Saturday, April 30, 2011
I have been dinking around with Blythe dolls for over a year now and have become quite addicted as it turns out. They have pretty much taken the place of my cloth art dolls, in that I seem to have lost interest in making those, at least for the time being. Cloth dolls was my thing for 10 years, so honestly, even if I quit today, I certainly feel like I put my time in. There is something so amusing to me about the big-head, big-eyed plastic dolls that I just can't resist keeping them around. Blythe is just, hands down, my all-time favorite doll. Close second is the Korean plastic BJD, Hujoo.
All of my Blythe dolls have had some customization done by me. I happily pop out eyeballs and put in new ones, change the gaze a bit, do the makeup up a little more to my liking and add eyelashes that I like better. But until recently, I hadn't actually done too much in the way of seriously customizing a doll start to finish. I have been admiring those artists who have been brave enough to do dark skinned or black Blythes. I wanted one. They don't seem to be for sale and I probably couldn't afford one anyway, even if they were. So, I decided to do my own.
I searched around the internet and found out that I needed to get SEM vinyl spray, which is a pretty heavy duty auto industry spray paint that is supposed to be for car seats, and so remains flexible while still being sturdy. I picked a color I wanted, which was a kind of cafe latte color. I also decided I wanted an entirely different body. I have always wanted to put a Hujoo body (love that body) on a Blythe, but the color match is horrible. I decided since I was going to be painting the whole thing anyway, now was the perfect time to try that out. I disassembled a Hujoo body I had, strung up all the pieces and sprayed them with the SEM color I had selected. I did probably 4-5 coats on each piece and then restrung the body and got started on the head.
I decided to carve the lips and nose of the Blythe faceplates I had for this project. I did a fairly subtle mouth carving and just deepened the nostrils on the nose. Then I sprayed the faceplates with the SEM paint, again 4-5 coats and waited for that to dry. When all the parts were done, I did the makeup on the face and then waited on my Coolcat scalp to come (I didn't have the heart to tear apart a perfectly good Blythe scalp, so opted for a substitute). While I waited, I took a bunch of mohair I had and dyed that into about 5 or 6 shades of browns, auburns, burgundies and blacks. It turned out really lovely and I was very happy with the results of that. When the scalp arrived, I spent the next 2-3 days rooting that with the mohair I had dyed. It turned out really well, but I couldn't quite get the scalp to stay flush with the faceplates, no matter what I did. So, in the end, I have a tiny bit of overhang on the scalp, but luckily it doesn't show at all with all the hair, even if the hair is worn up. Since I don't plan to sell the doll, I am happy enough. The finished doll is called Anabelle. My son named her. I really like her a lot.
She is lighter skinned than I originally imagined, which is fine, because I have already started on a darker skinned doll, this time with a regular Takara Blythe body. So far, so good, except trying to deal with sticky legs at the moment, a problem not encountered with the Hujoo body. We shall see how that works. I am rooting the hair now, and hopefully the legs will work themselves out. I am usually pretty resourceful, so one way or the other, you should see my second custom here within the next few weeks.