I finally had the time to give my Zaoll Luve a face-up, and I must say that it’s the best face-up I’ve done so far! It’s always nice to have a breakthrough art-wise and also I am very much smitten with my Luv now. X3 Actually this wasn’t the first time I attempted to give my Zaoll girl a face-up. I attempted it when she first arrived, but my liner decided to smear and frustrated I wiped her and put her away for a little bit. Then when I came back to try again I had another goof that I had to completely wipe her face again. After two failures I started to wonder if maybe the Zaoll sculpt and I weren’t going to get along, but then the third time worked perfectly, so I guess it was a “third times a charm” moment.
Anyhow I think she’s just s pretty as can be now, and I am so very happy to have her. :3 Next up I still plan to make her a custom wig, but I do really like her in the monique wig I just bought, so who knows what her hair will be like in the future. I am thinking I also want to change her eyes. I really love the blue glass eyes, but I think they may be a bit large for her. I’m probably going to go get a consensus about good eye sizes on DoA. Well that’s it for now, but I will have a small photoshoot to share later!
So I decided I wanted to try to correct the flaws in the first wig cap and went on to make a second. I was successful in fixing some of the problems in the first wig cap and now I figure I will use that first wig cap for testing purposes. Anyway on with my findings…
So the first thing I did to prevent the tenting around the ears is I used a rubber band and attached it across the front of the face from ear to ear. Above is the side view, and I’ll show the front side view below for better understanding. 🙂
So, doing it this way across the front of the face basically it helps keep the rubber band out of the gluing area on the nape of the neck. It also successfully tamps down those ear tents that happen for a much more form fitting wig cap.
The second problem I encountered while making the first wig cap is that the fabric likes to wrinkle at the base of the neck and this makes for a less than smooth wig cap.
You can solve this by pulling all of the fabric over the ear so the wrinkles wind up in the front of the face where they will be cut off anyway. In the pic above I still have a couple wrinkles I need to move forward from the ear area, but with a little time it’s pretty easy to shove all the fabric around so the wrinkles are in the front.
And here’s the back of the head now with most of the wrinkles gone. Any wrinkles left over are below where I plan to glue.
And here is the finished wig cap after I went through the gluing and trimming process. As you can see the cap around in the ear area is no longer sticking up.
The left hand side still has a skooch-a-bit of a fly-up, but I figure that with the gluing of the wefts later that it will tamp down nicely. So, I think that about covers it for my experience making a wig cap using Loctite’s flexible vinyl adhesive. I now plan to start on wefting experiments using some cheapo costume hair. When I have enough info to share I will surely make another blog post!
After being inspired by the “Crafting your own custom angora wig” tutorial thread on DoA, which is here if you are a member, I started to think I might like to try to craft my own wig too. I read through the thread about what glues to use and etc.. and then I thought to myself, why not try to use Loctite’s Vinyl, Fabric and Plastic flexible adhesive. It is waterproof, completely transparent, and FLEXIBLE! On top of this the base of this glue is type of polyurethane which in theory should make it safe for use on our polyurethane dolls. I have also used this glue in the past to plug up holes in the heads of Monster High girls, so I already know it’s safe on vinyl and doesn’t have any bad reactions to saran hair.
So, the first thing I did before going whole hog on making a test wig, was to test the glue with the material. I used power mesh fabric which is the fabric I bought for making wefted wigs a while back. I wrapped a highlighter with saran wrap and using rubber bands I stretched the test fabric onto the saran covered highlighter. Then I applied some glue to the test strip and spread it around with my smallest palette knife. I left it for 2 hours to dry and here are my results below.
I was really happy to find that the glue peels right off of the saran. That was my first concern, that possibly the glue could bond to the plastic thus not being a viable option for wig making since nobody wants a layer of saran wrap inside their wig. XP Thankfully it does not and it also peels off with ease. The above picture shows the side of the fabric that was pressed against the saran. It’s a little shiny, and because it’s a rubbery material it provides some friction which is an added bonus because that means it won’t slide off the dolls head as easily.
This is the top side of the fabric that was not in direct contact with the saran, note how you can’t see any shininess from the glue. 😉 This glue dries perfectly clear and it will stretch a little bit. There is a decent amount of stretch along the grain of the fabric, but much less stretch against the grain. Stretching too hard against the grain (to the maximum you can stretch the fabric before ripping the fabric) will cause some warping of your fabric and you run the risk of tearing the glue. My suggestion would be to use two coats of glue for added stability before you even begin applying any hair.
And here’s a final shot of the tube of glue that I used next to my little test strip. So far one of the potential drawbacks to using this glue is the wait time. You have to wait around 2 hours for it to dry. Another drawback is that with excessive stretching the wig cap can become misshapen. I am going to continue on with my tests since snow storms are keeping me inside and I will continue to report my findings as I go. My next step is to create a full wig cap for my Zaoll luv and then I should have more information for you.
I finally got around to trying the Winsor Newton Brush Cleaner everyone seems to rave about on the forums and I thought I would share my experiences with using it for the first time. To begin with I have to say I am very skeptical of any sort of “miracle product”, which is how this stuff is made out to be, but I did find myself quite pleasantly surprised!
I used the brush cleaner to remove my Luli’s old face-up the other weekend when my Zaoll arrived, and I really was amazed because after rubbing the face-up with a cotton ball soaked in the stuff, the face-up started wiping away quite easily. You do have to apply a little bit of elbow grease however in comparison to using acetone, so it may take a few minutes more to wipe the entire face. The benefits to using the Winsor and Newton Brush Cleaner is that is doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that can potentially eat the resin. I’ve also read where people will let their doll heads soak in a solution of the stuff without incident, but eh…I’m not willing to try that yet. The drawback would be that it is going to take you longer, but I think if that’s the payoff for having a safer less harsh chemical, so be it.
I do want to say a word about being able to get into the tiny crevices of your doll with the cleaners though, because they differ here too. If you are trying to get dark corners out of mouths with the brush cleaner alone, it is going to be hard. For the most part on my Lusis I am regaled to using an old detail paintbrush to try to rub the cleaner in her mouth corners. You really have to apply pressure to remove heavier paints, and of course it’s difficult to apply pressure with a tiny paintbrush. In the end I gave up and gave the hard to reach crevices a wipe with the acetone since acetone can easily break down paints without any scrubbing.
In the end I think the Winsor and Newton Brush Cleaner is a great tool to have in your arsenal, but I wouldn’t ditch your acetone either. I find that Acetone can be helpful in removing tough spots left behind by the brush cleaner. You may be thinking then, well why buy the brush cleaner, why not just use acetone and be done with it? Well I shall tell you why….Each time you use acetone it does eat away at the surface of the resin, albeit in small unnoticeable minute amounts. However over time that wear can add up, so the more you can get away with cleaning a head without it, the better for the resin. If you only use acetone for small touch-ups, then that means less damage to the resin.
I realize everyone kind of has their own opinions when it comes to face-up removals, but I think I will continue to use the brush cleaner, and still hang onto my acetone for the tough business. I definitely will be glad to get away with using less acetone and I know my fingers will be glad for it too!
So, now we move on to the face painting portion of my customizing process. In order to keep the hair safe from the matte sealer you have to wrap it up in something. I noticed some people use old latex gloves for this, so I thought I’d give it a try. I ended up cutting out the tip of the thumb in a glove and shoving the head down from the hand portion of the glove until the face was properly exposed through the hole in the thumb. One of the drawbacks to painting the face last is naturally you wind up messing up all of your hair styling. It won’t ruin it completely obviously, but you will probably need to do some additional steam ironing after you remove the head from the glove. Some people paint the face before re-rooting, but for me personally I have found that if I do that I normally wind up damaging the face in the process since re-rooting is a little rough on the doll’s head. In the end you should do what works for you. Oh, and I should also mention that before I do this I commit myself and glue in the hair inside the head. You basically want to use a non-water soluble glue like a fabric glue.
So, I started by painting in the shape of the eye whites as a canvas. I had seen other people start with white before and thought I would give it a try. I think I prefer starting with laying out the eye in watercolor pencil first because I just find it easier to work with dry materials. When you start painting the face it’s really important that you thin out your paint well enough. It takes some practice to get it right, but here is a tip to help you: If you see any streaking, or rather you can see brush strokes in your paint, then it is too thick. Your paint should be so thin that when you apply it you see no strokes and the liquid like paint self levels itself. You will also have to apply many layers this way slowly, as you should wait for each layer of paint to dry. In the picture above I have probably applied over a dozen coats of white paint to make it opaque. Also I should mention that on Catrine I decided to blue the corners of her eyes before beginning so this way I could see my paint since it would be white on white.
Next I start blocking in some base colors and I started adding a lid line around catrine’s eyes.
After getting the base color solid on Clawdeen’s eyes I started working on darkening the pupil area and around the edge of the iris. I like to go for a more manga sort of style I guess when I paint the eyes. It’s what I’m familiar with since I draw manga style comics.
So now that I have Clawdeen’s eyes about how I want them I started applying highlight dots and have moved on to doing some blushing and drawing in lashes and brows. This was the first time I had ever worked with a “tan” doll before, so I found it a bit of a learning curve to figure out which colors would look good and show up on her. Red shows up best for the blush and lip colors.
And here I have fully finished Clawdeen and started to focus more on Catrine. So, you can see about how messed up the hair becomes after you remove the head from the glove. I just adjusted Clawdeen’s hair with my hands for the picture. It’s not terrible, but you always feel a little sad that your perfect hair is not longer perfect. XP
So here is my finished Clawdeen with my very first Draculaura custom. I have yet to finish Catrine because we had storms and high humidity the following day so I have been unable to spray any sealer. I will be trying to get her finished up this weekend since the humidity has dropped greatly. So, in the end I learned a little more while doing this custom, but I’m not 100% happy with Clawdeen since I think I made her eyes a bit too big. I still like her overall though and I had wanted to make a sweet innocent looking Clawdeen and I think I was at least successful in that. Well, that’s it for my customs progress for now. I’ll be sure to post some pics of Catrine when I finally finish her. 🙂