Hey everyone!!! I recently participated in the Junker-Jane-inspired doll swap, and in gearing up to make my first real "art doll", I did TONS of research, learned a lot through trial and error, and generally had a blast. My swap-mates really liked the doll I made, and seemed interested in some of the techniques I used, so here is a very informal (written) tute...no real "process" photos, so if u have questions or just need clarification, just post in the comments section.
Also, I HIGHLY recommend u visit the site:http://clothclaydolls.ning.com/
You DO have to pay to access the content, bit it's only $8 or so for the year, and I learned A LOT!
Here is the Junker Jane inspired doll I made:
And, the JJ-Doll had a friend, the "practice doll" (see explanation below):
BASIC ASSEMBLY PROCESS:
--Gather some non-stretch woven fabrics to make the base of your doll. I used scrap linen from a thrift store dress, but any linen/cotton/silk/woven would work.
--***SAVE A PIECE OF YOUR MATERIAL TO USE AS A "TEST" SWATCH FOR ALL PAINTS OR FINISHES U WILL APPLY TO DOLL. Having a test piece of linen prevented me from RUINING the doll when I accidentally bought the wrong crackle finish.
--Draft your pattern on paper. Lay on fabric, and cut out. Sew right-sides-together, clip and turn, and stuff and assemble doll (arms should be kept as separate pieces until very end). THIS IS YOUR PRACTICE DOLL. Now, decide if u like how the pattern shapes up. Make revisions to pattern, cut out and sew once again: THIS IS YOUR "REAL" DOLL.
--You should have a body with head (one piece), with legs attached. Arms will be put on practically last.
EARLY SURFACE TECHNIQUES:
--You need to prep the doll to receive paint and finishes: SEAL DOLL COMPLETELY WITH CLEAR ACRYLIC GESSO (LIQUITEX BRAND). Apply one coat, let dry. Apply another coat, let dry. Repeat until u have 3 or 4 coats of gesso on doll...allow about 24 HOURS DRY-TIME between coats.
--SAND doll with very fine grit sandpaper (what u would use on polymer clay; can be found in auto repair shops)...400 grit or higher. Sanding with result in a silky smooth finish to the dried gesso. Doll is ready to receive paint.
--Paint the doll using acrylics...create a striped shirt, basic facial features (as seen on my "practice" doll), stockings, anything. Always test on scrap fabric, let dry between colors, and be bold!
FINAL SURFACE TECHNIQUES: DISTRESSED CRACKLE:
(JJ doll has crackle, "practice" doll is left with naked acrylic paint job)
--To achieve the crackle finish on my doll, only ONE crackle product worked properly (always test on scrap fabric):
"DECO ART: ONE STEP CRACKLE: CRACKLE FINISH". Others were gummy on scrap, did not crack, etc.
--How to: on a completely dry and clean doll, apply a generous coat of Deco Art crackle with a wide flat brush. Work quickly...do NOT keep brushing or smoothing the clear liquid, u will disrupt the crackling.
--A few hours later, when crackle has dried, it looks like shiny "crazed" glass with webs of cracks all over. Perfect!
--Mix brown or black, or copper, acrylic paint with water until u have a wash about the consistency of milk. Working in small sections, brush this dark watery wash over sections of the doll, and IMMEDIATELY wipe away with a slightly damp dish towel. The "stain" will remain in the cracks.
--The doll does not need to be sealed in any other way.
OTHER MATERIALS AND EMBELLISHMENTS:
--There are LOTS of materials used in these dolls: JJ Doll: eyes are made of polymer clay and attached with crazy glue, center chest ornament is a bottle cap and vintage button, rubbed parts with Rub N Buff Blue Patina, skirt made of wire edged ribbon, bits and stuff everywhere...
--The main goal is to do what YOU like, use the objects around you, and experiment
Hope these tips are helpful!