Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Customizing Your Dolls - New Tutorial

My Personal A-Z on Doll Customs

Ginger, one of my Custom Monster High dolls.
I receive many questions every week about customizing Monster High dolls, as well as dolls such as Barbie and other fashion dolls.  I answer these questions because I know how difficult it can be to find the information one is looking for when a person is just starting out on a new adventure such as doll customization.
When you look at Ginger in the above photo you see all of my talents and knowledge of customizing basic dolls rolled into one.  She had her original hair removed, her original paint removed and she has been made over complete with eyelashes.
Most of the questions I receive about customizing dolls have already been answered in one of my doll custom tutorials here.  After the last set of questions I thought maybe it was time for a post that included some new things and also links to the other posts you can use to help you find your way through the process of customizing your own dolls. 
~New Things~
I use Liquitex tube paints.  There are other brands, but whatever the name-- I recommend you use artist grade paints.  The reason for this is the quality of the paint.  Use quality paints.  It does make a difference. If you are going to spend your precious time customizing a doll, it only makes sense to use the best tools and materials to do so.
Same as with the paint- buy quality brushes.  And- Take Care of Them.  Rinse them out often while painting and change your rinse water often as well.  Dirty rinse water can make your paint job look bad as it can dirty up the color you are using.
Make sure to clean your brushes with soap and water thoroughly when you are done using them.  If you wind up with dried acrylic paint in your brush soak it in 100% rubbing alcohol and then clean it. You can often salvage a brush using this technique.
I use the more expensive soft chalk pastels for blushing when I am customizing.  This is because there is more pigment and a finer ground in the more expensive ones. These are called 'soft pastels'.
 Do not use oil pastels- some people confuse these, and oil pastels will not work.
Use one brush for pastel blushing your dolls- and do not use it for anything else.  The brush needs to remain soft and clean. 
Practice Doll:
Whenever I am unsure of a color, a technique or need to practice a paint stroke I am going to use I go to my practice doll.  You can find dolls at thrift stores and even the dollar stores that you can purchase and then use to practice on.  If you have spent 25.00 on a Monster High doll, you intend to make into a custom doll, you do not want to experiment on that doll.  You can mess up a practice doll over and over and not have the emotional and financial heartbreak of messing up an expensive doll.
I use Mr Super Clear Flat and Testors Lusterluss Flat Clear spray paints over my paint.  This not only protects the paint, it also gives a soft look to the skin of the doll.  It removes the shine.  Both of these are in fact lacquers.  Sometimes I have trouble finding Mr Super Clear.  Testors works just as well in my opinion and if you need to pinch pennies, buy the Testors at your local hobby or model train stores.  It costs less than Mr Super Clear.
Shine Sealant:
 When you are sealing lips or eyes on your doll and you want them to look wet you need to use a 'clear gloss' over the paint. I have used 2 different products for this.  Liquitex clear gloss and Sakura Crystal.  Liquitex works just fine - in both cases you need to let it cure completely.  So no touching dear dolly for at least 2 days.  I use a clear plastic shoe box without the lid snapped shut- the lid just sits there-- to keep the dust off --but it still allows the air to move. I put her or him where I cannot see them -- because after you have finished a custom doll, you want to touch them!
I use fake eyelashes that you can buy at the drug store.  After experimenting a lot, I found that I prefer the ones that come in tiny separate clumps.  You can find these on eBay for a lot less money- but- unless you plan on doing a lot of dolls, buying them at a store makes more sense.
I use my tweezers to hold each small clump while I use my fingertips to remove the sticky glue that is there.  It needs to come off before I use my own glue to put them in place.  Often I use the same clear gloss sealer to adhere the eyelashes.  I put some down, let it start to dry a bit, then set the eyelash.  Depending on placement, I will hold it with tweezers until it stays put. 
I have also used Beacon Fabri-Tac glue- but it is tricky and not very forgiving to use in this case.  If you are accomplished with using this glue, this may be the answer for you.  I use a toothpick for application of the glue- and hold the eyelash with tweezers.
Previous Tutorials On Custom
Monster High Dolls
Monster High Head

  • Doll head removal
  • Hair removal
  • Face Paint removal and using spray paint on plastic and vinyl dolls:
Monster High Feather Wig
  • How to make custom wigs and root hair such as lambs wool for your dolls:
Monster High Blush and Paint
  • How to custom paint and blush your dolls part 1:
Candy, Monster High Custom
  • How to custom paint your dolls part 2:
There are more tutorials in the works. 
So stay tuned :)
Cheers & Happy Doll Customizing~  PB

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Dolly Clothes

A Few New Things


I have been making handbags lately.  They are fun to do.  Taking the time to add details and trying to make them look like life-size has been challenging but also really rewarding when they turn out well.
I am starting to get back into my groove and will continue to fill the shop.
Come visit Dolly Dolly Fashions on etsy :) to see these and more.
Cheers, PB


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Black Cat Costume

Made for a friend, who has a custom Black Cat doll waiting for her outfit..

Sewing vinyl or pleather is tricky in many ways.  I learned a lot designing and sewing this costume.
I glued the curves down and then did the edge stitching since the seam allowance is so small. 

The photos that follow are the ones I took before it was all finished.



It has been great to get back to sewing and creating.  We still have work to do at Mom's...but I am taking a break :)



My week of fun so far :0)
Cheers, PB




Sunday, June 2, 2013

Miniatures You Can Make for 1:6 Dolls

As promised, here is the tutorial for making some small things for our small dolls.
 Sneek Peek
Supply List :
Plain Paper and Presentation Paper or thin Card Stock
Scissors and Exacto Knife
White Glue that dries clear
Sand Paper or Sanding Block
Round Tooth Picks
Match Book
Colored Pencils and Colored Markers
Acrylic Paints
1 Flat Brush and 1 small Round Brush
Tissue - as in Kleenex
Start by printing out the templates for the food carton and the tissue box.
I used glossy presentation paper.  You can print the templates on whatever suits you- but it needs to be heavier than plain copier paper.  After you have printed it, get out your markers or pencils and draw your designs on the box.
Get the Templates Here:
Cut out box.  I used both scissors and an Exacto knife.
Fold all of the lines.
Glue the side tabs on the inside of the carton.  I use a bottle cap to hold the glue- and I use a slick piece of cardboard to apply the glue.  You can use tooth picks to do this as well.
After it is glued, it should look like this.
Get out 2 tooth picks- the round variety.  The ones in the photo are made from bamboo and have decorative ends.  You don't need these- use what you have.  These just happen to be what is in our beverage cabinet. Cut or break the tooth picks in half and sand the ends.
Chop Sticks
You can make noodles for the inside with air dry clay or sculpy. I will not be doing that here- too many other things to add to this post.
Trim and sand the lower portion of the tooth pick pieces.
Use colored markers to make these into colored pencils.

Tissue Box
Start by coloring the box.  I used colored pencils, but you can use markers for a brighter look.
Cut out the box.  I used an Exacto knife to cut out the top opening.
Fold the piece on all of the lines.  Then glue each end piece and finish with the bottom.

Once your piece is glued and dried, cut a piece of tissue slightly larger than the opening and put inside as shown.


Open your match book and cut off the matches.  Your book cover will be uneven.
Using your ruler, measure the shorter side and then mark the longer side so they will be the same. Cut off the extra.
This match book measures 2.75 inches across.  I am going to cut the plain paper pieces to be 2.25 or 2 1/4 inches across.  I will also cut the pieces to be shorter than the measurement from top to bottom.
There are 18 cut pages.  Gather them into piles of 3 each as seen in the photo.
Straighten them and then fold each group of 3 in half.  These are called signatures in the book world. You should have 6 signatures in all.
Get your stapler and staple the signatures in the middle.  If you do not have a stapler, or want to be more authentic, you can use a needle and thread and sew them together in the middle.
You should now have 6 stapled or sewn signatures.
Next step is to glue one signature to another, until all are glued together.  Glue is placed only along the edge as seen in the above photo.
After they are glued together and dry, you can paint the edges if you like.  I decided to paint mine gold.  You can use red or another color- and you can also use colored markers for this.  I chose to paint mine.
You can decorate your cover any way you like.  Here I decided to use the gold paint and a flat bristle brush.  I painted in one direction leaving lines in the paint.  After it dried, I painted in the opposite direction.  This gives a textured effect that looks like book binding fabric.
After the outside was dry, I used a red marker around the inside and then covered that with a light coat of the gold paint.
Cut a piece of paper that will wrap the back and part of the sides of your pages.
Put glue on the back, and press the paper with your fingers - let it dry.
Next glue the flaps.
When it is dry, it will look like this.
Finally, put glue on the inside spine and then place the pages.  Make sure there is enough glue for them to adhere.
I painted the cover and the spine with black acrylic paint and a small round brush.
Now you have a scene for your dolls.  Frankie is watching a movie and having some take out food. What will your dolls be doing?
I hope you will make some things for dolls and that you have enjoyed this tutorial :)
Cheers, PB