Saturday, April 30, 2011

My First Custom Blythe

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.


  1. I can see the addiction... starting to fascinate me!! I love the saloon girls... their oufits, little shoes, hairstyles - super cute. I have been trying to locate the best SEM paint too... may I ask what site you decided on?

  2. hey girlfriend....i left a comment on the saloon girls....looove those outfits. I'm going to tell you that you are making me see the "art" in these dolls....i never felt that way..i just thought they were cute....but this is really cool what you are doing....was that my hair?! haha BUT REALLY I have to tell you...I'm reading my new doll reader..and YOU DID IT AGAIN...HATS OFF TO CINDY SOWERS!!!! i screamed and my husband was driving on rt 80 almost veered of the road!!!! You are so famous!!! and I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!! ENJOY your fame .....I love your world !!! Love Colleen

  3. Thanks, guys. Well thumbs up from art doll artists - that's a huge compliment to me! Thank you. I sent you both emails, but Abi, the SEM paint is from TPS Global I think it's called, and no, Colleen, not your mohair - this was some stuff I have had for 10 years that was not suiting me. Yours is stashed away for something grander I haven't thought up yet :)

  4. Wow, pretty!
    I'm trying do something like this myself, except on monster high dolls. I'm curious, what is the color that you used called?