Friday, March 14, 2008


Another difficulty for me when making dolls, besides them standing on their own, is making arms. But like I explained to some kids that I was teaching doll making to, making dolls is like making magic, not real magic – slight of hand (excuse the pun). The only part of an arm that shows on a long sleeved art doll is the hand. So I merely sew hands onto the long sleeves of the dress. It looks like she has arms.

The legs are the same. If the doll doesn’t show her legs, perhaps wearing a gown or robe no one needs to know she doesn’t have legs.

One way is to form a body around a dowel and wrap the body in a robe. If you wrap the robe tightly, she
doesn’t have to show her arms either. Stick the end of a dowel in a drilled 2x4 and it looks like she is standing on her own two legs.

Another trick is to build the body over a tube (paper towel), let the robe or the gown cover the bottom of the tube. By weighting the tube, it stands by itself.

Baby dolls don’t show their arms or legs either. The soft sculpture dolls are wrapped in bunting blankets. The magic is that they look like their arms and legs are secure.

Magic – I love it.

To see more of the magic, look at my site on Etsy

Monday, March 10, 2008

making dolls 101

It's hard for me to make my dolls stand without a doll stand. I've learned a few tricks through books but the tricks don't always work. Since all the dolls I make are soft sculpture, they need a skeleton in order to stand.

First I inserted wire, up through one leg, through the body and down through the other leg. It worked better than nothing but it was a little challenging sewing the leg on the body since a wire was in the way. But, the legs were able to bend every way, even in impossible ways for the humanlike dolls.

Next, I tried inserting a dowel in each leg. The legs don't bend but by leaving an inch of the dowel outside the leg through the heel, each dowel can then be glued into a drilled hole in a piece of 2x4. The challenge is covering the 2x4 so it looks like part of the doll image.

One good thing I learned was that I could make shoes, painted, heeled, decoupaged on the unattached legs (Somehow, I thought of the dolls as real (finished) and the shoes had to go on last). Live and learn.

By keeping the legs spread on a wide base (one of the dolls is a skier, another is a clown with balancing stilts) the dolls stand better.
The best bet, so far, is thinking of other positions (exercise doll is stretching, the clown doll also hangs upside down from her clown feet, a peacenik hippie is sitting.