Ball Jointed doll, My first attempt

I have always been quite fascinated with dolls. I remember very well the porcelain dolls handed down from  my great grandmother. They decorated various rooms of my mother’s  house, sitting almost lifelike in their little wooden chairs. I always felt quite uneasy around them, as if their little glass eyes would blink any moment and the pink corners of their little lips would raise in an evil smirk. Sometimes I swore that their chairs would sway on their own, even though I knew that was nonsense. I guess  that is why I am so drawn to the ball jointed doll.  The fact that it has so much life due to it’s ability to pose  really intrigues me. So I recently decided to attempt what I thought was impossible and create a ball jointed doll. Through months of research,many wasted blocks of clay,  much hair pulling and of course  trial and error, I finally have something to show, even if it does have some flaws.

polymer clay

ball jointed doll wip

She is 17″ high and sculpted in fimo puppen, and painted in Genesis heat set  colors. I originally blushed her with pastels and I loved the soft, natural  look it gave her however after much research, yet again, I could not find any good advice on a matte sealer. Many people say to stay away from spray sealers due to its reaction with the clay over time, and using a paint matte varnish would only smear the pastel detail. If anyone has any advice on matte sealers please let me know. In the meantime I will stick with the Genesis heat set oil paints  which are really an amazing product. The fact that they don’t dry until they are heat set and can be erased if  you are not satisfied,  makes them perfect for messy and indecisive people like me.

Overall, I am not completely satisfied with her but I think for my first one, I did a fairly good job. I have always struggled with faces and sadly the one produced here is far from what I envisioned, but I guess that will come with more practice. I think perhaps she looks a bit too lighthearted for me and maybe a bit too child like. I still need to improve my method for the eyes and definitely the hands. Please don’t judge her hands, I will be redoing a better pair soon. If their is one thing that stresses me out, it is hands, feet and ears. Do all artists dread this or is it just me? Also, I used elastic inside her and I came to the conclusion that springs would be a better and stronger method so I guess for my next one I will experiment with that….yay more research.

So for now, this is all I have completed. I have started on a wig for her so she shouldn’t be bald for much longer. I will post more of her soon.

polymer clay

Ball jointed doll wip



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11 responses to “Ball Jointed doll, My first attempt

  1. Lauren Brevner

    Hey, Awesome job on your first BJD I think it looks amazing. And trust me, i know how hard it is to make one, im in the midst of making one myself and have come to a complete stand still! Cant wait to see more of your work!!

    P.S. If you wanna check out mine its here at

    Cheers to fellow sturuggling bjd artists 😛

    • Thanks so much, Lauren!!! I checked out your bjd as well. She is so amazing. I absolutely love her!!! Are you using La Doll to make her? I started one in air dry clay as well but she wasn’t as successful as the polymer one. Perhaps I will finish her in the future. 🙂

      • Lauren Brevner

        Sorry it took me so long to reply!! I didnt see your reply until now lol. I was using la doll for that bjd but i’ve since made 2 more (that i also havent finished) and i’ve used a mixture of apoxie sculpt, super sculpey firm and stone clay. I hope you can finish your la doll sculpt, would love to see it 😀

  2. Puppit

    Hello Kelly,

    she’s such a beauty! Looks like she’s really well pose-able as well. I read that you planned on making another set of hands for her, that seems like a good idea to me for these ones are, however pretty, a little flat (literally, like she just laid them flat on a table)… a more relaxed, natural pose of the fingers would be better.
    As for a matte sealer… I’m not sure how it would react to polymer clay, but you could try the sealer for official ball jointed dolls, called Mr. Super Clear. It is a spray-on, but since it’s meant for plastics it shouldn’t harm your doll. You could always try with a little piece of loose, baked clay with a bit of your paint and pastel on it to see how it reacts. I haven’t used this sealer on polymer clay myself yet, but I did the face-up of my own doll (made of ABS resin, a bit like PVC) and it left it wonderfully soft-looking and matte. It’s best to spray a base layer for hold (makes sure the pastel has a good surface to stick on), and seal in between each layer, then ending with a last layer and after that you can still use a little gloss varnish for parts that you would want slightly shiny, like her lips or inner eyelids.

    • Thank you so much for your advice!!!!! I will look into buying and testing Mr. Super Clear on my dolls. Since I couldn’t find anything, I went ahead and repainted her with the Genesis heat set oils but I still prefer the look of the pastels since it looked more natural, at least in my opinion.
      As for her hands, yeah I remade them but I think I still need to do yet another pair. I am HORRIBLE with hands and I just can’t seem to comprehend how to do them good enough. I am sure with more practice I will get it.

      Do you make ball jointed dolls as well?? I would love to see your work. 🙂
      Thanks again for your help.

      • Puppit

        I just started making them 🙂 However, the doll I talked about in my previous post was my little Hujoo doll. I ordered her as a naked shell (” base”), so I had to do the face-up myself and of course pick a wig and eyes and such… I borrowed my doll-obsessed friend’s sealer for that.

        I have made just one big doll up till now, and some really tiny not very functional models of polymer clay xD The big one was my first attempt at something more serious, and even though he’s not as pretty as your doll in the picture. He turned out a bit chunky and isn’t very detailed, except for the face, hands and feet… I don’t have a website yet (I have a domain name but I still need to get something actually on it), nor a Deviantart account, but if I could have you e-mail adress I could send you a picture… Or you could become a facebook friend to have access to my photo album.

        I am currently working on my second doll, a female, and she looks to be turning out a lot better… And the making also goes a lot faster now that I don’t have to stop every 10 seconds and re-think the mechanics xD

  3. Puppit

    *noticed a weird sentence: “and even though he’s not as pretty as your doll in the picture. ” I somehow didn’t finish that line, I meant to say “and even though he’s not as pretty as your doll in the picture I am pretty satisfied with the result. At least he can stand straight up all by himself and his smile is exactly like I intended.”

  4. Daphne Williams

    Wow…how can you put your work down like this? She is totally awesome for your first attempt. I bet your next doll will amaze me even more! I have been making porcelain dolls for years but I use molds and slip. I tried sculpting once and boy it is a LOT harder than it looks. I purchased a kit that came with not only press molds but videos on how to sculpt from scratch and then how to use the molds. Even with the use of the press molds, my sculpting was horrible! I decided to sell the kit and stick with what I know I am good at….china painting the dolls! But your first doll is very good and I am willing to bet that your next one will be fantastic! Keep on practicing and you will soon get the results you want!

  5. Thank you very much Daphne. I actually have made several more BJD’s after this one and I did improve. However, lately I have been concentrating on a different (more simpler) kind of doll although I do hope to go back to making BJD’s again in the future. 🙂

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