Mixed-Media African Doll
Use materials from other projects to make an African doll with these step-by-step instructions.
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Project by Sandra Heading-Marchand from Los Angeles.
Sandra, a former graphic designer, used to just make jewelry and decorative pillows until one day, the memory of a little doll from her childhood popped into her head and inspired her to start applying the items she used for her other projects to making African dolls.
6" x 6" ceramic tile
heavy duty staples
glue gun or needle and thread
acrylic paints and brushes
1. Elongate wire in wire hanger, bending the bottom to a 2-inch 90-degree angle. Bend bottom of wire to be able to staple the hanger to a wood base.
2. Wrap a 12-inch-square piece of batting around the wire hanger, sewing or hot gluing it together.
3. Place a 2-inch ball of batting at the top of the wire hanger and hot glue it in place.
4. Cover the entire soft sculpture with a tube sock, all the way to the wood base. Staple the sock to the wood base.
5. With scissors, cut an opening on each side of the doll where the shoulders should be. Insert an 8- to 9-inch piece of wire or twig through the holes. This wire will form the arms.
6. To create the head of the doll: Start wrapping twine around the top portion of the doll, gluing as you wrap. Continue down until creating a round twine head.
7. Get more twine and start right above the arms and continue upward until meeting the twine head. This will create the neck. The twine should be glued on, gluing as you wrap.
8. To dress the doll: Cut 2-inch strips from colorful scrap fabric and hot glue or sew strips into place, starting at the bottom of the doll. Overlap pieces so to cover the top portion of each strip. Stop at about the neck area.
9. After the cloth is glued on to the body, go back and cut the fabric into smaller, thinner strips.
10. Using same fabric, add glue and drape it over the wire arms. Cut this fabric into smaller stripes. Then take some cut pieces of burlap, glue and drape them over the fabric.
11. To make the mask: Condition polymer clay by rolling it up into a ball. Press clay into doll face mold in order to create face imprint in clay. Remove clay from mold; remove excess clay from the sides. Place the clay mask in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes according to package instructions.
12. Remove and paint face with acrylic paints. Paint with multiple colors, making it look like a real African tribal mask.
13. Glue on a burlap beard and then glue the entire mask to the head of the doll.
14. Embellish the doll with more burlap, beads, or other items.
15. Adhere a ceramic tile to the wood base for more balance and glue on a piece of fabric to the bottom to prevent scratches.
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