Would you like to make a One of a Kind polymer clay doll of your own?
Join us at First One of a Kind Doll Workshop to show your work in progress photos, discuss, ask questions, get help and encouragement.
The group chose Alice:
Morezmore OOAK Doll #30
Scale: 1/6, Size: 10.6″ (27 cm)
Part 1: Armature.
Tools and materials
A. (Must have):
– proportions image
– thick wire steel 14 ga
– thin wire steel 24 ga
– long-nose pliers
– wire cutters
– wooden plaque for base
– 1 lb of polymer clay (about 0.75 lb will be used if no mistakes)
– fabric for the dress
– mini calipers
There will be other things that I will use, of course, I am just trying to keep this list very simple. If you would like to look ahead on “optional tools and materials”, please browse the description of the previous doll – Water Lily. The list of tools and materials is in the beginning of each part.
In addition to the old one, I found a new proportions image. It is less realistic, more doll-like. Pick the one you prefer.
Print your proportions image in such a way that the image is actually the size of your future doll.
Here are mine – perhaps you can use them. Double-click on the images below to open full size. Save on your computer, print. This is for the doll of 10.6″ (27 cm). The images are taking up the entire page (regular US Letter size page of 8.5″ x 11″ (215.9 mm x 279.4 mm). The printer might say that the image does not fit – it is ok, the cut-off part will be minor, you will be able to finish it with a pencil.
Cover the proportions image with transparent scotch tape, for example packing tape, you will use it a lot, maybe even for many dolls. Otherwise paper gets dirty and torn.
Group photo of all things. Three pieces of thick 14 ga wire – no need to be precise
The shorter wire (spinal cord wire) gets this pig tail on one end. Two longer wires are bent into brackets like this. Leave enough wire on the arm to reach the wrist. Measure it off from the wrist (1) to the shoulder (2) to the chest (3).
Same picture – closer look. Spinal cord + first bracket
Spinal cord + first bracket + second bracket.
Same thing on the other leg – to the knee and back.
Spiral wrap of all three pieces together to the chest.
Tie this chest intersection of wires really well, trying to diminish the movement as much as possible. Pieces of wire in the armature that move, rotate or rock will most likely create cracks in the clay later. The armature should be one single solid piece of steel.
Spiral wrap down the arm to the elbow and back. Same thing on another arm.
Find elbows and knees and mark them with something, for example nail polish.
Clip the leg wires at the bottom. Clip the arm wires at the wrists.
Snip the wire off the top of the head. Bend the spine to make the small of the back.
BEGINNING OF THE UNSUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENT.
I AM STRIKING OUT THE DESCRIPTION OF THE UNSUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENT WITH HOME-MADE TUBES, BUT LEAVING IT HERE FOR THE RECORD.
Here is what we have. Now I am going to make tight spiral “tubes” from the elbow to the wrist, from the knee to the bottom, from the neck to the top of the head. We could have gone to Morezmore and get real tubes, but here we are trying to do a simple, on-the-budget doll. Disclaimer – this I am trying for the first time – proceed at your own risk, or wait to see what comes out of this idea. “Tubes” are done. Next step will be to put the fake spiral wire “tubes” back on the armature, cover it with Magic sculpt and cure. Another money-saving idea I had was to cover them with clay and bake. I tried it. It worked ok. It baked fine, it slides on and off the wire, you can put clay on it and continue sculpting, just be gentle with it, I was able to break it quite easily. Overall, as I said, it is ok, but a bit too fragile to my taste. I am going to continue with magic sculpt epoxy putty. To make the fake tubes, I am using Magic sculpt epoxy putty. Mix two ingredients, even amounts. Don’t worry about perfection, Magic Sculpt is forgiving about amounts of ingredients. Mix well (Magic Sculpt is NOT forgiving about lazy mixing). Look at the picture on right. If you see the marble effect, that means it is not mixed well enough and will not cure. Mix and knead for about a minute, until uniform color, it will become pleasantly warm in your hands. Note: picture on the right is an old photo with grey Magic sculpt, I am using white Magic sculpt in this project. Thinly (but not too thinly) cover the “tubes” with magic sculpt.
You can leave the tubes on the armature to cure. I removed them and put on little holders. Leftover magic sculpt went to the “scull”, and to fortify the chest and tailbone connections. All is curing now – for a few hours. You will know when it is done – it will be stone-like. If you can put an indentation on it with your fingernail, it is not ready yet. If it is still soft after 12 hours – you did not mix well enough, remove all and start anew. Remember that disclaimer?
“I am trying for the first time – proceed at your own risk, or wait to see what comes out of this idea.” Urgent update:
My money-saving idea of making fake “tubes” instead of using usual brass tubing did not work very well. The clay tubes were too fragile and the magic sculpt tubes got stuck to the armature. In the process of removing them from the armature I broke two out of five. Scrap the idea. I am returning to the usual brass tubing, like this:
END OF THE UNSUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENT – CONTINUE HERE
All right, armature, with the thin wire wrap coming down to the knees, to the elbows, and up the neck.
The tubes 1/8″ (fit over 14 GA wire) and 3/32″. 3/32″ fits telescopically into 1/8″. Next to them – the wire cutter.
Mark on the 1/8″ tube the length of 2 leg modules (from the bottom to the knee), then mark the length of 2 arm/hand modules (from the wrist to the elbow).
Insert the tube into the tube cutter – you will hear the mark “click” when it reaches the cutting wheel inside the cutter.
Tighten the knob slightly, grab the tube with pliers for better hold and rotate several times. Tighten the knob again a little, rotate more.
If necessary, widen the opening of the module with something sharp, like ice pick. Put the module on the leg.
The easiest thing is to drill it, but you can create a hole with an icepick and needle tool, if you don’t have a drill.
Measure of a piece of smaller 3/32″ tube, it should be long enough to go through the wood and come to about 1/2″ below the knee. Cut it with tube cutter and insert into the hole. It will be glued securely later.
Here is what I have – armature and base. Now it is time to make the armature stand on its base. Take off one of the leg modules and cut the leg wire about 1/2″ under the knee.
Like this (see the photo below left). Now put back the module on that poor leg. If it is a bit loose, tighten it with a couple of slight pinches by wire cutters.
Like this (see the photo on the left just below). Slide that empty leg module on the base tube – you doll is standing now.
First layer of clay – something to hold on to (for me and for the next layers of clay) while sculpting. I am leaving the joints open this time – I want to try posing on a later stage than usual. The clay is Cernit, color – Flesh.
Forceps clipped to the neck wire suspend the armature in the air for baking. The 5 modules are on the holders, covered with TLS (translucent liquid sculpey) and go to the oven at the same time. This layer of TLS over brass tubing is supposed to help the clay to adhere to metal.
Here it is baked. Very strong, as promised with Cernit. High translucency – also as promised. I think I like Cernit, I will wait with the final judgement until the end.
Preparing the modules.
The leg modules got a simple thin layer of clay.
The arm modules got finger armature (for details please see Cotton-Wire Hand Armature for OOAK Doll
The head module got a small knob on the back of the head.
These things are to make my future sculpting easier.
The end of Part 1.