I recently had someone ask how I created my bjd and while I am not the best teacher, I will do my best to briefly explain my process. I just recently started on a new doll however sadly I did not do much documentation of my progress but I will post the few images I have. Hopefully for my next doll I can do a more in depth explanation with more detailed images.
So I start off by drawing a basic idea for my doll, determining the size I want her to be as well as how big the holes are going to be in her hips, arms and leg sockets. I always find it easiest to use a circle template to determine the ball sizes so that when I sculpt them I can use that as reference. I don’t think it is a necessity but it is just something that I find helps me. When you are satisfied with your sketch you can begin making your base using aluminum foil and floral tape, which obviously will be removed after she is baked. So using your sketch as a reference, you want to make your aluminum foil base smaller than your drawing. I like to leave about 1/4″ thickness. I apologize for not having any images of this but I promise next time to have this better planned out.
I always do the LOWER part of her torso first and I bake it before I continue with anything else. Once this part is cooked I can take the breast area and shape it tightly around the lower torso. This ensures a nice, tight fit. Using my circle template, I carefully draw out and measure the holes on hip area. I cut it out using an exacto knife. Do not worry if you do a messy job. You will have to go back and sand it anyway. The good thing about polymer is that if you make the holes too big you can always go back and add more clay!
So I sculpt the balls in the same manner as the torso, using aluminum foil. After you roll them as round as you can get them (this is tough), you can see how well they fit into the holes.Once you are satisfied you can cook them, along with the breast area.
This may seem like a rather waste of time to you, as well as unnecessary but I find it gives me much better results when I cook everything in steps.
I continue the same process, measuring out the holes in the shoulder area, and making the balls to fit. When I get to the arms and legs, I use wooden dowels in various sizes to get a base, which I then build over with more detail. Many people say that straws work for the limbs but from personal experience I do not find this the best option. People do it so it must work but it melted when I put it in the oven. If you use the wooden dowel method , lightly wet them first because it makes it easier to slide your clay off. I find it really hard to further explain how I engineer the joints since it really is a lot of trial and error and cutting and sanding until you get the right fit. It is just something you have to play around with until you find what works for you.
These are the tools that I use when cutting into the balls. I use them to make my slits, as well as the holes so that I can hollow them out. Many people use drills/dremel tools but I find that this works for me. I also use a pin vise which I find gives me more control than a drill. The balls are really small and sometimes hard to hold on to so I get scared that I will drill a hole into my hand. Haha. Knowing me and my clumsy nature, I probably would. So the exacto works good for cutting the holes for your joints and the other two work well for the balls.
Ok so this is as far as I have gotten on her but I will add more on my process soon. Once again I apologize if this makes no sense. I dont think I was ever meant to be a teacher. Haha!! If you have any questions that didn’t quite make sense to you feel free to ask and I will do my best to explain it.