Good morning, Friends!
Here I will post pictures of making my own BJD – a ball-jointed doll.
This is an experimental doll. I will be testing different materials and techniques, results might vary, so please do not see it as a tutorial. This is what I have so far:
Also I will be taking the opportunity to show some tools and materials that we sell at Morezmore – in action:
During sculpting practice with the course “The Art of Sculpting with Philippe Faraut” I made a few heads and finished (baked) three. I will use the third one for my doll.
Drew the hairline. Cut with a micro razor saw.
As I discovered in the process, a bit too late for this head, it is easier to drill a number of holes on the hairline with a mini drill bit and then continue with the micro razor saw and an X-Acto knife – to connect the dots. The saw and knife by themselves tend to make straight lines and pre-drilled holes make curved lines possible. Well, next time the hairline will be curved.
Removed the part of the plastic ball which was inside the head, from the face half – to gain access to the eye area. Plastic in the back of the head can stay – actually it will serve a purpose – provide the reinforcement for the stringing hardware that will go into the back of the head, the hardware will be under considerable tension, so some extra hard plastic over clay will help.
Slightly polished and smoothed the eyes edges and lids with a buffing sponge and needle files. And then washed the edges with acetone and a small smoothing brush to remove all the white marks left after cutting/sanding. Like on these two photos from the previous post.
Inserted the eyes. Easy. Eyes with wire on the back are even easier to put in place. I am using glass eyes while I am waiting for my shipment of acrylic eyes. Acrylic eyes are less expensive, very versatile, easy to find and can be very pretty. Once all the hardware is installed inside the head and the head is baked one last time, there is no reason to use expensive glass eyes.
To secure eyes in place temporarily, I am using raw clay. Later, when the head is ready for assembly, I will set the eyes permanently with epoxy. Artists also use a hard-to-find “BJD Eye Putty”. I bought it and looked at it closely and it appears to be just a type of removable mounting putty. I found an adhesive mounting putty from a good brand company (Scotch) and added an alternative to BJD Eye Putty to our inventory, why not.
Holes in temples, a piece of steel wire (14 GA) from temple to temple.
Made holes in 2 plastic balls (19 mm size).
Assembled the neck on a threaded rod (1/4″ size).
Tightened all together with 1/4″ wing nuts.
Oval wooden balls are there to work as spacers and clamps.
On the right – the neck already baked. Set it aside.
Then prepared the neck socket in the head and baked the head one more time. I decided not to wait for acrylic eyes and just use the blue glass eyes that you see here.
The eyes did not quite fit, so I had to find a way to close those openings along the lids and in the corners of the eyes. I tried liquid clay (Translucent liquid sculpey). It makes the perfect fit of the eyeball in the socket, bakes to semi-translucent finish and blends with the white of the eyeball. Serendipity!
On the left photo below: Compare the eye on the left (without liquid clay fill) and the eye on the right with the corners of the eye already filled with liquid clay.
On the right photo – put a bit of clay into the hole on the bottom of the head, covered with a piece of aluminum foil – to prevent sticking, assembled the joint and pressed it all together with wing nuts. Baked.
Chest cross connection: more plastic balls with holes (the middle one has 4 holes). Checked the width of the chest piece against doll proportion image.
Assembled all on the rod, used 2 pieces of plastic straw as spacers, covered with clay, put 2 more pieces of plastic straw to keep the center hole open, baked.
Here is the chest cross connection part – baked.
Again – the chest cross connection part, from a different angle.
All my parts of the FIRST JOINT (neck joint) are ready for assembly!
I have here:
1. Cranium (top of the head) part, with the horizontal wire across from temple to temple
2. Face part – well, yes, of course.
3. Neck part – which looks like a long oval bead.
4. Chest cross connector part – which looks like a barrel with a through hole (from shoulder to shoulder) and a vertical hole (spine).
5. Restringing hook to catch and pull spring-hook assembly through the holes.
6. One tension spring (size 4-20 mm)
7. Two swivels. The purpose of the swivel to allow free rotation of the spring. The purpose of the second swivel in this particular case – to make the assembly a bit longer.
8. Two s-hooks (size: 12 mm).
Assembled all, fastened the bottom s-hook with a piece of wire temporarily. Tested the joint….
I am delighted. No, I am thrilled! Absolutely wonderful, very tight fit, powerful spring tension. The hook-spring assembly performs perfectly. I did not expect that. I hoped it will be ok and will need further tinkering, but it is perfect. By the way, the clay on clay friction is more than enough for posing, at least on this joint. We shall see how other joints will behave.
Ready for baking, forceps keep the construction in the air.
Experimental – 1/4″ studs.
After that I added clay to lengthen the chest part and baked. After baking, tied together with four s-hooks and two tension springs, one smaller 4-20 mm – for the head and one larger (5×25 mm) for the torso. It works.
Continues on Part 2.