Creating a Body for Art Doll

These are instructions for creating a sturdy wire frame doll armature that is also padded and wrapped to complete the body of an art doll.   This type of art doll body is designed to have a clay head, arms/hands and legs/feet attached and to be permanently covered with clothing.   This body form is bendable and positionable, but, once placed in desired position, it's not usually re-positioned again and again like a jointed doll would be.

This detailed tutorial was written in Russian by Oksana Dyachenko.   All links go to page that has been translated to English by Google.   If you have any problems understanding the somewhat flawed computerized translation, please leave comments here and I'll do my best to explain.   If you would like to see page in original language (or translate it to a different language), click optional link provided.  

This armature and body can be made in any doll size you need.  Instructions suggest realistic body proportions but, of course, you have the option of ignoring those proportions to create a stylized doll with extra long legs or some other exaggerated feature.

The author suggests, before starting work on the skeleton, sculpt the head so you have an idea of the final proportional size of the body.  By having a completed head available, you can easily determine the height of the body.  You can always sculpt head later if you want, but it is easier to determine the size of the body based on the size of the head and not vice versa.

The ratio of head to the total height of an adult ranges from about 1:7 to 1:8.
Children's heads are much larger in proportion to body so the ratio is less, depending on age of child.

The average shoulder width is equal to the height of 2 heads (or 3 widths).

The arm's length is 3 times the height of the head.  The elbow is at waist level.
The length of the thigh is approximately equal to the length of the leg below knee, which is about 2 times height of the head.

The width of the pelvis in women is approximately equal to the width of the shoulders.

Knowing these proportions will guide you in the manufacture of your body armature.

For this project we need an already made puppet frame (aka doll skeleton), a spool of any thread, floral tape or adhesive tape, scissors, and most importantly!  toilet paper.   You can also use synthetic padding (quilt batting) and wrap with a cord.   The author says that toilet paper is one of the most grateful and compliant materials. Also inexpensive and easily accessible. She finds it easier to form the desired body volume gradually using the toilet paper.  The process is slow because of many thin layers of paper, however, all errors are easily corrected immediately.

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