Stringing my porcelain ball-jointed doll.
This is how I strung my first doll.
Marina Bychkova- (Her last doll sold on ebay went for $7,799.00 US.“The articulation of my resin Enchanted Dolls is the same as my porcelain dolls. All the joints were altered to improve a movement range and after testing all kinds of stinging up methods and playing with elastics, I realized why I developed a steel spring articulation to begin with: it’s because elastics absolutely SUCK compared to carbon springs. They suck. Sucky-sucky-suck-suck.”
“Small springs, some fishing swivels, some stainless steel wire for pins and s-hooks, and do some experimenting.
Marina developed her spring-tensioned stringing design based on Martha Armstrong-Hand’s book.”
“Basically, you’ll need a pin at each terminating joint. A terminating joint is a joint that the string stops at (it does not go through it to another joint). Examples of terminating joints are the hands and feet. The string goes through joints like the elbows and knees, so they aren’t terminating joints.
Attached to the pins at the terminating joints are S-hooks. The S-hooks go through the slit in the joint. At the other end, the S-hooks are attached to a spring, or a swivel. You’ll have to decide which is more appropriate for the joint, a swivel, or a spring.
S-hooks go through elbow and knee joints, and slide through the slits in those joints. Martha seems to have used a combination of springs and elastic. She also used wire. Her doll heads did not open, so the head is another terminating joint. You can see hardware on the top of her doll’s heads.
Using springs for tensioning dolls has been around for a long time! Part of the fun of designing a doll is to invent your own spring-tensioning system.”
Epoxy is what is used to secure the pins. Pigments are used to color the epoxy to match the skin color of the porcelain. Epoxy is like resin. Actually, epoxy is resin.
Aidamaris Roman both make Porcelain BJDs and they use springs for tensioning the BJD.
Martha Armstrong-Handalso used springs in her porcelain dolls. Martha Armstrong-Hand had several different designs for spring-tensioning dolls, not just one.
Anyway, if you’re going to cast in resin (which is much lighter in weight than porcelain), you should be able to string your dolls with round doll elastic cord.
1. Evidently, porcelain is a wee bit more abrasive than other materials, and elastic will wear out more quickly.
2. Because elastic is usually strung from the head, through the body, down to the ankles (one loop per ankle – two loops subtotal), and from one wrist, through the torso, to the other wrist (one loop subtotal), for a grand total of three loops in the doll; the elastic goes through several joints. When elastic goes through several joints, moving one joint has the possibility of causing movement in other joints.
3. Using springs and swivels with s-hooks attached to pins inserted through several joints, allows individual joints to be moved without affecting the other other joints. Essentially, each joint is individually tensioned.I understand that using elastic to test joint design is a good idea, during the design phase of making a doll, because it is quick and easy, and gives the designer a good idea of how the whole doll will pose under tension, and how individual joints will work with weight on them.
twigling, in her Zen booklet, recommends pliver for sueding:
Socket friction can be added by gluing in
thin pieces of leather, called pliver; or by coating the sockets with a thin
layer of hot-melt glue from a glue gun. Hot-glue sueding is a quick and
dirty method which is reversible and needs to be redone relatively
often. Pliver sueding is more time consuming to do, but also more
durable if the right glue is used. The use of pliver is a throwback to
antique porcelain dolls where leather was glued between the joints to
prevent the sound of porcelain surfaces rubbing together. The pliver
used to suede a balljointed doll is thin and flexible, but a quite fragile.
The flexibility means that it can be stretched and shaped to fit into a
socket without needing to cut it into a specific shape.
Pliver is the top portion of a full grain lambskin after the skin has been split, the bottom half being sold as suede.
It is very thin, and suitable for crafts such as dollmaking, clock and camera repair, leather painting or calligraphy.
source of pliver on EBay:
You don’t need two swivels in a given section (between two joint pins), so maybe you can save a few pieces there? One swivel will give you the full range of turning and keep bad stuff from happening to your spring.
More Links about Using Springs for Doll stringing:
Cindy McClure taks about how she does it