Posted By Natasha Red October on October 29, 2010
As I said in the previous part, now it seems a little more clear how to make a ball-jointed doll. So I have started on a new improved Smita. Here is what I have so far:
Let’s start with the head, neck and upper torso. The head and the upper torso will be hollow this time.
So, step by step:
Piece 1 – Head. Piece 2 – Upper Torso.
1. Rolled a sheet of aluminum foil into a tight ball for the head. Roll a sheet of aluminum foil into a tight ball for the torso. Shape the ball into the torso shape. Insert a piece of plastic straw for the neck.
Aluminum foil and plastic straws can be found in your kitchen cabinet or in a grocery store.
2. Covered with a layer of clay. I am using clay, which is, in a nutshell, generic Prosculpt clay – same formula, same manufacturer, different name. I love and therefore, I love . Here they are. The difference in color is because one is not baked, the second one is baked. Also, different lighting. But it is the same clay, although it does not look it. If you have a piece of dirty clay, here is your chance to use it up.
3. Baked both pieces for 15 minutes at 275 degrees F in the .
4. Forced a piece of wood through the head (that sounds painful, doesn’t it) – for a handle. After several false starts – only 3, I am definitely getting better – I managed to make a face I can live with. The head is baked (20 minutes at 275 degrees F). I can see a couple of spots that I need to add clay and a couple of spots to sand, but overall it is satisfactory.
5. Cut a wider opening at the neck hole. With a pair of , piece by piece, I got all the aluminum foil out.
5. With an cut a round opening on the top of the head as well. The idea is to install a hook inside the lid, so that, when the doll is strung with , the lid will shut down tightly and hide all elastic. At least that is the theory.
Ok, I’ve got to stop – need to start my working day. Here what I have – yes, the neck will be wider. The next step – sculpt the neck, the nect joint and upper torso. Thank you for watching!
This morning it occured to me that the chin is a bit too long, the lips are a bit too puffy and the eyes are a bit too bulgy. All those things can be fixed with sanding – so off I go with the sanding paper.
I like sanding my dolls and always sand all parts, however, the results of sanding the face can be sometimes unpredictable, as you will see later – the personality of the doll might change rather significantly. However, sanding makes the face smooth, symmetrical and if I need more clay somewhere, here is my chance to add it. I needed more clay to make the neck socket for the neck ball. A wooden bead helped to make it nice and round.
So, after sanding it all over, I washed it with a toothbrush and soap – that takes all the sanding dust away. Let it dry completely (got coffee). With a flat filbert brush, applied a thin layer of .
(TLS) is self-leveling, meaning it will spread over the surface evenly, provided that it is not too much and it is not dripping and it is not too little. It fills tiny grooves left by sanding paper and whatever tiny cracks and separations in the clay that are invisible to the human eye. My bottle of TLS is pretty old, so yesterday I put some , let TLS sit overnight and shook it vigorously this morning – my TLS got back its nice flow.
After brushing TLS all over, I baked her for 10 minutes at 275 degrees F. The small amount of clay that I added and thin layer of TLS does not take a lot of time to set.
So here is what I have – she is smooth and more symmetrical, but, as I said, she changed. She looks a bit older – that is good, as I am going for a 12-year old, but not as much personality as before. I am going to continue with her as she is. Overall, I am happy with her. Thank you for watching – talk to you next time!
Good morning, Happy Haloween!
Well, it is the third morning I am posting – you did not expect to find me here, did you.
I think I am back in the groove – it is a tricky business for me. Firstly, I need my store work to be done – since the divorce it is my only income (and not only mine – I have two 20-year-old boys who work here and, of course, Harley and Fluffmeister. They all want to eat every day).
Well, as I am happy to report, Matt (my new shipping manager) is fantastic and took over the entire shipping – from printing the list and invoices to packing to printing labels and customs forms. One week of training – he is doing it all very well and very fast – domestic, international, everything.
That was 4-5 hours of MY TIME every single day, including weekends and all religious and non-religious holidays – yes, folks, shipping is IMPORTANT, URGENT AND TIME-CONSUMING. Plus, of course – all other things that need to be done – invoices, accounting, ordering, maintaining inventory, emails to the buyers, making stuff, listing, etc. My normal work day is 14 hours long, every day. I love my work and consider myself very fortunate to have the life style as I do. However, the very important part – creative part of my work – suffers. Travis – my other employee – works a few hours every week and is a huge help, but the bulk of the daily work was on me. I needed to let go some of the work load. Finding a good shipping manager became critical. [Enters Matt]
I found Matt at Walmart where he was working on the cash register. I stalked and watched the unsuspecting youth for several weeks while doing my grocery shopping. Consistently, week after week, he was super fast, efficient and, on top of it, friendly and courteous to the shoppers. So, one day, I waited for him to step outside the store during his break, caught him into a net trap and brought him to Morezmore. Just kidding. I simply offered him a bigger pay, he agreed and was hired on the spot.
Secondly, I need to be off bread, sugar and starches. When I get super busy, it is very easy for me to slip into unhealthy eating – sandwiches, fast food, junk. The trouble is that those things make me feel tired, sick, old, irritable, achy, lazy, mind-fogged, fat, hungry, confused, bloated, crabby, slow, ugly, depressed, sleepy, short-fused, sluggish and lethargic. I think I covered it all.
So, with Matt taking over a good portion of my work and feeling dizzy from these sudden riches of time, I finally caught my breath, went grocery shopping, cooked myself some legal low-carb foods (protein and greens) and it happened. The stars have lined up just so and I am supernatural again. One of the wonderful side affects is that I only require 5-6 hours of sleep when I am off carbs, so I wake up when I please – I do not own an alarm clock, totally rested, feeling like I have cosmic powers and run to the studio at 4 am.
Piece 1 – Head. Piece 2 – Upper Torso.
Anyway, next step is the neck joint. First I put the bulk of the clay on the torso, made the neck joint to fit the head socket (while it was raw, I just pushed it into the socket, carefully pull out, trying to preserve the shape). Putting a bit of water on the clay helps a lot.
Then baked the torso, cut it open and took all the aluminum foil out the same way as with the head. The torso is hollow now.
Then fitted the neck joint – by scraping and sanding – bit by bit. Then strung head and torso with an elastic loop and tested the neck joint – please see the pictures below. The neck joint works very well – holding the position nicely and looking very graceful, I think.
On the back of the neck I made a stopper – that indent which looks like a step – it prevents the head from going too far backwards and too far around when the doll is looking over her shoulder.
As I suspected – and I am sure it is not a mystery to everybody who is more experienced in it – the key to a good ball joint (the one that works and looks good while doing it) is a good tight precise fit of the ball and socket.
The first doll stands all right and keeps simple poses, but I want to see if I can push the envelope this time and make the second doll keep complicated poses requiring balance of the whole body – dancing poses. The strategy is – first, making good-fitting joints, second, line them with liquid latex, third, make the whole doll lighter by making larger openings in the limbs and hollow parts (head and body). But the neck joint works so well, that my idea of lining the socket with liquid latex (I was mulling over it for a few days) seems unnecessary at the moment. Well, we shall see how the whole doll’s joint structure will work.
Piece 3 – Right Hand. Piece 4 – Left Hand.
I am going to make cotton thread armature in the hands similarly to the way I made them the first time:
(Morezmore #25 Ball-Jointed Doll (BJD): Figuring Out The Mechanics. Part 2)
So, here we go:
1. Cut cotton thread with sharp to make 5 pieces.
2. Made clay fingers, and two pieces of clay for palm and back of palm.
The tools that you see on the picture are (from left to right): Tiny Polished Hook (will be available at Morezmore in a couple of days), , , and X-Acto knife.
Someday I will make a really detailed thorough description how to make the hands, for now – “shape the hands into hands’ shape”.
Palm lines – this is new tool that I just got from Alex Mergold (AMCreatures) – it is a tiny polished hook – amazingly handy tool, just like other tools invented by by this talented artist who is also a fantastic innovator. The other two tools are and .
Cut the thread off, make a ball for the wrist joint, pierce it with a needle for the S-hook pin, bake.
Baked, then made a slot in the wrist for S-hook with a needle file. Made an S-hook from the . This wire is very hard to bend into S-hook, and almost impossible to unbend. To help with the task, I am using , and flat nose pliers. Fastened the S-hook in the wrist slot with a pin made out of the same wire.
Piece 5 – Right Elbow Joint. Piece 6 – Left Elbow Joint.
This is Take 2 – I actually already made the arms yesterday half-way, but was not happy – the elbow joint was too big and the arm appeared swollen at the elbow. So I am redoing the arms and taking more pictures and posting more details. Here you go, new set of arms, blow by blow:
Piece 7 – Right Arm (Wrist Socket). Piece 8 – Left Arm (Wrist Socket).
Added clay to the wrist end of the arm piece, make into a skinny drumstick.
With a wooden handle, made an indentation, smaller in the diameter, than the wrist ball. Cleaned out the inner tube opening. Inserted the wrist ball into the wrist socket and made it fit. Carefully pulled the hand out and baked.
Cut, scraped and sanded to make wrists as slender and delicate as I possibly can. The wrists balls stay in the wrist sockets even without the elastic, but not too tight.
It is very useful to name the pieces otherwise it gets confusing – I might grab the wrong piece which happen to fit that particular socket – accidentally – but it is wrong one – and I woulld continue without noticing – it happened to me, had to redo the whole piece, so now I mark them and make sure I put them in the correct order. It also makes the assembling the pieces for posing and pictures so much faster.
Thank you for watching – Talk to you later!
Piece 7 – Right Arm (Elbow Socket). Piece 8 – Left Arm (Elbow Socket).
Made drumstick shape on the upper end of the arm. The drumstick is flattened, not round (look at your own arm).
Made an indent with a wooden handle (smaller in diameter than my elbow joint). Opened and cleaned out the opening inside with a brass tube. Inserted elbow joint into the indent and shaped it to fit. To keep it alighned, it is better to run the brass tube (or any wooden stick that fits) through both parts – the elbow joint and arm. Carefully pulled the elbow joint and put into the oven to bake.
Piece 2 – Upper Torso (Shoulder Sockets).
Two pancakes of clay, smoothed out on the torso.
Two wooden beads on toothpicks. They go into the socket half-way (see the line on the wooden bead).
Removed the excess clay from inside the socket.
Made sure that the sockets are vertical.
Piece 9 – Right Forearm (Elbow Socket). Piece 10 – Left Forearm (Elbow Socket).
Well, I forgot to take the pictures, but thankfully, the elbow sockets on the forearms are made the same way as the elbow sockets on the arms. (see the above post). The top part is just drumstick at the moment – the shoulder joint is not done yet. I will make the shoulder joints next and scrape and sand and shape the entire arms – make them as slender and smooth and graceful, as I can.
Another thing that I did but did not take pictures off was opening (cutting) the elbow sockets (all four) at the front. Tomorrow I will draw the picture – how to open the elbow joint and add it here.
Ok, here it is:
Meanwhile, I decided to string together what I have and just look at her.
I am using 2 mm elastic and a thin metal crochet hook.
Looking good, I think. It is definitely working out!
The next thing is to make shoulder joints, complete elbow joints and sand all surfaces on the arms to make them pretty.
Thank you for watching, talk to you later!
Piece 11 – Head Top
Piece 12 – Lower Torso
To make it less bumpy:
Piece 9 – Right Forearm (Shoulder Joint). Piece 10 – Left Forearm (Shoulder Joint).
The shoulder joints took quite a bit of cutting and fitting, fitting and cutting. Some sanding in between. At the same time I was working on the general shape of the forearm, using these anatomy images for reference. The images are from the book “Figure Drawing for what it is worth” by Andrew Loomis.
Piece 7 – Right Arm. Piece 8 – Left Arm.
Piece 9 – Right Forearm. Piece 10 – Left Forearm.
Piece 5 – Right Elbow Joint. Piece 6 – Left Elbow Joint.
This took cutting and sanding, trying to make the arms slender. Small ribbons of clay went on the elbow joints to complete them.
Here is what I have – little by little she is coming to life. Thank you for watching – talk to you tomorrow!
Piece 12 – Lower Torso
Piece 12 – Lower Torso
It is a struggle so far. But I have a great idea – will show next time! Thank you – talk to you later!
Springs instead of elastic
I did not get to my great idea this morning, as I spent the time stringing the doll with instead of . Stringing with elastic every time I need to check something started to get a little old. So off I go with the springs. The that I have are really miniature – I got the smallest available. They are too dainty for the heavy polymer clay doll I am making. Looks like I need to get larger stronger ones. However, I found a solution for this time – doubling the spring (making it into a loop) – it provides enough power for this doll.
After I finished putting it all together, I drew a diagram, here it is:
If you care to see the bigger image of the diagram, here it is:
On the picture (on the right, just above) – all the things I used: , to make S-hooks, , , thin crochet hook, needle tool (just a sewing needle I put on a handle).