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Doll Making Tips

I don't claim to be an expert dollmaker, but I have learned a few tricks along the way. I hope these tips will make your doll-making experience a pleasant one.

1. To make curly yarn hair, knit up a ball of yarn in stockinette stitch. Place the knitted piece in boiling water for an hour. Allow to dry; unravel yarn.

2. Before painting a doll face on cloth, lightly starch the material first.

3. Marketing tip - Baby dolls wearing bunny suits attract a lot of attention. People tend to associate baby bunnies with springtime - the season of renewal - maybe this is why.

4. When sculpting with clay, learn the properties of the porcelain clay you are using. This knowledge will determine the cones to use for greenware firings. Read the label on the slip container and abide by the directions.

5. When making composition dolls, bake the doll parts in the oven at 225 degrees for 2 hours. After the seams are removed and the openings cut, and before attempting to detail the fingers and other small parts or before using water putty, plaster, etc, the doll parts can be softened again by soaking them briefly in water or wetting with a sponge. Only the top surface will be affected.

6. When creating tight fitting doll clothes, make a paper towel or muslin test pattern to fit the doll you choose first.

7. Turn a doll into an angel for Christmas by using removable wires attached to the wings that are slipped through a very small buttonhole made in the doll coat's back seam line.

8. When modeling or sculpting a baby's head, remember that a baby has a very large skull when compared to the placement of its nose, mouth or chin. Babies' eyes appear to be quite large, with the irises and pupils being visible and only a tiny area of white showing. On an adult, there is normally one eye width between the eyes. With a baby, the distance is 1 and 1/2 eyes between the inner corners of the eyes.

9. To make crocheted socks for small dolls, cut of the fingertips of a crocheted glove on a slant from base of thumb up to base of little finger. Discard finger parts. Seam the edge of the remaining 4 sides figure to make one sock.

10. To replicate French buttons, cut off the very tip of the crocheted glove finger, slip in a button and sew to shank at the bottom.

11. Coffee filters are absolutely lint-free, inexpensive and absorbent for use when painting dolls.

About the Author

Patty Lee is the owner of Craft Ideas, a free newsletter all about crafts. Visit us online at or subscribe to our newsletter at

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