Thursday, October 8, 2015

OOAK Art Doll Makers On Pinterest

We have pinned lots of doll making information and tutorials on our Pinterest page. Come visit us there and see what additional topics we have collected to help all our friends begin their doll making journey or increase their skills. You will find us here:

Making the Armature - #1 of 4 videos

Rough Muscles - #2 of 4 videos

Smoothing Muscles - #3 of 4 videos

Sculpting a Likeness - #4 of 4 videos

Monday, October 5, 2015

Genesis Heat Set Paint On Polymer Clay Dolls

So much confusion about using these paints on polymer clay. And no wonder, there is so much conflicting advice. Your best bet is to go directly to the manufacturers web site and click on their FAQ page:   Here is some of what we learned:

One of the characteristics of Genesis heat-set paint is that they are thick and like stiff paste in the jar. They must be stirred. Just lift a tiny amount from the jar, place on a ceramic tile or glass and work it until it is malleable and smooth. You can mix paint colors together to get the color you desire. Then add a Genesis medium.

Genesis has 3 mediums: thick, thinning and glazing gel (it is recommended that you do not mix Genesis paint with other oils, mediums, solvents or acrylics for use on polymer clay).

  • Thick Medium: This medium looks like heat-set paint without pigment.You mix your color of paint and the thick medium to get a good layer of paint with transparency but still maintaining the same paint body (it does not thin the paint). You can add as much thick medium to the paint as you desire. For painting a small scale doll this is often used to make a transparent 'wash'. The thick medium will dry matte.
  • Thinning Medium and Glazing Gel: Both these mediums give Genesis paint a thinner consistency and are very efficient so only small amounts are added to your paint color to permanently thin the paint. Add a tiny bit at a time because the ratio must not exceed 40% medium to 60% paint. Adding more medium than the recommended ratio may result in your paint remaining tacky after heat setting (doll makers have reported other problems too). For a matte finish, choose the thinning medium. Choose the glazing gel to get a finish with a slight sheen and some transparency.

These paints stay wet until heated to activate the curing agent. After the drying temperature is reached they dry immediately. For thin layers, such as when painting and blushing a doll, as little as 2 minutes with a heat gun or 5 minutes in the oven. To check if dry, touch lightly with the back of your hand and if it is still tacky, then heat it again.

No varnish is needed over polymer clay dolls but are used to add a glossy finish over eyes,lips and nails when painted with heat set paint. If you have another purpose that needs a sealer, check the Genesis web site for all their varnishes that are compatible with their paints and mediums.

The advantage to using heat set paint is that you can apply it in thin overlapping layers that you heat set between layers. The painting technique is similar to that used for china painting on a porcelain doll; apply a color, heat set it, and then apply more color until you achieve your desired effect.

Some tips:

  • A pallet can be made from any glass item.
  • Cover all left over paints on your pallet to keep them clean and to store them. Since they never dry, you can use the paint again and again. When left on a non-porous surface the paint will return to its original state.
  • Try conditioning your brush with thinning medium...a TINY amount worked into your brush bristles will help paint to slide.
  • Do not paint on a warm sculpt. Cool completely!
  • Keep dedicated brushes for use with Genesis paints.The paint in the bristles stays wet until you clean the brush (Genesis has a brush cleaner).
  • Click on the topic 'Painting' in the blog index for more information.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Metal Wires Used For Armatures

Doll artists have their preference about which wire they use. As you read their tutorials you may learn what wire they are choosing and if they twist strands together or not. We have gathered some very basic information about the different metal wires many doll makers use for small scale doll armatures. The gauge of wire you choose depends on many factors, such as height and pose of figure, or if the doll will be poseable after completion. It is up to each individual doll maker which wire they prefer.

Copper and Brass Wire. When pressure is applied to the clay with a sculpting tool, a copper or brass armature tends to give and then spring back instead of holding stiffly in position. Brass is stronger than copper or aluminum.
Aluminum Wire. Aluminum has almost no spring when pressure is applied and it bends easily. It also breaks from bending easier than steel wire. To compensate. you may have to use a slightly thicker gauge than you might with copper or brass.
Galvanized Steel Wire. Steel is stiffer than copper. brass or aluminum. It will break when repeatedly bent. Twisting several smaller gauge strands together makes an armature wire that is stronger and resists breaking.

Wire is available at hardware stores, home improvement stores and many web sites. Gauge refers to a wires thickness. For information about gauges, click on the topic Armatures on the blog's Index.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Problem: Glue Leaking From Syringe Tip

Here are several solutions to try:

  • Never put more than 1 inch of glue in syringe.
  • Pull back the plunger just a tiny fraction each time you are done placing a line of glue.
  • Place a stainless steel pin in the tip or use a rubber tip from the smallest knitting needle to cover.
  • Place syringe upside down with the tip stuck into a piece of close density foam (the kind used for packaging) as you are gluing a seam.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Problem: Glue Bleeding Through Fabric

When you glue a seam, the trick is to use very little. To apply it without a syringe, first squeeze out a dot on a hard surface (anything) and use a needle tool or toothpick to lightly, and I mean lightly, touch the glue along the seam line making a continuous line of glue. Then allow it to dry until it is opaque. Once you get to that stage, line up the fabric pieces and lightly tap them together. Do not press hard with your fingers. Next, take it to the ironing board and press the seam. You should have no glue marks. Try it. See if it works for you.
Check the Index for more information about glue and using syringes.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Working With Polymer Clay In The Summer

Great advice from this polymer clay artist for using, storing and buying polymer clay when it is hot.

Glue For Polymer Clay

When working with polymer clay, you will probably need to glue things together. I am sure you have found that there is no glue that is good for all situations.Thanks to this polymer clay artist for her article 'Whats The Best Glue For Polymer Clay?' that provides information about many types of glue. Find her article here:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sculpting A Pin Up Doll

One of our favorite doll artists has shared how she made her latest pin-up doll. You will find her technique for an armature and under-sculpt for the feet with high healed shoes to be very helpful.
Find her photo tutorials here:

Monday, August 3, 2015

Problem: New Clay Won't Adhere To Baked Clay

This problem occurs when you are series baking, that is, when you add raw clay over clay you previously baked to set it. The solution is to use a wetting agent, like Translucent Liquid Sculpey. Kato clay adhesive or some smoothing oil, to the already partially baked clay to insure a bond is created. See more about series baking, under-sculpts and adhesives.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Problem: Clay Darkens When Super Heating

Super heating is a technique to add strength and some flexibility to polymer clay. One issue with this technique is darkening of some clay; be sure to test the clay you are using before doing this. If your clay darkened, try the clay suggested by one doll maker who said this technique works well on ProSculpt Baby. After super heating, let the clay cool on its own. See more about super-heating here:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Making The Under Sculpt

Thanks to this doll maker for showing her technique for bulking out her dolls. Some doll makers use only foil wrapped with tape. Some use only epoxy sculpt. Others use only polymer clay. And others wrap the limbs with tape; masking tape, floral tape or aluminium tape. The idea is to bulk out the torso, cover the armature wires and provide a hard surface to begin applying clay and sculpting the doll. Experiment to see what works best for you.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hand Sculpting

Thanks to this doll maker for this detailed photo tutorial on sculpting a female hand, with male and elderly variations. You will find it here:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

How To Sculpt A Head

This video begins with forming a wire armature. bulking it out with foil and then adding clay. Eyes are pre-made and inserted into the head, facial features formed. the neck is added and torso started. The doll head and upper torso is cured before proceeding with the remaining sculpt.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Genesis Color Mixing Chart

With these basic 5 Genesis colors...burnt umber, Genesis red, Genesis yellow, titanium white and ultramarine blue you can mix the colors on the chart you will find on this web site:
Be sure to check the Index to find more information about using Genesis paint on polymer clay.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Advanced Armatures and Body Proportions

Some doll makers use epoxy sculpt or scrap polymer clay for bulking out the torso on their smaller dolls. Larger dolls, like the one in this video, need lots more bulking out and foil works well. You will notice 'bulking out' referred to as an under-sculpt.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Series Baking

Polymer clay can be baked several times without negative effects. This quality of the clay enables the sculptor to protect delicately modeled parts and build a solidly cured foundation for additional elements, a process I call "series baking." A word of caution though: each step in the series should be carefully planned, since once baked, the element is cured for good. So, as example, if the first element you bake in a human figure is the torso, you must plan to have all the detailing done, and the necessary wire armature sockets in place for the head, arms and legs to be attached later. Once the torso is baked, it's shape is protected and it then becomes a convenient "handle" as each of the unbaked components are added to the piece.
Find more tips and techniques by this doll maker here:

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tools Used By Dollmakers & How To Make An Armature For A Mermaid

Look for the mermaid chart shown in this video, that you can copy, size and print out, by clicking on the Index topic 'Fantasy - Fins And Tails' and select Mermaid Proportion Chart.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mermaid WIP

Be sure to check out this doll maker's WIP as she sculpts a mermaid. This is a photo tutorial with lots of descriptions; including how she made a base too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Doll Eyes Tutorial - Cane Technique

You will like this video demonstrating the cane method of making eyes for your doll. It is not in English but there are sub-titles.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How To Attach A Head

This doll artist has made a short video demonstrating how she attaches a baked polymer clay head to an unbaked torso and is sharing it with other doll makers. Be sure to watch it. Click on the link here:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sculpting Teeth

Ever need to sculpt teeth? Thanks to this doll maker for his photo tutorial on adding teeth to an under-sculpt:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sculpt A Polymer Clay Baby

Warning: this video contains doll nudity!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Painting Eyes Using Acrylic and Genesis Paints

Thanks to this doll maker for her tutorial on how to paint eyes using both both acrylic paint and genesis paint. Find the link you find on this web page:   You need to click on the link to open the pdf tutorial.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Tool for Learning Female Proportions

Understanding proportions by head length, head width and eye width is necessary for sculpting realistic figures. Applying the rules of proportion every time you make an armature and sculpt a doll  will help you learn them. Thanks to this doll maker for sharing her tool for memorizing  these proportions:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Human Proportion

Caution: contains statue nudity!
This video discusses human proportion using head length as a unit of measure; a convenient reference for sculptors to use.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Genesis Paint Color Chart

You will find a chart for all Genesis heat-set paint colors here:

Monday, March 16, 2015

Problem: Moonies

Thanks to this doll maker for this short photo tutorial demonstrating how to repair a 'moonie' that appears after you bake your doll:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

How To Alter A Doll Stand

This video demonstrates how to alter a mini doll stand to remove the wires that circle a doll's waist area. This doll maker then glues her doll directly to the stand.

Gluing A Doll To A Stand

This is an interesting idea for keeping your doll standing. If your doll is the poesable type, only the arms will remain bendable.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Iris 'Printies' For Doll Eyeballs

If you need sheets of iris 'printies' to use when making eyeballs to insert into your doll sculpt, look no more! Thanks to this doll maker who has shared 2 sheets for you to download (free). You will find them here along with several tutorials about making and inserting eyes:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Wigging Tutorials

Want to learn how to create lovely hairdos for your dolls? Thanks to this doll maker for offering a Wigging for you to join. A link to a photo tutorial with clear directions will be emailed directly to you each month. To access, you simply subscribe. You will find the newsletter subscription button here:
Scroll down the web page and you will also find a costume tutorial with a pattern, free for you to download.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

'No-Sew' Dressing 1:12 Scale Dolls

Thanks to this doll maker for these 2 videos showing how she makes a 'no-sew' half slip and skirt on her doll. So simple! You can see them here:
And 5 more here showing how the jacket is made:
jacket pattern here:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Polymer Clay Eyes

Thanks to this doll maker for an interesting tutorial on making eyes using polymer clay and finishing with UV gel. Be sure to check out these 3 videos plus a discussion of this technique:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Polymer Clay For Doll Sculpting

There are many brands of polymer clay that are suitable for small scale doll making and each doll maker has their favorite clay. Some doll makers mix clays to get the flesh tone they desire or to increase strength. The Guild suggests that you try many clays until you find the one that suits your sculpting style. Listed below are some flesh colored clays to try:
  • Prosculpt  (comes in light, baby and flesh)
  • FIMO Puppen* is now called FIMO Professional Doll Art (comes in opaque sand, translucent beige, opaque cameo, translucent rose, and translucent porcelain).
  • Sculpey Living Doll (comes in light, beige, baby and brown)
  • Sculpey Premo (comes in light flesh)
  • Cernit (comes in flesh, suntan, biscuit, almond, nougat and caramel)
  • Kato Polyclay (comes in beige flesh)
* Puppen is still available at some suppliers (comes in beige, rose, flesh and porcelain)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Preparing To Sculpt An OOAK Doll

Ever want to watch someone begin to sculpt their doll? This doll maker shares her WIP so you can see her process: make a wire armature, stabilize wire with epoxy, add an undersculpt of crumpled foil for additional bulk, wrap all exposed wire and the undersculpt with tape, and then apply the outer layer of polymer clay. All that is done prior to starting to sculpt the clay into the shape desired. It's easy, especially once you see it done!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Working With Patterns Using Freezer Paper

This link is to a very good tutorial on making a corset for a doll and includes a free pattern for you to 'size' to fit your doll. Of particular interest is how this doll maker uses freezer paper for making her patterns and how to use the freezer paper pattern pieces when cutting fabric. Be sure to try this technique!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Using Black Markers On Polymer Clay

Thanks to this polymer clay artist who has tested and compared black markers and inks. Whether you’re signing your doll, coloring eye pupils or adding a design element, doll makers need to know which black markers may bleed or fade when used on polymer clay.  See the results here:
Our advice is to be sure to test your black or colored markers on a sample of your brand of polymer clay so you won't be disappointed with the result when used on your dolls (remember that products used to seal or gloss may cause some markers to bleed too)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Armatures - For Use In Molds

Thanks to this doll maker for these 2 photo tutorials on how to make and size a wire armature for use in small scale polymer clay doll molds:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Painting With Makeup

Here is another painting technique to try. This doll maker is using foundation, blush, and eye shadow on cured clay to achieve realistic completion tones.The products are all creme based; applied to the face and then baked for 15 minutes (lipstick can also applied to the mouth, and after baking, use a compatible sealer for a glossy finish).
Note: the Magic Eraser used for sanding cured clay is the original (not the one with added cleanser).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Problem: Discolored Eyeballs

Here is a tip for baking white clay and keeping it white:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Free 1:12 Scale Downloads

Our thanks to this dollhouse doll maker for these very useful gifts:
a man's basic 1:12 scale pants pattern:
a 1:12 scale scale fabric finder:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Clay Blending Chart For Skin Tones

If you are looking for a color chart for blending the new FIMO Doll Art clay here is one for you that is published by Staedtler, the maker of the clay:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sculpting Hands

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tips For Making Realistic Doll Heads

Thanks to this doll maker for sharing information about making your doll's head look realistic. Tips include sculpting and painting as well as anatomy and some basic clay preparation. You will find it here:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Painting With Heat Set Paints

These techniques work on any scale doll sculpted with polymer clay.
NOTE: Use caution with Low Odour Thinners to thin Genesis paint for polymer clay dolls as is done for vinyl baby dolls. It is safer to thin with Genesis Thin Medium or make a transparent paint with Genesis Thick Medium. Look in the blog Index for more posts about the topic 'Painting" with information about using heat set paint mediums.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

All About Translucent Liquid Sculpey

Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS) has many uses for doll making. Once you know how to handle and bake it, you can begin to use it as an adhesive and embed elements into raw clay. You can also add color to TLS. Besides the basics, there are other uses such as; as a glaze, as a clay softener, as 'paint' over raw and baked clay, and for making thin, flexible, translucent transfers.
To learn more about these techniques read the information from Sculpey that you will find here:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Basic Wigging - The Cross Method

Basic Wigging Instructions

Thanks to these doll makes for their basic wigging tutorials.
You can view Part 1 and 2 of the first one here:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Gluing A Seam Using A Syringe

Place a small amount of Tacky glue in a container (such as a bottle cap). Let it air dry until a crust forms on top. It takes a little while. Remove the crust. The glue will be thickened. The glue is now 'more tacky' so various materials stay in place better, it doesn't bleed through fabric as easily and works as a filler. However, if you are going to drape the finished costume using water, steam, spray starch or other water -based solution be sure your glue is one that is waterproof. When used with water-based glue (such as Tacky or Fabric Fusion) you can either use the  'plug' technique or completely wash out the syringe between uses.

Loading Glue Into A Syringe

Inserting glue into the syringe as demonstrated is important. Be sure to place only the small amount of glue that you will need for your doll's costume into the syringe; better too little then too much. Once your glue is inserted into your syringe, insert the tip into a block of foam or cover the tip with an applicator cap.
My choice of syringe is a Leur Lock syringe and blunt needle tip. The syringe and tips are available on-line from rhinestone hobby suppliers. Here are the tip sizes to try:

Largest Tip - GREEN - for Gel type glue like E6000 and Fabric-Tac

Medium Large Tip - PURPLE - for  thick glues

Small Tip - PINK - for thinner glues like Gem Tac or Fabric Fusion

Smallest Tip - YELLOW

Applicator Cap – Red -  for temporary glue storage.

Cleaning Tip: If you squeeze out a small amount of thick gel-type glue out of the tip of a syringe (glues such as Fabri-Tac or E6000) and leave it to harden after use, you will be able to subsequently pull this 'plug' out and use the syringe a few more times. Eventually the plug will harden through the diameter of the tip and the syringe will be useless.  Water-based glue can be washed out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Make An Armature & Apply An Under Sculpt

This is Part 1 of a 2 part video. In this part the doll maker discusses selecting a wire, using a jig to make an armature and how and why she uses a 2 part sculpting epoxy for her under sculpts. Part 2 demonstrates applying clay over the under sculpt. Thanks to this doll maker for sharing her tips and techniques.

Applying Clay Over An Under Sculpt - Part 2

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tips For Using Epoxy To Make A Base

Great tips for making a base in this video. The product demonstrated is Apoxie Sculpt, an air-dry 2 part epoxy compound. Some doll makers use this product for forming an under-sculpt prior to sculpting their doll (see the topic'Under-Sculpt' listed in the Index for more information)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Problem: Using Sealers Over Heat-Set Paints

Many doll makers have reported that some acrylic varnishes and sealers remain tacky when used over Genesis paint. To find out more about this problem, we checked the Genesis Oil Paint web site. Here is what we found out: they state that you do not need to seal Genesis paint for protection. If you choose to use an acrylic varnish or sealer over Genesis paints, be sure to test it before using it to be sure it is compatible with polymer clay and the heat-set paint.

Genesis makes 3 varnish products that can be used as a sealer over their heat-set paint: 
Heat Set Satin-permanent varnish
Heat Set Matte - permanent varnish
Air Dry Gloss - removable varnish
To use the Genesis varnishes, first paint with Genesis heat-set paint on your doll and then apply a very thin coat of Genesis Varnish with a brush or sponge. Heat-set the Satin and Matte varnish as usual but do not heat the Gloss Varnish. If the doll gets dirty over time, the Gloss Varnish can be removed with an ammonia solution or window cleaner and a fresh coat reapplied.

Sometimes when you paint your dolls face, the heat-set paint develops a slight gloss appearance. You can apply a thin coat of Matte Varnish to the area where you do not want any shine.

Hope this helps

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More About Sealing Polymer Clay

Thanks to this polymer clay artist for her in-depth artile on sealing polymer clay and types of sealers to use (and why or why not). Check it out here:

Merbaby - too cute!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Make An Armature For An 8 to 12 Inch Doll

This doll maker is using white floral tape to cover any exposed armature wire, and the aluminum foil and aluminum duct tape covering the wire (you can also use masking tape). She used foil for bulking out the body on this size doll. Most smaller dolls do not need to have the bulk added. The object of bulking out the body is to apply a layer of polymer clay that is uniformly about 1/4  inch to 1/2 inch thick to ensue complete curing during baking.
NOTE: Notice that the foil is crumpled loosely around the wire; do not crush it tight.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Coloring Liquid Clay

This article is a report on the testing done by a polymer clay artist as she created liquid clay in colors. This technique may be of interest to makers of art dolls:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Another Sculpting Baby Heads Video

I love this YouTube video. these heads are so tiny and those little expressions are sooo cute! Thanks to this doll maker for sharing this demonstration with us.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One Last Thought On Conditioning Clay

This post is one clay artists thoughts on mixing clay with a pasta machine vs a food chopper. Be sure to read it here:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Choosing An Oven For Baking Polymer Clay

Thanks to this polymer clay artist for her information about baking; dos and don'ts, what's safe and what's not. Find it here:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

Painting Realistic Eyes

Thanks to this artist for her step-by-step photo tutorial, plus a detailed explanation, on how she paints realistic eyes. Find it here:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tips For Sculpting Hands

Thanks to this doll maker for sharing her sculpting shortcuts for hands:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pattern For A Corset/Bodice

Here is a web page with a link to get a ready made pattern to fit a 1:12 scale doll. The pattern is for a 3 piece corset; front back and shaped sides and is sized to a particular mannequin so be sure to cut the pattern from paper towel and adjust the pieces to fit your own doll's torso. It is sometimes difficult to get these 3 pieces shaped right when starting from scratch so our thanks to this doll maker for sharing her pattern:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Making Half and Quarter Scale Dollhouse Dolls

Thanks to this dollhouse scale doll maker for her WIP as she constructs half scale and quarter scale dolls:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Body Proportions

This is a link to information on the body proportions of male and female, and differences because of the age of the figure being portrayed. Very helpful; check it out here:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Skull Proportions

Are you trying to  make a skull under sculpt? This front and side view may help you with correct proportions: