Sunday, November 08, 2009

How to make a cloth body look like it's sculpted from clay

Here's a great tip to take your cloth dolls to the next level: Make it into a true sculpture by filling in the seams.


1) Assembled Cloth Body
2) Paperclay
3) Water
4) A stiff brush
5) Fabric Glue
6) Gesso
7) Paint (skin color)
8) fine sandpaper

1) apply glue to area that you want to fill with paperclay.
For example, where the arms / legs are attached to the torso, or any needle sculpted areas where you want to hide puckering and stitches. The glue makes the paperclay stick. Otherwise, it can fall off.

2) Shape the paperclay between your fingers and put it into the area you are filling. You'll want to add paperclay wherever you have an asymmetrical imperfection or where something doesn't look quite right. For me, this is particularly helpful on the feet.

3) Dip your brush into the water and go over the paperclay until it is nice and smooth. Allow to dry.

4) Paint the doll with at least 2 layers of gesso, sanding in between.
5) Paint the doll with acrylic paint.

Hint: You can try this technique on the doll's head. If your needle sculpting is wanting, or you want to define the nose or raise the cheekbones, go for it. You'll be glad you did!


  1. Anonymous11:58 AM

    Hi! I am a veteran sewer, but new to doll making. I would love it if you did an article on adding paper clay to faces....

  2. That is a great idea! I have several things on my plate at the moment, namely two upcoming classes and a pattern that I have to finish writing. I will have to create a new doll and make pictures, which I have to make some time for. I'll do that! In the meantime, I do have a lovely pattern that uses a clay-over-cloth AND THEN stretch fabric over the face. If you are interested in this pattern, the name is "NIAMH" and she can be found in my Etsy doll shop ;-)

    Thanks for the great idea!

  3. Rivkah I love your blog! This is awesome!

  4. Ooh, just the tutorial I needed! Thanks!

  5. Thanks you guys! I am so happy that this was helpful! I will try to come up with a clay over cloth face technique in the future... plenty of open projects at the moment you know what I mean LOL

  6. Thank you for the tutorial. I am looking forward to trying it. I just ordered my Pimatex. . it dyes quite well. I had ordered it before, but this time it came totally wrinkled. I am hoping they aren't permanent. Have you made a tutorial on eyelids? I am seeing more and more now (in the Prims). Again, thank you. I love giving my dolls new looks. I have even done surgery on cataracts (glass eyes) with success :) I am glad I found you on face book. Now I will follow. Blessings, Janet

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