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Test stringing, and another head!

Hi there!

The next thing I had to work on for my doll, was beefing up the arms and legs…they were just too skinny, and unfortunately this meant having to beef up the joints as well…not ideal.  I just added a little at a time, and smoothed each new bump and curve with a wet finger.  The paperclay takes new additions very nicely, and smoothes well with a little water.

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the limbs enlarged before the joints…dodgy
IMG_1968
working well enough to test string though!

I was delighted to be able to test string her at this point ^__^ I used a round elastic that was around 1mm thick, since it was all I had, and used snippets of cotton bud sticks as placeholders for the hands and feet.  I hadn’t gotten as far as the neck hole on the head, so I couldn’t test it out yet.

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Once I had gotten the joints and limbs to the same thickness again (and added some ‘padding’ to her booty and hips!), I gave her another go ^__^ I was really happy with how she looks here.  She could even stand up alone on those little sticks!

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another head!?!

Since the body was going well, I looked back at the head i was working on, and decided that neither the first nor second head were going to cut it!  The first was too blehh, the second was maybe too small!?  So I started yet another, haha! I went a smudge bigger with the overall size, knowing that I would be able to cut/sand it down to be symmetrical, and hoping it would look ‘cute’ and childlike, as I wanted.  I had been obsessively reading posts in a forum I had joined for BJD artists (The Joint),  and had a better grasp again of how the head should work, and be shaped.  So the profile view shown here has a better looking neck hole curve.  This took me up to the 21st April, and 4 weeks into my project ^__^

 

Next time – Hands and feet!

 

Thanks for reading!

Beth

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The second head, and limbs!

Hi there!

Here’s some more about my process of making my first BJD doll ^__^

After splitting the torso, I was able to work some more on the second head that I’d started, and tried out some different methods of sculpting.  I was finding it easier to sand away the dried clay to add definition and refine shapes, rather than to shape it too much with the wet clay.  I was also wetting the dried clay with a paintbrush, and adding fine details with a large sewing needle!

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The second head i tried to sculpt
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getting more practice at sculpting faces

It’s definitely helpful to do a few heads I think, There’s clear improvement from head to head, and so much to learn about how BJD’s work!  Getting the cut of the head cap in the right place so you can still fit your fingers in for the eyes, but not so far forward that the seam is visible past the wig… Also for me, learning to slow down and get the base right before putting on the features.  I found it very useful to try to get the featureless base sanded and symmetrical, and make sure the forehead is big enough (a common problem) before getting into the features.  I would also strongly advise getting your eyes set in place early on too!  Trying to shift an eye around after you’ve got the nose just night is a nightmare!

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scrawny arms drying on straws
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the initial cuts to accommodate the ball joints

The arms started off pretty basic and thin.  Drying out propped up in a pincushion until i could slide out the straw inner.  I drew my planned cuts for the joints, but ended up cutting them further until they were quite flat – this was because the arms weren’t fat enough!  The ball joints were the right size according to my plan, but they were too big to be worked into the straw-hollows :/  I have since decided that the shoulders are too angular too, the balls should’ve been placed more in line with the arms, instead of jutting out so much.  You learn so much so quickly when you make your first doll!

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this is how the elbow joints started
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the knee joints and hips

The elbow, knee and hip joints started out as above, and were gradually built onto, and shaped to move nicely back and forth.  Finally, I had also returned to the torso, and added a ‘nubbin’ to the front and back of the lower section, to catch the upper half onto when posing, to enable her to hold the most extreme forward and back bends more easily.

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front nubbin
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back nubbin

These took me up to the 10th April, so apart from hands and feet, I had most of my doll fleshed out (so to speak) in a little over 2 weeks.

 

Test stringing and ANOTHER head next time!

 

Thanks for reading!

Beth

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Beginning my first BJD

Years ago I bought a head.  An Obitsu doll head.  I was really interested in the style of dolls, but could only afford the head to start with.  I bought it some eyes, then promptly forgot all about it for a couple of years!

Obitsu head custom
The Obitsu head finally got a face and hair!

I discovered Monster High dolls, and realised you could customise them too, so bought a few since they were significantly cheaper!

MH sugar skull custom
The first Monster high doll that I customised

With obsession levels building, I had soon purchased a Hujoo baby Suve doll, and a Pong Pong Pukifee doll to learn to customise for myself! (Poor Pong Pong is still waiting her turn to be done!)

Hujoo Suve custom
My Hujoo Baby Suve

Once I had seen Marina Bychkova‘s beautiful Enchanted Doll website, and read about how she had sculpted the dolls herself…I was determined to make my own too!  Though at the moment I have no intention of getting into Resin casting, or porcelain casting, I do want to focus on one of a kind paper clay dolls for the time being. (The recent purchase of a 3D printer might tell you something about our future plans though…hehehehh)

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The first draught of my bjd plan

 

1st bjd head
By the time I thought to take a photo, I had already started a second head!

I had bought a 16oz pack of creative paperclay, and had read a few online tutorials, so I knew to start with a removable base shape to build the clay onto.  I made mine from tin foil, over plastic drink straws.  The first layer takes a few days to fully dry, but once it does, it feels nice and light, and sands smooth very nicely ^__^

I just went for it with the first head, I hadn’t tried to sculpt anything since my teens (and i’m in my thirties now!) so it looked a bit rough, and less than ideally shaped.  I decided to start a second one, and work on both simultaneously, to see which one I preferred.

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I drew more accurate plans, and started the torso

Since paperclay takes ages to dry if it’s thick, I decided to start the torso pretty quickly too, using the same armature materials as the head, which came out quite easily once I’d cut the head-cap off ^__^

1st bjd torso1st bjd torso cut1st bjd torso smoothed

Here you can see I’ve added a layer of clay, added a little definition, and let it dry fully before cutting in half along the rib line.  Once I’d removed all the tin foil, I built up a rounded lip onto the lower torso section, to allow the top section to move smoothly over it.

More development next time!

Thanks for reading!

Beth.

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Where it all began…an introduction

Hello!  Welcome to the first post of my new blog, and new website!

I guess a little introduction would be appropriate…sissors_disc_icon

I’ve always been making things and drawing and painting, but since my teens, I’ve also been working pretty much full time.  This has always given me the excuse I suppose, to allow the fear of potential failure to stop me from going for it, and committing to my crafts in a business sense.  Recently though, my husband and I were blessed with a beautiful daughter, and I took a year off work for maternity leave, deciding ultimately not to return to work so I could raise her myself, with no worries about retail shift patterns and childminders!

I’ve been fascinated by miniatures since I was a little kid really, I bought and filled my own dollhouse, making some decidedly sketchy looking dolls (which I still have) from Fimo, fabric and pipe cleaners!  Then a few years ago I discovered ball-jointed dolls (BJD’s) and became hopelessly obsessed!  They’re highly poseable, endlessly customisable, and if so inclined you can make and change their eyes, wigs, clothes…

So now I’m a stay-at-home mum, who’s bubbling over with a lifetime of ideas and crafting potential!  We moved into our first real house last year, and we have a spare room which has been dubbed ‘The Studio’ ^__^  This is now my hub of activity during nap time, after bedtime, and whenever our daughter Evey isn’t interested in playing with me!

I’m going to backtrack a bit, and document how I started making BJD dolls… (though right now I’m not ‘quite’ finished my first!)

 

Wee eyeballs drying on pins
Wee eyeballs drying on pins
Tin of eyes
Tin of eyes

 

It all started with the eyes…Having read endless tutorials online, I decided to have a go! They’re not for any specific project, they’re all different sizes and styles, but I knew back then that I wanted to make ‘things’ that would need eyes…So these are simply Fimo half domes, with an indent pressed into the top, which is then baked, painted/drawn onto with the iris design and pupil.  The indent is then filled with liquid Fimo, and baked again to harden.  The liquid Fimo creates the bulge over the iris, which is then finished off with a coat of glossy Fimo varnish over the whole thing.

Naturally the first thing I did with them was to mess about with my husband’s things.  Sticking eyes onto all his statues and figurines…

 

Trolololollll!
Trolololollll!

 

Well I reckon thats about enough to start with, I’ll post next with the beginnings of my very first BJD! 😀

Thanks so much for looking!

Beth