Annyeong welcome to dollightful doll customizing looks fun, but it's such an expensive hobby to get into right?Wrong!
While it's true that expenses can stack up quickly if you invest in a lot of materials right off the bat
It doesn't have to be that way. As with any hobby or project, creativity is the most valuable tool in your tool bag.
If there's a will there's a way, let's get started
First up you need a doll, of course
Your mind might turn to dollar store dolls or something super cheap like that
But I'd advise you to look around thrift stores, garage sales, or eBay to find much higher quality dolls for cheap
If you're going to pour love and effort onto a project do it on something worth your time. That's just my opinion, of course.
If you're into Barbie, you'll have no problem finding her. She's practically a dime a dozen at thrift stores.
If you're looking for other brands keep an eye out, they do pop up.
My fellow youtuber pal Dollastic has great luck finding all sorts of hidden treasures at her thrift-stores.
I almost exclusively work with Monster High because I love their great articulation and beautiful sculpted face molds
Their detachable arms mean they get lost quite easily though as is the case with this Lagoona here
Although don't let that stop you. You could always make a prosthetic limb.
I found a beautiful Clawdeen Wolf doll with all of her limbs at Grace for 4 dollars
I was hoping to find one even cheaper, but there it is
This is exactly the kind of thing you're looking for to make a custom on a budget.
I actually left her for some other lucky person because I have plenty of stock dolls to work with but I wanted to show that it can be done.
If you're seriously thinking about getting into, this look for used doll lots on eBay
That's how I stocked up on nearly all of my fodder
I forget the exact numbers, but I bought about 20 dolls for around 80 which boiled down to 3 bucks a doll
It was a great deal
Let's move on to art supplies
If you want to give your doll new hair, yarn is fairly cheap and makes great doll hair in many ways
One skein is more than enough and will see you through many a project
Costume wig hair is also an option
You can usually find both natural and bright artificial colors for cheap, but be warned. It's likely this hair cannot be boil washed
If you live in America, look for great post-halloween sales on costume wigs to get some really good deals
And of course there is an obvious source of free hair you could turn to...
What? Did you really think I was gonna cut my hair off for a doll project? Nah, I'm gonna cut my husbands
If you know someone who's a good sport you can nab hair for your doll that way
I actually used his hair before on his custom doll technically making this a voodoo doll
Let's move on.
Glue will play a huge role in budget.
Customizing so pick yourself up a bottle of Elmer's or something like wise this little guy is only 2.50
Scissors are also super useful. So get a pair if you don't already have one. These were about two bucks
Lastly we'll need paints. I'm back in Korea now. So sorry about the sudden change with the currencies.
I went to Daiso which is basically Asia's dollar store and found a generous acrylic set for sam chon won, which is about three dollars
Also around the corner at the hardware shop is where I got this little bottle of acetone for only one dollar
Okay, I've been jabbering on about different materials, and what you could potentially use.
So before we continue, let's reel it back in and look at the bare necessities for this project
They are: a doll, a pair of scissors, a little acetone, acrylic paints, and glue. That's it
The total cost of these materials was about 13 US dollars
Assuming you already have scissors glue and maybe nail-polish remover. This price could be much lower
The rest of the supplies are all old or ruined clothes things out of the trash or recycle bin and stuff
I literally picked up off the ground outside. It doesn't get much thriftier than that!
It goes without saying but be sure to wash anything you find on the ground like feathers and whatnot to be safe
Now we can finally get cracking on our budget custom doll
Taking our acetone I wet a restaurant napkin place it over the eyes for a couple seconds and then twist away
I decided to leave her lip color on because I thought it was really pretty already. I hope that's cool with you guys
Next I'm going to work with the hair
I showed you a variety of sources you could attain cheap hair from but for this project, I'll be using her original hair.
I cut the scraggly tinsel at the roots with my thread scissors
She looks much cleaner already
I want this character to have horns because everything is cooler with animal horns darn it
So to achieve this I use street food skewers to stab holes into the vinyl about where the horns will be
With the holes made I insert one of the skiers completely across like this
Part the hair out of the way and temporarily tie it back with twist ties.
I gently break the wooden stick in multiple places to create the shape of sheep horns
Rip up a couple napkins to act as the meat of the sculpture then apply glue and start wrapping
It's a little flimsy at first but it will harden and become stronger as the glue reconnects the broken stick inside
My skewer wasn't long enough on the other side so I extended it with a twist tie
After a couple more layers of napkins to pad out the shape we're ready for the final layer
Using thin strips of ripped paper from a shopping bag. I apply more glue and circle the horns again
This paper is thicker and stronger. So it creates a good final casting to our horns
The ribbed effect of the paper strip looks just like real worn ridges too. Doesn't it?
I add generous blobs at the base to ensure they're connected to her head and let everything dry overnight
They look awesome if I do say so myself
You've never guessed that they were made out of trash
Her face up is next but I only bought the paint's not the brushes. Not to fear, let's make our own
I found some thin sticks outside and cut them to size with my scissors
Stick some hair on with glue and wrap the ends to keep things tidy
I've never made my own brushes before so this was a fun little experiment.
I made one from my cat's hair, one from the dolls hair, one from my husband's hair and one from a bird's feather
We'll see how they fare
Tuck her hair back out of the way and get out your paints
Now this set I found was quite generous but let's say you couldn't get this many colors
If you're really tight on options the bare minimum you need are red blue yellow and white in other words the primaries
You can mix any color with these three and white is always handy. I will only use these colors for my doll
Wipe the face down with water for a clean slate and begin
Because this is acrylics only I'm going to tackle the face a little differently than usual
Starting with watered down white to form the base of the eyes
I'm using my husband hair brush here and it's going fairly well
It took three layers to become opaque
I mix up an orange and lay the color on top of the white to create her irises.
I want a deep Brown for her eyebrows and lashes, so I mix all my primaries together
This parts hard enough in pencils, but I gave it my best shot
Flipping the doll upside down to get a better angle on things as a useful trick
The eyebrow shapes came out surprisingly even
I switched to the feather brush for the thinnest lines like the eye lines
All these brushes felt awkward to handle at first, but I warmed up to them
Taking reds and browns I shade the upper part of the iris and dab on a pupil
I found the feather brush to be the sharpest and finest for details
So I tried to clean up and straighten out the eyebrows and the winged eyeliner
I tried for soft gradients around her eye and cheeks but with minimal success. I would have liked to have more eyeshadow and soft blushes
But it wasn't really working out
Keep water and a napkin nearby to remove any mistakes if you change your mind.
I had several goes at her eye lashes before I was satisfied
Add reds and pinks to the tear duct and some streaks of white highlights.
I dab on yellow for the irises highlight color, then seal the deal with an eye shine
For a parted lips look, I dab white into the center of her lips. This always reminds me of the classic Bratz lips
So yeah taking a close look here considering the tools we used I'm pretty proud of this
After painting the other eye, of course, I added a few last design elements
And there we go a no sealant acrylic only with homemade brushes face up. Not bad
Let's fancify her horns with some stripes and whatnot.
I noticed the glue dries shiny and clear. So let's pop some on her eyes and hope that works out
Time for clothes, as briefly shown earlier. These are my own used clothes family members old clothes
You really don't have to look far to find unwanted garment ripe for the harvesting
This is a knit shirt I've had for years
I cut a strip off the bottom
The fact that it's old and worn actually plays into doll form quite nicely. It drapes and looks convincing on a smaller scale
Hmm. What are we going to make for you?
I ended up cutting out two triangular shapes with a dip for the neckline and two shapes like this for the sleeves.
I just eyeballed everything with no pattern
There's plenty of no sew or glue only ways of making clothes out there
But just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality. For me its sewn clothes or nothing at all
So using my scissors, I sharpen the tip of the toothpick until it's practically a splinter.
I carefully unpick another garment around the hem so I can steal its thread
Then I glue the thread to my splinter creating this crude sewing needle
First stitch the shoulder seams
Next attach the shoulders making sure the right sides are facing each other
Sew the side seam
Because this is knit fabric we don't have to finish the edge which is a plus
Turn it inside out to see our finished shirt.
I take a gathered stitch around the neckline so we can tighten the fit once it's on the doll
Tie some thread or twine around the wrists for a ruffled bunched sleeve
To finish the dress I want to add a whole cacophony of textures and ruffles to the bottom hem
I used pink chiffon ribbon off some packaging worn pantyhose anything I had on hand that matches the color scheme
Halfway through I was pretty fed up with my splinter needle
It worked okay for some fabric, but it was constantly getting stuck in tearing finer fabrics like the pantyhose.
I decided to try using a paper clip for needle instead and it did a much cleaner job, although because metal is slippery
The thread and glue wanted to pop off more frequently
Instead of hemming I kept all the edges raw for that handmade look
Well, all my dolls are handmade but you know the kind of aesthetic I'm talking about right that eclectic raw materials sort of feeling
Taking more of that paper bag twine and glue I fashioned two chunky statement necklaces
Some color might look nice wish I had painted it before I tied it on
The neckline still needs some more love
How about a twine bow?
We'll work more on it later
I also used the paper bag for buttons cut out a circle punch two holes and stitch them to her dress
This paper bag really turned out to be the VIP in this project because we're not done with it yet.
I cut out two big circle shapes and one long rectangle
I make small cuts all the way around each circle and bend the edges inward to make tabs like this
Dab glue on the tabs all the way around and lay down the rectangle shape as you go
I stop short at the top and folded the extra tabs down on the inside
Repeat the process for the other circle and you guessed it. It's her bag
Fold the paperclip into appropriate shapes then glue them inside of paper straps
Glue the straps to the inside of the bag
I use one more thin strip of paper to create the bag handle and formed a decorative pocket for the front
Cut out shapes that roughly look like this to make some shoes
Fold the shapes over the foot and glue the tabs together I
Folded the excess under her foot and glued on a shoe sole shape.
I stab holes down the paper with a toothpick and my scissors to prepare them for laces
For the shoelaces I found this bit of material that is from a shopping bag handle
I cut the ends and unraveled it to recover some of these beautiful maroon threads
Cut two tapered trapezoid shapes
fold them over like this
And mush them onto the bottom to be heels.
I played it by ear as I went so they turned out a little funky but they fit for the most part and look really cute
I'm very pleased with her so far. The last thing I want to do is work with her hair
Like the rest of the doll, I want her hair to support a variety of textures and colors to match.
I begin by braiding hair in a way so that it lays across her head to hide the horn space
This part was difficult to do on camera because she wanted to slide off the table as I pulled her hair into braids
So I ended up doing most of it off-camera
For authenticity. I didn't use a doll stand for any part of this project
I had her pinched between my knees for most of the hair braiding
As well as braiding various fabrics and threads into her hair
I also glued some strings and fabrics directly to her head for more volume and interesting texture.
I tied all the ends with salvaged threads or twist ties
I also glued two feathers behind her left horn and with that she's done
When you're on a budget you have to be flexible and see where the project takes you
Depending on what materials you find or come across will dictate your dolls outcome. Beggars can't be choosers, right?
Since I had a lot of earthtones and reds I forms the dolls appearance around that
If we pretend this is my first custom and say I'd like to earn money to buy better materials
you could sell your custom online
A lot of things factor in to pricing your work
But seeing as I gave her new face sort of new hair and a full outfit including a bag
I might theoretically sell this doll for around $70
The teeth illusion only works from the front as soon as you look at her from the side they appear more like buck teeth
But somehow they work with the Sheep horns and ended up looking appropriate. I don't know I kind of like it
If you are interested in doll customizing as a hobby
But don't have much cash to spare try budget customizing first and invest in however much you're comfortable with
Whether you're tight on cash or not sourcing your materials in a thrifty way is always a good idea
You can repurpose all sorts of things to be cute or useful you save money and keep junk out of the landfill. Everybody wins.
I had no idea what to name her. So I turned to Twitter
You guys came up with some truly unique and puntastic names and I love so many of them it was hard to choose
Thank you everyone for the suggestions.
I think we'll go with see a Theia Thriftford. It suits her and I'm a sucker for alliteration.
I highly advise watching my videos for beginners which covers materials and costs
Selecting and preparing the doll and a step-by-step guide to drawing the face. I made a playlist for you and everything
So give it a watch
Feel free to like and subscribe for more customizing goodness and I'll see you in my next video. Stay artsy. Anneyeong