The Golden Lady!
Dolls -n- Daggers: www.dolls-n-daggers.com
Dolls -n- Daggers: www.dolls-n-daggers.com

ips and ricks of the rade

Pattern Draft - Sketching

I am, actually, in the process of getting really enthused with the Tips and Tricks here - but it's SLOW going!

So far I"ve managed:


Basic Hair Tips and Tricks
Basic Repaints
Random Sewing Tips
How to make a Mermaid Tail
How to make those water color wings!'
How to create Vampire Fangs
Tooling Leather in Doll Scale
Make a Woods Fae Start to Finish

o egin...

For the 'basics' and with permission, I'm using Angelica, based on
C.R. MacPhadricks Ragnarok Valkyrie Series for this page.

I always draw out (VERY roughly) what I want the costume to look like. Sometimes the construction, materials, or flashes of inspiration alter the final look - but I want a hard copy of what I'm doing so I don't lose my focus in the middle.
For Angelica, because the author of the book wanted to make sure I had the right idea, I did a more finished computer "painting".

Most patterns I hand draft (like this one) - For some costumes I'll use a bocide or skirt from a printed pattern, but it's almost always necessary to adjust the fit anyway! I cut the pattern from an old pillow case and always baste the finished pattern together to make sure it will fit properly and lay right before I cut out the material I plan to use. Keep in mind that all barbies are not created equal. The jointed dolls have smaller chests - and the "belly button" dolls have both smaller chests, bigger hips and slightly longer arms than the "twist and turn" dolls. Don't believe what they say - Jakks Pacific dolls will *NOT* fit in Barbie patterns! LOL - they have MUCH longer arms, thicker legs, smaller chests and some serious rear ends going on! LOL


Material is always fun - I've always loved the way the different blends FEEL. For barbie, of course, you want "soft" fabrics. - anything stiff won't work, no matter how "thin" it is. For Angelica I used the thinnest lambskin available,
Even so - it took a hand ground needle and pliers to get through it!

The Face
I use a jewelers dremel with a diamond head bit to remove the face paint. (Any dremel at all will work nicely though!) This also allows me to modify the contours of barbie's face. ie. make her eyes a bit bigger, or deeper - change the smile - get rid of some of those "cheeks" etc. Once her face is as I want it I go over it using 600 grit sandpaper and move up through 1500 grit - which leaves a lovely finish for paint. You can use a non-acetone paint remover if you like (sometimes I do) avoid those brands with "lanolin" or "fragrance" and remember to rinse the face with a baking soda and water solution when you're through! I *REALLY* can't recommend acetone, although a lot of people use it - a cute trick that also makes an excellent reason..... if you should ever need a shrunken barbie head? - soak a head overnight in acetone and it will shrink about three sizes as it dries! If you need it smaller, just soak it some more. Another modeling "aid" I use is Golden brand Gel Molding Paste - it fills in those smiles, or if you're doing a sculpture with the hair, it fills in the "hair" holes. It dries hard and fairly flexible and sands to a perfect finish.

Normally this is the stage where I mold the limbs: 15 seconds in boiling water, mold to the shape you want and "set" with cold water. The jointed dolls have limbs made from "hard" plastic though - so molding wasn't an option.
Curl or straighten the hair: make sure ALL the tangles are out (childrens detangler is wonderful!) comb in some hair gel and using perm papers roll it on perm rods, pipe cleaners, spriral wraps - or brush it straight. Submerge for 10 seconds in near boiling water NO longer or it will frizz, "set" with cold water, and allow 24hrs or so to dry. (to straighten the hair, place the doll in the sink and pour the water over her head).
However, Angelica's hair required a dye job to get those lateral white stripes. I used heavily watered acrylic paint and a VERY small paint brush, barbie's synthetic hair has some serious capilary action.

Now for the fun part! I like artist acrylics (those in the tubes, Liquitex brand by preference) and gel mediums - I like Golden brand. Every ooak designer has her own preferences - I've been working with paints since I was in high school - so I use what I'm used to - some people find the thin "craft" paints are easier to work with. I have three paint brushes I like to use - all of them #10's. For sealers I like Winson and Newton - they have the only true "Matt" finish I've ever run across.

The Blades or......
Hubby's Work! LOL
All of his doll blades are measured and designed to precisely fit the doll to historically accurate proportions

Draw out the measured blade on the steel and roughly shape it with a die grinder and belt sander. Then you put them on the belt sander again for the bevels and edges, and if you happen to be good at it - you get.......

Your pardon but I'm going to skip the details - ie. boots, headpiece, scabbards etc. I got "moving" and forgot to take pics!
The Final Doll

If you're glad to finally find doll tutorials, and you'd like to help out with server expenses and/or new supplies for me to experiment with, a small

is always a wonderful way to say thank you!

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