Customize a Blank D.I.Y. Pop!




Introduction: Customize a Blank D.I.Y. Pop!

About: Hey there! I'm ZephyrAryn. I don't have much to say about myself other than the fact that I'm a nerd that does artsy things. I hope some of my dabbling can at least help a few people out.

This instructable is intended to help people make a customized Pop! figurine using the D.I.Y. blank base. The possibilities are endless with some creative ingenuity!Please enjoy this instructable, and I hope you find it helpful.

Here is a list of things you will need:

  • Pop! D.I.Y. figurine (You won't get too far without this item!)
  • air dry clay (I like to use Crayola Model Magic.)
  • water
  • sculpting tools
    • butter knife
    • toothpick
    • actual clay tools if you have them
    • etc.
  • glue
  • acrylic paint
  • felt-tipped pen (black, unless you plan on using a different eye color)
  • paintbrushes
  • cup or similar container with dipping water
  • adequate painting surface
  • paint mixing plate
  • wood filler / gesso (Step 6 / 7)
  • primer
  • very fine sandpaper
  • matte clear sealer

Step 1: Procure a Pop! D.I.Y. and Determine Your Figurine-To-Be

  1. First, you will need a D.I.Y. Pop! figurine. (It will be hard to continue without this item!)
  2. Pick a character or person you want the Pop! to look like. Seeing as I'm a bit of a nerd and I make some superhero-type comics in my spare time, I will be making a figurine out of one of my personal characters. (She happens to be Krythin Harmon, codename Nitemare.)
    1. Make sure you have sufficient pictures with which to figure out the character's appearance from the front, side(s) and back.
    2. If you have problems finding good references, you may continue without knowing all the details. Just invent, within reason, the details that you can't see.

Step 2: Beginning the Hair: Start With a Bang!

This has to have been one of my favorite parts of the entire process: making the hair! I decided to make the bangs first because I would hide the rooted ends under the back part of the hair.

  1. Take out your air dry clay.
  2. Simplify the hair into chunky locks and attach them near the center half of the top of the head.
    1. You may want to use glue to help keep the clay attached before it actually dries.
    2. Use water to help smooth out the sculpted surfaces, and you may also want to use a butter knife or toothpick as a sculpting tool as you form the bangs.
    3. Be careful if you have any pieces of hair that come away from the head base, especially after they dry. (Trust me, I knocked off pretty much every single flyaway piece of hair at least once! Oops!)
  3. Keep adding locks of hair until the bangs have been completed.

Step 3: Form the Hair on the Back of the Head

  1. Take a small lump of clay and flatten it out so it's the appropriate size to fit the back of the head.
  2. Mold the clay onto the back of the head, smoothing it down with water in order to help reduce bumps and wrinkles in the clay.
  3. You may want to form a few locks along the bottom edge of hair, but it honestly depends on the character's hairstyle.

Step 4: Attach Any Extra Hair Features

If the back of the head is still a little damp, you may find that this makes it easier to attach any extra features to your hair.

  1. As you finish forming the hair, feel free to use the edge of a butter knife or the tip of a toothpick in order to add definition to it.
    1. It might be helpful to find pictures of Pop! figurines with similar hairstyles in order to finalize your finishing touches.
    2. They don't often have vividly detailed hair unless the character has very curly or wild hair.
  2. Once again, be very, very careful with flyaway tips of the hair!
  3. Because the hair should be proportionate with the head as opposed to the body, be careful with large clumps of hair like ponytails, etc that come away from the body as they will affect the balance of your figurine. Mine is very back-heavy but it still manages to stand on its own as long as it is on a decently hard, flat surface. (Sorry, carpet!)
  4. Allow the hair to dry according to the directions for the air dry clay.

Step 5: Optional Step: Mold Clothing Onto the Figure

I will make this step optional because it's rather difficult and time consuming, not to mention a little frustrating. The clothing can simply be painted onto the body in lieu of this step. However, if you choose to try and proceed with this step, have fun and pride yourself in the fact that you had the patience to do this!

*NOTE: Be very careful working around your character's hair! (Once again, I knocked several tips of hair off my figure and had to glue them back on or re-form them because I lost the tiny broken tips in my carpeting!) You will want it to be dry so that you can hold your character from the body or head in order to do delicate work on the clothing.

  1. Pinch a small piece of clay and roll it into a tube, then flatten it. Note that, for the most part, I only sculpted the edges of the clothes like the sleeves and boot tops because I could "fake out" the rest of the shirt and boots.
    1. Because the clothing pieces will be fragile and they are small, use glue to attach it to the body.
    2. Take a toothpick or another small sculpting tool and use it to form the clothing edges.
      1. I rolled it along the sleeve's outer edge in order to build up the appearance of a sleeve opening.
      2. Then, I rolled it along the inner edge, flattening it as best as I could. I also used some water to help smooth the inner sleeve down to the figurine.
        1. By flattening the edges on the inner shirt-side of the sleeve, I didn't actually need to use clay to build the rest of the shirt with clay.
    3. Take advantage of the fact that the head rotates and use it to position the head so you can get better positioning for the sculpt. (You're going to get tired of me saying this, but be careful about your hair! Unfortunately I found out that the shoulders/arms could knock the bottom tips off the ponytail.)
  2. You may want to use a toothpick or the edge of a butter knife or sculpting tool in order to add details to the clothing itself.
  3. Keep forming the rest of the clothing in a similar fashion. Ultimately, just find a method that works for you!
  4. Allow the clay to dry.

Step 6: Fill in the Gaps (Use Either This Step, the Next Step or Try Both!)

Once your clay dries, there will be some cracks in it. This is simply the nature of air dry clay, so you will have to fill the cracks in with either wood filler* or gesso (next step).

  1. Get some wood filler and use it to fill in unwanted cracks.
  2. You can also use this to smooth deep gaps that you would like to make more shallow.
  3. *I personally don't prefer using wood filler, but this is more common to have on-hand.

Step 7: Use Gesso to Fill in Cracks Because It's Awesome!

This is the other method you can use for filling the cracks in the dried clay: gesso! (Try to ignore my utter love of gesso because I might ramble a little.)

  1. Because gesso is a thick primer for making canvases smooth before you paint them, it does a very good job at filling holes. I'm STILL using the same bucket of this stuff left over from college painting courses.
  2. You can also build the gesso up a little in order to fill the gaps in the clothing. Because the inner sleeves of the shirt were still a little visible, I painted across them with gesso on the back of the figure. I also had a scratch on the front chestplate, on the back and on one of the boot tops, but the gesso prevailed!
  3. My gesso is starting to show its age and because it's a bit on the dry side, it has been painting a little rough. You may also find that it is thicker than typical acrylic paint, so use some fine sandpaper in order to make the surfaces smoother.
  4. (I know you're probably plenty sick of this by now, but be very careful with your dry clay! It's brittle and will break or flake easily on thin layers, so keep some glue ready in case pieces come off.)

Step 8: Add Some Color!

Finally, the step you have been patiently waiting for: you get to paint your figurine!

  1. I decided to start with the hair, but ultimately you get to choose where you want to start.
  2. Make sure to use enough layers of paint in order to get a uniform color.
    1. Pops don't typically use shading, so I simply flat-colored the separate colors onto the figurine.
  3. Do your best to keep the skin colors on the skin and the hair on the hair, etc.

Step 9: What Big Eyes You Have!

I know I said that making the hair was my favorite part, but playing with the eyes comes in at a close second!

  1. Know your character! Ultimately, this will help you decide what kind of eyes your figurine will need. (For example, my character is an utter ham and is not often seen with a straight face.)
  2. Most Pops come standard with black eyes, but you may decide to use another color if you wish.
  3. Take a felt-tipped pen the color you intend to paint the eyes and use it to outline the shape of the eyes.
    1. I find pens much easier to handle than paintbrushes, so this is very helpful when it comes to making perfectly round eyes.
    2. You may also draw eyebrows on the face if you wish.

Step 10: Finish Painting Your Figurine and Finish It Off!

You're almost done! Yay! I know that these figurines take a lot of time and patience, but you're on the home stretch now!

  1. Paint the rest of your figurine. This step is pretty self-explanatory, so...
    1. Double-check your figurine before you use any finish. I held my figurine by the head a lot, so I had to re-paint some of the hair because my fingers managed to rub it off.
  2. Finally, use some clear finish in order to preserve the paint. I prefer using a matte sealer for Pops because that's part of the style, but ultimately you can use any clear sealer that you want. Make sure to do at least 2-3 coats of finish. Not only will this help ensure that the finish won't be breached and result in a ruined paint job, but it ill help ensure that you get all the little nooks and crannies hidden around your figurine. Pay special attention under hanging bits of hair and around the underside of the head and neck.
  3. Once everything dries, relish in your accomplishment! You just finished your own customized figurine!

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    12 Discussions


    Tip 4 weeks ago

    Instead of painting after it is dry, you could try mixing in food dye to the white model magic before you put it on, so the color is more exact. It is what I do.


    4 years ago

    Wow. Never thought of using wood filler with model magic. I am going to use that in my horn making. thanks for the great idea.


    Reply 4 years ago

    I think I picked that one up from somewhere else, so I decided to show that method as well as my favorite one, gesso. Out of curiosity, what kind of horns do you make? Are they wearable costume horns?


    Reply 4 years ago

    I have only made one pair for a Halloween costume last year but I have been wanting to make more. I made them really comfortable I kept forgetting I hade them on.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Very cool! I love costume and accessory stuff a lot myself. No matter what you decide to do, have fun!


    Reply 4 years ago

    I sure do. this was the costume


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you. I only had an issue with it cracking. Luckily it didn't matter for this costume.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Ooh, very nice job! Your horns turned out great!


    4 years ago

    Very interesting article indeed! Thanks for sharing your
    insight about this topic. Very helpful thanks! <a


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed my tutorial.


    4 years ago

    this looks really good. love your way of doing the hair. i have made a few custom pops myself. looks like I should make another one soon ;-)


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you very much! This was actually my first attempt at a pop, but I have used the clay before on my prop builds. In any case, good luck and have fun!