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 - 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, 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:

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.

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

Saturday, March 19, 2016

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

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