Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Keep your Heads...when making Doll Heads

I have once again run out of pre-made doll heads. I admit, it's the least favorite part of making dolls in my book. I need good music and lots of strong coffee to make it through a head making session.


I can't believe I actually used to offer pre-made heads in my Etsyshop. I  cannot bring myself to offer them any more - because that would mean I would have to make even more heads...Don't care what you offer me. I ain't selling them no more!

What has always fascinated me about Waldorf style doll heads, is the fact, that a number of people will follow the same recipe or formular for making them, yet their dolls look completely different. Just browse the internet and compare different dollmakers. It's quite intrigueing.
Kind of reminds me of cooking. Our perceptions of the end product are so vastly different as cooks. Is it because our tastebuds are different, and we taste the food and add different amounts of seasoning? Maybe it's that way with doll heads, too?


I prefer a rather firm and roundish looking head. I like my heads to be proportionate to the size of the body I am making. I measure each head as I shape it and try to make them the same size for a 12 or 15 inch doll.

Do the ingredients used in the process make a difference? I am sure it is another factor. What type string are you using? I have tried many different things over the years. Some books recommend dental floss. Ever tried that one? I found that plain old cotton crochet yarn works best for me.

The wool plays an important role too! If it's not carded right and full of plant residue such as straw and leaves - you will get frustrated because you spend so much time picking out foreign objects...I like my wool to be fluffy, white, and super clean.
Over the years I have received bags of wool from friendly souls. Proudly someone will present to me a bag of wool they bought at a craft fair they visited. Sadly I can never use it because it was carded differently. Not sure what they did to the fibers but usually the fibers are matted together and I am not able to wind the wool into the balls.


That's how each doll head starts -  at least - according to my formular...
If you have never made a doll head before, don't give up too soon! It takes many tries to come up with a recipe that works for you. I wrote mine down on a card as a reminder. I look at it as my own special concoction - recipe card. LOL. Seriously, you would think after so many hundreds of heads I would know how to do it. But I love to have it handy, in case I lose my head (patience) and turn into a total basket case while making another batch of heads...

9 comments:

Folky Dots said...

Oh I've tried dental floss! Wow I could barely make it through one doll head it felt like it was going to cut my hands in two.

I now use cotton pearl. I like it because when I make the first "tie" to tie off, say the eyeline, it doesn't slip out of place, but stays tight until I can secure it with the second tie.

FairiesNest said...

It was a head week in my house too...humming the song, "here in the hall of heads...":)

Kristi said...

Cute post! I use a cotton thread with beeswax to keep from slipping:)

germandolls said...

I agree, the dental floss was horrible! It cut into my skin and hurt like crazy. Not sure who came up with that one, Folky!
Is that a real song, Cyn? Or did you make it up? Link?
I like the beeswax idea. How do you get it on the thread?

Mare said...

I have a book here on how to make the dolls(Baby Dolls and Their Clothes, by Valeria Ferrari) and i am gathering my materials and am about ready to give it a try. I can tell it will take me a long while to get it right, but i know if i keep at it, i'll find my way. It helps me to read all these good ideas and advice from the experts! :)

germandolls said...

I love that book! It's on my shelve, too! I'd like to collect some pictures of different dollheads by different artists. If you have some and would like me post them for comparison please send them to me!

Dria said...

I identify with every sentence LOL
Your insight to the doll making process is so true...
I also still consult my notes every time...

Dria said...

Have any of you tried wetting the string? I've seen that somewhere, but am too scared to try it - I'm afraid of mold developing.

I have a japanese book that shows a double chin-to-top-of-head tying. It seems to give a more pronounced neck.
I'd like to try that out one day, but there is no good drawing and I can't read the instructions.
I saw a doll with a neck on Meike's blog the other day, and was wondering about that too...see here : http://starrysheep.com/crafty/?p=103.

germandolls said...

Never tried the wet string technique. I wish I understood Japanese,too. They have such cute craftbooks!
I'll check out the link. Thanks!