Polymer clay is a sculpting medium made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This medium may be used for creating realistic dolls, which are painted with acrylic paints after the sculpture is hardened in a home oven. The plasticity and smoothness of polymer clay makes it possible to create detailed facial features, hands and other body parts. The clay is available in different shades of flesh tone, as well as pure white. Special tools are made specifically for sculpting polymer clay, but many common household items are useful for sculpting and smoothing the clay.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Polymer clay
- Acrylic paint
- Sculpting tools
- Paint brushes
Condition the polymer clay. Hand knead a chunk of clay until it forms a malleable ball.
Blend two colours of polymer together to achieve the desired skin tone. Colors will not change when the polymer is cured in the oven.
Smooth polymer clay before shaping or sculpting the doll. Larger dolls are made by applying 1/4-inch thick layers of clay to a form made of styrofoam or crushed and balled up aluminium foil. According to doll maker Belinda Hopkins, she runs her conditioned clay through a pasta maker to create ultra-smooth sheets of clay. Some doll makers roll the clay between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap.
Shape and sculpt the doll using a sharp, non-serrated knife for cutting, an orange stick for shaping and any other household item that works for you. Special cutting and shaping tools may be purchased where polymer clay supplies are sold.
Place the completed doll or doll parts in a warm oven that is between 104 degrees C and 148 degrees C. Follow manufacturer's instructions for firing time.
Paint the doll with acrylic paint to blush the cheeks, colour the eyebrows and lips, or for any other desired effects. Acrylic paint is water soluble, so brushes may be rinsed and dried.
Tips and warnings
- Make eyeballs out of white polymer. Cure and place in eye sockets before applying clay for eyelids for realistic-looking dolls. Iris and pupil should be painted after the doll head is cured.
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- Belinda Hopkins; doll maker; Belhaven, NC
- ODACA: Making Teeth for a Sculpted Doll: Sarah Russell
- Dollmaker's Dream: You Can Learn How to Sculpt a Face in Polymer Clay
- The Polymer Clay Spot; What is Polymer Clay?; Jeanne A.E. DeVoto
- Polymer Clay Web: Acrylic Paints
- ODACA; Condition Your Polymer Clay; Myra Sherrod