Polymer Clay Art Doll
Learn how easy it is to craft a doll out of polymer clay.
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Sally Evans from Centennial, Colo., started experimenting with polymer and precious metal clays while taking metalsmith classes. In this project, she sculpts a polymer clay art doll whose singular personality and theme are inspired by the very fabric chosen for its body.
Materials and Tools:
1/8 yd. fabric (preferably cotton, rayon or silk) for the dolls' outfit; scraps will work fine
1/8 yd. fabric for lining
polymer clay--Choose colors for the skin tone, hair, hat, and shoes.
brass charm for hat or embellishment (optional)
thread to match outer fabric
small beads for earrings (optional)
Translucent Liquid Clay
acrylic paint (You just need a tiny amount for the iris color of the eyes--your choice--plus black, white and red or other color of your choice for the lips.)
millet (It is a grain that is available in the bulk-food bins at some grocery stores.)
pasta machine for conditioning the clay (optional, but nice)
tools to shape clay (blunt tool--end of paintbrush could work--needle tool or something pointed)
toaster oven or regular oven for baking the polymer
glass or smooth ceramic tile work surface
baking surface--baking sheet or ceramic tile
hand sewing needle
- Choose fabric for doll's outfit.
- Condition and mix the clay colors. You will need the flesh color for the head and hands, plus colors for the hair, hat and shoes to coordinate with the fabric you choose.
- For the head, begin with a lump of flesh-colored clay and mold into a head shape (usually like an egg). Add a chunk of clay for the neck. Pierce a hole through the neck that will be used for sewing later.
- Use a blunt tool or the end of paintbrush to push a hole into the clay for the eyes and mouth.
- Place a small ball of white clay into the mouth hole for the teeth.
- Begin adding clay for the lips, cheeks and chin and then blend.
- Use the side of a paintbrush or tool to push in an indentation for the eyes.
- Add clay for the nose. Shape and blend. Use a sharp tool to make the nostrils.
- Add a small ball of white clay for the eyeballs.
- Add clay for the top and bottom eyelids.
- To make the ears, take a small ball of clay and cut in half. Flatten. Use a blunt tool to roll inside to shape the ears. Attach to the head. Add a small seed bead for an earring if you like.
- Make the hair by rolling the clay into a sheet and cutting fringe-like pieces. Arrange on head in the manner of your choice.
- For the hat, make a disc for the center of it. Cut a sheet of clay into a band and attach to the disk. Use your fingernail to create a design around the top. Attach to head, and add embellishments of your choice.
- Roll a log into a birdhouse, pinching the shape at the top to a point. Add a rectangle shape for a roof. Poke a hole in the birdhouse.
- Shape a bird for the top, using a small triangle for the beak and seed beads for the eyes. Use a wire and a little Translucent Liquid Clay to attach the birdhouse through the hat and into the head.
- Fashion the hands by rolling flesh-colored clay into a log. Flatten the end to form the hand and cut through to form fingers. Slightly roll the clay between your fingers to make the fingers round. Pierce a hole into the arm that will be sewn to the lining later.
- Roll a log of the flesh color into an oval shape for the shoe. Create a hole for the leg to go into. Use a snake to shape around the ankle and top of shoe. Pierce a hole through the leg that will be sewn onto the lining later.
- Bake the head, hands and feet according to the clay manufacturer's recommendations. It is very important to use the right temperature for the correct amount of time to properly cure the clay. Since Sally used a light-colored clay for the flesh, she used a piece of aluminum foil to tent the pieces and keep them from turning too dark. She also placed the pieces on batting to avoid getting flat spots.
- After the pieces have cooled, paint the eyes. Add a small black dot for a pupil and a tiny white dot for the reflection.
- Paint the lips.
- Cut out the lining and outer fabric.
- Sew the back seams of the lining and outer fabric, right sides together. Clip curves.
- Sew fronts to backs. For the lining, sew all the way around except for the neck. On the outer fabric, be sure to leave openings at the legs, arms and neck.
- Hand-stitch arms and legs to the lining.
- Slip inner body into outer body, pulling the legs and arms through the openings on the outer fabric.
- Stuff with millet. Sally uses a paper cone and a funnel to stuff a little Fiberfil into the arms if needed.
- Insert the neck into the lining and hand-sew through the hole in the neck. Sew the neck lining closed.
- Using a needle and thread, use a gathering stitch to draw closed the outer fabric and secure.
- Turn under the raw edges around each arm and leg, and use a gathering stitch to close.
Web site: www.sallyevansart.com
Alisha Fredrickson applies walnut ink over the clay and rubber-stamped border to create this antiqued art.