Silicone dolls are a preferred type of doll for those looking to make realistic-looking baby dolls like Reborns, as well as other types of art dolls and toys. The type of silicone used in dollmaking makes a firm, durable rubber that takes paint well. Dolls can be made entirely of connected silicone, but often silicone body parts like the head, legs and arms are attached to a cloth doll body. This project describes the method for making a simple doll with a cloth body and silicone head.
Sculpt the head you would like your doll to have out of plasticine clay, or another soft water-based clay. Make sure you include a neck with a base that is about 1/4 inch thicker than the rest of the neck, so that it will hold the neck inside the cloth body.
Spray the doll head with a clear sealer like Krylon Crystal Clear and let it dry completely. Add a thin wall of modelling clay in the middle of the head, from the base of the neck on one side to the other side, dividing the head in half.
Create a plaster mixture by adding water to gypsum powder. Stir it well until the mixture is soupy and free of air bubbles.
Paint a layer of plaster onto one side of the doll head sculpture. Let it dry completely. Paint a second layer and add strips of burlap.
Add continuing layers of plaster and burlap until you have a strong, thick mould. The larger your silicon doll head, the thicker the mould will need to be.
Let the mould cure completely for 6 hours, then repeat Step 3 through Step 5 on the opposite side of the head sculpture. Let the mould cure for 6 hours again. Pull the mould halves apart and clean out the majority of the clay.
Add clay to the inside walls of the mould until you have the thickness in clay that you would like your doll head to have when it is finished. Coat any exposed plaster with mould release.
Strap the mould halves back together with rope, then turn the mould over so that the neck opening is facing upward. Secure the mould in this position.
Mix together another batch of plaster and pour it directly into the mould, filling the cavity. Let the plaster cure completely.
Unstrap the mould and remove the plaster "core mold" piece. Clean all mould pieces until there is no clay.
Spray the inside of both mould halves and the core mould piece with mould release. Strap the mould halves together and insert the core mould, then turn the mould over.
Drill or carve a pouring hole into the mould at either the top or the side, in a place where you did not do much detail sculpting.
Put on a pair of latex gloves and mix together a batch of silicone RTV casting rubber. Pour the rubber mixture into the mould through the pouring hole until the mould is completely filled.
Let the rubber cure for 12 hours. Unstrap the mould and carefully pry the halves apart. Remove the core mould.
Paint, detail and decorate the head as desired, and coat your work with a sealer.
Put the base of the neck into the cloth body through the neck opening. Adjust the neck on the cloth body to fit.
Things you need
- Cloth doll body
- Plasticine clay
- Sculpting tools
- Clear sealer
- Large bucket
- Wooden dowel
- Modelling clay
- Large paintbrush
- Mold release spray
- Drill and bit
- Silicone RTV casting rubber
- Plastic mixing cups
- Stirring tools
- Latex gloves
- Razor blade