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Even More About Cloth doll Making For Beginners

Updated on July 23, 2012

Third In The Beginners Series

This lens continues on from the last two cloth doll making for beginners lenses. There was so much important information that I just couldn't fit them all into a couple of lenses so I had to make four.

I hope you enjoy this lens and that the information in here gets you started in the wonderful world of doll making.

Tools Of The Trade

Tools of the Trade

By now you will probably have realized that my favorite tool for almost any doll making job are my hemostats. I just love them. I find them perfect for turning for smoothing for stuffing and more.

To start doll making, I believe you only need a minimum of tools. If you really want to experiment and try everything then of course, feel free, but in my opinion you only need a few things and they will probably last for many years.

I would recommend that you buy two sets of hemostats one being a small set and the other being a large one. I use my large set almost everything, but occasionally, I find that I need a small sets and I think you will be glad that you have them. I don't recommend the stuffing forks.

I think you need a good fabric eraser and normal eraser doesn't work on fabric very well. I have a small pair of snips that I wouldn't be without these don't have the handles like a pair of scissors, and they are very quick and easy to use.

More About Tools Of The Trade

Sculpting needles are very very important in my view, they are also known as "number seven darners".

I use sculpting needles for most of my sewing, for most of my hand sewing any way. Most sewers would laugh about this I imagine.

Of course you do need a sewers tool kit that basically has the usual sewing bits and pieces in it, for instance a good pair of scissors and matching thread for all your fabrics, a tape measure, needles etc.

As far as coloring faces is concerned, this is another area where you could experiment. I am happy to list the products that I love and that I use for my faces.

Crayons! yes ordinary kids Crayola or any make of crayons work well for eyes and for blush once you have worn the tip off them. Use them on their side to get a blended look.

Cloth Doll Making

Creative Cloth Doll Faces: Using Paints, Pastels, Fibers, Beading, Collage, and Sculpting Techniques
Creative Cloth Doll Faces: Using Paints, Pastels, Fibers, Beading, Collage, and Sculpting Techniques

The face is the most important feature of a doll -- it is also the most challenging. So it is surprising that there is so little instruction available on creating doll faces. This book fills that void.Author Patti Medaris Culea began her career in art as a portrait painter and she puts that experience to work when creating her doll faces. In this book, she shows readers a simple technique for easily creating faces using her step-by-step approach. She gives her tips for how to divide the face into quadrants, graft features together, and much more.Every aspect of doll making is covered -- from the basics to detailed techniques for making the various faces to instructions for putting a pattern together. Readers will learn how to use watercolor pencils, acrylics, and fabric paints to color a face, how to create a face using collage techniques as well as stamping and beading, and tips for working with stretchy fabrics to create indented eyes, separate eyelids, and sculpted lips.

 
Creative Cloth Doll Making: New Approaches for Using Fibers, Beads, Dyes, and Other Exciting Techniques
Creative Cloth Doll Making: New Approaches for Using Fibers, Beads, Dyes, and Other Exciting Techniques

Though doll making is one of the oldest forms of artistic expression, contemporary artists continue to expand the boundaries of this craft by creating exciting new work that incorporates all types of media. In this book, artists from around the world release their creative forces with glorious abandon as they take three simple doll patterns and turn them into one-of-a-kind works of art featuring hand-dyed fabrics, beads, stamping, colored pencils, and much more. Internationally known cloth doll artist and teacher Patti Medaris Culea brings together a collection of projects ranging from simple and elegant designs by emerging artists to elaborate dolls from premiere doll designers. These artists offer easy to follow instructions, tips and special insights, along with creative variations for each of the projects. * Three new and exciting doll patterns included--all with interchangeable parts * Detailed instructions on creating faces * Variation ideas from world-famous doll makers

 
Creative Cloth Doll Couture: New Approaches to Making Beautiful Clothing and Accessories
Creative Cloth Doll Couture: New Approaches to Making Beautiful Clothing and Accessories

This book is the third installment on making creative art doll clothing and accessories from successful doll artist Patti Culea, following Creative Cloth Doll Making and Creative Cloth Doll Faces, both from Rockport Publishers. This book builds on the previous two by delving into how to make exotic and beautiful garments and accessories such as hats, shoes, and purses for art dolls. This is the only book available on making clothing for art dolls. Moreover, it not only includes a pattern for various wardrobe staples, but the author offers basic garment making techniques, as well as information on decorative fabric treatments and embellishments. Culea provides tips and techniques for creating everything from a vintage 1940's ensemble to a 1960's type of outfit. There are techniques for dyeing, painting, and stamping to create a beautiful evening gown and how to drape a doll body to create your own pattern. Professional tips, ideas for embellishments, cutting-edge techniques, short cuts, pattern making ideas, and more are also included.

 
Creating & Crafting Dolls: Patterns, Techniques, and Inspiration for Making Cloth Dolls (Craft Kale Idoscope)
Creating & Crafting Dolls: Patterns, Techniques, and Inspiration for Making Cloth Dolls (Craft Kale Idoscope)

A good basic introduction to the fundamentals of dollmaking, Creating & Crafting Dolls explains how to sew dolls from your own fabrics or make them from purchased blank bodies. Beginners and novices will learn how to utilize two easy patterns to construct simple but charming doll bodies, and how to adorn them with a variety of hairstyles, facial features, clothing, and accessories. (A number of patterns are included for the clothing and accessories.) Though a bit plain-looking--mostly text augmented with line drawings--the procedures are clearly explained and the book contains 14 full-color spreads showing photographs of many different versions of the basic dolls. Unlike other dollmaking books aimed at the art-doll audience, the results of the techniques covered in this book are dolls that can actually be played with by children.

 
Making Creative Cloth Dolls
Making Creative Cloth Dolls

Start with a bejeweled goddess made from an easy napkin fold. Then try Pamela Hastings angelic Clarity doll, Arlinka Blairs Kuba Spirit dressed in bold African textiles, and others. Go beyond what you usually think of as cloth dolls and create a wonderfully imaginative collection of figures.Doll Castle News. A good buy for large public libraries and textile collections.Library Journal.

 

The Best Pencils and Pens to use.

Prismacolor Berol Pencils work really well for most coloring. They are a lovely soft, oily pencil that is just perfect for fabric.

You can start with a soft line of color and build up the layers to get the look you want. They work well for shading and for sharper lines as well. I use these for eyeshadow and blush.

These pencils come in hundreds of colors so I suggest you just buy a few basic colors to start with and then either treat yourself from time to time of put them on your wish list for birthdays and Xmas.

I use Lycra mostly now for my dolls heads (the sculpted ones) and the old Micron Pigma pens that used to be recommended for dolls faces are no good at all for drawing on Lycra.

I have now discarded all of these pens as they run dry so easily and block up and I really hate using them at all now

The Best Pens for Painting Faces

I am now using gel pens for all my face outlining. I like the Pental hybrid ones best and I use a soft brown or Brownie pink shade as well as the black and brown.

I have a favorite purple one that I love to use on lips. When I draw flowers or hearts all over my dolls faces I love to color them in with bright colored Gel pens then add some glitter at the end

These are available at most newsagents, arts stores, and also the big chain stores. Make sure you get the best quality possible.

I also quite like the Y & C fabric mate colored felt type pens... I use these pens in my" fun funky faces pattern", but you must be careful when first using them and when they are new as they tend to spread color further than you have drawn.

In other words don't take the color right to the edge of your lines and see what happens !

I don't recommend these pens as necessary they are just an extra if you want to experiment

Colors

I LOVE my GOLD tulip glitter so much...this stuff really make the dolls faces come alive. This is a dimensional glitter product that I just use very small amounts of at a time. I smear a tiny bit on my finger and carefully put a small amount on the bottom lip in the middle, on the bottom of the pupil in the eyes and also just below the eyebrows.

Don't rub it in hard or you will get a dirty mess.

You wont see the finished effect until after it has dried, then it looks lovely.

I also would not be without my White acrylic tube paint for the whites of eyes and the highlight.

For a while I tried to use a white gel pen but I found it seemed to soak into the fabric and fade away.

I like the white of my dolls eyes to be very white because it seems to make them stand out a lot so I recommend the acrylic paint. A tube lasts forever.

I have a fine good quality paint brush to go with this.

Watercolor pencils are worthwhile buying to play with. I have not perfected using them yet but I have recently heard of a way of blending a white watercolor pencil in with another bright colored pencil for the actual Iris of the eye.

Art Dolls

500 Handmade Dolls: Modern Explorations of the Human Form (500 Series)
500 Handmade Dolls: Modern Explorations of the Human Form (500 Series)

Contemporary and unique, these handmade creations range from representational to abstract, from skillful realism to provocative surrealismand theyre made from every conceivable material, including beads, gourds, and polymer clay. Juror Akira Blount, a pioneer in the art doll movement, incorporates vines, twigs, and carved wood in her fabric dolls; with their expressionless faces and closed eyes, they appear absorbed by inner worlds. Dutch artist Marlaine Verhelsts porcelain designs seem to have sprung straight from a medieval painting. Chris Chomicks strange and slightly scary figures feature amazing detail and elaborate costumes. Dollmakers, crafters, collectors, and anyone who loves beautiful objects will love the amazing diversity showcased here.

 
Cute Dolls: Let's Make Cute Stuff
Cute Dolls: Let's Make Cute Stuff

This successor to The Cute Book is loaded with patterns and instructions to make large, huggable versions of the Aranzi Aronzo characters. A full-color page of the finished dolls accompanies each character, along with large, easy-to-follow instructions and whimsical descriptions. Learn how to create 20 different characters in all, including favorites Sprite, Bad Guy, and Pinkie, and new additions Munky and Spritekin.

 
Creative Cloth Doll Faces: Using Paints, Pastels, Fibers, Beading, Collage, and Sculpting Techniques
Creative Cloth Doll Faces: Using Paints, Pastels, Fibers, Beading, Collage, and Sculpting Techniques

The face is the most important feature of a doll -- it is also the most challenging. So it is surprising that there is so little instruction available on creating doll faces. This book fills that void.Author Patti Medaris Culea began her career in art as a portrait painter and she puts that experience to work when creating her doll faces. In this book, she shows readers a simple technique for easily creating faces using her step-by-step approach. She gives her tips for how to divide the face into quadrants, graft features together, and much more.Every aspect of doll making is covered -- from the basics to detailed techniques for making the various faces to instructions for putting a pattern together. Readers will learn how to use watercolor pencils, acrylics, and fabric paints to color a face, how to create a face using collage techniques as well as stamping and beading, and tips for working with stretchy fabrics to create indented eyes, separate eyelids, and sculpted lips.

 
Designing the Doll: From Concept to Construction
Designing the Doll: From Concept to Construction

An in-depth guide to doll making from concept to "imaginative engineering," this book is for every collector and artist. A gallery of all of the important "art" doll makers today-a record for collectors and inspiration for doll artists. A wide variety of construction methods, the techniques for getting proportions correct, and ideas on how to develop ideas and then construct advanced art figures or dolls are covered. 250 color photos plus over 200 drawings. 160 pages.

 

More About Colors

I love to use bright clear colors or black and white for the clothing on my dolls. That is my preference.

I think you should use the colors that "Call" to you on your doll. You will feel much more satisfied that way rather than forcing yourself to use fabric that you feel the need to use up!

When I choose my colors I usually go to my stash and go through what I have. I pick one color and then go through again and sort out one that I like to go with it. I mostly choose opposites. Ie Hot pink with bright yellow. But this information is for you, so you need to choose what you love!

It is fantastic the variety that doll makers use.

Some use lots of prints together at this famous doll makers website.(elinor peace bailey)

http://www.epbdolls.com

What are the Best Fabrics To Use?

I love to use glitzy evening fabrics and silks and I also love to use Tyvek, paints and stamps and handmade felt.

Some doll makers use mainly quilting cottons from Quilt shops. I use these sometimes as well. You have lots of time to play with all these fabrics and see what you love to use the most.

If you know of my designs, you will note that I absolutely adore bright colors. I love clear colors.

That's probably one of the reasons that I have never actually pursued making country dolls. I actually like the simplicity of country dolls and maybe one day I will make them and make them in bright colors, just for a change.

I find it really interesting that people actually believe, that colors can convey moods and feelings. Yellow for me means joy! What does it mean for you?.

Perception of color is different for each of us. I like to put all clear bright colors together. I find this works really well, for me.

When I was in San Francisco . I met a wonderful artist, who really thinks outside the box. She had actually studied color, and obviously knew a lot more than I do about it. I tend to just go by my instincts and my intuition. Rosie told me that to make the bright colors, really bright and stand out you need to add a little mud, in other words, the more muddy colors bring out the brights in the bright colors.

I am forever learning, just like all of us. I love it. Go with the colors you love, the ones that give you pleasure and make you feel joy.

I believe that if we go with the joy in life then we are on purpose, and doing what we are meant to be doing

Cloth Doll Faces

Faces

To start I need to tell you that I am not naturally gifted at drawing, in fact my efforts to draw in the past have been downright dismal:-)

When I first started to make dolls, I realized that although I had lots of experience with the sewing part and designing comes fairly easy to me, but my faces needed lots of work.

From time to time now, people in the doll world tell me they love the way I do my faces and in fact I have become known by my style, just shows you that anyone can improve a lot!

Because of my experiences, I am thrilled to be able to try to help others who have the same challenges.

I need to tell you that this learning process is one that will continue for ever. I am still having breakthroughs and learning as I go.

I take as many "Face" classes as I can. I still want to retain my own "look" in my dolls but can always pick up more knowledge and techniques...just as you can.

I believe that a face can make or break a doll. I think if you have a lovely face but not so good doll body or clothes you get away with it. But nothing stands out more clearly than a badly painted face, even if the clothes and doll body is perfect!

This is why it is so important to paint lovely and appropriate faces for your dolls.

Some Ideas To Help You Develop.

I suggest that if you are serious about having lovely faces on your dolls you need to do the following.

1: Take as many Face classes as is possible online and live. If you are short of money then hunt out as many free lessons about drawing and color on the internet as you can. Use your search engine to help you, I use Google and its very quick. Just type in "drawing faces" or similar and you will be amazed at how much information there is out there for free. It doesn't have to relate to dolls at all.

2: Keep a Face journal scrapbook, make it a priority.

Go through all your magazines and those of friends and family and rip out the face pictures cut them out and glue them into your book. Also have separate sections just for noses, lips and eyes. Fill them up then use them for your studies.

3: Make an appointment with yourself once a week. Get out your calendar and mark off a couple of hours once a week just for you. Mark it AWM.. (appointment with myself ) .2pm-4pm. Tell no one what its all about. Let no one take that time from you. This is your time ! You deserve it:-) If someone asks you to do something for them at this time, just say sorry I have an appointment that I cannot break.

Make sure that you always have about 10 flat faces made up and stuffed and a few heads to practice sculpting on, this way you don't have to spend your precious few hours actually sewing the heads.

REMINDER

Organize a "Play Day" every month.

What Do I Do At PLay Days?

On your " play day", take the phone off the hook and spread all your crayons and colored pens and pencils out, get your face scrapbook and start drawing.

These heads are not for making a doll with. They are only for you to play with and if they turn out terrible, no problem, just date the back of them and throw them in a bag. These will be fabulous for looking back to see how far you have come.:-)

Try tracing over some of the face pictures you have.

Play with the placement of the features. Try using crayons for blush...see if you like the texture etc. Play with bright colors, see how bright you can color that face. Play play play and practice, practice, practice. You will be amazed and delighted at what you can achieve.

4: Always take a small blank notebook and pencil and eraser with you wherever you go. While waiting to pick up kids from sports or school, while waiting at the Dr's or Dentists, play at drawing faces. Fill in all your spare waiting time by drawing faces. Also spend a lot more time observing peoples ears, eyes, nose placement, expressions, what does the face do when they smile???????? etc etc

I bet you will be good real soon:-)

I always remember what elinor peace bailey said at a faces class I went to of hers, she went to art school for 5 years and drew everyday. She said if we all did that for 5 years we would all be good at drawing.

I believe this to be true

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