I have been wanting to create ‘Alice’ for a while now. I felt this doll (once made-under and repainted) had just the right look. Then I had to figure out how to make the dress and shoes.
I’m no seamstress so it was more a case of ‘work it out as I go’. I had some old lace that had been hanging around for a while that I thought would go just right for Alice’s apron.
The shoes are always my biggest nightmare but having cut down an old pair of Bratz high heels I then sculpted with paper clay and Modpodge to create these little Mary-janes which don’t look too bad (hopefully with practice they will get better).
She is now in my Etsy store and hopefully an Alice in Wonderland fan out there will want her for sitting on a shelf (or for playing with)!
Since starting my journey of repainting Bratz dolls I have come across a problem that many other doll make-under artists have found…. what to do about shoes! The ones they come with generally have really high heels and just don’t go with the whole make-under, more childlike tone we are aiming for, so this leaves a few options:
- look online to buy secondhand Bratz shoes which you can sometimes buy in bulk (although usually there will be a combination of high heels and maybe one or two pairs of sneakers/flip-flops thrown in). This can also work out a bit expensive when you are trying to keep the whole upcycling costs down.
- You can do a conversion job on the high heel Bratz dolls – there are various tutorials out there and some makers have done an amazing job. I particularly like some of the boots I have seen out there and spent almost an entire Saturday with cardboard, felt and glue trying to make my own version. Needless to say, I was not very happy with the end result and don’t think, with the amount of time it took, that it is cost effective for me. Here is the result by the way (this doll is still going through ‘transition’ at the moment as I am going to try and dye the pink hair if I can):
Bratz doll with home-made ‘conversion’ boots
- Make boots out of ‘oogoo’ which is a mixture of silicone caulk that you would use around the bath or shower and an equal amount of corn flour and some acrylic paint for colour. I have tried this a few times with varying amounts of success. As you will see in the picture – the doll on the right has the original oogoo boots I made and they are pretty ugly. The doll on the left is how they looked after I had carved them down with a crafting knife (a little better I think):
Original oogoo boots
- My latest option which I am in the process of doing so not sure whether it will be a success or not is making a silicon mold which I will then use to fill up with hot glue and hopefully then be able to paint. The first mold I made with oogoo ie; the silcone mixed with corn flour I tried late at night after covering the feet I was taking the mold from with petroleum jelly, pushing the oogoo right into the hole where the legs attach to the feet and then went to bed. I got up the next day full of excitement only to find that as I pulled the the shoe out of the mold the delicate bit inside the foot just broke off and I was back to square one!
So now after further, extensive research, I have made molds out of pure silicone and am hoping (and praying) that when I pull these off in a couple of hours time, I shall be triumphant at last and will be able to cast my own little flat Bratz shoes (please keep everything crossed for me)! Its hard to believe that something so small can cause so much pain.
Silicone mold for Bratz shoes
On a more positive note I have spent a little bit of time this week on trying to improve my photography as it is so essential to any kind of online selling so here is a little before and after picture of the latest dolls:
Before and after dolls
Give me some pretty cotton and some lace scraps and I can’t help but want to make some summer dresses for my Gum Leaf Dolls (more of which here). Of course I was working into the wee hours and had Dexter re-runs on for company (not exactly the best tv to go to bed on).
I wanted to show you the little jackets I made from the recycled items of woollen clothes I bought from the op shop (about 3 years ago now).
I was very happy with the result – the lovely trims I bought last Saturday at the girls’ day out we had to Gail B’s sale (just wish I’d bought more in different colours now but I was trying to be good)!
Enjoy the fashion show:-
Having a little clear out of my craft cupboard the other day and I discovered this little piece. The block is called ‘snail trail’ and I made it a few years ago just because it was a design that really appealed to me. I still love the way the pattern jumps out and plays tricks on the eye. It was made mainly from left over oriental fabric I had left over from a lantern quilt that I made.
It’s only a small piece and I could never quite decide what to do with it. It could be a small wall hanging or I suppose I could make some more blocks and borders to make it into a lap quilt…hmm any suggestions?
Remember all that time ago when I visited the local op shop and came home with some bargain woollens. I made a few things which you can see here: Recycle Update and as you can see above I have found a new purpose for the remainder of the felted wool.
At the time I brought it home, I put it on the hottest wash possible to create felted wool that I would be able to cut and sew like fabric. That gave me the idea to try it for teeny tiny dolls clothes (added to the fact my knitting and crochet skills just aren’t that crash hot). I really wish I could be like others I see who can just churn those little items out while they’re waiting for the kettle to boil…unfortunately I’m not one of them. So I have sewn a couple of little jackets which I then embroidered:
Tiny purple jacket
brown felted doll’s jacket
The ‘models’ keeping warm
I would love to hear of any other felting adventures. I aim to make some slippers at some point when I can find a suitable pattern (I did try making my own but it was fairly disasterous)! I just think they would be so lovely and warm…I should point out we are still enduring the cold snap in Melbourne, probably not relevant to those in the Northern hemisphere at the moment basking in the sunshine (enjoy it while you can)
Say ‘hi’ to my Gum Leaf Dolls – the obsession which has kept me busy into the wee small hours since losing my day job a few weeks ago.
For anyone who hasn’t heard (and I believe there may still be a few out there) a new phenomenon hit the airwaves earlier this year … Tree Change Dolls by Sonia Singh an artist and mother of little girls living in Tasmania. She started removing the face paint from discarded Bratz dolls – a bit like this one:
As well as removing the face paint, she would also work on restoring and untangling the hair (which believe me is no mean feat, it takes me over an hour usually to get all the knots and tangles out).
This is how they look at this stage:
Now it’s a blank canvas and for me the fun part of painting on new features and seeing a new personality emerge. I like seeing the transformation into a more natural child-like look of dolls who enjoy playing in the outside world, climbing trees and camping. A world that seems to becoming less and less accessible to children today and like Sonia I feel it is about creating the kind of doll I would have loved playing with myself as a child.
This is the ‘after’ photo of the Bratz doll above
Sonia has been generous with her knowledge and has a number of Youtube videos that help others do what she does and a quick look on Etsy will show how many are having a go themselves. I think as so many are wanting Sonia’s dolls and they sell out within seconds, there is no problem in others jumping on the proverbial band-wagon as each artist has their own unique style.
So far, so good but what a shock I got when I started reading some of the reactions on Tumblr as well as other internet haunts to the Tree Change explosion. It never occurred to me that some could get so incensed and inflamed about, what to me, was a fairly innocent and harmless hobby. There are those however, who are vehemently opposed and see them as an abomination and the ruining of a perfectly good doll. Not only that but they seem to see it as some kind of political statement. I can only say that from my own point of view, it is not about making a political point but just taking a toy that has been discarded, cleaning it up and giving it a new look and a new lease of life. If you like your Bratz dolls to look as they did when they left the factory, absolutely fine – keep them that way. If you prefer the Tree Change look, surely that’s fine too – each to their own, live and let live etc. etc. and really I think there are far more pressing issues in the world to get worked up about. Let me know where you stand on the issue and in the meantime here are a few more before and after pics.
Batik fabric drawstring bag
Seeing as I had some rather lovely batik fabric left over – I decided to make some drawstring bags. Having made one, and enjoyed it so much, it seemed only natural that I should make a few more! There is something really satisfying about these little bags. For one, they are very easy (and I’m not just saying that)… and for another thing, they make fantastic presents to give to friends and family. I think it is fair to say that once you have made one, subsequent bags can be made within a couple of hours. P.S – its also a great way of using up small pieces of batting.