barbie, craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Why do you want to shrink heads anyways? Four Reasons.

Shrinking heads is the craft of using acetone to break down the plasticizer in a vinyl doll’s head to make it smaller (and less elastic). The chemical make-up/proportions of vinyl can vary wildly so it’s not an exact procedure.

I mentioned on FB that I’d be using my down time to catch up on my blog and a friend asked, ” Is the topic of ‘why shrink the heads’ covered in the blog? I’ve been wondering.

That IS a good question.

A few of my friends check in and read this blog. For most of them I’m the only insight they have into doll crafting. It is for them I that I try to explain why to shrink heads, even though I’ve only done it once and don’t know much myself.

Here are Four Reasons Why.

  1. HEAD TOO BIG WANT SMALLER.

I know that seems obvious, but is it? Many of the dolls I’ve been working on thus far have deliberately large heads (all the Pullip/Groove dolls, Blythes) so I understand it seems odd I’d  start shrinking heads now. What makes one oversized head fine and the next becomes an issue I need  to address?

For me the line has been Ever After High dolls.

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Their heads are just too big and round for my tastes. This one is also missing hands and has glue head.

Because I have more box dolls from GINA for my BIRTHDAY.

 

Back to EAH heads. I’ve used them at original size twice; once for Wednesday (because she’s got a huge forehead and is still partly a child) and one for Raven because she’s not human.

 

 

But when it came to making Terra, a human girl who just happens to have powers, I wanted that head a bit less large. The difference is small and I wish I’d taken better photos. Still, I give you the Professor replacing Drake….Because the Professor doesn’t groom underaged girls.

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It’s still a big head but less so. In an attempt to prevent head collapse I may have filled it with too much stuffing as it shrank. not sure.

2. Shrinking heads highlights aspects of head mold/design.

Sculpting of heads creates variability in the thickness of vinyl at different points of the face. These differences become more pronounced when the plastizicer is removed, creating sharper, more dramatic features.

This is where I steal photos from people who’ve done this longer than I have. these come from Dirili Doll’s Website, I used her videos as a guide.

http://www.dirili.com/mh/fastshrink1.html

http://www.dirili.com/mh/slowshrink1.html

Below is a Lagoona Monster High doll. Right is untouched, middle is a slow shrink, left is a fast shrink. See how defined the eyes (although with paint on it’s hard to see) and the cheekbones get? Yeah.

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3. Photos of heads in jars.

Probably my favorite reason.

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4. Can do minor reshaping when the vinyl is pliable.

After you remove the head from the acetone it will be fragile (and if you shrank fast, it will also be giant, bloated, and jelly like. After about 24 hours  it won’t have completely set and you can sinfluence the head shape with consistant pressure (over 2-5 days)

This photo is from another tutorial of Dirilli

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Which, as you can see, I’ll probably do just because of the photos I’ll be able to send friends.

And that’s why you might want to shrink a head.

 

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Teen Titans Terra: I shrink a head

The new job kicked in hard and fast. I’m doing the work that, at my last company, would be done by 1.5 people. Suffice to say there is a learning curve. This, plus a new commute plus teaching my dance partner’s classes as well as my own, has given me a head cold and my tendonitis is flaring up.

The mixed good news is I have time to recover. It’s an unprecedented TEN DAY Golden week here in Japan. Emperor Akihito is abdicating without the usual obligatory death and his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will ascend. The new era of Reiwa starts on Wednesday.

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Y’all will be in 2019 and I’ll be starting Reiwa year one. Not kidding.

Golden Week involves a lot of people traveling and extra crowds. I’m taking my cold to be a sign that it’s time for me to practice for the 2020 Olympics…wherein I avoid any extra trips into Tokyo until bullshit is settled. My new commute already involves trains where there are train workers on the platforms pushing more people in. Adding GW or Olympics to that? NOPE.

So, what have I been making? Well shortly after things got crazy, it was my birthday…so there is NO SHORTAGE OF DOLLS.

Time to make Terra

 

But before all the dolls arrived I’d picked up two EAH dolls at Hobby Off. I have become resigned to the fact that if an EAH doll is given to HobbyOff, it will probably have glue seepage.

For Terra I’d use Ashlynn Ella. She doesn’t have yellow-blond hair but she does have sort of a dirty blond tan Malibu Barbie vibe that I thought would work for Terra.

 

I scrapped out as much extra glue as I could without losing hair and then set about to shrink her head. I figured tighter hair openings would counter balance the decrease in glue…but I also hoped I removed enough glue that the head wouldn’t rip if it tried to shrink smaller than the glue inside.

Shrinking uses acetone to eat away at the plastisizer in the doll’s head, ultimately making it smaller, and less maliable. There are risks.

As friends sent me texts in this time period I’d sometimes reply with pictures like this “I’m drinking to forget”

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I used Dirili Dolls videos and blog as a guide.

I intended to do a slow shrink, where a ratio of water to acetone makes it a slower, more controlled process with less ballooning and contracting of the doll’s head over 48 hours of soaking. But I never quite found the sweet spot of a good ratio. After two tries I went for a fast shrink:100% Acetone over 2-3 hours.

MAN DOES THE HEAD BALLOON BEFORE IT SHRINKS.

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I waited for it to dry and shrink down, then repeated the process one more time.

Final head next to an unshrunk EAH head.

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Then to decorate!
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Little by little I’m getting a handle on this scale.

I whipped up a quick outfit. In the future I think I’ll use something other than felt for her belt/pouches and gloves…but I really wanted to get this done RIGHT before my schedule got crazy.

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I’ll be painting her boots later.

Here she is with the squad.

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Now I just have to tackle Rose Wilson for the Girls Night Out to be complete…and I know who she’ll be made from!

Yup, from the Thrift Shop Haul that is my Father and Step-mother’s contribution to my birthday emerged two Elsas.

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And this is just part of the birthday doll haul. SO MANY DOLLS.

Such a head cold.

Updates will be coming daily for a bit.

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craft, Doll, monster high, pullip, Uncategorized

Apoxie Sculpt. Everything.

Apoxie Sculpt is soooooo much better than the Japanese alternatives I’ve been trying. True,  they’re just two part modeling epoxy and they don’t market themselves as Japanese alternatives to Apoxie Sculpt but they’re what I have been using.

NO MORE!

It might be pricier to buy here but…I’m in Japan. I’m where the sealant of doll choice (Mr. Super Clear) is at all hobby shops. I’m in Model Mecha!

Apoxie sculpt is silkier, less irritating to my skin (I tried wearing gloves but after a while they get in the way) and less grainy.

I only bought one pound (two 8oz containers you mix) and I’m already understanding why people buy four pounds at a time. When you have Apoxie Sculpt the answer is to SCULPT EVERYTHING.

Hey… these shoes don’t really suit Wednesday.

SCULPT SOME SKULLS.

 

I want a Pretty Pretty Pegasus figure.

SCULPT IT.

Do I really want to try and glue Clawdeen Wolf’s detached wolf ears back onto her skull for Starfire’s ears? No?

SCULPT SOME EARS.

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I want to make an Edna Mode dolls but no existing faces really work.

SAND DOWN THAT LITTLE PULLIP AND START SCULPTING.

 

And, of course, I continue to sculpt my Sakura inspired doll.
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The ony thing left for me to figure out what sort of armature and dark magic is needed for me to sculpt a golem that can go to work for me next week while I stay home and create.

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craft, Doll, monster high, sewing, Uncategorized

SHOES for Wednesday

Doll shoes.

Pesky little doll shoes.

Ever After High dolls have SLIGHTLY larger feet than Monster High Dolls. Sometimes. Not always. Sometimes they can swap shoes and sometimes MH shoes are just too small for EAH.

This is what I have learned.

After buying some MH shoes.

So, I turned to one of the EAH dolls I picked up at my local  Hobby Off and took her shoes. High heels would have to do, even though I’d wanted tiny shoe/boots I could add a buckle to.

High heels would have to do. Using an X acto knife I removed an extra front strap and scraped off the flower detail where all the straps met

Using my new best friend APOXIE SCULPT (Oh, I love you Apoxie Sculpt. Let us never speak of the two part epoxy putties I tried earlier. So you are expensive? I live in the land of cheap Mr. Super Clear, it evens out) and made tiny skulls.

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I then painted the shoes with black acrylic.

Once the skulls had dried overnight I painted them, glossed them, and attached them with hot glue.

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YAY!

(I picked up three MH stands for 500¥ at Dollyteria. yay.)

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And thus Wednesday is done! I’d take her out for some outdoor photos but it’s raining.

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Cherry Blossom Season!

It’s that time of the year, when the beauty of nature is juxtaposed with a wild uptick in public drunkenness in parks.

  • I know this because:
  • I see them in bloom.
  • I made the mistake of meeting a friend in Ueno recently and he and I were UNPREPARED for the slow-moving packs of visiting foreigners and residential elderly packs pressing in on all sides.

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CHERRY BLOSSOMS, y’all!

According to targeted adds on face book it’s also the season that CATS, and some dogs, start feeling about IKEA the way I used to when my medication was off and I NEEDED to organize EVERYTHING.

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Monday evening, last week, I signed a contract for my new job. Because the train ride back to my apartment involved changing trains and Ikebukuro…I HAD to go to Dollyteria Ikebukuro to see who might come home with me.

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Hello Abbey Bominable.

My quick googling tells me that Abbey’s backstory is that she’s a sexy Yeti.

From the Monster High fandom wiki.

Abbey is known as the tough ghoul at Monster High. However, she is a victim of the culture clash between the Scaremerican way of life she is experiencing with her native Himalayan culture, and, though she works hard to walk away from this, will assume her latter ways are the correct ones and the ones that inspire most common sense. Due to this, Abbey was raised with short and strong words and is fierce, confident, intimidating and often headstrong. She won’t stand for nonsense and will not tolerate any kind of rule-breaking, unless it is for a greater good.

It goes on to explain how her jewely keeps her nice and icy and such.

Sorry Abbey, it’s CHERRY BLOSSOM SEASON and you’re coming with us. Maybe we’ll stop at Ikea on the way.

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The very next day, after training that literally explained things like HOW TO HOLD A FLASH CARD (and implied that Canadians use a lot of drugs) I started to work on Abbey Sakura.

Her hair was fairly stiff so I scraped some glue out of her head, used a DIY Goo-Gone, and removed her makeup. I’ll probably give it a few more cleanings and then root some pink strands into her existing hair.img_5511

My inspiration was the color of Abbey’s skin. It reminds me of the blue sky you see popping behind all the cherry blossoms in peak pretty.

I’ve been using Wave Epoxy Putty to create cherry blossoms and bark on her body.

I’m using Wave because in my googling (in my second language) it seemed a close match to Apoxie Sculpt. It’s a two part epoxy modeling agent (the chemical setting reaction starts when you mix the two parts) with a working time ( about 2 hours) similar to Apoxie…as far as I know. Most places here price Apoxie Sculpt so high that it’s about a 100% markup.

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I figured that, since her clothing is sculpted right on, I’d do the same for her shoes. I drilled into her heels, shoved toothpicks into them, and started building the layers of epoxy.

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The putty cures after 24 hours. I’m working it a little at a time because in order to work on, say, a leg, I have to hold many other parts of the body. I can’t do this if the other body parts are still drying.

Needless to say, my curiosity got the best of me and I found the cheapest price I could and ordered….

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Tonight I’ll be playing with it and seeing how it compares to Wave…and some maths to figure out the price difference per gram.

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You and me both, cat.

 

 

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Every Day is Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY

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There are updates on the job front…mainly that I have a new one but some down time before it’s in full swing. that means DOLLS.

Let’s take a look at Wednesday’s journey.

She started as on of three used dolls my stepmother included in my Christmas pack. This one was an Ever After High Raven Queen.

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That started me on a journey learning about NASTY SKULL AND HAIR GLUE SEEPAGE.

  • The washing didn’t work.
  • The powdering didn’t work.
  • I scraped out her head.
  • I rerooted everything, making mistakes along the way.
  • Her first repaint got dark and muddy right quick.
  • I started over on the face.

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The second repaint is more painterly than I’d planned but I went with it.d8ff69dd-52f9-4a94-ab3e-dc86a6b0883aOMG NAKED DOLL POSTED WITHOUT ANY WARNINGS!

Eyes glossed

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Tonight I made a pattern and sewed her her dress. It was fiddly and there’s some stray marks but I’m ok with it.

She’s still without shoes but I ordered a 16 pack of shoes from Mercari yesterday.

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And it’s only Monday….

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