craft, monster high, tutorial

Starfire 1.0 Finished

Because I had left over air-dry polymer resin clay I decided to make Starfire her own Silky.

To color the clear/white clay I had I added a little acrylic to a blob of clay and rolled/kneaded it until the pigment was evenly distributed.

And I set to work rolling, pinching, and sculpting.

The Silkie I’m showing you I originally considered a failure, because it kept falling forward onto its face. Then I decided to use a toothpick to make a simple hole in it so a wooden rod could be attached to it later.

After a few days of air drying I primed it with Mr. Superclear and powdered it with chalk pastel pigment to make it less glossy. After fixing it once more with Superclear I painted it with acrylic paints.

The Silkie!

Then I set about making a base for Starfire and Silkie.

I found a star-shaped wooden dish for 150¥. I turned it upside down and drilled a hole into it and inserted a wooden dowel into the hole.

I then used purple wire from the 100¥ shop to make little….body prongs. Not perfect but ok for my first try.

I then drilled a tiny hole and inserted Silkie’s toothpick base…and painted everything with the purple paint I’d used for Starfire’s boots.

And my first Starfire was finished.

The second, 17” Starfire will get the second Silkie.

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craft, monster high, sewing, Uncategorized

Starfire: Part 4

Last we saw Starfire had her face painted, her body sanded, and her hair done.

Onward to clothing.
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There’s not much to be said about the clothing itself. Its a miniskirt and a crop top that closes in the back. It’s shown here with the basting stitches still in.

The difficult part was dealing with Starfire’s armor. I tried first with slightly flexible air-dry polymer resin clay. As seen here. It didn’t quite seem right and the neck-piece fell off easily.

I found a tutorial on youtube to help me and decided to get fun foam/ EVA foam.

Here I am experimenting with fun foam. When attaching foam to foam I used my hot glue gun. I also used elastic, thread, and snaps to close armor around neck and arms.

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Painting a dark undercoat before using my silver acrylic.

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After silver paint and some “jewels” created with nailpolish.

 

At which point I came into possession of MOAR DOLLS.

As I’ve said, this is sort of a test run for doing a larger Starfire to be friends with my 17″ Raven doll.

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Well, 17″ Starfire is now here. My friend Rea* brought it to me on one of her trips to Japan.

*She’s such a good friend that it was only after she received it at her home (I used US Ebay) and packed it and brought it to me that she told me she has a doll phobia and occasionally has to mute me on FB and elsewhere when I’m posting too many doll progress shots.

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AND….I bought a future Beast Boy on Mercari for cheap.

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They don’t make super tall Monster High boys, that I know of, so Beastie is gonna be small…and eventually green.

And, from the same Mercari dealer I purchased some boots for Starfire.

I primed them with a dark base coat and painted them.

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But….that’s not all. Inspired by the fact I have a LOT of left over air-dry polymer resin clay I got to work making Starfire a pet AND a stand.

Coming soon.

 

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

When your hair is fluffy and your face undone: Starfire part 3

Last we saw Clawdeen ->Starfire her hair was overly fluffy. Each bundle of strands sticking straight out of her hair plugs.

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So, it was time for a boil perm. Of course, before a boil perm make SURE all the craft glue you’ve squirted into her neck-hole to the inside of her skull (to secure the hairloops) has completely dried…or you’ll be making a mess with your hot boiling water.

For more precise boil perms, like ones where I want to make curls, I’d pour the slightly cooled boiled water into a bowl and dip the hair in. Here, I just wanted the hair to relax onto the head so I poured the water OVER the head (propped on a knitting needle) over my sink.

After I did this the first time I noticed some spots that could use more hair, because Starfire has a different part that Clawdeew and needed bangs…so I repeated the reroot, glue, dry, and boil process again.

Sure, some hair came out in brushing after these steps, but not an amount that mattered. I also took the time to trim the length slightly.

I tied the hair back, protected it with a single, orphaned, sock, and primed the face with Mr. Super Clear and started to work.

I’m still not sure about when to use Acrylic paints as an eye-ball base and when to build up watercolor pencils instead. I used acrylic here. You’ll note that Starfire’s eyeballs are a light green, not white.

I continued working on the face.

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And then the EYE BROW STRUGGLE began. The above Starfire is saucy AF and a little severe. But is she capturing the playful silly alien vibe of Starfire in Teen Titans Go?

I didn’t think so.

I removed her eyebrows and gave her higher, softer, pinker eyebrows.

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And, because I share process photos online…I got feedback.
Some people familiar with the character thought the new eyebrows worked for the character but I also got feedback from a Black women who rightly read the doll as black…she said “ Imo, it’s just fine for a Black doll to have a long forehead and a serious expression. You made her look unnatural.”

By making the choice to make Starfire with a black doll I knew I’d have to start to grapple with whatever whitey white biases might show up being a white girl working on a not-white doll face. So I listened.

My pink skinned Raven doll reads as a lovely human face, while also being goth/otherworldly. I want my Starfire to read as human and alien. I don’t want the alien to come at the expense of her human face. Grappling with that sure as hell beats just making white dolls when it comes to exploring the art and myself.

So…off with her eyebrows and on with my eyebrow battle.

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Finally I settled on this pair…the gloss for the lips and eyes was still wet and milky in this shot:

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What’s going on with her hair? Time for a less intense boil perm to give her curled bangs!

And…the detail of the eyes bothers me. This is a test doll but it feels below what I’m capable of so I bought this for future adventures.

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Magnifier with a built-in light!

Doll head now?….

I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last eye and eyebrow battle. If I do go with hair that’s hot pink for my larger version that might change how the eyebrows read as well. I also think I might go with a slightly more oval iris/pupil shape instead of round.

But that’s where I end for now.

Next time…dealing with Clawdeen’s fur.

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craft, Doll, monster high, sewing, Uncategorized

Frightfully Tall RAVEN

I only started watching Teen Titans Go this year, thanks Netflix Japan, but I quickly fell in love with it. After watching the first three seasons (available on Netflix) I went back and watched Teen Titans. It really doesn’t have the insane joy but I get where it fit into the cartoons of the time and enjoyed getting references I’d missed watching Teen Titans Go cold.

When I visited the homeland, Madison, Wi, this spring I had my eye out for adorable Raven merch. There was a lot but I didn’t LOVE anything.

Then my doll clothing and stuff hookup showed me an oversized Monster High doll with great articulation and said, “the first one’s free.”

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Nah, they’re all free. That’s why I don’t share my hookup with the world.

Along with all that doll clothing, some free wigs, and a few MTM Barbies I’d bought, I brought back a 14”/ 35cm Monster High doll…technically a Frightfully Tall Ghoul! Elisabat!

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I didn’t know what I’d do with her…and then I watched even more Teen Titans Go and knew…I needed to make my Raven doll.

Did Elissabat have the grayish hue of cartoon Raven? No. But Comic Raven didn’t either so I didn’t care. She was alien enough with purple/pink skin. Would it be exact? Nope. My Raven, my rules. I just wanted a Raven doll that would please me.

First, I swaddled Soon-to-be-Raven in an arm cover (what Japanese ladies wear to protect their arms from the sun) and a hair sock. Then, I removed her face with acetone. Finally I primed her face with Mr. Super Clear.

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Craft Mavens Go!

I built up her new face with layers of chalk pastels/ watercolor pencils/ and acrylics. I’ve seen a lot of Raven cosplayers go for a dramatic purple lip. Now, I love wearing a purple lip. It’s an easy quick look. BAM! My deep purple lips are distracting you from the fact I’ve done next to nothing else with my face! But Raven’s dramatic impact point for me has been her eyes and her lips seem to be downplayed. I wanted a more muted, almost nude, look for her lips in contrast to eyes that would make Souxie proud.

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Then came making her outfit. I decided that I don’t care that Raven doesn’t wear black boots with black ribbons and black hearts on them. There aren’t a lot of Frightfully Tall Ghouls to swipe boots from. They looked cool enough. Maybe someday I’ll be bothered but not today. Besides, I think the fold-down boot top with an accent color is a bit too super-cheesy for me.

Monster High dolls have WICKED swaybacks.

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There was no way I was going to try and make a one-piece sleeved swimsuit top. Elissabat’s original dress solved the problem of sleeves by having the top be a fitted jacket/bolero over a dress.

I did the same. With some think black spandex I put a knitfabric needle in my machine and went to work, first making a swimsuit with black elastic straps and then making a top that closed with Velcro in back.

Then the cloak. Comic book Raven generally has dark blue as her accent color…and I think as a child I had one isolated comic issue with Raven and teen-space-drama that I somehow filled in the blanks for what happened before and after…but I fell for Teen Titans Go Raven HARD so purple it was.

But first, some coffee….I know Raven drinks tea but this is MY Raven and MY head cannon.

CAPE! Is purple crushed velvet tacky? Yes. Did I choose it? Yes. I could have gone with a thick satin but that can fray when you’re working with it and be slippery to stitch (trust me, Bellydance Costumes…lots of satin of varying quality) and I wanted clean edges without lining the whole cape.

The shape was easy, half circle cape plus a hood shape with triangular extension of the front of the hood to make the Raven Bill shape. I lined the hood with left-over black spandex, to give it slightly more shape, and left the cape unlined so it wasn’t too heavy.

Then I turned to air dry plasticine clay for the accessories. I had hoped to find jewelry fittings and stones for Raven’s belt (belt, not built in swimsuit accents) and such but nothing was right. I don’t think I’ve used Sculpty or anything similar for 20+ years…and I never loved it. Yet, there I was in a craft store looking at air-dry clays (in a second language) and I figured I’d just use it to make the parts.

I’d say it was 70% successful. I joined everything with jump rings for the belt or stitching for fabric. I painted a Raven onto the accessory for her cape closure.

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I could have left it there but Raven usually has…hand-gauntlet jewel thingies. I made fingerless gloves with (cheesy) purple trim. I don’t love them but I don’t hate them.

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I do love Raven now.

I finished Raven on a rainy day, thus the dark photo with a pillowcase background. Today after getting home from work I ran around the neighborhood taking some photos.

HI! Nothing to see here! Just a gaijin girl with a doll taking pictures in your shrubbery!

I wish I’d reviewed the images more as I took them (belt flip! but that can be edited in photoshop if I want to or if someone wants to do it for me …(wink)) unfortunately an old man and his dog took to following me around so I felt a little more rushed and absurd than I might normally on my first street shoot with doll.

 

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Mary Frances sewing, Social, Uncategorized

Magic, Mystery and MANTIS.

The Fairy Lady lives on.

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I knew she was reminding me of someone…and it’s in the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 cinema version of Mantis.

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Marvel Cinema… when a character from Jane Eayre Freyer’s 1915 book is LESS problematical than how you’ve written Mantis as an abused, naive, submissive Asian woman trope..you need to FIX YOURSELF.

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