Behind the scene. How articulated dolls are made. Watch Marie Pikunova at work

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

This is a guest post by a doll artist Marie Pikunova. She is a faerie! Would you agree? :)


Hello! My name is Marie. I make articulated dolls. I use a variety of materials for my work. Today I want to show you the process of creating my dolls that I call mimiCreo. These are the series of miniature dolls (there are boys and girls here) 1:10 scale (18 cm or 6") made of polyurethane. I took pictures of the process of creating an original model for them. You are about to see how it have happened. 

I started with making a boy play doll. My goal was to make a model for a mold for casting my dolls out of polyurethane. I decided not to include any stoppers, so anybody could just take a doll and play with it without reading any instructions first. As a result the boy turned out very flexible just like a yogi! He is 18.5 cm high. It is not a small doll, but rather slender. I call him Tom Thumb because his body is at thick as my finger.

The parts needed to be very thin, so I chose polymer clay called Living Doll to sculpt them. This is my favorite material for sculpting.

He fits in my hand!
I've set up a schedule for this job. The sculpturing and the fitting of the details: 20 days; polishing: 10 days. My plan was to finish a model in one month. In fact it took me 45 days. I probably could make it faster, but the feet and the right hip (for some reason) took me too long. 

This time I kept track of how long the different stages of work took. I also took pictures. So I can tell now how long it took me to make every little detail. 

It took me 5 days to roughly sculpt a head and a body. I also divided it into the hinged parts and started working on the legs, the hands, the feet and the ball joints of one of the hands.

It took me 15 days to finish sculpting everything, but the right hand. At that point I was not satisfied completely. The legs needed to become longer at the hips, the hip joints needed to be adjusted... and there were other adjustments to do too...

It took me 25 more days before the complete assembly of the doll. I was still not done with all adjustments, though, but the toy was ready to be played with... at least by me! :) 

Here I am showing the doll parts: the hands, the feet and the ears. They took me one third of the time that I spent on making the doll!

Here are my funny magnifying glasses that are great when I work on some tiny doll parts, like feet, for example. I use exact-knife and mini-files for this job. 

This photo has been taken after the first layer of the coating polishing (there were 3 coatings all together).

This picture shows how I add coatings on the doll parts.. They are mounted on a wire so they won't touch each other (I use the coating product by the Kudo company).

Then all the parts have been sent to a casting company to make the molds and cast a few samples in polyurethane. Doll makers rarely do this job themselves. The casting process involves special equipment and special treatment of the materials (for health safety reasons). It is just not worse of having it on site.

Here is a picture of the finished dolls made of the parts that have been cast:

And then I felt that the boy was too lonely :) so I sculpted a girlfriend for him! I just needed to make new head and a body. I could use the same hands and legs for her. Here she is:

Here is a finished girl after it has been cast in polyurethane too:

Now I start painting the faces, making wigs and sewing clothes and accessories for the dolls. 

All cloths and shoes are sewn by hand, as a sewing machine cannot do stitches that are small enough.

Here are a few finished dolls. 

Come to my web-site to see even more!

Maria Pikunova
Public profile: (in Russian)
Online store (in Russian)


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