Using A Dollworld Fairy Pressmould Tutorial
If you have purchased one of our fairy/doll moulds please see below for a bunch of tips and tricks to help you make your doll. If you would like to purchase one please click here for available moulds which come standalone or in kit form.
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I hope you enjoy this tutorial and if you have any questions you can contact us.
Table of Contents
Below is a list of supplies and tools required for this tutorial:
Filling and releasing the Pressmould
Step 1 – Preparation
My 6inch mould take about 62grams of living doll clay, so start by cutting off that much and roll out two long rods of clay for the body (about twice the length from toe to neck) two small rods for arms (from finger tip to other finger tip) and two balls for the head. Make sure you really give the clay a good rolling to help condition it and make it soft and pliable.
Step 2 – Filling the mould
Once you have all you clay rolled out start filling the mould. To help the clay release from the mould you can spray the mould with a light spray of water, you can also use a dusting a power but ensure all excess is removed to avoid it sticking to the clay. If you are using the water method just spray the area you are working on, as the mould is very porous and will soak it up pretty fast.
Take one of the long rolls and flatten the end a bit and place into the toe area of one foot. Work the clay up the leg pressing and pulling on the clay to make it fit in the mould. When you have filled one whole leg start with the other leg. When both legs are done work the clay into the torso area ensuring you press it down hard into the mould to ensure the clay is blended underneath – remember it matters what the clay looks like on the bottom, not the top. Remove any excess clay left around the neck area.
Next take one of the arm rods and again flatten and press into the fingers on the mould. Work up the arm again pushing and pulling on the clay to make it fit, then complete the second arm. Remove any excess clay around the neck area and blend into the clay in the torso area. When you have finished the arms roll a tiny rod of clay and fill both thumb areas.
Fill the head and neck with one of the balls of clay.
The level of the clay should be a bit higher than level, but not over full. You want it high enough to make contact with the other half of the mould, but not too full that you have too much excess clay.
Repeat the process for the feet, body and arms of the front portion. When filling the face roll out the ball of clay and then pinch the clay and smooth to make a pointed side. Press this point directly into the nose area of the face and then press in the remaining clay to fill the head.
Step 3 – Add the armature
At this point you can add the armature. Adding an armature will make your doll more stronger, but it does make it harder to remove your doll from the mould so you can try it without adding the armature if you are finding it hard to remove the doll.
Take the metal armature that is provided with the sale of the mould, or buy one here, or make own using these instructions and bend it so it is sitting very flat and lined up with the doll limbs. When it is lined up press it down a bit to make an impression in the clay. Remove it and then use your sculpting tool to make a crevice in the clay for the armature to fit in. Return the armature to the doll and press it down inside the crevice and then push the clay up and around it.
Step 4 – Press the mould together
When you have completed both sides of the mould, and the armature in one side, you can press the two sides together using the locking beads to position it correctly.
Work your way around the mould squeezing each side one after the other. You should feel the mould rocking back and both and if you look through the crack start to see the clay stick together and lift off one side (most likely the back portion).
Here is a tip – if you can see that the clay is just not sticking to certain parts take a small flattened bit of clay and use your sculpting tool to slide it inside the mould (this is before you try and pull the mould apart) Once you have that extra bit of clay inserted continue to squeeze it and watch that area connect with the other side.
When you are happy the clay is merged very gently pull the mould apart. You should now see the doll on one side (most likely it has pulled away from the back half and is left on the front half).
You can now choose to remove a bit of the excess clay, or if there is not much then leave it till after you have removed the doll. Then start removing the doll from the other side. I find it easiest to start with the feet and legs, and then the hands and arms, then the torso and the head last of all.
Please note you may not get this process perfect the first time and it may take you a few tries to get it right. But that’s fine – just roll the clay back up and start fresh. But try not to do it too many times as the mould is very porous and will start to suck the oil out of the clay and will make it dry and harder to use. But dont get disheartened if its not perfect as each mould requires some practice to get used to and like everything the more you do something the better you get at it.
If your clay gets a bit hard from repetitive use try adding a bit of clay softener, just make sure your hands are very clean before using this
Roll out required clay
Flatten end and press into toes
Push and pull the clay up through the leg
Fill torso, arms and head with clay
Add armature to one side
Press on each side to merge
Carefully remove the doll from the mould
Cleaning up and smoothing the doll
Step 1 – Remove excess clay
Holding the doll gently in your hands carefully remove the excess clay with a sharp scalpel.
Work your way around the doll being careful not to cut to deep into the actual doll
Step 2 – Smooth the seams
When all the excess clay is removed start blending the seams away using the side of the thumb
While you are doing this try and keep in mind where your hands are and how you are holding the doll. If you don’t keep this in mind you will find yourself squishing parts of the doll by mistake. I usually hold the doll around the waist – that way if I do squish a bit to hard all she gets is a slimmer waist – don’t you wish it was that easy in real life!
Here is a tip – if you are finding the clay very easily squished and hard to handle put the doll in a clean place free of dust, such as a zip lock bag, and leave it a day or two. This will cool down the clay and make it firmer
Remove excess clay and smooth
Adding ears and defining the face & fingers/feet
Step 1 – Add the ears
The ears are separate from the doll mould – this is to ensure the head can be removed from the mould without obstruction.
Press the ears in their own mould and release. Clean them up a bit by removing the excess clay from the ears
Add the ears to the head by pressing hard inside the ear canal to ensure the ear is nicely connected to the face. use your scalpel and sculpting tool to tweak the ear to how you want it, including removing the point should you wish your doll to be human and not fairy
Step 2 – Define the face
The face can be tidied and adjusted by gently pressing down on the features to enhance or smooth them. I fully recommend you tweak the face and put your own style into her face. You will also need to use a pin or toothpick to put the nostrils in the nose.
Step 3 – Hands and feet
Hands and feet can be tidied up by using your sculpting tool to clean up the finger and toe lines.
You can choose to keep it simple and leave the fingers together, or split the fingers to make them more pose-able. One tip is that this clay can be cut and sanded after its cooked, so if you are having trouble with the fingers get them as close as you can, cook them, and then use your scalpel to further define them.
You can also choose to completely cut the hand away and replace them with hands with armatures in them. But this is an advanced option, so you may want to keep it simple for your first doll
Press deep in the ear canal
Define fingers with sculpting tool
Replacing the eyes with glass eyes
This is an advanced option that I will add with my next doll. It is optional as you can just paint the dolls eyes as they are. Adding glass eyes will add some realism to your dolls face so I do recommend you give it a try once you feel up to the challange.
Dolls eyes can be purchased here or you can make them yourself (tutorial for that coming soon!)
Adding an armature to hands and feet
Strengthen your doll
Adding an armature to your hands and feet will make your doll much stronger at those week points. But the skills required are a bit harder – especially in the hands. But worth giving it a go especially if you want to separate the fingers and have issues with them breaking
Hand and feet armatures can be purchased here or you can make them yourself using this tutorial or check out this tutorial for how to use them in a doll
Posing the doll
Step 1 – Bend the doll
Before you start bending the doll make sure you have your desired pose in mind, if possible have a picture of your pose for easy reference. When you start posing your doll you will be in effect actually move the wire and not the clay. This is why it is important to be as gentle as possible to avoid excessive squishing, and to have your pose already sorted so you dont keep bending and unbending
Step 2 – Tidy up the pose
When you have the pose all sorted you will see that any bends you have made are very rounded (see the picture on the right). This does not make for a nice looking doll so you should make some adjustments to correct this. In the case of the doll I have posed I added some clay to the top of the thighs and smoothed, and also pinched in on the leg bend to define the knees
And remember – if you are having trouble posing your doll because the clay is too soft to work with just let your doll sit a couple of days till it is cooled down a bit
One other thing to keep in mind is that this clay can be sanded and carved after its cooked. So I suggest you get your doll as good as you can, and then cook her. You can then work on her further after she is cooked by carving and sanding. You will find each time you do a doll you will be able to achieve a better pre-cook finish, so dont give up!
Cooking the Doll
When you are happy with her its time to cook her at the recommended temperature for the clay. If you are using the Living Doll Clay provided with my kits you should cook her at 275° Fahrenheit or 130° Celsius for 15 minutes for each 6mm. I usually give a doll around this size 40 minutes. Make sure your temperature is dead correct – too low and she wont be cooked all the way through and thus weak, and too high and she will burn. When she is cooked she should look slightly darker than raw clay, she should not be burnt in any area and she should feel rock hard. I use two thermostats to ensure the temperature is correct in my oven
You can cook your doll in a normal oven, but I recommend a convection oven for the best results. And never cook your doll on a metal tray, this will conduct heat and burn your doll. Always prop your doll up with polyfill to support her when she gets soft during the heating process. Keep an eye on her during the cooking process, I check every five minutes. If you see burning in fingers or toes you can use little bits of wet paper to protect those delicate areas – in fact if you are using a normal oven I suggest you just do this anyway – cover the fingers, toes, nose and ear tips with bits of wet paper
And lastly and most importantly never never ever touch your doll while she is still hot. I cant stress (excuse the pun) this enough! While hot your doll is in a very delicate state and touching her will most likely lead to cracks. You can open the lid/door of your oven to help her cool – but leave her alone until she is stone cold. As a rule I always leave her twice as long as it took to cook her
Doll posed – needs some work
After adjustments have been made
Just before the cooking
Doll in a convection oven
Completing the doll
I am not going to go into detail on the completion of the doll in this tutorial. But if you would like to know more about these steps please have a read of our Complete Start to Finish Tutorial
Please see below for some shots of how I finished the doll I was making to create this tutorial.
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