I know this is an old topic, but on the off chance the OP hasn't already found this answer:
Those particular dolls appear to be using thread joints. It's a very easy way to add some motion to a figure, even if it's very small. There are several tutorials, just search for "string joints" or "thread joints." The downside is that it only provides one point of articulation per limb. Technically you could joint multiple points, but the result would then be something more like a rag doll. It won't hold its pose.
Wire is usually used for full posing ability, though if there is too much wool around the wire it won't bend very far. That's why I've just started wrapping the wire in upholstery foam before felting, to add some give to the core.
I freely admit that I am a huge geek, and my friends are aware of this. When I picked up needle felting about two months ago, a friend suggested I make a Gazimon for an art trade with him. So I did. It was my first complex figure.
More recently, I started another Gazimon because someone on deviantART wanted one, but the proportions fit Renamon better, so I went with it.
They're both a few inches tall, with wire through them for posing. Neither have any paint or marker on them, all the details are felted! I'm not sure how long they took, I don't time myself. For me, time is cheap, it's energy I don't have a lot of. That's why I like needle felting, I can do it anywhere, anytime, even if I don't feel well. (I have fibromyalgia) I made each of them over the course of a few days though, so maybe around 10 hours each. I'm not at all sure though.
The Gazimon already has a home, but I'm hoping to sell Renamon and some future figures. If you really want to see my first couple of needle felted experiments, and a list of stuff I have in progress, check my dA page.
I'm working on a figure (a puppet actually) that has glass eyes, and the head is supposed to be cast in a mold. My problem is, I don't know how to do that without the eye getting covered with/damaged by the material in the mold. I know it's doable, figurines are often made with glass eyes, I just don't know how to do it! Any ideas?
Depending on what the stones are, you could use pretty much any liquid. But I, personally, wouldn't use liquid at all - it will alter the refractive properties of translucent stones, making them look flat and weird. Put some clear beads in a glass of water and you'll see what I mean. They lose their depth and shine in liquid.
If they're not translucent or you just want to use liquid anyway, you'll want to take into account the properties of the stones. Most rocks and gems are pretty sturdy, so you won't need to be too careful with them. But if they're soft (chalk, talc, pumice, etc) you may want to either not use liquid at all, or maybe embed them in resin. Resin would be the most permanent option, but would take a bit of effort to prevent bubbles.
I tried heating plastic, but the size I need is too small for that to work it seems. I'm trying to make half spheres that are around 10mm in diameter. I'm making eyes for my puppets and plushes. I can get ready made molds in larger sizes, but this is the size I need most and no one makes it! You can see what I'm doing at this link. This is an eye I made with a store bought mold, and it's about twice the size of what I need.
Thanks for the info, Diane! I've looked through your site a lot, very informative!
I've seen the little blocks of Fimo and Sculpey at Hobby Lobby, the type that the translucent ones are in. They have a lot of colors, they may have the translucent. The main problem I can see with using that method is that once baked polyclay is quite hard, I may not be able to get my casts out of it, even though Zerovoc is much easier to demold than EasyCast. I guess a good application of release and some time in the freezer would probably make it work though. I thought of raw clay as well, but I would expect that to stick or leave a residue, or cause cloudiness like silicone does. It's still something I want to try though, after I get over this cold!
I have some Amazing Mold Putty, so I could try making a thin mold. I didn't think of that, since a normal mold made from that stuff blocks the UV light. It also makes a cloudy surface on the resin. And it sets up insanely fast, I'm not sure I'd be able to get a thin mold into place before it sets. (It sets beyond molding ability within three minutes, and it takes almost one minute just to mix the parts!)
Thermoplastics sound interesting, but I haven't found much info about them. The links on your site about some of them are broken (Aquaplast leads to something unrelated, and Gelflex is just dead) though Friendly Plastic sounds interesting...if a bit pricey. One thing I'm wondering about is the Plastigoop they use to make Creepy Crawlers. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ETRF5A/) You can buy it separate from the oven, and it cures to a rubbery consistency. I imagine it would be similar to melting fishing lure worms, but this stuff cures at a very low temperature. I could just use my heat gun on it, or a lightbulb like the oven does. I also don't have access to a double boiler, so melting things isn't something I'm likely to do.
By the way, I tried making hot glue molds. It worked more or less, but the resin turned out cloudy.
Does anyone know of a way I could make very small molds that allow UV light to pass through them? I use UV curing resin, so my standard silicone molds don't work very well with it. Store bought polypropylene molds work perfectly, but I'm limited to the premade shapes and sizes. Google wasn't terribly helpful. Would translucent polymer clay work?
If anyone's wondering how you can tell if a material allows UV light through it, just hold a glow in the dark object behind the material, and "charge" the object through the material with a blacklight, lightbulb, etc. That's how I found out Zerovoc resin blocks UV light after it's cured. I painted a piece with high-grade GID paint, and the paint wouldn't glow where the resin was thick.
Personally, I love it. If you don't rush it's bubble-free, doesn't smell very much, and cures very rapidly in a UV curing station. (I got the Lisa Pavelka one...her resin is expensive but the lamp wasn't!)
There are cons related to its nature as a UV curing resin. You pretty much have to use a translucent mold (such as polypropylene) otherwise the lower part won't cure. That's because once the resin cures, it actually seems to block UV light! That explains why it doesn't yellow in the sun like other resins can. (The ones that don't yellow have a UV-blocking agent in them, and apparently Zerovoc does too.) This isn't a problem if you're just coating something, but something in a mold will need to be able to get light from all angles. Coatings still cure, up to maybe 1/8". Beyond that, the resin stays liquid. My casts done in Amazing Mold Putty never cured past a "crust" on the top where the light hit them, even if I layered it. Casts done in a store bought mold (made by Castin' Craft, I think, and made of polypropylene) come out perfect every time. I even did a fairly thick one (around 1/3" deep, maybe a bit less) cast in layers and it came out fine as well, though it did have bubbles because I spread the resin around in the mold to make a thin layer at first. Inclusions can be done, but again you have to make sure the light can get to all areas. I embedded a couple of tiny peppers in resin inside tiny jars, and they did cure but it took several cycles. You can cure the resin in the sun, or under a UV lamp. You want to be careful if using an artificial UV source though, because the curing still generates heat just like any other resin, and if it gets too hot during the curing process the resin can yellow. Larger casts make more heat, just like other resins. You'll want to follow the instructions to only expose the resin to UV light for 10 seconds at a time, followed by a minute of rest, and do a few cycles like this for the clearest results. You don't have to be so careful with sunlight, but that takes longer. It also tends to remain tacky on the side exposed to air, though it's not bad and can lessen over time. Most of us treat the exposed side with a clear coat or paint anyway, though. Continued cycles under a UV light can take care of the tackiness if you're patient, unlike me.
The end flexibility is similar to Easy Cast, perhaps a bit softer. Certainly hard enough for most jewelry applications, I would imagine. It's pretty durable, you have to really try to scratch it. It seems pretty resistant to heat as well: I accidentally left one of my test casts in my pocket while I went grocery shopping on a very hot day. When I got back, it was pretty much the same as when I put it in my pocket! It had started out with a very slight tackiness to it (not completely cured), and it hadn't changed in the heat. Just got a little fuzzy.
It accepts paint as well as other resins: You'll likely need two coats, and a protective finish to keep it from getting scratched off. It can be dyed, but you have to remember the caveats of allowing UV light through. I wouldn't bother dyeing it, myself. If you want opaque dyes or heavy particle inclusions (like glitter throughout the whole cast) I'd stick with standard resins. Zerovoc is great for clear casts, but not much else.
It does dome, a bit. If I fill my molds to the top edge when the resin is cool, the resin domes quite a bit on smaller molds. Larger ones, not so much. The largest mold I've had dome was about 3/4" across. It doesn't dome as much as resins designed to dome, but it does have some, so it's kind of like a jack of all trades: it does a little of everything, but it's not necessarily perfect at everything.
Just got my Zerovoc! I'm curing some test pieces now. So far, I've only gotten a tacky cure, but I'm using a UV lamp that is probably the wrong wavelength, and it's cloudy and nearly dusk so I can't try it in the sun. Even if the end result is tacky though, I can just treat it the same way one would treat polyester resin and I'm sure it'll be fine. On to the info I've gathered so far:
The resin is crystal clear!
It does have a smell, but it's not very strong. It's sort of like paint, but I don't think it's harmful as long as there's decent ventilation. It's marketed as having no VOCs at all, and it's exempt from California's strict pollution laws, so I'm not concerned.
It cures from the surface down, for obvious reasons. It's evidently best to cast in layers.
It's very thick, a bit thicker than EasyCast (the only other thing I've worked with), but thins when it's warm. The instructions say you can microwave it for 5 seconds at a time, though I would just use a heat gun. It would probably dome quite well when cool, I haven't tried yet though.
No bubbles! If you do get bubbles though, from mixing in pigments for instance, the heat gun trick would work since the resin thins when it's warm.
I'll post pictures and more info later, after I've experimented some more. So far though, it looks like a useful product for certain types of casting!