Friday 4 June 2010

Firstly may I just say my thoughts are with those affected by Wednesday’s shootings in Cumbria. I watched the awful situation unfolding on TV. My heart goes out to all the injured and the families of those killed.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on Wednesdays post, it really does mean a lot. I tried to get around all the links, apologies to any I missed. For those that asked, it took a week to make the project from start to finish. I began last Wednesday and finished this Tuesday, a lot of that time was taken up with just waiting for coats of gesso, paint, or glue to dry. Also stuffing the dolls seemed to take forever lol as I was packing it in really tightly to make them very firm.

Heavy weight calico and gesso
Poly cotton and patterned paper bags
Stiff wire, much stiffer than 20gauge. Only my 20g has a label, the label on the stiffer one has fallen off.
Thin gold 28gauge beading wire and some pretty beads
PVA glue, and superglue or diamond glaze, double sided tape
Patterned paper. I used digi paper called Aspire from Scrap girls.
Small amounts of 4 ply wool and cocktail sticks
Tissue paper, white and coloured
Fineliners and promarkers and black dylon pen
Large brass brads
4 wooden cotton reels
Stiff cardstock
9 Cooks matchboxes
Acrylics paints, spritzers, stickles, gems.wax

I started with the drawers. 9 large matchboxes. I can’t tell you how many leftover matches I have now hahaha Here you can see the boxes and the cotton reels, ignore the pegs they were for another project, though some of them came in handy for holding stuff together while it was drying.

I painted around the edges of the sleeves, and along the outer edges of the drawers, and then glued the sleeves together with sheets of stiff cardstock between the layers. I then added more card on top, bottom, each end and at the back, so only the front is left open. I covered each of the pieces of card as I went along. Then covered the fronts and insides of the drawers, adding brads for handles.
Finally I painted the edges of wooden cotton reels, added some of the pattered paper and glued them under the block of matches. I added some faux stitching around the drawers with a black pen, so black dashes on the top edges of the lid and then rubbed over all the edges with gold wax. See previous post for finished pics of the drawers.

Next I made a rough paper pattern for the dolls, pinning and unpinning and trimming several times till I got the shape I wanted. The arms, legs and head are all done in 2 pieces stitched together. The body is done in 6 pieces, again stitched together to make a ball shape. I stitched the pieces on the machine, turned the right way out and stuffed before hand stitching together.

Head:cut 2...Body:cut 6...Legs:cut 4...Arms:cut 4

I used calico for the head and body, and poly cotton for the arms and legs. The poly cotton was coloured by ironing the print from a paper bag onto it. This is a great way to add colour to synthetic fabric, doesn't work so well on naturals.

I made a rough wire stick man shape and poked the arms and legs wires into the fabric then pushed in the stuffing; this keeps the wire in and makes the dolls poseable. I didn't measure or make it neat, just grabbed the wire and started bending with pliers, making sure the sharp ends were tucked in.

You can see in this pic the colour that came off the paper bag onto the polycotton.

The arms, legs and head are pined in place and then stitched onto the body by hand.

Next I painted the body and head with 3 coats of gesso, leaving to dry for a couple of hours between coats. Here they are drying off.

Here they are all stitched together and with head and bodies gessoed, just waiting to be decorated now. I had a bit of a panic at this point as I had no plan beyond this bit, and didn't know how I was going to decorate them. I really liked them and didn't want to spoil them, so I left them alone overnight while I had a think about it.

I coloured the legs with a black dylon fabric pen. Then stamped on the arms with black stazon and word stamps, in hindsight this should have been done before stuffing lol

Next I stamped up some white and coloured tissue paper, ripped it to bits and glued it all over the bodies with PVA, giving 2 coats of PVA to seal it.

I painted the heads with metallic acrylic paint and drew on the faces with black fineliners, adding a little colour to eyes and lips with promarkers. Flori has some dabs of stickles above her eyes and on her crown.

Here they are with heads painted and hair added, I left the faces till last as I couldn't decide how to do them. I even roped OH in to help, he came up and took these 2 pics of the blank heads and went off to draw some faces onto paper, however by the time he gave me his efforts I had already drawn the faces on lol He then proceded to digitally add a load of weird faces onto the pics on his computer, none of which were very flattering lol

Using leftover paper from the drawers I cut strips for the hair, making the ends curl for the girl and cutting the paper spikey for the boy. More paper for a crown for Flori with 28 gauge beading wire attached and beads. She has a few string beads around her neck, cut from a child’s bracelet.

Viktor has a bow tie, again with the same coordinating paper, and a gem glued on the middle bit, and glasses made from the 28guage beading wire. As the glasses don’t have arms, indeed no ears for arms of glasses to sit on lol they are just perched on his nose. Using a sharp pokey tool I made a small hole in the top of the nose, wound some wire around the middle of the glasses and then pushed the ends of the wire down into the hole along with some diamond glaze.

The wings are all made with the lightest of the patterned papers, roughly cut, spritzed and edges with wax, superglued onto the back of the body and topped off with a button.

Flori has some knitting; it is stocking stitch over 10 stitches, not sure how many rows. The letters are Swiss darned on, and the knitting is hanging on cocktail sticks with beads at the ends. No I didn’t knit on the cocktail sticks, I used 2.5mm sock needles and then transferred it all to the cocktails sticks lol I wrapped some more sock wool into 3 tiny balls and stitched them to the end of the scarf so they don’t roll all over my desk lol

Here is the knitting all washed and being blocked out with pins to dry. I wouldn't generally bother but it was curling over so much at the edges, blocking sorted that.

Viktor’s newspaper was typed up on the laptop and printed out. I trawled the blogs of girls from WOYWW looking for updated stories. I wanted to make some more newspaper pages but not enough of you had updated recently enough lol seriously I went thru tons of blogs on Tuesday afternoon, I guess you were all making your WOYWW projects and too busy to blog lol

Thankyou so much for looking, if you make any weird and wonderful creatures of your own, please let me see them.


  1. It is so neat to see the process! You really did an amazing job with the whole piece! Wonderful!

  2. Hi Hun, just having a quick blop whilst tea is on and came across both this and your previous post - absolutely fantastic I tell you I love all the detail and how they came together! I've been fighting with a canvas this afternoon but have now put it down for a while but will go back to it, so thought I'd come for some inspiration and well you don't get much more inspiring that your blog! Beautiful, beautiful work!

  3. They're aweome!! It really shows how much time and patience you put into them both, they're both wonderful! :o)

  4. Now you have given the instructions ..I'm even more in awe of you ... that challenge piece is beyond words and never would I try to make them ... but i might have a go at the chest of drawers xx

  5. Wow Tankyou Thankyou for the insight I loved these characters so much on wednesday (I even though that they should have got you to design the olympic characters these are so GOOD!)

    Love Dawn xx

  6. Wow they are so cool - thanks for sharing - they look beautiful and you have a LOT of patience!


  7. Darcy, will you please stop adding things to my "things I really want to make" list lol.
    You've got my mum at it too now, she loves all the things you make.
    We are definitely going to try those (shes going to try sock monsters too!)I think it was the stitch & craft show in harrogate I'm thinking of but it was around 1996 when we went (doesn't seem that long ago)

  8. Darcy, I'm still so flabbergasted at the sheer investment you made for your project that I'm a little bedazzled by the process..truly they are inspired. And Seeng your process actually makes me think I could do it....but don't hold your breath. I do however, intend to own a Blopper at some stage. Fab fab fab.

  9. thanks for that Darcy :o) I know all about stuffing dolls till they're firm and it doesn't seem to matter how much you stuff them you can still fit a bit more in. I'm member of York Dolly Birds (cloth doll group) and the first thing Chris, the organiser, does when you take a doll in is squeeze it argh! Very few dolls live up to her stuffing standards hehe
    Anne xx