When one acquires a BJD, one immediately begins to seek out ways to make it truly unique. But that is often easier said than done. Here I describe all my adventures, quirks, mistakes, and discoveries.
Any modification to the body of the doll is referred to as an "esthetic." The seam lines on the body, make up, and eyes can be modified if the owner so chooses to do so. A doll can be customized by removing the factory make up and reapplying make up to create a truly unique look. This is referred to as a "face-up."
Acrylic paint and watercolor pencils are used to paint fine details, whereas pastels are used for shaded areas. Oil pastels should never be used for face-ups, however. And when selecting pastels, one should inquire as to if oil is has been used as a binding agent. Rubbing the pastel between one's fingertips is a good gage into how much oil has been used. There are a variety of tools that can be used for face ups that can be purchased directly through your favorite doll manufacturer or at your local art supply store.
Volks USA has posted their own tutorial for painting a doll's face.
A subtle application of color can be applied to the body as well, such as cleavage, knees, wrists, and ankles for a more natural look. This is referred to as "blushing." Both pastels and airbrush can be used to apply color in this manner.
Acetone can be utilized to remove a faceup and any residue from sealants. However, there have been reports that acetone can dissolve or "melt" resin so it is advised to rinse the resin with water soon after its use. It is very volatile, so use in a well ventilated area away from open flames or heat sources. If concerned about the potential to damage resin, an alternative paint remover such as Mr. Paint Remover should be used.
An alternative to watercolor pastels, acrylic paint can be used for painting fine details such as eyelashes and eyebrow hairs. Acrylic paint can also be used to paint lipcolor.
AirbrushUsed to apply color and shading, the airbrush can be used to create a subtle effect.
Ceramic KnifeThis tool is used to even out seam lines. While not sharp enough to cut skin, it will cut resin so exercise extreme care when using this tool. Hold the knife against the seam line and carefully scrape along the seam line to flatten it. The resin will need to be polished with sandpaper or a sanding sponge.
When eyes do not fit well in the eye socket, this tool can be used to sand the eye socket to achieve a shape that can accomodate the eyes to fit better.
Inserted into the neck, shoulder, and elbow joints, these silicone disks allow the doll to hold poses better
A pen used to draw eyebrows. This can be used instead of or in addition to watercolor pencils, pastels, and acyrlic paint. It is very convenient. If a mistake is made, immediately wipe the area clean with a dry cloth and start over.
Perhaps the most daunting task for any new doll owner is stringing a doll. But with lots of use, the strings get stretched out and your doll does not pose well. Or if you want to sand the seam lines or blush the body or create some "body art" (aka a tattoo), then the body will need to be disassembled. But with the right tools, it is not a difficult task.
I have scanned the steps to string a doll from the Super Dollfie Guide Book that Volks includes with its dolls. Volks sells the both the "Stinging Tool for Super Dollfie" as well as the "Super Dollfie Clip Holder" (known to most medial professionals as a hemo clamp) but I purchased mine through a medical uniform shop. These stringing tools can also be purchased through various retailers, though. Volks just happens to be closer to me.
Although this comes from a Volks manual, this applies to many other dolls as well. Keep in mind that the method of attaching the hands and feet illustrated here applies to Volks dolls and may differ slightly for other dolls. Some do not use S-hooks to connect the elastic to the hands and feet. I will add more on this type of system eventually. I also plan to include a diagram for stringing a doll without the use of a "Stringing Tool for Super Dollfie."
The Volks USA blog Sumika Times has published a tutorial on stringing a Mini Super Dollfie. Stringing a swarrico body is the same as for a standard body.
I will also be posting a photo-tutorial on strining a M type Leeke body and a Luts Delf body soon.
As one continues to play with their doll, the string will become loose. A simple solution is to tighten the body. A doll can be tightened only so many times before the string looses its elasticity. When this occurs, restring the doll. There is also a tutorial on tightening dolls on the Volks USA blog Sumika Times.
FDQ Guide to Photography
Super Dollfie Bible