Porcelain Ball Jointed Dolls
Now that I have porcelain, I want to attempt to sculpt a BJD. They are so beautiful. I don’t know how to do it, but it’ll be fun trying.
What is a BJD?
BJDs come in different sizes, from as tiny as 10cm, to as big as 90cm! There are also life-sized BJD’s (shotakotake on DA) and 5cm tall BJD’s (DreamHigh studio). The most common names for sizes are SD (Super Dollfie), MSD (Mini Super Dollfie), YoSD, and Tinies.
SD’s are usually around 60 cm (24inch) tall. MSD’s are about 40cm (16 inches) tall. YoSDs are about 25 cm tall. And the Tinies are everything smaller than 12 cm. And there are many dolls in between these sizes.
Every size has positive and negative aspects. SD’s are usually the most poseable, have the most detailed features, but they are also more expensive, the heaviest, and the least transportable. While some tinies lack posability, they are easy to carry around and are more affordable. Though their features are less detailed, they are irresistibly cute. Some tinies are known for being more poseable than others, such as pukipukis from FairyLand.
If you are doing a One-of-A-Kind sculpture which will become the finished piece, you will want to choose a high fire clay such as porcelain, but study the armature and hallowing processes required prior to firing. For modeling purposes porcelain clay is much too expensive and the thought of using this exquisite clay as a Òthrow-awayÓ model makes me shiver!! Porcelain clay is great to use for lace draping, roses, floral and small items used to embellish a final object.
It can then be used as a model for a mold or can be fired or sealed for the molding process. I recommend making a mold from the piece prior to firing or sealing as the moist clay will be much more forgiving of undercuts and easier to remove from a difficult mold. In other words, the model will tear first, allowing you to see and clean up undercuts in the mold.
Standard mini size:
|Shoulder to Wrist:||5″|
|Elbow to Wrist:||2.4″|
|Hip to Knee:||4.6″|
|Knee to Ankle:||4″|
“My favorite air dry clays are LaDoll and DAS. For the hair, I usually choose mohair fiber — it has an antique look that gives a certain charm to the doll. The eyes are an essential part of the doll, so they must be the best, and blown glass eyes are my favorite. My choice materials depends on the doll I am creating. I do not think one material is better than another, but rather one is better suited to a particular doll. I avoid all materials that are of poor quality.” Linda Macario, an Italian BJD artist from Florence
You can find Linda Macario on:
Her Website: http://www.lindamacariodolls.com/
Steps for making a Ball Jointed Doll
sculpt the head , keeping the head completely hollow, and leaving an open space at the back to later be filled in with a removable head cap. The eyes are carved out to be empty sockets.
She softened the features to make the final face, and sculpted a head cap into the angled space at the back of the head.
She added a little part to the inside of the head cap to eventually hook the strings onto holding everything including the head cap in place.
At this point She had bought a pair of glass eyes to fit the doll, and with my dremel ground some eye wells into the inside of the head so the eyes would fit into the finished doll with little or no gaps. (if you just can’t get this perfect, silicone eyes are bright looking, but squishy, so they can fill in an irregular eye well!)
To keep thinks looking smooth,she sculpted all parts in full. So for example rather than trying to sculpt the top part of the torso and the bottom repeatedly, She made it as one full torso, put the soft sculpt in the freezer to harden, then with a scalpel cut the pieces in half with a horse shoe shape in front. This was then baked.
She pulled the separate pieces off the form, and started to hollow out the top part, and build up the bottom part to rounded dome make the torso joint (it looks kinda like the top of an egg!)
Dolly D. worked the same way with the limbs, only she used a chopstick as a form.She wouldn’t suggest using chopsticks tough, instead a drinking straw re-enforced with tinfoil would be better. Much easier to cut the limb sculpt into 2 pieces, and for those not planning to cast you can later pull out the tinfoil for a hollow piece!
As you can see in the first photo IDolly attempted to build my own ball joints, but these didn’t look so good.
She carved them out and replaced them with good sized wooden beads, with a slit sanded into them with her dremel. These make perfect ball joints and you can easily incorporate them into your Sculpey! (Make the slit on one side of the bead, and only as far as the already drilled hole)
When making the joints, it’s much easier to form the nesting joints over the ball joints, than to try make the ball fit the nesting.
Thank you Dolly Daydreamer!
Separate Ball Joints:
I also read about making the joints separate balls.
“He has separate rounded pieces for each of his joints. I found that having separate joints reduced stress on the limbs (which had a tendency of chipping away when rubbed together) but reduced his stability so he has a hard time standing on his own.”
All the pieces:
Thank you all of these pictures and information from a translated page: http://www.linkclub.or.jp/~oshizaka/doll/howto/index.html
Patterns for dolls
What Size Doll Do You Want?
BJD doll sizes vary greatly from mini (a few inches tall) to, well, huge. The vast majority of BJDs are in the 15 to 17 inch and 22 to 27 inch size ranges. Super Dolfie (approximately 22 inches tall) is a popular size, as are the 15 to 17 inch size dolls, due to the wider range of clothing and accessories available in these sizes.
Buy a Wig Cap!
This may seem obvious, but, ahem, I didn’t know this when I got started with BJDs. I was blithely walking around a show with a BJD with my doll’s wig in her eyes when a good samaritan pointed me to a doll dealer who had silicone wig caps for sale. One wig cap later and, voila, my doll’s wig stopped sliding around on her head! Brilliance, and for under $5, too!