Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The following is a "little different" tutorial about 'soft sculpture'.. or is it 'sculpture on soft?' 
Let's find out.

I'm creating a cloth doll where the doll's body itself is meant to be the focus of the piece.  I don't plan on doing a lot of needle sculpting.  My main concern is that it should look like a sculpture, not a torso with limbs sewn on.
This technique will give this doll a very intriguing, sophisticated look.

Here he is... stuffed and assembled.  He still doesn't have a head.  I'll finish his body before I decide what kind of person he is.  He might be a hunk, or maybe he will turn out to be a goblin or a fantasy creature.  I don't know at this point.




Click on the images above, and you can clearly see the sewing and gathering and puckering.
This is a wonderful pattern, and proportionally correct.  The doll's "seat" is designed to wrap around the back of the torso so it looks more authentic.

How to cover up those seams??
To accomplish this, I will be using:

1) Golden brand Gesso 
2)Golden Gel Medium Hard Modeling Paste.

The Hard Modeling Paste is like a plaster for the fabric.  It fills in the ridges and covers the seams and stitches.  You can add it to the gesso, to make it thicker, or use it as a preliminary filler as I did.  One other very useful feature of this material is that you can add it to acrylic paint and then sand it.  Acrylic paint cannot be sanded on its own.  It is made to be used on a flexible surface, and so it's perfect for dolls.  

When it dries, I'll paint the whole doll with Gesso.
Finally, I will paint it.  This will make the doll truly unique.  I can really "go to town" and do whatever I like- I haven't decided yet, but I'm thinking of using Dye-na-Flow ink paint by Jacquard, Acrylic paint, or maybe even Tsukineko Ink.  I can use rubber stamps, too, or even decoupage.  I'm not sure what I want to do yet.  I'll think about it later.

Let's get started.
First, apply a generous amount of Modeling Paste to the "obvious areas."

Add plenty around areas that might have become "lumpy."  This sometimes happens to legs when stitched onto the torso.  This is a good opportunity to fill in those imperfections.  Notice the right side, near the seam, there is some puckering going on.... I will apply 2 layers (allow to dry between layers).

Don't be afraid to add the modeling paste to any area that "needs help."  This includes areas that might be lumpy because of imperfection during stuffing (almost inevitable!)

Lastly, brush the modeling paste over all the seams on the doll.   

Put the doll aside and allow to dry.  I usually let my dolls dry overnight.
When ready, take a look and see if you need to do it again.  Chances are, you probably will, and that is ok.

When satisfied, go ahead and apply gesso in the same way.  
You will most definitely need to do this process 2-3 times in the most "difficult" areas.  This time, use fine sanding paper in between layers.

When completely satisfied, cover the entire doll in one final coat of gesso.  When dry, sand the doll down a final time and apply your paint, ink, rubber stamping....whatever!

I hope you liked this tutorial... more to come later.  I'm taking a break now.
This doll probably won't be done for several weeks.  I like to let them sit for a while.

If you like this pattern, you can buy it in my doll shop.  Believe it or not, it is the pattern for NIAMH, the lovely Dead Sea Fairy.  It is also the exact same pattern I used to make my PAGAZ goblin.  The only difference is, I did not use the skinning technique taught in that pattern.  Try it, you will love it!


  1. Anonymous3:00 AM

    oh wow, thank you for allowing to see your blog and your very gifted and talented dolls. I love em so much.
    Your awesome. The fat legs and bottoms, then you finish them of with so much detail.

  2. Anonymous3:01 AM

    Just got to say, the eyes, just so magical!

  3. Looks like so much work! And such awesome results.


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