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Topic: My First Art Dolls: Tips and Tricks TUTE from Doll-Making Newbie :)  (Read 7170 times)
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« on: January 08, 2013 07:18:08 PM »

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:
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):


--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.


--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!

(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.


--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! Smiley


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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2013 07:46:35 PM »

I think the kitty doll is my favorite in the Junker Jane style that I have seen so far. The crackle paint on the fabric is really  neat. I didn't know they made a specific medium for that. I am super inspired! Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2013 07:48:23 PM »

Thanks for posting this!  I am always interested in techniques and other people's trial and errors!

I can see a lot of fabrics being crackled in my future! Cheesy

Both of your dolls are works of art...it was so much fun to see all of the details you put into your project for a very appreciative partner!

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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2013 08:06:04 PM »

Your cat doll is fabulous!

Thanks for explaining the technique, I never would have thought of the painting on fabrich to make it like ceramic!  and the crackle is inspired.

art and technique, great.

"I reserve my right to be complex." Leslie Feinberg
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2013 01:32:22 AM »

I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE this doll.  My favourite of all time!  What a great amount of effort and skill you have put into it!! 

Id love one of these.  Let me know if you ever plan on making any more dolls with these techniques!!  Would love to do a personal swap or ?pay for one!! Smiley  Hopefully using your techniques one day i might be able to make themtoo!  thanks so much for sharing!

« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013 04:21:31 AM »

Very nice
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2013 05:57:57 AM »

Thanks for sharing the process you used to make MY kitty cat doll!!  I love her!

My crafty blog: Leslie's Art and Sew

My dolly blog: Blythe Happy
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2013 08:34:25 AM »

These are amazing.  I can't believe you haven't done this before.  Thanks for sharing the method you used to achieve such stunning results.
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2013 09:34:38 AM »

Your work is amazing. Thanks for de-mystifying it a bit for us average folk Wink

Beautiful dolls.

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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2013 11:24:55 AM »

I would have NEVER thought about painting a doll! What an amazing idea and then to turn it into a crackled painting doll, speechless!

Thanks for sharing the techniques you used and your experiences.

You made two amazing, beautiful dolls! These rock for sure!
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2013 05:31:41 PM »

Lovely dolls!  Thanks for the tut!
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2013 04:34:38 PM »

Wonderful dolls, thank you for the explanations. I did not realize that was a bottle cap! Definitely Rocks!

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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2013 12:42:39 PM »

I absolutely LOVE this doll!  THanks for all the tips & tricks! This totally rocks!

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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013 09:38:58 AM »

I just love these. Especially the first one!

« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2013 05:39:04 AM »

This junker style doll is totally awesome! Really has made me want to make one Smiley never would've thought to do a tester doll first. Can't wait to give this a try!


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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2018 07:04:22 AM »

This is great! Thanks for sharing your techniques!
Your dolls are gorgeous too.

« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2018 03:03:36 PM »

I LOVE this!!!!  I have got to get out of my "just sewing" rtut and try other things.  This may just be the project to get me to do that.  Wink
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