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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tutorials on Facebook

There is a new Facebook page titled ‘Patricia Rose Studio’ that features free tutorials and contests to win things like molds and dolls. This professional doll maker sculpts small scale OOAK art dolls of polymer clay. If you are a Facebook user, be sure to check it out.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

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.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Check Out Our Pinterest Page

Our Pinterest Boards are focused totally on polymer clay doll making, including sculpting, costuming, painting, wigging, 1:12 scale mini dolls and more!  Find it here:

If you are not yet a Pinterest member, sign up! Pinterest is FREE to join. You can save things yourself or just look at things others have saved.

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.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Problem: Sculpt Is Just Not Working

We don't know where the above photo originated but we think it's message can apply as we try to sculpt a new figure. Some of our dolls end up in the trash can (or maybe they should end up there). Sometimes it is easier to start over then to try to fix a sculpt that is just not working, no matter how much time and effort we spend trying to save it.

This photo is from one of our favorite professional doll artists. She said "ooooooop's..... I scrap one in every five of my art dolls while making them. Here is my latest victim in her new home. Oh well, it's back to the drawing board, literally. I will be starting over on this creation soon".
To see more tips from her be sure to follow this link:

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:

Sunday, January 8, 2017

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.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Viscose Wigging Tutorials For You

Thanks to this doll artist for sharing her 2017 Wigging Club tutorials. These are photo tutorials, that will be posted monthly so be sure to check back monthly to this web page:

The January entry includes a tip on using lace pieces to construct costumes.

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:

You will also find a link to a free copy of one of our favorite anatomy books, Drawing The Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis. You can download the book as a PDF from 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.

Friday, September 9, 2016

New Miniature Doll Board On Pinterest

OOAK Art Dollmakers added a Board to our Pinterest Page with how-to do-it-yourself information to assist you with making your own 1:12 scale dolls. Our focus is sculpting polymer clay dolls but there is information for doll makers who start with a porcelain doll too. These little pose-able figures are fun to make and add so much to any miniature setting. You will find our Miniature Doll board here:

If you are not a Pinterest member, sign up! Pinterest is FREE to join. You can save things yourself or just look at things others have saved.

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).

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Simple Fabric Draping

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.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Question About Push Molds

To mold or not to mold, that is the question! Much is said about that in the doll world so we are going to add our thoughts. To us, it is simple. If you are selling your doll as a one of a kind sculpture, no mold should be used. However, if you are not selling your doll, or not selling it as a one of a kind sculpture, it doesn't matter if you used a mold or not. 

There are reasons for using push molds. One is that when beginners are learning to sculpt dolls it is helpful to use a mold to shape a doll’s body and to learn proportion. Another reason some doll makers use a mold is that they use it as a sculpting tool. Used that way, it is a 'body-blank'; a stating place for sculpting. That is, a body or body parts are pulled from a mold and are then reshaped and detailed to form the figure type of the doll the sculptor is trying to create and facial features are sculpted on the blank head.

There are commercial doll molds available that you can use to pull the entire doll's body from or you can use it to just pull various body sections, such as the head and/or the torso. Some doll makers make their own 'body-blank' mold of a basic torso shape that they sculpted for that purpose. See the blog Index for the topic 'Push Molds' for more information about making and using molds.

One famous doll mold maker said that if you change your sculpt (that you pulled from a mold) by 30% you can call it your own. In the end, it is up to you, the doll maker, to decide for your self - will you mold or not mold?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Reviving Old Clay

Have you ever opened a block of new clay and you couldn't get it to hold its shape?

Here is what to do when you open a new package of clay; take a small piece, like the size of a marble, and roll it out, twist it and roll it out again. Do this many times. The clay should be conditioned and ready to use.

If it crumbles or won't hold its shape, then add a tiny amount of clay softener. If after you added softener, it becomes soft and pliable, then you have old clay but it is still good.

If after you added the softener, you fold the roll in half and it cracks and won't hold together, then you have damaged clay that is no good. It is possible that your clay was exposed to heat, either in storage or transit. It is impossible to revive damaged clay.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Painting A Doll's Face With Acrylic Paints

This doll maker demonstrates painting a 1:12 scale porcelain doll's eyes and mouth with acrylic paint. These paints can be used on polymer clay too. Some doll makers use heat set paint  but prefer to use acrylics for the eyes. See more about the topic 'Painting' using our blog's index

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sculpting A Baby Head - WIP

This video demonstration runs for 32 minutes.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sculpting Head/Face Using An Undersculpt

This doll artist has a detailed photo tutorial on sculpting an OOAK Art Doll Head/Face With Sculpted Eyes that she has shared with us. We really like this tutorial because it details how to sculpt a face on a cured skull-shaped under-sculpt made from polymer clay.
To size your doll's head,  decide on the height of your doll and divide it by either 7 1/2 or 8  (it is helpful to use a proportion chart). Then just follow the 4 part tutorial. You will find it here:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Polymer Clay Eyes - UV Resin Tutorial — Part 1 of 3

If your micro beads are too large, you can paint the pupil with black heat set paint.
Tools shown are Etch n Pearl by Sculpry; sold in a set of 3 metal skewers.

Polymer Clay Eyes - UV Resin Tutorial — Part 2 of 3

Polymer Clay Eyes - UV Resin Tutorial - Part 3 of 3

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sculpting Shoes

Many doll makers sculpt shoes directly on their doll's leg armature instead of making them separate. We found one photo WIP that shows how one doll artist made a shoe with a small heel. You will find it here:

Another doll artist shows how she made a very high heel on her sculpt:
Scroll down the Pink Lady photo tutorial to see how she did it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Wigging Fibers

Be sure to check our Posts By Topic Index and click on 'Wigging" to read all the information on fibers, glue and tutorials about wigging small scale dolls.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Books On How To Make 1:12 Scale Dolls

These 2 books are specifically about 1:12 scale poseable figure sculpting using polymer clay that we have found helpful (there are other methods of constructing doll house dolls).
One of our favorite books is by doll artist James Carrington. It covers all aspects of sculpting the poseable doll house scale character doll with polymer clay. The book includes information on plaster mold making and wigging.
The second book pictured here is by Sue Heaser. It covers another  technique of making a poseable doll house figure with polymer clay, wigging and includes some period costuming.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

How To Assemble 1:12 Scale Poseable Dolls

This post is a series if 3 videos; first is the assembly of a 2 part torso, then the assembly is completed on a 1 piece torso, and the last video demonstrates wrapping the connecting wires with yarn. This type of doll is poseable. These tiny dolls have a wire armature embedded into the sculpted torso and head clay with arms and legs added after baking.

Posted below are videos 2 and 3.

How To Assemble 1:12 Scale Poseable Dolls

Padding A Poseable 1:12 Scale Doll

Friday, March 18, 2016

How To Make Polymer Clay Eyes

Thanks to this doll artist for sharing this tutorial on flat backed polymer clay eyes. She calls it her mega-tutorial and you will find lots of tips and ideas for ways to make tiny eyes for your dolls. Check it out here:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Armature Video

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Costuming Tips

Our thanks for these free  'how to make it' directions, tips and tricks that were archived by a miniature doll artist to be shared with you:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Information About Types of Sculpting Tools

This video is from a commercial tool company. OOAK Art Dollmakers does not not endorse any particular brand of tools! There are many sculpting tools available in craft stores and on-line and they all do the same job. Even homemade tools work well. However, this video demonstrates the various shape of many tools and describes how they are used. Perhaps beginning doll makers might find the information useful. Be sure to check our Index 'Tools" for more posts.

Here are some links to other sites with information about polymer clay tools:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Working With Tibetan Lamb

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sculpting a BJD from Polymer Clay

This video is an excerpt from a commercial DVD but It demonstrates the process of sculpting a BJD torso using polymer clay. The cured clay undersculpt made with the hollow opening for stringing is an interesting technique.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sculpting A Face

Thanks to this doll artist for sharing her photo tutorial on sculpting a female face. Check it out here:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Determine The Scale Of Your Doll

1.Determine the scale of your adult doll
5 ½ to 6 inch realistic doll – 1:12  scale (1 inch =12 inches)
7 ½ to 8 inch realistic doll = 1: 10 scale
9 ½ to 10 inch realistic doll = 1:8 scale
11 ½ to 12 inch realistic doll = 1: 6 scale (1 inch =6 inches)
For instance, your doll is 12" tall; 1" in his world equals 6" in ours (it is expressed as the ratio 1:6). This means that to find out how big a 12 inch tall doll would be in the real world, we simply MULTIPLY by 6.  For example, 12 inch doll x 6 = 72 inches or 6 foot tall.

2.Then you can find or make accessories in the scale of your doll - When we use the fraction to express the scale of something, example 1:6 (or one-sixth scale), we take something in the real world and DIVIDE it by 6.  For example, if we want to make or buy something for our doll to use that is just like something in the real world, we measure that real item and then divide it by the doll’s scale to find out what its measurements should be in that doll’s scale. Some readymade accessories already have their scale identified.

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.

Sunday, September 27, 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

Bulking Out An Armature

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Applying Glue To Fabric Without A Syringe

When you glue a seam either with Tacky glue or Fabric-Tac glue, the trick is to use very little. A syringe is a tool that is used to keep a continuous, very thin line, of glue along the edge of fabric seams. If you don't have a syringe try this: first squeeze out a dot on a hard surface and use a needle tool or toothpick to lightly, and I do mean lightly, touch the glue along the seam line trying to make a continuous thin line of glue. Then allow it to dry until it is opaque. Once the glue gets to that stage, line up the fabric pieces and lightly tap them together. When tap, do not press hard. Once the seam is completely dry, then finger press. Some doll makers take the seam to the ironing board to press the seam. We find that sometimes that makes the seam slightly shiny but you should have no glue marks. Try it. See if it works for you.
Check the Index for more information about glues 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: