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:

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

Human Proportion Basics

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

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Check Out Our Pinterest Page

Our Pinterest Boards are focused on polymer clay doll making, including sculpting, costuming, painting, wigging, 1:12 scale mini dolls and more!  Find us here:
If you are not yet a Pinterest member, sign up! Pinterest is free to join. You can save things yourself, look at things others have saved and follow links to find all the information. 

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

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Arm Span

We found an illustration (sorry the source is unknown).showing that the span of your doll's extended arm should measure exactly the height of your doll. Very helpful for newbies; sometimes their doll's arms are too short. You can see the illustration here:

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:

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:

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;

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.

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:

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:

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:

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:  

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:

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:

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.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Form Clay Into The Correct Shape For A Head

Thanks to this doll artist for this interesting video about how to achieve the correct shape for a doll's head. Then be sure to check our topic 'Under-sculpt' for information about making a base/armature to use under your clay. It is so much easier to sculpt over a solid under-sculpt.

Wish I had seen this video when I started to sculpt!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Miniature Doll Costuming - Tutorials

This Red Riding Hood costume tutorial is just one of 40 videos from this doll maker. They will play one after the other. Most, but not all, are simple costuming tutorials like this cute cape with a hood attached, skirt, top and vest. She uses the glue method of construction with the costume pieces permanently attached to the doll's body but you could sew if you desire. Be sure to check them out, I'm sure you will pick up lots of tips.

Link to videos on YouTube:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

15 Tutorials For You

Thanks to this doll artist for sharing all of these excellent sculpting tutorials with us. These are free to use and learn; they cover many doll making skills. You will find them here:

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

General Rules About Facial Proportions

The Beginners School says "while you may think of the head as an egg shape, it's really much more accurate to think of it as a ball with a sort of blocky triangle on the bottom for the jaw." So true! We think doll makers will find sculpting-in-the-round tutorials to be the most helpful. You will find all their tutorials on sculpting the human head on their web site here:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Make A 1:12 Scale Toy Baby Doll - Part 1

This video demonstrates how to make a pose-able very tiny doll's doll. Her pose-able arms and legs are wrapped wire. See Part 2 below for assembly and clay costume.

Make A 1:12 Scale Toy Baby Doll - Part 2 - Assembly

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Problem: Baked Clay Crumbles Or Cracks

What may have happened is the clay has not cured all the way to its core; that is, the outside shell was hard baked but the inside clay was only partially baked. Over time partially cured clay will soften and 'eat away" at cured clay. To keep that from  happening, the inner clay must be completely cured.
The solution to this problem is to use a technique called Series Baking (be sure to see our Index for earlier posts about the topic). Series baking simply means hard baking the inside clay before adding another layer (or multiple layers) of  raw clay.
Many doll artists know baking a solid figure in one bake is risky. The way they achieve completely cured clay is by covering the doll's armature wire with clay and then hard bake that before adding a layer of raw clay.

TIP: Be sure to click on the Index topic 'Fixing Problems" for more information about common issues doll makers have.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sculpting A Face - Part 1 of 9 Parts

Be sure to click on 'YouTube' and watch all 9 lesson segments

Saturday, October 22, 2016

An Archive Of Misc Doll Making 'Stuff'

*Oldies* but GOODIES: a library of techniques, tutorials, videos and downloads from one of our favorite mini costumers. This web site is written for costuming miniature dolls. Be sure to check out all the 'how to do it' and tips at:

Discussion On Conditioning Polymer Clay

Lots of tips about conditioning clay on this video including ways to soften hard clay.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Creating A Doll Costume From A Picture

Have you ever wanted to make a costume for your mini doll from a picture that you found? Thanks to this doll maker for sharing how she does it, step by step. From Image to Outfit: Part 1 shows you the main steps of how to take the picture and make a pattern and Part 2 takes you from the pattern to the costume. Find it here:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Part 1 - Victorian Wigging Tutorial

This video starts with directions for making a lace bodice on a miniature doll. The tutorial for wigging begins and then continues on the second video (below).

Part 2 - Victorian Wigging Tutorial

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Heat-Set Paint Layering

Doll makers who do china painting on their porcelain dolls use a technique very similar to the technique for painting with Genesis heat-set paints. Both techniques use the same layering method. That is, the applied paint layers are heat-set after each step; for porcelain dolls, in a kiln, and for polymer clay dolls just a heat gun or oven. To learn more about the china painting steps, read these instructions about painting miniature dolls:

TIP: For quick color changes of heat-set paints on your brush, try this; wipe excess paint off your brush, swirl the brush in rubbing alcohol, wipe again and repeat. The alcohol cleans and then evaporates out of the bristles.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

High Heel Shoes From Polymer Clay

This YouTube site has many tutorials of costume accessories for small scale dolls; just what a well dressed doll needs! This easy high heeled shoe tutorial uses a DIY mold to form the sole and heel.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Choosing A Glue For No-Sew Costumes

Craft glues (such as Aleen’s Tacky, Delta Sobo, and Elmer’s Glue All, etc.) are referred to as PVA glues (polyvinyl acetate). This type of glue is used to make no-sew seams on doll costumes when the doll maker will not be wetting the costume fabric for draping because they are not waterproof. To keep the seams from coming apart when draping costumes that has seams glued with PVA craft glues, pin folds in place and drape the costume by ‘misting’ very lightly with inexpensive hairspray to ‘set’ the folds.
Waterproof permanent glues are the solvent-based adhesives (such as Beacon’s Fabri-Tac) and water-based urethane adhesives (such as Aileen’s Fabric Fusion). This type glue say washable on the label. Choose these glues when you want to saturate the costume fabric with spray starch, water or fabric stiffener for setting folds. Your seams will hold together when wet,

Each of these types of glue has additional properties that will make you decide to choose one over another for a particular application. See the topic 'Glue' on our Blog Index to learn more about how to use them to make no-sew costumes.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Wigging With Viscose - Free Tutorials

Thanks to this doll artist for sharing these wonderful tutorials on wigging small scale dolls with viscose fiber - free to you to use and learn. Find them here:

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Problem: Glue Seeping Through Fabric

Sometimes water-based glues are too thin and 'runny' so they bleed through fabrics, both silk and cottons. Try making the glue thicker by placing a small amount of water-based glue (such as Tacky) in a tiny container, like a bottle cap. Let it air dry until a crust forms on top; this takes a little while for the glue to thicken. Then, remove the crust. 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 (such as FabricTac) or all your seams may fall apart.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Gluing Silk

Tip: this video shows using a block of foam holding a MonoJet 412 syringe (filled with Tacky glue) and sharp pointed tools, such as tweezers, needle tools and pins, etc. Placing a filled syringe in foam keeps glue inside the tip, keeps the glue from running out, and keeps the glue from drying and thickening while you are using it.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Tips For Smoothing Your Sculpt

On large areas of unbaked clay just use the side of your thumb or roll with a knitting needle. Many doll makers are using silicone tip tools to smooth small areas. You can use paint brushes too. One of our favorite doll artists said to try a short flat oil paint brush with stiff bristles first. Go in different directions to smooth, don't keep going the same way because it leaves ruts. Then use a small flat watercolor brush to pat down and feather over those areas. Smooth one area into the other. Get the clay as smooth as you can before baking.

Once you have baked your clay you smooth it by sanding and scraping. Hold you work up to a light to find any sharp edges and depressions. Scrape first with a sharp blade and then sand with 320-600 fine grit wet-dry sandpaper. You can sand and scrape after the first bake but be very careful because the clay is extremely breakable at that point.
To sand, use a small bowl of water and dip the sandpaper into it. You'll get the doll very wet, but that's OK.  Keep rinsing the sandpaper to clean the debris off of it. Make small pieces of sandpaper by doubling over the edge. Make a small point with the sandpaper if you need to get into a tight area. If the area is too tiny to get into with sandpaper, use small fine files with curved edges on them.
To scrape, it is easier to watch it done than to explain it. This is a video on making a baby but has information on sanding and scraping:

When everything is smooth and finished you can try a light coat of acetone or you can try baby oil. With baby oil you rub your finger over the clay to eliminate the white scratches left by the sanding. To use acetone, dip a medium soft brush into a cap full of acetone and work a light coat in a small area. Do not let acetone run. Too much acetone will make a white haze as it dissolves your doll’s surface. To fix that, after it has dried and the clay has hardened again, you'll need to scrape most of the white out (that could be an hour or more). Then use that same light coat you were supposed to use in the first place. If your acetone marks are still showing, you could try using Genesis Glazing Medium on it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Baby Mermaid Tutorial - Part 1 of 2 parts

This YouTube video demonstrates one doll maker's technique for sculpting a baby head and beginning the baby's body. She uses series baking to firm up the sculpted head and body prior to working on the remainder.
Part 2 is below. Be sure to watch how this tiny Merbaby is completed.

Baby Mermaid - Part 2 of 2 parts

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Problem: Gray Smudges

Three things to try to avoid gray smudges and other imperfections on your sculpt:

  1. Clean hands, tools and work surfaces frequently. Use moisturizing baby or hand wipes because they do more than remove dirt. Moisturized skin has a finer texture and doesn't capture dirt so easily so dirt won't transfer to the clay. 
  2. Metal tools will sometimes leave gray streaks on the clay too. Some doll makers advise not using metal tools at all and recommend sculpting tools made of unvarnished wood.
  3. When you apply raw clay (unbaked) to cured clay (baked), it sometimes leaves gray streaks. To avoid many of the gray smudges, you could try cleaning the cured surface with alcohol and then rub or brush lightly with a Polymer Clay Softener, and let it sit a while, and then apply the raw clay. Other doll makers always brush lightly with a Translucent Liquid Polymer Clay and then apply the raw clay.
  4. When you have completed adding raw clay and have baked the doll again, you could try sanding with wet/day sandpaper. Begin with 220 or 320 and work your way up to a finer grit. That may remove a gray smudge but will leave scratches. Scratches can be removed with acetone (see more about Smoothing for info on how to use acetone).