Is Living Doll Polymer Clay Strong Enough For Ball Jointed Dolls?
by Katie c.
I really love sculpting and I have gotten quite good. I also love ball jointed dolls (asian bjd's) Ive been thinking about making one of my own. I was planning on reinforcing it with epoxy once I have all the parts hollow and baked. normal sculpey won't be strong enough ( I dont think) so I was going to use living doll sculpey. keeping the pieces hollow was an issue but I think I can use a foil base and take it out after baking. What I want to know is do you think the living doll with epoxy will be stong enough to hold the continued pressure of the elastic? Ive heard of some using wooden balls in the joints to decrease the pressure. Is that the only way? I dont really want to use sculpey firm since its grey and I dont want to cast in skin colored resin. any tips on this HUGE project would be amazing. Sorry for the long story.8D
Hey Katie! :) As I have never worked on a BJD before I had to do some experimenting before I could answer your question.
I had a small amount of living doll sculpey so I did a trial with a simple join to see if the two hollow ends would get damaged with movement and time. Unfortunately eventually the ends of the tube started getting hairline cracks and small pieces started breaking off. Unfortunately, with my knowledge of polymer clay, I doubt there is any polymer clay that can sustain prolonged heavy abuse in this fashion. Here's what I did to solve it:
First I cut a brass tube to size to form an upper and lower arm. Then I wrapped it up with masking tape (leaving the holes open on either end). This will provide grip. Next, I created a little bit of bulk around the end of the tube with Magic Sculpt. This gives the clay something to grab onto instead of the thin tube.
Without the Magic Sculpt, the clay does not tend to grip to the smooth surface and edge and tends to crack.
Next I applied a very thin layer of Translucent Liquid Sculpey to the length of the tube and covered it with the polymer clay. I baked it in the oven at the manufacturers recommendations and it was done!
This was the only way I could see that it was going to be fairly indestructible. The elastic put all it's pressure against the inside of the brass tube and the Magic Sculpt- whilst still having the visual appeal of the polymer clay.
Experiment with this method before creating a whole doll first, as it takes a bit of trial and error to get the method perfected.
If anyone else has any methods that they like to use to create Ball Jointed Dolls, please feel free to comment below! I, and all the other readers would love to hear it!