craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

When your legs have hair ridges: Starfire part 3

Because the base doll I’m using, Clawdeen from Monster High, is a werewolf character she has fur accents above her wrists and ankles.img_0638.jpg

I told myself that Starfire shoots fire so I’d just try and make those ridges look like fire.

Nope. I started but it didn’t look right.

I then used a new x-acto blade to slice off the ridges, tried a few dremel bits to smooth down the surface (if anyone has a recommendation on what sort of bits to use, I’d looooove advice) and then started to sand down the surface with 600/800/1000/4000 and 6000 grit paper.

The legs got the same treatment:

I sent a LINE message to a friend about the repetitive sanding being somewhat medatative. This is how I learned my friend has a sandpaper phobia…and that such a thing exists. Sandpaper, chalk, nailfiles.I’m not going to understand that phobia (that’s the irrational nature of phobias)  but I assume those textures and the dryness probably bother a LOT of folks.

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I’ll be working with the legs for a while more. Plenty of little divots and cuts I’ll need to avoid making in the future.

I’m happy that Starfire wears boots.

 

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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, Uncategorized

When your head is full of holes. Starfire part 2

Part two of Clawdeen Wolf to Starfire

When my “Liquid Fusion” clear non-toxic urethane glue arrived it was time to remove ears and patch holes on my Clawdeen doll.

I regret that I didn’t take photos of these steps but here’s someone who did and whose internet guidance helped me. When I transform a larger doll into Starfire I’ll document this part of the process.

The short story: with a new x-acto blade I sliced off the ears close to the skull. I put the ears in a ziplock baggie as not to lose them before I tended to the ear-less holes.

The hole fixing takes days, a lot of “futz with this and then go to sleep”…continue when you find time.

First, get some wax paper. Squeeze two shallow puddles of Liquid Nails larger than the holes onto the wax paper. Allow to fully dry (a day) until you have patches.

Attach the patches over the holes with more Liquid Fusion….dry.

Thicken the patches from inside and outside the head with Liquid Fusion applied in layers with q-tips and other tools. Dry often until you think you have a thick enough strong surface.

After this came reattaching the ears in new positions, which I do have photos of…I couldn’t find a guide online.

I tried to slice the ears to be generally the same size. One and a time I attached the ears with Liquid Fusion/tape/pins/swearing to the sides of the head. There was no way to avoid a slight seam where they joined but I figured Starfire’s hairstyle would hide the worse of it.

You can seen the patched areas slightly in this photo.

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I then started to study up on hair reroots. I’m not quite sure where to stock up on doll hair in Japan. It seems like a few places that sold Saran hair have had problems getting a steady supply up to their standards and have discontinued carrying it.

The Azone store in Akihabara had some doll hair. Not a huge range. I fretted between these two colors. I wanted a darker hot pink. I went with the wine red color because I thought it would look best with my doll’s skin tone…but in retrospect the pink might suit the character mood better.

Next time…somehow find a better pink.

Next, I had to figure out a re-root tool. Many online places outside of Japan sell them but shipping wasn’t friendly.

The needle(s) can be made easily enough by using wire cutters on a sewing needle (7-8-9) with a long eye to create what looks like a tiny seam rippers.

Image from dollyhair.com

Places were coy with the name of the things used to hold the needles.

PIN VICE! That’s what it is. I got one!

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i painted my scalp and got ready.

I thought I got a good picture of looping the hair with the tool, I didn’t.

You take a few strands at a time, capture them with your needle at the midpoint of their length.

Image from Dolly Care

You thrust that hair into the doll skull and wiggle the needle out. How does the hair stay in? You’ll later anchor those hair loops from the inside of the head with glue.

I caught up on American politics while doing this for a few evenings. Stab. Stab. Stab.

See the ear patches?

At this stage the hair sticks out straight from the head and seems…poofy.

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This is when it’s time to grab your craft glue. I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue.

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Now, with brushes and Q-tips…and sometimes squirting the glue directly into the head and squishing it around, you glue the hair in place from inside the head….and wait to dry…

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Starfire: it starts

Me (watching YouTube videos): wow, but who has the patience for that? That’s too finicky for me.

Me (months later): Well, I guess now I do this too.

And so it was with rerooting doll hair.

I’ve been on the lookout for a “Clawdeen Wolf” 17inch tall Monster High doll to make into a Teen Titans Go Starfire to pair with the Raven I made.

While in America, shopping at Tuesday Morning for random dolls, I bought a regular sized version of Clawdeen as a test doll. I also thought, “Cool! Her hair is kinda the right color!”

Silly me. I didn’t realize the need to make Starfire would lead me to learning how to plunge needles into a doll’s naked head, sowing rows of synthetic hair.

Once back in Japan I realized some obvious issues.

  • Starfire doesn’t have wolf ears on top of her head.
  • Starfire does have noticeable ears though, in a location Clawdeen doesn’t.
  • Even if I remove Clawdeen’s ears, fill the existing holes, and reattach those ears lower as Starfire ears….Clawdeen is going to have bald head spots.

I think this is where normal people decide that 8$USD spent on a doll is no great loss. It is where >I< decided to learn how to fill skull holes, move ears, and reroot a whole head.

Time to Google things!

What did I do before I learned to teach myself from the wisdom of the internet?

Libraries. I know I taught myself interior faux finishes from library books. Just as my mother learned she could check out books on refinishing floors….and rent heavy duty tools.

In my day the neck of a Barbie or similar doll was a simple affair with a simple nodule the head would fit onto. If that nodule broke, or the neck hole in the head suffered structural damage, you had a head that popped off easily and needed to be shoved so far onto the neck as to be absurd.

Now Barbie and similar fashion dolls have a more complex plastic inner head rack that is less likely to be damaged by ill meaning playmates and bad choices.

It reminds me of an IUD.

Game on.

I cut off Clawdeen’s perfectly crimped hair, warmed her head, and eased her off her skull hooks.

Then I took tweezers and a needle nosed pliers to remove the remaining hair plugs from the inside and outside of her head.

Then, it was time for a setback.

The internet recommends a non-toxic glue called Liquid Fusion for plugging the holes left behind when cutting off the doll’s ears. Liquid Fusion would have been easy to buy in America but I was back in Japan.

I was able, with much google power, to find in available in a Japanese online store dedicated to fly-fishing. They didn’t have an online checkout but I emailed them for an invoice, transferred the money, and would soon be back in business.

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