Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some Interesting Links

I did not get a chance to do anything more than just look at my doll today, so here are some interesting links that are in my bookmarks file. Since doll making is a multi-media art form that includes sewing clothes for the doll, this link is about Oriental Costumes.

Oriental Costumes Their Designs and Colors.
Max Tilke.
Berlin: E. Wasmuth, 1922.

And while I'm on the subject of patterns, this link is a menu of Free Period Clothing Patterns.

Last but not least, this is a link to some inspirational stuff.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oops! I Miscalculated

I put the old arm parts inside a yogurt container.

They are spaced apart nicely.

I melted the moulage in a double boiler.

Oops! I miscalculated. I did not have enough moulage to fill this container. Oh well, I guess I will have to make small two-piece molds of each arm.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Arms Mold Nº 1

These are the old arms, modeled from the first working drawing. I'm thinking about molding and casting them for the Carving Wax Test Doll. I have not yet bought any new plaster, so I'm thinking that I will use the hot-pour moulage to mold them.

Since there are not any small parts, like toes or fingers to fill, I will not pour indirectly, like I did with the feet.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Modeling Carving Wax

Today I worked a little bit practicing an additive technique with the carving wax, to see how well I can model a simple form. I used the 25W soldering iron to melt the wax at the base of where I wanted to model the form, then melted more carving wax into that molten puddle of wax. I did this by holding the soldering iron with one hand, and a small piece of filler carving wax with the other hand, and touching the filler wax to the soldering iron to allow a drop of carving wax to be added to the molten puddle. I let the puddle soidify from time to time to have better control of the form. Then I carve the wax form with my knife to refine it, and smooth it with tulle. This works well for a simple form. Care must be taken not to build up the wax too rapidly, otherwise it spills and runs down the side of the form. Like any other technique, it requires some practice to get the hang of it. Spills that run down the side of the form are easily removed because they are running over cool wax, and do not stick to it very well. Wax that is melted into the base puddle become a homogeneous part of the base carving wax.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Smoothing Carving Wax

Today I practiced smoothing carving wax. My test piece is a chunk of carving wax that was poured onto a damp plaster bat, scored, and broken into pieces for reuse. The side that was in contact with the plaster bat is rough, and has pinholes in it. I am trying different things to smooth it and fill it. So far, the best results come from lightly scraping the surface with my paring knife, followed by rubbing with some tulle. My 25W soldering iron works well for filling the holes if I heat the surface of the carving wax first, then fill the hole with more carving wax, followed by scraping the carving wax with the knife. The surface of my test piece of carving wax is much rougher than any of my doll parts, so it is a good piece for me to test on. This process is time consuming, and it requires a lot of patience and practice to get good at it. Because the talc filler in the carving wax is surrounded with wax, there is not any free dust in the air. However, the tulle clogs up quickly. This is the best photo I could get with my camera:

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shopping Finds

The first shopping find, at Tuesday Morning, was a fully articulated Liv doll for $9.99 (retails for $19.99). Contents: 1 Doll, 1 Fashion, 1 Hairbrush, and 1 Pair of Eyeglasses. Liv is articulated at the head, the lower torso (2-part torso), shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees (double-jointed knees), and ankles. She is not tensioned with elastic, but has hinged joints. She is about 12 inches tall from the bottom of her shoes to the top of her wig. The wig is removable, but she has short yellow hair molded on the vinyl head. The box says her wig is changeable, and it is, but it is held in place with a plastic pin/plug that fits into a hole in the back of her head. Her body and limbs are plastic. Her Fashion included earrings, bangle, shoes, skirt (velcro-type fastener), and blouse (velcro-type fastener). The head is disproportionately large compared to the body. The hands and feet are disproportionately small compared to the body. There are visible seam lines on the plastic parts. She can stand on her feet without a doll stand. This is a nice toy for the price I paid for it. The packaging recommends age 5+. She has a website: LIVWORLD. I doubt I would have paid full retail price for her. However, I do think I will be able to get at least $10.74 ($9.99 + tax) worth of fun with her.

This is a view of her standing up at my work table.

This is a view of her hip joints, double-jointed knees, and ankle joints. She is not anatomically correct. Her hips are made of white plastic. She has an immature upper torso (small breasts).

This is a view of her elbow and wrist joints.

This is a closeup of her face.

This is a comparison photo of Liv and an articulated Barbie. The Barbie is not articulated at the wrists or ankles.

The fun didn't stop with Liv. At the Thrift store, I found a genuine leather handbag for $3.00,

Of course, as soon as I got home, I had to cut it apart, to see how much doll shoe leather I got.

That is quite a bit of doll shoe leather. Here is a shot of my current leather stash which I'm collecting for making doll shoes for Aalish.

Even with a flash, the quality of that picture isn't very good. Sorry about that. I do the best I can with my ancient digital camera. The picture shows the pieces of handbag leather laid out on top of a rather large piece of cowhide. I am thinking that I will be able to use the handbag leather for the uppers, and the thick hide for the soles of the doll shoes. At least I have some materials to play around with now. Now, I can start learning how to make doll shoes !!!

But that's not all! I also got an old Vogue Knitting magazine (c.1987) for $0.25 cents, and a hardback copy of Sewing Made Easy by Dorothy Sara with revisions by Irene Gora (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1969) for $1.50. The back cover states that it is a complete sewing library in one volume, covering every phase of its subject from dressmaking to sewing for the home.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Studio Clean-Up

Today was studio clean-up day. Making plaster molds is always a messy operation, and I am usually too beat to clean-up right after I make a mess. I've posted before and after pictures of my mold making studio, in previous posts, so I don't see any need to do it again. Suffice it to say that cleaning the studio is not one of the more glamorous activities associated with making ball jointed dolls.

I ran out of plaster making this last plaster/moulage mold. I am happy that I decided to make the three-piece mold, otherwise I would not have had enough plaster to finish the mold. As it was, I had just enough plaster to make this mold.

I called the local building supply store and asked them how much a 100 pound bag of plaster was going for these days. They told me that it was going for $34.00. That works out to be about $0.36 cents per pound, once tax is added. Plaster is still a very good value for a mold making material.

I still want to mold and cast some carving wax arms and hands for Carving Wax Test Doll. I may use my moulage to do those molds. At least the hot-melt moulage is reusable. All I need to get is one casting of the arms and hands, so the moulage may be just the material to use. Also, a moulage mold does not require much mold preparation, so I won't have to spend a lot of time making clay build-ups.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Eyes Have It

I got a great deal on some Acrylic doll eyes at a local doll shop. They were $1.00 per pair. I bought 10 pair of 16mm eyes because I am planning on casting ten Aalish BJDs, and she is going to have 16mm eyes. I also bought 10 pair of various size eyes, including two pair of 18mm eyes, one pair of 20mm eyes, two pair of 22mm eyes, two pair of 24mm eyes, and three pair of 26mm eyes. All of these Acrylic eyes are spherical, with a stem in the back. I am trying to think ahead. My next BJD will be 80cm tall, so she will need larger eyes. Finding these eyes for this price made me very happy today.

While I was there, I also bought some more 3mm round doll elastic cord. I am very impressed with how the Carving Wax Test Doll is standing up to the tensioning with elastic. So far, so good.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Carving Wax Feet Nº 2

Carving Wax Test Doll sez: I can haz feet!

I used an old hacksaw blade to cut the slot. Then I refined the slot with an X-Acto razor knife. I drilled the hole for the pin with a small drill bit, by twisting the drill bit with my fingers. I used some needle-nosed pliers to bend the s-hooks, and I cut a length of the same wire for the pin.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Carving Wax Feet Nº 1

I started working on the mold for the feet and forgot to take photos until I'd already poured the plaster in the first half of the mold. As you can see from the photo, I used my studio-made coddles. I used thin coils of oil-clay to seal the seams around the inside of the coddles. I applied a coating of parting agent. I also put some clay balls around the outside of the coddles, to help keep them in place. I mixed my plaster using a 2:3 ratio of water to plaster. I turned on the vibrator prior to pouring the plaster. I cleaned my hands, mixing bowl, and tools in a bucket of water. Never put any plaster (dry, wet, or set) in the drainage pipes!

Here is another view of the freshly poured plaster, from the top.

This is a closeup of the brown wax feet in the clay build-up. You can see how I made the clay build-up around the feet, using coils of oil-clay.

Whoa! Look at that! That was a close call. The build-up was about 2mm short along the edge of this clay wall. Luckily, no plaster went inside.

The little bridge that you can see was added as a spreader to keep the clay wall from deforming.

Another view of the mold from a different angle.

After an hour had passed, the first half of the plaster mold was set up. I coated the inside with some orange shellac. The clay build-up around the feet has been removed, leaving the clay build-up for the parting line around the bottom of the feet. The pouring cup, and sprues are left in as well, for the other half of the mold.

This is another view of the mess that I made.

I don't know if it can be seen in this photo, but there is plenty of draft in that hole. The moulage will be poured in the hole.

Here, the first plaster mold half is placed over the feet on the molding board.

Then it got busy again, and I didn't remember to take any photos. I melted the moulage in a double boiler, then let it cool down somewhat. I put rubber bands around the plaster and molding board to hold them together. Moulage doesn't stick to anything, so I didn't need to apply any kind of parting agent. When the moulage was about 140 degrees Fahrenhet, I turned on the vibrator and poured the moulage into the hole. Then I screed off the excess. That completes the first half of the feet mold, which is made from plaster and moulage.

After the moulage cooled down (lunch time!), I removed the oil-clay build-up from around the bottom of the feet, then I poured the bottom half of the plaster mold. I used the coddles again, and sealed the inside seams with thin coils of oil-clay. I waited for the plaster to setup, then I soaked the two plaster halves in water to prepare for pouring the carving wax. I put the moulage mold piece in a plastic bag to help keep it moist.

I scratched some air vents for the toes in the second plaster mold half. Here are all three pieces, ready to be put together and poured.

This is a close-up of the air vents.

This is the moulage mold piece sitting inside the plaster couch, or Mother Mold.

I melted the carving wax in an old aluminum pot, then poured it into the rubber banded mold until the pouring cup was full. Then I let it cool. The feet are being poured solid.

Here are the carving wax feet from the first pour. You can see the air vents worked good. All the toes came out, with toenails and everything.

This is a view of the bottom of the feet from the first pour.

This is yet another view of the feet from the first pour.

Between pours, I soaked the plaster mold halves in water, so the molten carving wax wouldn't stick to them.

I ended up pouring three pairs of feet before the mold finally disintegrated to the point where I was reaching diminishing returns. I think three pair of feet will be enough to do some test stringing with.

Considering that I wanted to get at least two pair of carving wax feet from this mold, I did well to get three pair of feet! I will have enough for test stringing, as well as other experiments.

I ran out of plaster making this mold, so it was a good decision to change my mind from making a 6-piece plaster mold, to making a 3-piece plaster/moulage mold.

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