angelina and Fantasy Films:
http://makingfairies.blogspot.com/2010/07/baby-mermaid-and-tail-comparison.html

See more about sculpting a mermaid in in this blog's Index under 'Fantasy- Fins and Tails'

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Demonstration -Using Heat Set Paint- Part 1 of 2


Part 2 of this video is below

Demonstration -Using Heat Set Paint- Part 2



used in this video:
Genesis Flesh #4
Genesis Red
Genesis Titanium White
Genesis Raw Sienna
Genesis Dioxazine Purple 01
Genesis Phthalo Blue 01
Genesis Burnt Umber

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Fixing Problems - Moonies

The tiny white crescents or blisters that can appear just under the surface of polymer clay are called Moonies. To help reduce the appearance of Moonies you can choose flesh colored polymer clay, one that is less translucent and is lighter colored, or whiter, (usually more opaque) and those properties make Moonies much less obvious.

What causes Moonies?
One theory is over-smoothing the clay. Another theory is trapped air under the surface.
By pulling and stretching clay in one direction, you may be making little stress tears under the surface. If you smooth carefully, patting the clay and pulling in different directions, then patting again, you can smooth the surface without causing underlying stresses. If you see a Moonie before you bake your sculpt, you can try making a pinhole into the Moonie and gently pressing out the trapped air.
This doll maker demonstrates how she repairs a Moonie:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How To Add Bulk

Doll makers use crumpled aluminium foil, epoxy sculpt, Ultralight clay and other materials as needed to add bulk to their figure. These materials are applied onto the wire armature. After bulking out, the armature is covered with the top layer of polymer clay ready to sculpt (the top layer is approximately 1/4 inch thick). This technique is sometimes called an under-sculpt.

Once your sculpt is baked, additional bulk can be applied prior to covering with a costume using soft materials, such as cotton or poly batting. The soft material is placed where needed and held there using a gauze wrap.

For more information check our topic 'Under-sculpt'.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mermaid Tutorial - Part 1 of 2


This video covers sculpting the head and hands. Part 2 below covers the armature, torso, tail and fins, painting. wigging and the clear resin filled base.

Mermaid Tutorial - Part 2 of 2

Sunday, June 4, 2017

3 Symmetry Cheats To Try

Thanks to this doll maker for offering a free workbook with tips on how to achieve symmetry on our doll's face. The workbook is a PDF download. Scroll down to find the link on this web page here:
http://adelepo.com/2017/03/achieve-symmetry-when-sculpting-dolls/

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Explanation Of Tools And Supplies For Beginners


All doll makers have their own favorite brands of clay and tools. Some prefer firm clay and others prefer softer clay. Experiment until you find what works best for you.
You will find more information on our Index under the topics 'Clay', 'Painting', 'Wigging'and 'Tools'.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wigging With Viscose

Thanks to this doll maker and the artist's emporium for sharing this 6 page photo tutorial on wigging with viscose. Viscose is not a natural fiber like lamb or mohair. It reminds us of a rayon. It is readily available in many colors, including fantasy shades.
In this tutorial you will find lots of information about viscose fiber and how to wig small scale dolls with it, including blending colors together and how to curl it:
http://www.ooakartistemporium.com/files/WiggingWithViscose-Tutorial.pdf

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hand Demo


One of our favorite doll makers said she is using BeeSPutty Plastic for sculpting small scale doll hands because it is extremely strong when baked. It is firm enough to hold details but sort of creamy for easy blending. This video demonstrates sculpting a hand using gray BeeSPutty. For small scale doll sculpting, look for the formula called Summer Firm Micro Doll Art. To make a lighter skin color you may want to mix two colors together; WEISS with HAUT (white and skin). Mix about 50/50 or 40/60. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Painting Eyes Using Acrylic Paint

Costuming - Glue Method

"No decoration of any kind; just a hankie"..this photo tutorial introduces you to  a simple ‘No-Sew’ method of dressing small scale dolls that this doll maker calls her Box Method. Read about it here: http://www.miniatureart.com/Learn/Box.html

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Poseable Doll Tutorial


Thanks to this doll maker for a video demonstration of how you can make a poseable doll, from start to finish. This video also demos sculpting a cartoon inspired face. Here is a link to see more polymer clay character doll tutorials from this doll maker:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBzErQwUdfbmGpEaiahwqqg8CoKLCHpot

NOTE:All poseable dolls have exposed wire wrapped with various materials; yarn, poly batting strips, fabric strips, etc., that allow the wire to bend indicating movable joints.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Make a 1.5 Inch Long Baby

This photo tutorial demonstrates sculpting a baby gargoyle but you could easily use this tutorial as a basis for a human baby; just choose skin tone clay, make rounded ears and don't exaggerate the features as much as this doll maker does. Use this link and scroll down to find the tutorial here:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Aging and Distressing Costumes

Want to make the clothes on your doll look more realistic? You can do this with draping and, when appropriate to your doll's character, by making fabric look worn and sometimes dirty. This doll maker shares her techniques for making 'old clothes':

Problem: Burnt or Undercured Clay


Tips on baking polymer clay in a simple, no frills, toaster oven.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Applying The Rules Of Proportion

One of our favorite doll makers said that you should memorize human proportions and that one way to do that is to speak out load as you are sculpting. She calls this 'packing your mental tool kit'. You will find her proportion chart and phrases to reinforce learning here:
http://pub18.bravenet.com/forum/static/show.php?usernum=1505510207&frmid=22&msgid=1343157

Monday, April 3, 2017

Problem: Clay Is Darker After Baking



Your sculpted figures, or figure parts, when placed in a toaster oven should be as far away as possible from the electric heater elements and the elements should not keep turning on while baking polymer clay. Using all these toaster oven tips to hold the heat steady should decrease the number of times that the elements are turning on. This video is about baking beads that are about the same thickness as small scale doll parts.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

How To Sculpt a 1:12 Scale Baby


So tiny! So cute! This video is a complete step-by-step tutorial on how to make a jointed baby.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Playing With Lighting When Photographing Dolls

This link will take you to an article by a doll maker who teaches costuming of miniature dolls. Her idea is not how to light a doll perfectly, like when you are presenting a doll for sale, but to light it to bring that "magic spark of life" to your doll in all it's photographs.
http://www.miniatureart.com/2017/Learn/Photoshot/Photoshot%202.html

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Heat Set Paint Demonstration


Thanks to this doll maker who shows us how she creates depth on this small scale polymer clay head. Using this technique will bring your little faces to life. This link is to a photo tutorial using a similar technique: http://www.fairiesndreams.com/painting-tutorial/

NOTE: Notice that she is using liquid polymer clay as her thinning medium instead of Genesis thinning medium.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Advice About Baking A Polymer Clay Doll



This doll maker shares her experience and opinions about polymer clay. Be sure to check the topic 'Baking' in our Blog's Index for more information about curing your sculpt.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hand Tutorial - Wire Armature Method

Thanks to this doll maker for sharing her technique of using cotton covered wire to form a hand armature. This is a demonstration of a hand for a 1:6 scale doll (approximately 12 inches tall). Be sure to see this photo tutorial that you will find here:
https://morezmore.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/armatured-hands-16-scale/

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hand Tutorial -Separate Finger Method


Enjoy this demonstration by this doll maker while he fashions a small scale hand from polymer clay. Some doll makers find rolling each finger while they are attached to the hand is not working for them. You may want to try this and see if the separate finger technique works for you.

Note: nail polish remover contains acetone. Acetone is used to smooth polymer clay; it "melts" the surface slightly while you smooth with a brush. Be careful, because if you apply too much the polymer clay can turn white.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Make An Inexpensive Photo Light Box

To have a photograph of your small scale doll look good you need a way to control light and shadows. There are many ways to do that. One way is to place your doll in a box with filtered lighting. Small commercial photo boxes are available that include a portable folding box, lamps and a camera tripod but you can easily make a photo box yourself. Read how one photographer made a photo box for macro shots. You will find the tutorial here:  http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Facial Features


This video is a demonstration of one doll maker's technique for sculpting a doll head and her method of inserting pre-made eyes into an epoxy base.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mediums To Use With Heat-Set Paint

Artists have always added various mediums to enhance control of their paints drying as well as the handling characteristics of their paint. Heat set paints have many properties inherent in their chemistry that allow them to be used without those traditional mediums and many of the traditional mediums are not chemically compatible. However, Genesis Heat-Set Paint provides a Thinning Medium, a Glazing Gel and a Thick Medium that can be used to alter heat-set paint’s performance.
See our Index for the topic ‘Painting’ for more information about these mediums and how to use heat-set paint on your polymer clay sculpts.

For complete information about heat-set paints it is always good to go to the product's source:   http://www.genesisartistcolors.com/  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

About Chalk Pastels


Some doll makers use chalk pastels for blushing their dolls (don't confuse chalk type pastels with oil pastels). This video discusses pastels and how you can use them to color polymer clay, both raw and baked, as well as liquid clay. See the video 'Blushing With Pastels' under the topic Painting in our index to view a doll maker blushing a doll with pastels..

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Selecting Fabric For Your Small Scale Doll

Some doll makers have a good 'eye" for what is, or is not, in the correct scale for their sculpt. One doll maker has devised a set of easy to understand, and to use, rules that a beginner can use to be sure that the wonderful piece of fabric they found is going to look wonderful when made up into their doll's costume. We found her post, All About Scale, very helpful, hope you do too:
http://creativedoll.blogspot.com/2008/03/all-about-scale.html

Friday, January 13, 2017

Using Heat Set Paint


Thanks to this doll maker for sharing how she paints with Genesis paints. There are lots of tips in this video as she demonstrates her technique.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Eye Size Chart

Some dollmakers make and bake eyeballs to insert into their doll's head, while others sculpt the eye directly on the face. If you want to make eye balls, here is a helpful chart to determine the correct diameter. Scroll down this chart to 'Human' to find the eye ball size (not the iris) to make for your scale doll:
http://www.noadi.net/EyeSizes.html

Monday, January 2, 2017

Painting With Heat-Set Paint


Thanks to this doll artist who shows us how she uses Genesis heat- set paint for blushing and painting facial features. She is also using Genesis Thinning Medium in this video, The thinning medium allows you to build up color before heat setting it. She said that if you let your painted piece sit overnight before heat-setting it, the polymer clay will soak it in and it will leave you with a matte finish.