Is Living Doll Polymer Clay Strong Enough For Ball Jointed Dolls?

by Katie c.
(texas)

QUESTION:
Hello, :)
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

ANSWER
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!

Comments for Is Living Doll Polymer Clay Strong Enough For Ball Jointed Dolls?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

BJD with Poly clay
by: Dollman

I have found that without casting the parts well in resin the poly clay will deteriorate after time and crumble I have tried and tried and every prototype has failed after time, many years of work has disappeared, Ah well onto the next project Ill come back to this when i can figure out a better solution.

8 inch poly clay BJD
by: Dollman

Well all is lost, i sanded and smoothed and it dell apart, and I remade it and it fell apart, 8 times I re-did various areas with 3 total rebuilds and every one crumbled away bit by bit, i never got round to casting them in resin so have nothing left to show for about 5 years work, AH well onto the next project....

Cernit Clay
by: Ki and the Giant Bee

I suggest using Cernit brand polymer clay for art doll or BJD making. It is super strong and resistant, much more so than sculpy or even super sculpy. It even comes in flesh tones made just for doll making. Sometimes it can be a little hard to work with for small details, so I soften with clay softener oil and / or a pinch or so of fimo quick mix. I don't reccomend mixing brands of clay, but the quick mix is essentially just raw clay polymer.

8 inch BJD
by: Dollman

I have now realised that sculpy/fimo/premo mix will not be strong enough for the doll, so have used Milliput epoxy to strengthen the joints and smooth out any imperfections, the joints are holding and the epoxy has added strength to weak areas, looking good so far, I am hoping to cast this in resin so im working on getting it perfect, or as near as I can

bjd
by: Anonymous

I've made my doll and it worked ok. She is only about 10" tall so the elastic isn't pulling too much but shes held up this long thanks for the help though.:)

BJD Creation
by: Nikki

From what I have heard from BJD maker friends of mine, polymer or paper clay is used mainly to make the molds, but they use cured polyurethane resin or porcelain for the actual dolls.

Sculpey for BJDs
by: dollman

After some promising starts the legs seem to give way after a while, will keep trying but after all the attempts I feel that this may not be a sound material for a decent strung BJD

POLY CLAY DOLLS
by: dollman

Well time has past and it seems to work, strong but not fragile, flexible but firm enough to be strung, with sewing elastic, watch this space

pOLY CLAY bjd
by: DOLLMAN

I have tried to create a small 8 inch bjd with a mixture of 50% sculpey for strengh and 50% fimo soft for flexibility, it seemed to work but is very hit and miss and who knows hat will happen after time.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions and Answers.

NEW- PDF tutorial Sculpt a Face "Alice", read about it on this page....

Learn how to create a polymer clay baby from start to finish!


Learn how to sculpt a face in polymer clay for your OOAK Dolls.


Learn how to how to blush/paint your polymer clay dolls with acrylic paints.

Learn how to make a permanent doll wig with mohair for your OOAK Dolls.