Art Dolls: Clay Over Cloth How-to

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"Frost Fairy" a clay over cloth doll by Yve
Quite often art dolls are created with clay head, hands and feet attached to a fiber-filled cloth body (which is all covered with clothing). But did you know you can apply air-dry clay directly to a stuffed cloth doll?  This is done for a number of reasons.  A layer of clay can hide seams and give a nice, smooth surface for painting facial features but still have a soft, squishy body.   Dimensional details such as nose, lips, eyelids, etc are easy to add with the clay.  Some artists prefer to needle-sculpt the face details before applying Creative Paperclay while others, like the artist show here, prefer to make these dolls with a flat, unsculpted cloth face and add features with Creative Paperclay.   The added bonus is you can make a poseable button-jointed cloth doll a lot easier and faster than a BJD!

In this tutorial from Yve of Freaky Little Things (from North Wales, United Kingdom), she shares her techniques for applying Creative Paperclay over a cloth (muslin) button-jointed doll.


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Step 1-Pprepare your cloth doll for paper-clay

Yve's tip:   Button joints work best when they are squeezing the dolls body and I don't want to risk cracking the Paperclay "Skin", so I've built flat button "platforms" at her shoulders, like you would get on a rigid plastic or vinyl fashion doll. 

Step 2 - Model the face and details

The finished, but undressed,  "Frost Fairy" by Yve is shown below (dressed doll shown above).  Doesn't she have a pretty face!

Can you tell which parts have the clay finishing technique?

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Note:  Not all air-dry clays work well with this technique.  You'll have to experiment.  This is a quote from another post from Yve when she tried using the same technique with LaDoll.

It's not just the LaDoll that's beginning to crack!  It wouldn't adhere to the cloth at all, even wet, wouldn't adhere to gesso very well and what didn't fall off overnight had big cracks in it by the next morning. The Papydur*, which is what I usually use, goes on like a paste, you mix it with water, but once it dries out the cloth doll is hard as rock wherever you plastered it on. I basically make lovely cuddly cloth dolls with heads hard enough to use as a murder weapon... should the need arise, always keep a Freaky Little Thing handy in case of intruders ;O)

*Papydur is a papier mache pulp available in Europe that has qualities similar to Creative Paperclay, however, Papydur does not dry smooth and is difficult to sand. 

2 comments:

  1. Hi, I sell my dolls as 'Freaky Little Things' and this is a link to my blog:
    http://freakylittledolls.blogspot.co.uk/

    Thank you

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  2. I love making art dolls too. They always look gorgeous. Your post has given me many inspiring ideas which I'll try on my doll stencils. Have a look at them and try them!
    http://www.amazon.com/Mixed-Media-Collage-Doll-Stencils/dp/B00IQRT4N8/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1407748209&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Mixed+Media+Doll+Stencils

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Thank you very much for taking the time to comment! ;-)