monster high tutorial

Step 6: Preparing The Doll Head for Glass or Acrylic Eyes

Materials: Exacto knife, pencil, tweezers, course sanding needles, googly eyes, Goof Off, Q-tips

I like adding glass eyes to my monster high dolls, because I feel like they add a certain level of detail in their 3-dimensional aspect that you can’t get with paint. You don’t have to do this, and if you want to just paint or draw on eyes, that’s okay too! You can completely skip this step and go on to Step 7.

Note: I would also like to mention here, that because I am doing glass eyes in this tutorial, I will not be re-rooting the doll- but doing a wig instead. While it is possible to re-root a doll that you’ve done eyes in, it can be extremely difficult and it doesn’t usually take well.  If you guys really want a re-rooting tutorial, let me know and I’ll be happy to make one for drawn/painted eyes and re-rooting.

Using a pencil or pen, draw on the shape of the eyes you want. You’ll want to make them a little smaller then your end goal so that you have room to trim and sand them.

(You can see some discoloration on Frankie’s head. I’m not sure what causes this, but it does happen frequently, especially with used dolls as she was. It’s totally normal, don’t panic. You won’t see it at all once the painting is done.)

Next, take your exacto knife and perforate around the edges of the lines you drew. Do this using only the very tip of your knife; you don’t want to try going straight to cutting out the eye holes because you risk the straight edge of the knife giving you odd, geometric eyes. Unless you want weird box eyes.. then, by all means, cut away. Once I have carefully perforated all the way around my eyes, I carefully start connecting them, again using just the tip of my knife. Repeat this step until you can remove your eye holes.

Try to make them as even as you can as you use your knife to round them out. Carve thin sheers of vinyl and use the tweezers to remove stubborn pieces.

Never try to remove too much at once. Once you have them the general shape you like, use the fine sanding needles to smooth out your eye hole edges. Be careful and gentle that they don’t get away from you and get too big! I have found that the soft vinyl doesn’t take well to sanding. You’ll want to squeeze the head to make it a little easier.

Once you’re happy with the shape of your eyes, you’re going to cut a hole in the doll’s head that you’ll use later to insert the eyes. On monster high dolls, there’s usually already a circle around the top of the head, and I usually use that as a guideline.

I notch my doll scalps when I cut them out- I do this because it makes lining them back up and putting them back on easier, in my opinion.

You’ll notice when you’ve cut open your doll head, that inside might still have glue and bits of hair in it. Use your tweezers, Q-tips, and Goof Off to clean that out so the inside of your doll head is clean.

Now, I like to use 8MM doll eyes for my Monster High Dolls, but I’ve heard a lot of people prefer the 10MM- this is all based entirely on preference, I have bought a pack of 8MM and 10MM cheap googily eyes that I use to get the size right before ordering the more expensive glass eyes (There’s no worse feeling then ordering your special eyes and getting them in the wrong size! Save yourself the headache with this simple test.)

Now that you’ve tested it, you can go ahead and order your doll eyes, by the time you’re ready to put them in, they’ll probably have arrived! (I like glass eyes over acrylics, and I’ve found ebay to be the best place to find them).

Stay tuned for Step 7: Base Painting Your Doll!
This step is currently on hold as I await the arrival of the paint in the mail, thanks for your patience!
Note: I am uploading as I work on this doll- which is not every day! I will try to keeps posts coming at least once a week, but please be patient – this is something I do for fun.

ALL STEPS TO MY CUSTOM MONSTER HIGH TUTORIAL CAN BE FOUND UNDER #monster high tutorial

EDIT: Recently unrepentantly-weird​ and I opened our own shop. Check us out HERE and our blog HERE.

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How I reroot dolls with very fragile heads:

* boil the head to make the holes smaller

* glue the head split with superglue and avoid it during the reroot

* stuff the head with foam

That’s the foam left over from a nail buffer block. I cut off thin slices, rolled them and stuffed them into the head carefully with hemostats until the head was completely full - it took all but 1cm of the foam!

The idea is to keep the head split from reopening by making sure that the head doesn’t bend during a tension reroot.

When the reroot is finished, I’ll gently pull out the foam and put in more glue than usual so that the head doesn’t split open when the hair is brushed or the head squished.

I’ve done this before with clone or vintage dolls with super thin vinyl that threatens to tear and will keep you posted on this greyscale lady.

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Revealing my Twyla’s new look!
I’ve also included the steps of my Twyla’s faceup~ but I did not include how I wash, straighten and cut her hair.

I dislike her original makeup, that I had to make a comparison photo of the before and after! For which, the after is much cuter!

Hope this is useful! This is my first time adding lashes to my plastic doll. I TOTALLY LOVE IT! IM JUST CRAZY FOR IT! MEGA CUTE! I really like how natural it turned out to be^^ I would definitely add lashes to ALL my future customs! Many more customs to come!

Step 7: Base Painting Your Doll

Hello everyone! As some of you may know, my partner’s home was broken into, so my tutorial was put on a bit of a delay. I received great advice, and wonderful support from all of you, so I wanted to thank you all so much.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program!

Materials: Spray Paint, painting surface, old pencil, penetrable surface

To start with, you’ll want to pick a paint that works for you. I made a more detailed post about base painting your monster high doll, and you can find that on my blog also under the #monster high tag.

Now, I’m a big fan of Meltonian Nu-Life Color spray; a spray paint actually created for shoe repair that works on both hard plastic and soft vinyl (a must if you ever want the paint to set on the doll’s head). Additionally, it comes in more natural colors than other spray paints which, to me, makes it ideal for skin tones.

For Emily, I chose the color ‘Bone’. Bone is a nice flesh tone for pale white people that isn't quite as grey-toned as Vanilla. For POC dolls, I like Chocolate or Saddle, but it really depends on the look you want. 

Start by putting your doll’s skull cap back on her head. Remember, this is why we notched it earlier! It makes putting the cap back on and it staying in place much easier.

Next, stick your doll’s head on a pencil. I guess you could use a pen or old stick, too, but I like pencils. They’re cheap, and the perfect size to fit inside your doll’s neck hole. Doing this gives you complete control and access to the doll head without touching it, which makes hitting all the hard to reach places (like under the chin) with the spray paint easy. As an added bonus, it gives you a handy way to sit the doll head for drying.

Hold you’re spray paint about 10" away from the doll head and spray in a gentle back and forth pattern (do this over some newspaper or a tarp or something. I use an old piece of wood). Don’t hold the can in one spot too long or you’ll get drippy, runny paint. You can always do another thin coat of paint for more coverage if you feel you need it, but build up to that. Don’t aim for a perfect first coat; the paint will go on too thick.

Ta-da, you have painted your doll head. Now, stick that pencil in some Styrofoam or a pencil holder or even the yard. Somewhere where it won’t be bothered and can dry. The head will take longer to dry then the body and will remain tacky feeling for several hours.

Next, lay out your doll body on the surface you don’t care if it gets painted. Again, you can see my scrap wood here. Hold the spray can about 10" inches away and repeat that gentle spray. DO NOT TURN THE CAN UPSIDE DOWN OR SIDEWAYS. IT WILL FUCK UP THE PAINT AND LEAVE YOU WITH GLOOPY ICHNESS ON YOUR DOLL.

Let the doll body dry for about 15 minutes, then flip her over and repeat.

Repeat again to do her sides/fingers.

Don’t forget to bend all her joints and get her shoulders, bum, elbows, wrists and knees!

Now that your doll has been fully base painted, walk away. Go read a book or something, because her head needs AT LEAST 72 HOURS TO DRY COMPLETELY BEFORE YOU CONTINUE.

That completes Base Painting Your Doll. Stay tuned for Step 8: Blushing Your Doll.

All steps to my tutorial can be found under #monster high tutorial, please feel free to message me with any questions, comments or concerns!

EDIT: Recently unrepentantly-weird​ and I opened our own shop. Check us out HERE and our blog HERE.

Step 9: Face Up

Materials: Watercolor pencils, pencil sharpener, acrylic paints, glass cleaner, little paint brushes, clear high gloss laquer (optional), fake eyelashes (optional), MSC

Okay, so, I actually have a lot of paints and colored pencils but I couldn’t fit them all in one picture so these are just the base colors I used on Emily.

Now that you have finished blushing the doll and doing the shading, you’ll want to make her face a little more detailed, and really bring her to life. This is the step when that really begins happening. I highly recommend doing a rough sketch of what you want your doll to look like, this will really help you when it comes to designing how you want her to look. I did a rough sketch of Emily using a pencil and free program on my phone. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, just get an idea what you want before applying it to your doll.

It’s not awesome, but gives me an idea of what I’m doing here.

Everyone does this differently, so it’s entirely up to you how you want to face up your doll. I started with Emily’s lips. Because she doesn’t wear a lot of make up, I went with a soft and very natural looking pink. I started with a pale peach watercolor pencil, and then worked in a soft pink with acrylic paint over that for a very natural look.

I always use a little glass cleaner when working with my acrylic paints on a doll. This thins the paint nicely and makes it go on smoother, because you don’t want to end up with brush strokes on your doll’s face.

From there, I went to the eyes, I usually start with acrylic paints, in either a soft or hard black, depending on the amount of make up the character is wearing. For Emily I used a soft black and painted the inside of her eye holes- where the vinyl was cut. Painting this a dark color helps to hide any imperfections left from cutting/sanding and gives your doll a very smooth look.

I started with a dark brown, and did her base lashes, longer at the outside courner of her eyes and worked them shorter towards the inner corner. I did this longer on the top of the eye and shorter on the bottom, then I followed that over with some soft black, and finally a dark brown water color pencil to make them more detailed.  I also add a little dot of pink on the inner eye corner for a tear duct.

Emily has light freckles on her nose and shoulders, so those I added with a light brown watercolor pencil. For Characters with darker freckles, use a darker pencil- or even some paints (I’ll post a picture of my girl Zoe when she’s done as an example of this).

Add her eyebrows last, be careful putting them on! You’ll want to catch your character’s personality with them if you can. Emily has blue hair, so I used a light blue watercolor pencil as a base to fill them out, but then went over them in little lines with a darker blue to give the illusion of being made of hair.  (Depending on how you want them to look, you can use paint as a base and then go over this with color pencil instead).

At this point I also do their finger/toenails. Emily isn’t wearing any polish, so I went through with my acrylic paint in a pale pink and did all of her nails. If your character is wearing polish, feel free to get crazy!

Seal everything with a nice coat or two of your MSC.

Optional: I like to add clear coat to my dolls lips/nails. This gives them that shiny look of being wet. Use an old paint brush and put on a coat over the lips and on the nails.
Additionally, if you want to use real lashes for an extra 3D look you can. I buy fake human lashes (the ones that come in like a zillion little pieces) and CAREFULLY super glue them into just the outer corner of the eyes. You can trim them after the glue has dried if you want them a little shorter.

Note: Yes. Emily has a slight imperfection on her right cheek. I’m not really happy with it and might try to touch that up a little. It was caused by a slight imperfection in the vinyl. I might try to repaint her a little to see if I can hide it better, though. :(

Also, keep in mind when photographing dolls, that the camera is going to pick up and exaggerate things that you don’t even notice with your naked eye. I’ll frequently really love how a doll is coming along… UNTIL I SEE THE PICTURES.

Stay tuned for Step 10: Adding Eyeballs. I’m just waiting for them to arrive in the mail. (All steps can be found on my blog under #monster high tutorial)

**Note, I am going to create a step 7.5 after some thought. I make wigs for my dolls- now I have an old, broken Cleo doll that I make all my wigs on and then can just transfer them to the different dolls as needed. HOWEVER, IF YOU ARE CREATING YOUR OWN WIG ON THE DOLL YOU ARE FACING UP YOU WILL WANT TO CREATE THE WIG BEFORE YOU DO THE BLUSHING, TRYING TO  CREATE A WIG ON A DOLL THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN BLUSHED/PAINTED CAN DAMAGE THE DESIGN. SO DO IT FIRST!!!

EDIT: Recently unrepentantly-weird​ and I opened our own shop. Check us out HERE and our blog HERE.

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Ok it’s been at least a year since I drew my last wing tutorial, and by some gods of irony that was my only post to become popular (even though I only ment for like 3 people to see it). This is my updated and slightly less shitty lesson on how to draw wings that dont look like they’ve spent a fucking week in a blender on high.

Also I’m throwing this in every tag that’s currently reblogging my old tutorial.

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Wigs Untangled Ch.01 Ep.01 is up on my Youtube channel <3

Step 8: Blushing Your Doll

Materials: Fine grit sand paper, chalk pastels, rubber/cloth gloves, matte sealant, q-tips, soft-bristled paint brush.

Every artist I have seen has a different method of blushing their dolls. Someday, I hope to invest in an airbrush to do mine. But Airbrushes are pricey and I am poor. Ergo, I stick with the pastel method.

Now, when we last left off, Emily’s head was still detached from her body, although she was a lovely flesh color as opposed to green. It’s now time for us to put Emily’s head back on her body. You’ll remember back in step one, when we removed her head, the neck pin’s wings got bent upwards.

The first thing to do is take the pin between your thumb and index fingers and gently press them back down, so that both wings are angled downwards.

Once that is done, slowly and carefully push your doll head back onto the pin. You’ll probably want to squeeze the head and twist it back and forth to ease the pin wings back over the plastic flap inside the head.

Now that her head is back on her body, you’ll want to seal her with a matte finish. I GREATLY prefer Mr. Super Clear, (aka MSC) as it goes on very easily, dries almost instantly, and has great toothing- which is important to hold the color as you redo your doll.

Take her outside and spray 3 or 4 coats of MSC on both the front and back of the doll. One coat will not give you enough toothing. Pay special attention to her face, as that is where the most of your face-up will take place.

Once you’re done, she shouldn’t be shiny anymore, and instead should have a nice matte appearance and an almost paper-like texture to the touch. Your next step is picking out the color palette you’d like to use to blush your doll.

Remember: blushing your doll is NOT doing the face up. This is just base shading to give them a more natural appearance. Although you can begin adding the eyeshadow and lip color at this stage if you so choose.

Now, according to unrepentantly-weird, as this is their character, Emily doesn’t wear much make-up at all, so I chose a very neutral color palette for my blush choices.

I use the sand paper to file the square edges down to some form of paint- which to me makes it easier to apply the colors to the small areas of the doll. I tend to go with two mid-toned colors for major areas, a dark tone and a pink tone. Again, this varies from artist to artist, but I prefer putting the calk pastels directly onto the doll, and then wiping away any excess powder carefully with a soft paint brush. For any remaining harsh lines, I rub them out with a Q-tip.

Note: I want to apologize for this section of the tutorial. The blushing did not photograph well, so please stay tuned and I will create a ‘Points To Blush’ separate post for you all following along.

I use the two mid tones on the following areas: The cheeks, collar bones, around the belly button, under her breasts, the elbows, wrists, back of hands and finger pads, thighs, knees, ankles, shoulder blades, small of back, and under the butt.

The dark of the four tones gets put lightly over the eyelids and you can fade it into the joint ares as well if you want them a little darker.

The pink I put lightly on the cheek bones if you want a light blush, the finger tips, the tip of the nose and the knees. Additionally, if you want to start there, you can put it on the lips for a natural color. 

Please be very careful when working with the chalk. It will get all over your fingers and you don’t want to transfer smudges onto your doll. Seal frequently to prevent this, and keep a damp rag on hand to keep wiping your fingers on to keep them clean between colors.

Again, I will make an additional post showing this since my camera did not pick it up. This was the best shot I could get of the blushing final.

Once you’re happy with the blush, take your doll outside and seal her AGAIN with the MSC. This will keep the chalk from smearing or rubbing off.

You have now blushed your doll. Stay tuned for Step 9: Face-Up

All of my tutorial steps can be found on my blog under #monster high tutorial. As always for questions, comments and concerns, feel free to shoot me a message!

EDIT: Recently unrepentantly-weird​ and I opened our own shop. Check us out HERE and our blog HERE.

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New Faceup Stories is now up on Youtube :D

Fabric Selection for Doll Clothes

In all aspects of costuming and fashion, selecting the right fabric is a vital aspect many people overlook. Picking the wrong fabric can make a garment look cheap, regardless of the cut or amount of effort put into it. The same is true for dolls, however because of their scale they present many unique challenges. You need something that drapes properly, something that isn’t too fiddley and most importantly, a fabric that won’t fray too much.
Depending on your skill level and the amount of free time you have, it is possible to make fully lined, incredibly detailed costumes. Take a look at the clothes Hot Toys regularly produces, they are tiny works of art. However, most of us don’t have access to their equipment or have the ability to make custom fabric. So what’s the average doll customiser to do?
That’s where fabric selection comes in, below is a list of fabrics that are ideal for beginners and are most likely work well and look good for dolls Barbie-sized and up.
•Stretch fabrics: Lycra, spandex, stretch velvet
•Synthetic fabrics: Polyester, nylon
•Lace: Not all laces are alike, be sure to test before purchasing to see if it unravels. This can happen regardless of natural or synthetic fibres, some lace is just poorly made. I would recommend lace trim because it’s the right scale.
•Leather: While otherwise expensive, you should be able to source doll-sized scraps very cheaply. It’s wonderful to work with and the thinner the better.
•Fur: Both Synthetic and real are easy to work with, though a little messy.
•Vinyl: Doesn’t quite have the drape that leather will give you, but it depends on the look you’re going for. Would make great leather armour. Avoid stretch vinyl like the plague.
•Knitted fabric: Much like lace, some knits are great for our purposes, some are not.

As a general rule avoid anything loosely woven or 100% natural fibres, they will fall apart when you try to work with them, you can use seam sealants and glues, but this isn’t always guaranteed to work. However some cottons are tightly woven and are fantastic to work with, they don’t fray too much and are easy enough to hem. Satin silk is the worst, but some silks can be workable. Avoid chunky fabrics, like polar fleece or thick knits, they won’t work to scale.

With all of that said, these aren’t rules set in stone. There are many variables such as:
•How lose or tight the weave is
•The weight of the fabric
•The composition (for example the ratio of polyester to cotton 50/50, 90/30, ect)

With practice you will know what will work just by eye, if you’re uncertain about a particular fabric, roll the edge between your fingers, how does it react? Does is fray a lot? Is it thick? If yes, best to look for something else. You ultimately want fabrics you don’t have to hem, it’s not easy getting a crisp professional hem on this scale, plus you can’t overlock the inner seams. That said, you can still get an incredible amount of detail on these clothes, look around for interesting trims or beads or buttons. Something as mundane as an earring could become an exotic head dress or piece of armour. Get creative, get experimental. Hope this helps you the next time you go fabric shopping!

Edit: @velocicrafter made a great point about prints, totally forgot to mention those. You need prints that are to scale, often times if it’s too big it won’t look right. Thanks to everyone else for their feedback too. Notice anything I’ve missed in this article? Leave me a comment or PM.

Choosing to Paint: Monster High

So, you’re thinking about creating a custom Monster High Doll; but you’re not sure how to go about doing that. You can find a full length tutorial on my blog under #monster high tutorial, but I wanted to delve into painting a doll a little more in depth.

I’ve found that most people who do custom dolls, don’t bother base painting their doll to change the skin color- and that’s fine! There are some truly talented artists out there who absolutely floor me with their capabilities.

But lets say, just for argument sake, that you *do* want to change the base color of your monster high doll. Maybe you’ve started with a Frankie, like I did, and you want her to be a more natural color. You have a couple ways to go about doing this.

The first is using a coat or two of MSC and then painting her with Acrylics.
Pros: A wider variety of colors, you can really get exactly what you’re looking for. Easy to obtain and work with. Sticks to both the head and body with the sealant.
Cons: Will never go on as smooth and uniform as spray paint, will chip off around the joints. Can leave visible brush strokes. Whole doll needs to be sealed with MSC sealant before even the base coat can be applied.

Or, you can go with a spray paint.
Pros: Very smooth, uniform look. Adheres better to joints of the doll. No brush strokes, can be layered on very thin. Don’t need a base coat of MSC.
Cons:Less options for color, not all spray paints will work, can set poorly if not used properly.

I prefer the spray paint method, so I want to talk a little bit about that. The thing I cannot stress enough is that MOST SPRAY PAINTS WILL NOT WORK ON MONSTER HIGH DOLLS.

Monster High Dolls are a combination of hard plastic, movable joints and a soft vinyl head.

While most Spray Paints will set just fine on the hard plastic body of the doll, finding one that will set on the soft, porous vinyl is another story all together. There are very limited brands that will work.

I’ve had some success priming a doll with Krylon Fusion for Plastic and Vinyl, but it only comes in a select few colors and NONE of them are natural looking, so instead I shopped around the internet for a paint that would work with both main parts of the doll.

I would like to present to you MELTONIAN NU-LIFE COLOR SPRAY

Check out the colors! These make excellent sprays for dolls because not only do they work with the vinyl and the plastic, but they ALSO come in natural colors for skin tones.

Now, even these come with down sides: they only come in small cans, and, as far as I have been able to find, can only be bought online.

They run about $6-8 a can, and each can will do about two doll. I do want to warn you all that it will take longer to dry on the vinyl, but it will dry all the way! I recommend picking a hot, sunny day and spraying your doll, then leaving it outside in the sun to dry for a few hours. It will probably still be a little tacky, and I wouldn’t recommend trying to seal it or do anything else to the head for at least 72 hours.

I hope this helps some of you wondering about WHAT to base paint your doll with. If you have any questions, always feel free to shoot me an ask!

EDIT: Recently unrepentantly-weird​ and I opened our own shop. Check us out HERE and our blog HERE.

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A quick walk-through of how I restyled my GnB Jinafire.
Click through images and read the captions for each step.

1. Detangling box hair.
2. Dunk hair in hot or boiling water for about 30 seconds to remove any kinks from box packaging.
3. Wash with no-dye baby shampoo. Coat hair in conditioner for about an hour.
4. Wash away MOST of conditioner. Hair should feel “silky” when being ran under water as you’re washing.
5. I used this tutorial for flat ironing doll hair by theghoulieshow. Pay close attention.6. Normally, I CURL doll hair before putting it back up into a ponytail or whatever other desired “up” style (which I did for Duchess). But for Jinafire and Cleo, I put their hair up first, and then curled.

ALSO, that single strand of hair that’s hanging out by Jinafire’s temple is actually what kept her bangs up in place (a la Kiyomi Haunterly), rather than using thread or rubberbands.