Introduction: Clay and Cloth Doll

I've always admired those beautiful dolls with the porcelain hands and heads. I'm a college student, however, and therefore perpetually broke. (Not to mention, even if I had the cash, my local craft store doesn't sell blue fairy doll pieces!) So I decided to make my own. Want to join me? Then read on!

Step 1: Materials

- Sculpey in desired colors
- Toothpicks
- Water
- (Optional) Parchment paper

Step 2: Salvage Your Sculpey

Being a poor college kid, I didn’t exactly have the money to run out and buy Sculpey. Luckily, I had some from…uh…middle school in an airtight-ish box in my craft drawer. It needed a little TLC before it could be used though. If you’re in the same predicament, try this out. If your Sculpey is all pretty and new, mosey on over to step three.

This is where the water comes in. (It’s also helpful to moisten new clay, but you absolutely need it for parched old clay like mine. You can wet your fingers and knead the water into the clay… or do as I eventually started doing and just dipping the clay in the water. Your hands will get pretty sticky and this step will take a while, but it’s cheap, and therefore perfect for poor peeps like me.

Step 3: Let Us Begin!

Now we start the real project: making our dolly. I started with the head. You can’t bake a head made entirely of clay, it won’t bake through and could end up doing horrible things to your project, your oven, and maybe your eyebrows. Maybe. So make a foil base. You can bake your clay right around it, so don’t worry about that. Make a sort of pyramid shape, with the pointy bit as your chin and the broader section as the top of your head. The size of your head will give you an idea of how much clay you’ll need. Plan for six to eight times the size of your head.

Now to the clay itself. If you’re using a ready-made tone, go right ahead and start applying clay. If you’re going to mix your color, do that now. Remember: always add the darker color IN SMALL AMOUNTS to your lighter shade. If you need to go darker, you can add a little more dark, but it’s very very very hard to go lighter and takes up a lot more clay.

Step 4: Shaping

This one is best explained with pictures. I’ll just be quiet and let you look.

Step 5: Shake and Bake, Baby!

Okay, don’t shake your clay. Baaaad idea. But bake it. If you have your original packaging, use the temperature on the package. If not, the usual instructions are 275 degrees for 15 minutes. Let your clay cool before testing it with a toothpick in an inconspicuous area for hardness. If it’s not hard enough, you can stick it back in the oven for another minute or two. Don’t go over 5 extra minutes though!

Open a window or turn on the hood fan to air out toxic fumes. Unless you have spare brain cells to waste.

Step 6: Play Dress-up!

Next come the clothes! This one is also mostly pictures, so click through and check them out.

Step 7: The Grand Finale

Take pictures!

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