Christmas is almost in the air, and you’re probably already wondering what gifts to give to your little nieces. Why not give them handcrafted dolls that you make yourself? Not only will this help you unleash your inner artist, this will also help you limit your budget for Christmas gifts this year. With that being said, it’s great to know that making dolls is easier than it sounds, and it can be a pretty therapeutic activity too. Here are some guidelines for creating a doll made of polymer clay:
- Prepare the materials. For this project, you will need the following: 3 mm thick armature wire, wire cutters, polymer clay, pliers, clay tools, acrylic paint and paintbrush. Armature wire can be bought at crafts and hobby stores, and this will be used to form the framework of the clay doll. Polymer clay can also be bought at crafts stores, and some popular brands include Prosculpt, Premo, Super Sculpey and Fimo. With regards to clay tools, these are tools that may include baking sheets, knives and rolling pins that must be used exclusively for clay sculpting projects and should never be used for preparing food.
- Make a sketch of your doll. It’s essential that you have a plan for your doll, including measurements and dimensions, to help you avoid mistakes later on. Your sketch doesn’t have to be very precise or to-scale; the important thing is that you indicate the measurements for each body part, to guide you later on. Get a doll as a model and measure the length of its body parts – the legs, the feet, the torso, and the arms – and replicate these measurements on the doll you will make.
- Create the armature. The framework for any clay sculpture is the armature. The armature refers to the wires that will hold the shape of the sculpture. Consult your sketch as to how long the legs of the doll will be, and cut armature wire at this length. Cut another length of wire for the torso and shape the wire with your pliers. Do the same for the arms and the neck.
- Create the body. Here’s a technique that can make the creation of your clay doll easier: instead of exclusively using clay for the entire body of the doll, you can instead use fiberfill (the material used as filler for pillows) and attach it to the wire armature using thread. This will give your clay doll the shape for its body, and you can just cover it up with fabric that will serve as its dress.
- Create the other body parts. Use your prepared armature as the framework for the different body parts, and sculpt the shapes using the polymer clay. Shaping the clay to form realistic-looking body parts will require a bit of practice, so just persevere until you are satisfied with the results.
- Bake the body parts. Get your created body parts (those made exclusively with polymer clay) and bake them according to the package instructions.
- Attach the body parts. Once you have the different body parts prepared, attach them by securing the wiring with each other. Dress up the doll with specially-made clothes appropriate for its size. This dress will also serve to hide its fiberfill body.
There you have it! These are some of the simplest instructions for
creating a polymer clay doll. Since it’s still quite early, you will
have time to practice this craft in time to perfect it for the
gift-giving season. Good luck, and hope this helped!