Friday, March 25, 2016

Aging is the balls (and a blank faced Monster High doll)

I begin today with two complaints, which I demand that you to read with a cranky granny tone of voice:

1. My eyes are going! Wah! I can't do detail work like I used to. My days of sitting on the sofa making 1:12 scale minis out of polymer clay are over. I officially need to buy one of those huge magnifying glasses on a swivel arm so I can see what I'm doing.  This sucks schmucks.

2. I have had the worst case of bursitis I've ever had in my life in the past three weeks and it's just not going away. It doesn't help that it's in both of my shoulders and I sleep on them, which is why they are constantly being aggravated... but nonetheless. BURSITIS! GARGGGGHHH!!!

Anyway... that's enough of that old lady grumping.  I'm doing my monster-high doll project right now and this is where I am at the moment. Shall we?

The Hungarican Chick's first Monster High Doll Mod
Part 1 - Prepping & Rooting

I have always thought Monster High dolls are just cute as hell, and I never liked fashion dolls all that much; except to act out my years-long epics as a child.  But these dolls have a really stylized and appealing shape--even moreso when you get rid of all the trappings added to them when manfactured. So I got a cheap Frankie doll, stripped off her hideous little garments and ho-bag shoes, and asked my fiberista sister to send me some angora mohair and other fine wool. These can be found online or at fiber fairs. Just look on etsy for what you need.

A lot of this information is duplicated on the videos provided, but what the hey. I'm a talker.

So here is the doll and the baggie of kid mohair are at the beginning of the project.

OFF WITH HER HEAD! I recommend that you look up on youtube or whatever how to effectively remove a monster high doll head. I didn't, naturally. You know me if you follow my blog. I act first then curse later. I actually split the neck which will require repairs. But I got her head off nonetheless. Here she is wearing it on her knees. Because I'm weird like that

Prepping the scalp and head

Welcome to Salon Hungarican--where our stylists' skills compare to no other.  Our stylists are also double-chinned and don't wear bras when they're at home crafting; so be prepared for that.  As you can see in the videos below, it's a travesty. Try to ignore the tabletop boob and focus on what's going on with my hands. And also try to filter out my continual use of 'Ummmm'.

There's a reason that Salon Hungarican failed on its first day of business.

Cleaning the Face

Some nice acetone will clean off that stamped face. You can use nail polish remover too, but as it's a diluted solution it might take you a bit longer, and it might be slightly more difficult to get into the little crannies and wash out that paint. Yes, Acetone is not just flammable; it's reactive. So please exercise caution, don't use it near heat sources, do it in a well ventilated space, unlike I did, and be sure to launder all your rags etc., etc.

Her face came off lickety split. I also cleaned her again because although she looked clean, there was still a very fine residue that remained after the initial cleaning. Use cotton swabs soaked in acetone to get into the little nooks and crannies like her lips and nostrils, where paint might flow in while cleaning.

Operation De-stripper-foot-ification.

I'm not a huge fan of the trend towards strippery shoes for adult women, let alone for teenaged girls. But sadly, I can't control the pre-teen fashion doll trends, so instead, I take my puritanical angst out on the dolls.  With a heat gun.

One of the things I actually took the time to look up was how to reshape the feet of a fashion doll. I found ONE reference to using a heat gun, and it had no specific instructions except to hold it over the foot for one or two minutes.  But I went with it. For $22 at Lowes, I found a heat gun in the paint department.  And lo and behold it worked! I kind of wish I had a trash doll I could have practiced on, because the first foot, being the first foot, ended up slightly wonky.  But what the hey... It worked and with the addition of stockings and slippers, nobody will ever know about the mangled foot.

Stripper pose extraordinaire.

The first movement after running the heat gun over the ankle and top of foot for about a minute. I just pushed it on the table and it began to bend.  

I let the heat gun sit too long and too close to the first ankle and the plastic started
to bubble. I reshaped the toes, and let the ankle cool before attempting to flatten it

Right foot looks a slight bit tilted, and the toes are squashed,
but you live you learn. The second foot was a breeze. It's non-bubbly,
non wonky and the toes weren't completely ruined while being bent.

I bent the toes with my fingers. I just hovered the heat gun over them
enough to soften the plastic, and then carefully pushed the toes float.
It's not perfect. I might try and fix the mistakes on the right foot later on.
But I'm scared of further mangling it. We'll see where I am in a few days.

The tool of awesomeness.

Rooting the hair.

I am going to begin by saying that the little baggie of mohair I had was BARELY enough to fill the head. BARELY. I had to scrounge and scrape the last third of the head, and repurpose what I had deemed waste fibers (luckily I figured out how). So make sure you do not underestimate the amount of hair you need. You can always sell the balance or dye it and use it for another project. Just make sure you have plenty on hand.  When I was done, there was only a tiny quarter-sized ball of fibres that were all shorter than 3/4 inches. Getting raw mohair might mean that it hasn't been washed and there might be VM (vegetable matter--hay, grass, etc..) in it. Your process will wash it anyway as you have to wet down the hair a lot ot tame it, but you can give it a rinse in cold water, no scrubbing, and then squash the pad of fibre between two towels to dry it up.

Anyhoo.... As for rooting, I had to be inventive and make my own rooting tool. In order to be slightly more specific about how I made my rooting tool. I found an old number two school pencil -- and a sewing needle.  I clipped the back of the need off to make a set of prongs. I jabbed the pointy end of the needle into the pencil eraser and voila. A rooting tool. I recommend you find an emboidery needle that works for you--because they have a wider eye on the needle, making for deeper prongs. You slip little skeins of fiber into the prongs and then punch them into the little plug holes. Repeat until you're done.  TIP: The prongs might bend a bit during use, and catch the hair as you're pulling them out. So wiggle your pencil a bit as you pull the needle out to make sure it doesn't drag loops of hair out with it.

Then you don't have to scour the web for a rooting tool, and you don't have to listen to anyone telling you that you should use a felting needle. With this, you control the size and length of your skeins and it costs very little.  It worked for me. 

Rooting in Action: 
The punk stage.

The holes around the hairline were made with a sewing needle.
They are fine and your hair skeins need to be fine too.  They are
larger (the plug holes) on the scalp itself so that bit you can add
thicker skeins and it goes much more quickly,

I'm digging this shield maiden/Lagertha look. :D 

The mohair tends to frizz up and get pouffy as you work with it. Never fear, it can be tamed with water. COLD water. Just wet down the doll head if it gets unmanageable and it will behave (for a while). Even if it frizzes up, a wet comb later on when the hair is affixed will bring it all back down again.

Pouffy and poufier

Wow, that face is attractive. :::Oy::::

The Painting begins

Before we begin painting, you need to cover up the hair. Our
first-aid kid came in handy for supplies. I'll try not to rue this decision
the next time someone severs a finger in this house.
As stated in my vids, I've decided to use an airbrush to apply the sealant between layers. Because I don't feel like spewing toxins into my home and around my offspring (typed after I pretty much huffed Acetone to clean the damned doll); so I opted to go with a technique I saw online where the doll painter used matte medium diluted with airbrush medium to create a thin, well dispersed seal between each layer of paint, pencil, pastels, etc.

I used a tiny condiment bowl to mix the solution in small batches,
as I don't want to make too much. I can also blend it to the right
consistency for my airbrush before filling the little cup.

Chalk pastels are the thing I'm using here. Frankly, I'm not too pleased with it. I'm considering going to my makeup case and pulling out some blush from there. But the step was to brush on the flushing on her cheeks and around her eyes, so that's what I did.

I did not use just one colour. I used a blue that complemented the skin of the Frankie doll, a fuschia and a touch of skin tone.
I like the colour, just not the application. I may have to do it again (I can clean her face again with acetone and begin anew as
needed. Using a swab will save me from redoing certain bits, but the blush and flush are crucial to the final look,
so I need to get this just right.

I started with 1 tsp each of the mediums, but I ended up adding
airbrush medium to thin it out more. The PSI of your airbrush
compressor will determined what solution works best for you.

She looks serene and in this softened light, you don't see the blotchiness of the blushing. So I will probably swab her down and do it again, and maybe try it with actual blush or a different brush. I may even try it with the airbrush and acrylic paint if push comes to shove, but I have to test that out a lot before I move forward.  But this is where we are at this moment.  More to come.


Aimee said...

I cant wait to see this doll done! shes going to be awesome

Whatever said...

I was actually looking for different content when I stumbled upon your page, but I had so much fun reading it, I stuck around for the whole thing. Thanks for the laughs!


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