Assembling Tips

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How can I connect the shoulder plate to a cloth body?

Connecting The Shoulder Plate II

Sew through each hole like sewing on a button with a curved needle. Beginners do this a lot. It is secure and will work with all sizes.

   
What can I used in place of S hook

Another Use for Paper Clips

If you don't have an S hook and you are assembling a small all porcelain doll, cut a paper clip in half. Bend the clip so it looks like an U. Using your favorite plaster or glue or rock hard to cement the paper clip in the limb, leaving the loop exposed. String the elastic through the loop in your usual manner.

   
How do I decide which type of armature to use?

Type of Armature

Decide if your doll will be repositioned often. If you are going to place the doll in one position and never move it again, use a wire armature. If you are going to move the arms or legs often, use the plastic armature. The plastic armature will hold the position you set much easier than wire.

   
How can I get the eyes in place?

Eyes

Can't get the eyes in place after bisque firing the head? Using a dowel or chopstick with a little wax on it, slide the eye inside the head. A flat eye is the better choice here. Put the waxed end of the chopstick inside and push it against the back of the eye, to get it to stick to the eye. Move the eye up to the opening and, using the chopstick, push in against the bisque. Complete the eye setting as usual.

   
How come my 24" dress doesn´t fit my 24" doll?

Stuffing Cloth Bodies

Over-stuffed boides cause poorly fitting clothes. It isn't necessary to have the doll body stiff with stuffing. The armature or wire holding the doll in position will do its job with a softly stuffed body, and the clothes will fit better.

   
How long should the arms be?

Measuring Arms

Are the arms too long or too short? The rule for measuring the length of a doll's arm is the same whether it's a short or tall doll. After assembling the body and legs, pin the cloth arms in place. The hands, where the finers join the palm, should reach the crotch of the doll. Adjust the pins and sew the arms in place.

   
How can I get rid of that sound of porcelain against porcelain?

Using Moleskin

Porcelain grating against porcelain is annoying. Using moleskin that has adhesive on the back, cut a circle to fit the shoulder plate socket for the head, and line it with moleskin. For arms and leg openings, line the flat section of the arm that fits next to the body with a strip of moleskin clilpped to curve in circle, or cut a circle with a hole in the middle or the part that goes into the body. There should be no sound of porcelain rubbing porcelain.

   
How do I make a knee or elbow joint?

Knee Joints

Making a joint where there isn't one can be easy. If you cut the greenware about 1 inch on either side of a joint, such as elbow or knee, fire to bisque and paint as usual. When ready to put together, use the armature of choice and size appropriate for the size of your doll. Using armature or pipe cleaner (for smaller doll), glue or plaster ends to the upper and lower side of the limb, joining it back as one piece. Leave enough space between the pieces to allow them to bend. Glue cloth around the opening, or leave open. Once the doll is dressed, the joint will not be visable.

   
What do I use to fill arms and legs?

Recycling

Save the plastic bags from loaves of bread or the grocery store. When you have attached the arms and legs of your cloth body doll, stuff the arms and legs with the plastic. It adds weight and if you use an armature it will hold the armature in place and prevent it from slipping around inside and grating against the porcelain. This will also save money because you are not using the polyfill in spaces that no one can feel.

   
How do I string my doll?

Stringing Your Doll

In most cases, you have a triangle from the head to the legs. The arms are strung with each other, with no connection to the elastic between the head and legs. Use round elastic. Small dolls use thin round elastic (about 1/8 inch); the larger the doll, the thicker the elastic.

   
Do I have to make a casing to attach an arm or leg?

Attaching Legs or Arms

To make a casing or not. If you are attaching the arms or legs before adding armature or stuffing, it is not necessary to make a casing. Insert the arm or leg into the opening. Apply a small about of white glue to the grove. On the wrong side wrap wire or a strong thread such as dental floss or hand quilting cotton. Turn body right side out. I have found that this will result in less bulk and a neater looking attachment.

   
Is there an easy way to attach the correct hand?

Assembling Arms

Do you need a rule of thumb when attaching a cloth arm to procelain arm/hand? Most cloth arms have one seam. Line the seam up with the thumb and you will not put it on backwards. This is especially true with baby cloth arms that bend before being attached to the procelain hand.

   
How can I connect the shoulder plate to the body?

Another Tip to Connect the Shoulder Plate

The way I do it most of the time is put seam tape or binding through the hole and sew the tape to the body with the tape pointing towards the toes about two inches.

   
How do I connect the shoulder plate?

Connecting the Shoulder Plate

Sometimes I sew with heavy thread from front to back through the body and hole, making a figure eight on the right side and the left. This is good if the body is not very large, 14" or under.

   
How do I fit lashes on small dolls?

Lashes

To fit lashes on small dolls, you can buy regular lashes and cut them to fit, also trim the length. Or buy the lashes that have the upper and lower lashes. Use the lower lashes for the small dolls because the lower lashes are not as long.

   
How can I be sure the porcelain and cloth limb will not come apart?

Attaching Limbs to Cloth Bodies

If your doll limbs fall away from the cloth body, here is a tip: Put cement-type glue or white glue around the groove in the limb. Do not double the wire before tying the limb and cloth together. Example: Using the single wire, insert the porcelain arm into the cloth arm. Run wire through the casing or around the arm twice and pull the wire tight, twisting it a couple of times close to the arm. More than that and the wire may break. In that case, just throw the wire away and start again. If using strong thread tie a knot to secure the arm.

   
How can I be sure the limbs are on the correct side before securing?

Use Rubber Bands to Test Placement

Before you glue and wire limbs to the cloth body, use rubber bands to hold the pieces in place to make sure you have them on the correct side

   
What can I use to stuff porcelain arms and legs?

Using Plastic Bags

Save the plastic bags from loaves of bread or the grocery store. When you have attached the arms and legs of your cloth body doll, stuff the arms and legs with the plastic. It adds weight and if you use an armature it will hold the armature in place and prevent it from slipping around inside and grating against the porcelain. This will also save money because you are not using the polyfill in spaces that no one can feel.

   
How can I stop the porcelain pieces from rubbing against each other?

Avoid That Scraping Sound

When assembling a small doll, one method of keeping the porcelain parts from rubbing against each other uses clear nail polish. Put the nail polish where the porcelain touches porcelain. Let dry completely before assembling.

   
Is there a quick fix if I forgot to make the holes?

Assembly Problems

Ready to assemble your doll only to find you forgot to make a hole in the shoulder plate to hold it onto the body? If you need a quick fix, put ribbon or twill in neck hole and sew it to the body. Later you can redo the shoulder plate with all the holes.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Jerry Mayo