The Doll Doctor

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A brief primer of how I convert dolls and make plush toys, etc.

The Stalker Sheet

As you can see, I've printed out pictures collected from DVD screenshots of a few characters that interested me.  I call them Stalker Sheets mainly to amuse myself, because let's face it: cover your tables, floors and walls with sheets like this, and you're either trying to reproduce likenesses, or you're a stalker.  And woe to those who, like me, bring any of them into your 9-to-6 job in case you get some time during lunch to work on some sculpting.  Chances are they won't believe your explanation.
 
As you can see, I've grabbed a few screenshots of different angles.  Usually each person takes up a few pages as I try to print many front, side and 3/4 view angles.

Picking the Base Doll

Hm.  You know, I'm going to send you to this site, which a friend discovered recently:
 
 
(Hope he doesn't mind the plug!)  I've been doing this sort of thing before finding that site, but it sums up better than I could here the process of finding a base doll to work from.  In my case, more often than I'd like, I start with figures that require a lot more imagination before seeing any likeness.  The rest is up to my own hacking and sanding and squeezing and... er, creative efforts. 

Materials

Magic Sculp!  And I used to hate any clay that air-dried.  This is a 2-part epoxy that is workable for about 20 minutes (a little longer if wet), and lasts much longer than its small containers would suggest.  When working directly on a vinyl head, I use this.  If working from a resin head, I use Sculpey, since Sculpey is an oven-bake clay, and resin can easily handle low oven temperatures.  Vinyl... no so good.
 
If a local hobby store doesn't carry Magic Sculp, Monsters in Motion sells it, so have fun.
 
Sculpey!  As mentioned above, it's a tan, polymer-based clay that bakes at low temperatures in a regular oven.  By low, I mean no more than 200  It doesn't air-dry like Magic Sculp, but the older it is, the harder and more crumbly it gets.  I sometimes sculpt accessories with this, then cast them in resin.  Just about every hobby store carries this.
 
Resin!  I use Smooth-on's 2-part rubbers and resins to make castings of pieces and heads whenever I can.  Better hobby stores (and I don't mean Michael's or A.C. Moore) might carry them.  By the way - working with them makes gooey messes, so be careful.  As for moldmaking itself, well, finding reference on that is a whole 'nother area I'm not experienced enough to cover.
 
Everything else!  By that I mean fabrics, glues, leathers and suedes, the dolls themselves, parts and accessories from other dolls, doll hair, and whatever else is needed to make it work!