How to Make Movable Arms and Legs for Clay Babies

Written by daisy peasblossom fernchild Google
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Jointed doll arms make them more realistic, easier to dress and more pose-able -- in short, more fun for display and for gift giving. The easiest way to make joints is by making two holes through the torso, one at the shoulders and one at the hips, through which a stretchy material is threaded then attached to the arms and legs. The challenge is shaping the joints and stretching the material tight enough to hold them in place.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Modelling clay
  • Newspaper or aluminium foil
  • Scratching sticks or quarter inch pointed dowel rods
  • Wire
  • Elastic thread
  • Craft knife

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  1. 1

    Form the doll torso from wet clay. This may be done completely of clay or over a foil or paper armature to make the body lighter and more likely to retain its shape while drying. While the body is still malleable, push a pointed stick through the top of it from shoulder to shoulder and through the hip section from side to side. Leave the stick in, while in the clay is drying, turning it once in a while, to keep it from adhering to the clay.

  2. 2

    Shape the arms over a wire armature, creating a bevel at the top that will fit smoothly against the body. Embed an eye-bolt -- there are tiny ones available for doll houses -- on the inside top part of the arm and fasten it to the wire armature, or form a loop of wire as part of the armature. Arrange it so it will extend slightly into the cavity made by the stick in the torso. Shape the legs -- again using the wire and eye-bolt arrangement -- bevelling the hip joint to match the body.

  3. 3

    Let all parts semi-dry. Check the arms and legs against the body to make sure the joints fit well. Gently trim the green clay as needed, to insure a good fit. Finish drying.

  4. 4

    Fasten elastic thread to one leg eye-bolt. Pull the thread through the hip tunnel in the torso, then through the eye-bolt in the other arm. Pull the thread tight, stretching it nearly to its fullest, then tie it off, using a square knot. Repeat for the shoulder joints.

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