Friday, December 17, 2010

My Top 3 Easy Doll Making Tips

Once I completed my first cloth doll pattern and printed out my second project, I quickly realized I was going to need to find a way to keep everything organized. I had pattern pieces scattered across my desk and fabric across my craft table, and nowhere to put it all. So, the easy doll making tip for this week was inspired.

Easy Doll Making Tip #1 - Create A Pattern Binder

There are a few different ways to keep your patterns organized. I've read online that many people purchase filing cabinets and put each cloth doll pattern into manilla folder in the cabinet. I didn't like this for 2 reasons - one - budget and two space.

So my next step was a trip to the local office supply store. While there I picked up a durable (and cute) 3 ring binder, and some sleeve protectors. This would allow me to store my patterns in one place while still protecting each pattern. Here's how you can create your very own.

Go to your local office supply store (or Walmart) and pick up:
  • One 3-ring binder (or folder) - I purchased a folder at first, but have upgraded to a 2 inch binder now that my collection is expanding.
  • Sheet Protectors - A pack of 10 -25 will be enough for now
  • Multi Colored Card Stock Paper - I used to save my cereal boxes and trace my free cloth doll patterns onto the cereal boxes. However, I ran into an issue where I never had enough boxes to use. So, I started to use card stock for it's durability. Then one day my binder was knocked from the shelf and pattern pieces went flying. After piecing all the patterns together I color coded them with a marker. Now, I just print each pattern out on different colored card stock so that I can easily sort them if it ever happens again.
  • If you don't already have them - you're going to need a printer and printer paper. I print out all the instructions onto printer paper and then punch 3 whole into them for the binder. This way I don't have to search my bookmarks or scour the internet for the how to steps later when I return to the pattern. Printing them out, let's me also take notes on any modifications or future ideas as I work through the doll.

Easy Doll Making Tip #2 - How to Pick Quality Stuffing

On my first doll, I picked up a generic stuffing from the local craft store. I wasn't experienced enough to know that there are different levels of quality for your stuffing. After some research I found out that the reason my poly/fil came through the fabric or bunched into cellulite look clumps was because the quality was low.

A friend I made in one of the forums taught me a quick tip for picking out quality stuffing. She said you just take a piece of stuffing big enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Then squeeze it hard. When you open your had, if the stuffing fluffs back to it's original size then it is a high quality, if it takes long or never fluffs back up it's CHEAP.

Now, the only problem with this is that you can't exactly open all the backs of stuffing at the craft store. So, purchase a couple and test them. Once you find one that meets this criteria then stick with that brand every time.

Easy Doll Making Tip #3 - Quick & Easy Finger Turning
On my first project I sewed together my pieces of fabric and when it came to turning them inside right I had the hardest time. I struggled and got frustrated and then turned to the internet for help. I found that there are a few other doll makers struggling with the same problem and that there are tools to help!

You can actually buy turning tools from the local craft store. However, like anything at the crafts store they can get expensive. Some tips I found online include looking at the hardware store or hobby stops for brass pipes that fit inside of each other.

Another easy doll making tip I found was to use a chop stick and a straw. This will only work for doll fingers because of the size, but I thought I should include it. I've added these tools to my doll making kit and they have been a life saver!

Have any killer doll making tips you wanna share? Send them in or comment below and on a future Easy Doll Making Post I'll add in your tips.

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Hey Ya'll!

I'm always looking for comments and feedback.
Let me know which patterns you love, and want
and I'll scour the internet for them :)