She’s a Killer! – week 5

Killer2 killer6oth art doll

Week 4 and a real change. This week I decided to go goth and let my inner creepiness just hand out. Carina is all polymer clay except her hair, which is lambs wool, but she is the goriest doll I’ve done. And she was fun. You can’t see it in this picture but she had a severed finger in her apron pocket and her scars just you know this isn’t her first kill.

She’s in my Etsy shop FantasyClayStore.Get her before she kills again

Doll Challenge – Beheaded week 4


Heads in Progress

The first thing we notice when we see someone is their face, the same holds true for dolls.  As humans we see faces everywhere – they seem so simple. Trying to make a face that works is my biggest challenge. One solution is to stick to very stylized simple faces.  A face can just be eyes and nose or less and be satisfying.

bluebell face

Simple Fairy

It gets trickier when you try to add details; instinctively we do see faces it’s easy to miss mistakes. We are so used to the proportions of the face, we don’t even think about it, we can’t say what is right, but we can tell when something is wrong. Did you know the eyes are just about in the middle of the face and the end of the nose another half and then another half to the mouth.



You can play around with these ratios a lot but you need to do it with care, especially if you are trying for real looking face. This face shows a few rules that are hard to break – the main one being symmetry. The eyes are different sizes, the chin center is off from the center of the face. This one is so grossly wrong it seems hard to miss but I rushed through and it wasn’t until I was finished baking that I really noticed.



With the lines adding the mistakes are obvious, when I first saw it all I could think was something is sooo wrong but what.  To prevent those mistakes, I usually take photos as I work, hold it upside down, fix it do it again, take more pics and check again. This time I was in a rush and it shows. I still can’t say what happened with the nose.

It’s hard to capture a face just right. I still haven’t gotten it down yet, each one seems to be be like pulling teeth. That’s why I keep practicing. Hopefully by the end of this year, it will be easier. A face doesn’t have to be pretty to be done well. Some of my favorites are the ugliest.

Week 3 – Revisiting an old doll tutorial

Both made with the same tutorial

Both made with the same tutorial

My biggest reason for this challenge was not to just show off dolls I’ve made in the past but to document what I’ve done new and show the process when I find it interesting. I made both of the dolls with the same basic tutorial from Dinko Tilov’s book, Sculpting Mythical Figures of Polymer Clay. Can you tell the recent doll from the old one? Well the one with the blue hair is the one I made this month.

I have trouble too except I know that since I first did this tutorial in 2009, I’ve made more and more mixed media dolls.As face as their faces go, I think I prefer the old more cartoonist face on the on on the left. I do like the wings I made using fantasy film over the clay ones suggested in the tutorial. I think the face is the only thing lacking in the new one.

However for now I will leave it, my true goal in all of this is to find my style and what I really like to make – pretty, creepy, cartoony, or something else and to hone my skills and just discover the best ways to do things. Every doll won’t be a master piece but each one will be a learning experience.

You can find this doll and many others in my shop.


Week 2 – Finished




Finally all down and what a change. I repainted her face (again) and finally costumed her. She reminds me of my HS Enghlish teacher back in the 80. Harsh but delicate feminine blouse. You can’t tell from this shot but she has tiny diamond stud earring (well crystal). I remember these were the earrings the old ladies (probably younger than I am now) wore who wanted to show they could have pierced ears but didn’t really want to wear jewelry or maybe didn’t know how to. You can find her in my Etsy shop – FantasyClayStore.

She was probably a wanna nun and the attitude showed it.

Now what I learned from this doll –

  1. Start with a plan of action
  2. Never give up, the next try may work
  3. Even if you don’t have a plan, maybe the doll will guide you, sometimes they know more than you
  4. Now the hard facts
    1. Fabric Tac was the only fabric glue that actually was clear, before and after drying.
    2. You can fix mix stakes by hiding them – different costume, paint, hair
    3. I want to try more than just realistic looking dolls – that require so real planning

Just for the record, she went from this

Doll step one

Doll step one – Bat Boy

to this

Step Two - underneath

Step Two – underneath

to this


Finished!!! 80s teacher

Week 2 – recycling old dolls

I started yesterday by showing a doll that I consider a true mess. Noting seemed right, even after my first attempt to fix her – in fact that seemed to make things worse. Now I am giving it another try.

My first step was to just redo the body. The only part I wanted to keep intact were the hands, they seemed well done. Step one was removing the arms and the polymer clay part of the leg.  day 2 b

I them added new cloth upper arms to connect to the fore arms. I must say the toughest part was sewing the cloth to the cloth even though I used ridges/sew line on the cay to catch the material. day2.1


My next thought was to add some points of articulation to the legs so the dog wouldn’t be so still. I had already removed the original polymer clay feet.


day 2 a

I sewed across at the lines and the doll felt better. I them made 2 new polymer clay legs and then added cloth thighs to compliment the arms. That meant the old legs had to go so I could sew these to the torso.

day 2 e

day 2 d

Adding the legs to the torso was a hassle. The butt are was mostly fiberfill so I had to do some reworkings to be able to sew them on. Finally it worked.

I then moved to the head. Mostly that just needed repainting and I added clay so she could have a neckline  if I chose.I changed the eyes a little, I don’t know if it made if better or worse but it’s done (for ow)

day 2 g

Here is the final new body, I used invisible button joints for the arms and finally got the legs sewn one. NOw I have to costume and wig her. I’m not really sure where I was to go next with her.

day 2 f



Fixing a Mistake Doll – Week 2


Doll step one

Doll First Start

As you practice and learn, we all make mistakes. This was one that luckily I saved. Fixing those mistakes can be just as much a learning experience as actually starting over.

The face was painted and most of the polymer clay parts looked OK. Her shoes were made of polymer clay added over raw clay so they were a bit messy but they did have cute rhinestone decorations.

It had a cloth body and polymer clay arms and legs. I made this in mid 2013, without a pattern; I used some ideas I found in a book for making cloth dolls. I made the body by just drawing a template and sewing it up and connecting the polymer elements. Most of the polymer clay pieces weren’t bad but the ears just seemed off. In fact my husband keep calling her Bat Boy (Google it, the likeness is eiry)

Step Two - underneath

Fixing – First attempt

My first attempts at fixing this doll were a few months after this. First I just popped off the ears, figuring I’d get rid of them and get back to the head later. I also removed all the make up using acetone. I was able to fix her body using fiberfill and quilt batting. I used a mix of gluing and needle felting techniques.

I started by wrapping her shoulders to even them out. I then used the same thing to fix out her hips and stabilize her legs. I added breasts using fiberfill and needle felting. This was the plain old cheap 89 cents a bag type, who knew. I added a waist line by sewing one tightly around her waist.

By now a good chunk of her was fiberfill or batting on the surface, although stable between glue and felting. If fact maybe too stable, she was stiff as a board and I wasn’t sure of the next steps. I did glue some stretch lace to the edge of her body to if I did decide to dress her the messy fabric wouldn’t show.

Doll - Attempt Two

Doll – Attempt Two part 2

A bit later I tried fix her up some more – this time by adding some clothes, or at least under garments because hot pink is so good for underwear. Most this outfit was pieced together as I hot glued it together. It reminded me some what of a track suit from the 80s. Still frustrated by the stiffness of the body and my failed attempted at clothes, I tossed her in a drawer. I just wasn’t sure where to go next.

And this is where I start this week. I’m going to go over more of the fixes I made using some of the techniques I have learned since I started. I can’t promise a fully costumed doll in the end but I can say she’ll be on her way to a better start.