Well, I’ll start with the easiest, and happiest update. Remember this?
Well, now it’s this:
The drilling worked, mostly. (Thanks, BlackKitty!) The broken-off plug is still rattling around in there, but I’ve put a big enough hole in it that I can get the other hands in now. There’s a bit of a gap, but…it’s much better than no hand at all. (And I’m afraid to keep drilling, because I was starting to wreck up the lip that holds the hand in place. The plastic is pretty soft.) She’s not currently wearing her little lilac…thingies…’cause I forgot about them. 😛
Anyway, Yuki Miku has more changes in store in the future; I’m going to give this body to either Sakura or Tomoyo-chan, put this head and outfit on the Licca body, and the regular Miku Licca head and outfit on Len’s old Dal body, once that’s available.
Speaking of that….remember this?
Len was less excited to have me rip his wig off, unscrew his head and remove his body. Especially because when I then tried his clothes on the Obitsu body, it turned out I’d ordered the wrong size. 😦 (I should have tried his clothes on the body before taking him apart!) So now I have this male Obitsu body just lying around uselessly, and Len needs the next size up. On the other hand, there’s that head I wrecked up by trying to sand its mouth off, so I’m going to give that head to this body. (Not sure what I’ll do to remedy the flat chin situation. Possibly a fake beard, in the Egyptian style. I could make a pharaoh. Or, given my limited skill, maybe I should wrap it entirely in bandages and make a mummy…though that would be something of a waste of an Obitsu body…)
Anyway, you may recall that earlier I said Suve’s face-up was finished and just awaited sealing? Well, she’s been sealed, and is now wearing her wig and clothes:
The white shirt really highlights the yellowish tone of her skin, unfortunately. I don’t know why they made a skin tone that looks jaundiced. (I wonder if I could dye her?) Anyway, I think her eyes worked out well, although I didn’t strictly speaking intend to give her a side-glance: the first eye I put in there got nicely positioned that way, and I decided it would be easier to make both of them looking to the side than it would be to try re-positioning that first eye. (Though even so they’re still not quite aligned with each other…)
I’m pretty proud of her eyebrows. (I already knew I was putting a pink wig on her, so I went ahead and made her eyebrows and eyelashes pink to match…though the shade’s not actually the same, unfortunately.) However, her lips make me want to cry. They looked so nice before I sealed them! But apparently the sealer I was using (Testors Dullcote) melts my pastels. 😦 The colored pencils stayed, but not the pastels.
Anyway, before we move on to my other big over-the-break project, I want to give a bit of a further update on the Cardcaptor Sakura dolls. Drawing a large open mouth does seem to work (thanks, Olive!) but I don’t have any pictures to show yet: my first attempts were good enough to show that it’ll do the trick, but not good enough to keep, so I’ve already erased them. I’m going to have to dig out my CCS artbooks and try to reproduce each character’s real smile, if that makes sense. (Not like I’ll be able to come anywhere near reproducing CLAMP artwork, but…I can at least use it as a guide.)
And — quite literally in between those two pictures of Suve — my package from AmiAmi arrived, with the two Pure Neemo XS boy bodies. (Also with a cool statuette of Yosuke. I’ll post pictures later.) It was a struggle, but I’m pleased to say that I was able to get Mei-lin’s clothes on the boy body (unlike the girl body) so while it’s sort of sad that she has to have a boy’s body, at least she will have a body! Yay! 😀 So I’ll have to get on painting those mouths and getting the eye decals in place! 🙂
Okay, so now I can move on to my other major project…
Getting her taken apart wasn’t too difficult (though a few of the inner bits were kind of tricksy), but…I felt like it was a partial waste of time. Why? Because it turned out I didn’t have any glue sticks to get her eye chips out! I was sure I had gotten some, but evidently not. 😦 And I don’t know when the heck I can go and get some, ’cause every place is crazy due to the impending Christmas. (Unless the grocery store would have them. But I somehow doubt that’ll be the case.) I guess it’ll probably be safe by Monday…but that means I won’t be able to do anything to figure out if the eye chips I’ve made look even halfway decent until then. 😦
Anyway, sanding off the shine was pretty easy (though a few bits linger, particularly around her ears) but getting all the color off her lips was nuts. I had to use a teeny tiny jewelry file to get at the color in between the lips, and I think there’s still a trace of pigment remaining even so. *sigh* Once the sanding was done, I figured I’d just put a coat of sealer on as a primer, so the plastic would more readily accept the pigment, particularly the pastels.
By the time I had put the cap back on the can, I noticed bubbles forming on her forehead, and on the plate that’s the back of her head. I’m not sure if that was the sealant having a negative chemical reaction with her plastic, or if I just didn’t shake it up well enough (it’s a new can, which doesn’t help; maybe they changed the formula?) or if they were just air bubbles or what. But I wasn’t about to take any chances, so I wiped it all off. (I should probably also give her another going over with the sandpaper, just to be sure.)
Thus my Junky Spot order took on an emergency nature, and I placed it right away, adding a can of MSC to the new body for Len, and the replacement head. While I was at it, I also ordered a wig for Mei-lin, and a wig for the mystery new guy…which I guess means I’m not making a pharoah or a mummy after all. 😛 (I will still probably go “beard” route to hide the chin problem, though. Or he could be a cowboy with his bandanna over his face like a bank robber. 😛 ) When it was just the head and the body, I was going to wait and see if they had a post-Christmas sale, but when the sealer needed for Pyrrha’s face-up became involved, then it couldn’t wait! (Though, of course, it still won’t come until around the 4th, according to the e-mail, but…it’d surely take even longer if I wanted until after Christmas, right?) This will also let me fix up Suve’s lips, while I’m at it. I ordered the wigs because they’re actually cheaper than most of the wigs that size I found on Etsy. (And Mei-lin has long, straight hair in pigtails, so the only styling I’ll need to do is putting the hair in the twin tails, and I think I can handle that much. The wig comes with bangs, so no cutting is required. That’s the important thing.)
Okay, so that’s all the updates on direct dolly situations. Now I’m going to bore you with accounts of my further experiments in resin casting. 😛 But I’ll start with the eye chips.
At some point earlier, I’m pretty sure I said that I had bought something at Michael’s that might let me paint perfectly round pupils. Well, that thing — I think it was called a “dauber” — was for use with stencils, and turned out to be a dowel with a small sponge on the end. I probably would have been better off with just the dowel, because the sponge would splort out extra paint to the sides and…well, the end result is still a lot more perfectly round than anything I’ve painted free-hand, but it doesn’t look too great, either. And it’s still up to my bad visual centers and poor hand-eye coordination to get the pupil in the center of the eye, so…well, you can see above that while they’re better than my previous attempts to paint an eye, they’re still not great.
(However, I am crushed to report that at some point between starting work on this post yesterday and right now, I have somehow lost one of these eye chips. I had them lying out on top of the table by the chair where I sit in here, and suddenly I looked over this afternoon and only saw three instead of four. (The other two being the pair pictured below.) I had left them out because I wasn’t sure if I needed to maybe seal them or something. But one of them seems to have been knocked off the table. And there’s a lot of stuff in the way of searching the floor. 😦 I’m going to have to move everything all over the place and shine a bright light into the nooks and crannies and hope I can find it. Probably that’ll be tomorrow morning, before I get dressed to go to my parents’ place for Christmas.)
The pupils on these are a bit less centered — and a bit less perfectly round — than the other pair. I can’t begin to imagine how people successfully paint realistic eyes on the backs of eye chips. I mean, seriously, how do they do that? You have to paint the details on first, and then the larger colors on top of them! It’s a little nuts. Anyway, if these don’t look too crappy in place (of course, they do look too crappy), they have the bonus that the white stripes are actually glow-in-the-dark. 😀
Another idea I had was to put beads in the resin to be the pupils. I bought some round ones for that purpose, but they were too wide and too thick. 😦 However, these little hearts are a good size for it! Except with the slight flaw on that one… Anyway, I haven’t decided if I want to paint these, or put them in front of one of those printed sets of eyes. (Probably the thing to do would be to paint them a solid color, or maybe a blotchy color?) The resin on the sides looks scratched in the photos, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a weird angle on the air bubbles giving an optical illusion of a scratch.
This was an idea that would have been really awesome if it had worked. And the “fail” is not because one of them is totally off-center, btw. (Though that doesn’t help.) No, the fail is because those aren’t teeny tiny little mirrors. Let me show a comparison shot with these eye chips and duplicates of what I had placed inside the mold to be pupils:
The focus isn’t as good on this one, but you can see what they are, anyway. If this had worked, it would have been so cool! But the gem-like parts melted. 😦 (In the previous shot, you can actually see the melted bit surrounding the silver backing. Which makes me want to try it with a colored gem-like sticker to see how that would look.) I think the reason I wanted to do this is because I’ve seen some fashion dolls that actually used this kind of thing for the eyes. I had one as a girl — a Barbie-inspired doll, possibly with a fairy theme, which also had wonderful purple hair, but all I have left is her little plastic flower crown — and I’ve seen more recent Disney princess dolls that did that. (Probably from the early 1990s. There’s one in the museum’s collection, but I don’t think they were around at a time when I was actively collecting, so I’m not sure of the date. They’re Mattel made, though; the museum’s catalog had identified the doll (who is clearly Aurora) as Barbie.)
Anyway, I wanted to try and make gem-cut-shaped eye chips, so when I was at Michael’s…last weekend? This past weekend? Ack, I’m going senile? Well, whenever it was, I went there unexpectedly, so I didn’t have an eye chip on me for size comparison, and I had to find something in the store that was labelled as being 14 mm in diameter, and then compare it to beads that had the right cut. My intention was to make a mold off the bead, and then use it to make eye chips, right? Unfortunately, the height difference from the place where it reaches the 14 mm diameter and the top of the gem-cut is about twice the thickness of an eye chip, so that turned out to be a waste. 😦 I still think it’s a good idea, though. I’m going to actually remember to have an eye chip on me next time, and I think I’ll try at Jo Ann’s, too.
So I’ve been making a lot of different eye chips filled with glitter. I’m not sure how any of them are going to look in a Blythe face, though. This was my first experiment.
This experiment was more subtle, and a much better idea, but it unfortunately didn’t work very well. I had placed large snowflake-shaped pieces of glitter (more like sequins without holes, really) in the center of each mold, and then added the glitter-filled resin on top. Unfortunately, in filling in underneath the snowflakes, it rendered them all but invisible. 😦
I did the same thing with these — made in a Mod Podge mold intended for hot glue…? — and as you can see it worked perfectly on the small one on the top, but the larger one has the same basic problem as the eye chips. (I’ve been playing around with these gem-shaped molds a lot, in part just to get rid of excess resin, ’cause you can’t really mix only enough resin to use with the eye chip mold, and it’s a shame to just waste the rest. Though I suppose in a way it’s still a waste, as I have no idea what I’m going to use these for. I’m not going to bore you with all the photos, though. They are in the gallery, however.)
This is jumping ahead a bit, but I tried again with the snowflake pupil eyes. (Because I’m thinking that next factory girl I get, whenever that’ll be, I may want to make each of her sets of eye chips relate to one of the four seasons. That seems like fun, right?) This time, I filled the mold with clear resin, and then just sprinkled glitter on the back. It worked better, but there are still problems, in that the blue glitter wasn’t enough to cover the whole back, and there was so much of the white glitter that it made the resin spill massively over the side on one of them. (Obviously, if I just trim that off, it should be fine, though there’s still a lot of unglittered area.) For all of these, I can probably just use a similar colored metallic paint on the back and it’ll be okay, but it’s still not ideal. I think the thing to do is to put in a small layer of clear resin over the eye chips, let it harden, and then fill the rest of the mold area with the glitter-filled resin.
These were made at the same time as the first snowflake attempt. In this case, I tried to liven up the eye chips by using two different sizes. There’s fine silver, and then a purple and teal mix that’s the same size as the orange and gold mix in that first set. The purple and teal is largely hidden by the silver, though, so you mostly just get a hint of it. (Not sure what else I expected to be the case, mind you. It’s called an experiment for a reason, right?)
TARDIS blue, right? 😛 I have some little gear-shaped charms (beads?) that I’m going to use as pupils and back them with this kind of glitter to make a new pair of eye chips for Romana. (Since there was one of hers I really didn’t like.)
These have a medium-sized glitter. It’s probably the best size for this kind of thing. Assuming, of course, that solid glitter eyes don’t look hideous in place in person. (I’ve seen photos of other people’s all-glitter eye chips, but I won’t know what I think until I see these in Pyrrha’s face, y’know?) Although, obviously, this particular color will not do for Pyrrha, being bright red, since she has pink hair. But I was mixing up red glittery resin for another reason…
That reason being this. The mold was a novelty ice cube tray I got at Target for about $1 a couple of years ago. (I know, weird, right?) But I’m sure you’re wondering what I wanted a red, glittery lightning bolt for, right?
It’s a barrette! For me! (Finally, I’ve made something useful!) I look terrible with my hair pulled all the way back, but I can’t have it just loose, because it would then fall in my face, and I used to wear headbands, but the ends of them conflict painfully with my glasses. So I’ve taken to braiding the sides, and using the braids to pull the hair out of my face. But the best thing to hold them in place is a small barrette, and it’s really hard to find those that are in any way interesting. I’ve mostly been wearing the same barrette over and over and over again, and that gets dull. (I also have some plastic ones that I got cheap at…ack, I forgot the name. Claire’s? Is that it? Jewelry store aimed at the early teen crowd. Whatever it’s called, the plastic ones are in bright colors that only match maybe a third of my shirts.) Anyway, I wanted to make some that would be fun and maybe match some of my clothes, and this was my first attempt. It’s good enough to use, but it still has issues. I used too much resin, so it’s much too thick; there’s too much red, and then there’s too much silver, which makes it hard to open and close the barrette. I have some other fun novelty ice cube trays (all of which I had bought planning to use them for molds with polymer clay) so I’m hoping some of the others are also the right size. (Though why I would need Space Invaders themed barrettes I’m not quite sure…) In any case, since these barrette clips are so small, these could also work as large barrettes for dolls with big heads, like Blythe, Pullip and 1/3 scale dolls, so if I ever decide to start selling things on Etsy, I can sell barrettes, too. 😀 (Though I’d probably want to make something in polymer clay and make a mold off of it, so I wouldn’t be using a professional mold. That’d sort of be, you know, unethical.)
While I was putting the silver-glitter resin on the back of the barrette, I also made some more eye chips with it. The red splotch on the one in the center on the lower register was another experiment: there had been some dribbles on the side of the mold for the red part of the lightning bolt, and I put them in the center of the eye chip mold for these, wanting to see what the result would look like. They moved as the new resin was added, though, so the result is mostly just messy.
Okay, now I want to share a bit of the continuing story of my attempt to make some charms for Blythe pull strings.
First, you may remember this:
I did my best to get him polished up, and now he looks like this:
Not a big improvement. Barely any improvement at all, in fact.
Anyway, I tried again with the TARDIS mold, but it was partially just using up excess glittery resin from the eye chips earlier:
Halloween with the Doctor? I guess? Anyway, the important thing is that it’s got that same residue on it as Mokona. A second attempt at the K-9 charm proved no better, and showed that his tail really didn’t get added into the mold at all.
I found a new mold-making material, and made a new TARDIS mold. The light on top still has a tendency to get ravaged by an air bubble, but if I was going to make a charm, that’s the part that would get drilled for the connector, so that’s okay. And there’s no horrible reside now, so yay! 😀 Of course, I’m not sure what purpose there is in a glittery red TARDIS (Christmas with the Doctor?) but…it was mostly an experiment to see if the new mold worked, and I was partially just using up resin I’d made for that barrette anyway.
So, that’s about where I stand with resin-casting. I need to make the new K-9 mold, and do some more work before I can figure out if any of my non-plain eye chips are going to work. I think the barrettes are pretty promising, at least for my own use if for no other reason. 😛
I’m still hoping to find something I can use to make a gem-cut mold that’s the right size to be gem-cut Blythe eye chips (or Pullip eye chips; that’d work, too, especially since Selina needs new eye chips), but who knows if I’ll find anything. Anyway, as work progresses, I’ll continue to post about Pyrrha’s face-up and new eyes (those’ll come faster than the face-up, what with the delay to wait for the MSC to arrive) and I’ll definitely show the results of the new Obitsu boy, and the CCS dolls (though I haven’t even ordered hair for Sakura, Syaoran and Tomoyo yet (not to mention I still need to order another female body)) and Len’s eventual rebodying, and the Licca Miku rebodies that will accompany that. I also have a post planned called “Wig Swapping,” but I’m waiting on another two wigs that are on their way before I post any photos. (Rather, I don’t wanna have “Wig Swapping, Part 1” and “Wig Swapping, Part 2,” y’know?)
I may or may not still be making some “I shouldn’t be doing this” orders in the coming weeks. I feel like I need to get Ciel Robin to go with Private Tutor Sebastian, and there are a few others that are almost gone that I feel like “ack, I need!” even though technically I know perfectly well I don’t need them in the least. (Ugh. Why is my brain wired like this?) I’ve decided not to get an Isul or a Taeyang to be perpetually redressing dolls, though, because of the difficulty in finding male doll clothes. (Of course, that doesn’t exclude the possibility of getting a particular Taeyang to redress once into a certain mythological figure…)