Visit The Studio Commissary, a chat board for friends and fans of Gene Marshall and the Monolithic Gang!

Monday, December 31, 2012

More DIY with Pam!! The Photo Studio!

Pamnaz posted about her photo studio set up!

I've been wanting a photo background stand, but didn't feel like spending the money to get a "professional" one. So I decided to make one myself out of PVC pipes and connectors from Home Depot. It came out perfectly, just what I wanted. I can take it apart and put rolls of paper on it and clamp a light on it. Best of all it cost me less than $20 and it takes up limited space when stored.

I had some photo practice using it today with "Smash Up" Gene as my model.






...my DIY background stand



DIY with Pam!! Make a Stone Fireplace!

Pamnaz shared this great project with us!



Here's how I did it:

1. Scored Foam Core board as the base.

2. Cut out the foam core space for the "fire logs" photo.

3. Using styrofoam, I cut the shape of the fireplace and glued it to the foam core board.

4. Next I put a coat of white glue on it and put a layer of paperclay on it (you have to make sure to use the white glue so the paperclay sticks to the styrofoam.) You can use any air drying clay. Let that dry (about 24 hrs.)

5. Then I took some more paper clay (air drying clay) pieces and squished them with my palm to make the stones. I glued the "stones" onto the fireplace randomly to look like stonework. Let them dry (about 24 hrs.).

6. Next I put a layer of gray paint on the fireplace... let it dry about an hour then took different shades of gray acrylic paint and silver, white and just dabbed it, brushed it, etc. to took like stone work.

7. For the mantel I took a balsam wood piece and a carved piece (from the craft store), glued them together and painted them with a wood stain. When dry, I glued them to the fireplace and foam core.

8. I printed out a photo of burning fireplace logs, taped it to the back of the foam core board so it showed through the opening I previously cut.

That's all there is to it! I was very pleased with the result.

Fireplace in clay-drying stage:



The end result:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Doll Storage with Meg and Rosanna!

Posted on The Studio Commissary September 22, 2012

FROM MEG:
This is a closet in my TV room that I store all my dolls and outfits & accessories. This was taken in July 2011. It's even more stuffed now! Hee! I use document bags instead of zip locks because they are available in various sizes and don't have printed words on them. I use 9"X12"for most outfits and 12"X15" for larger and long outfits. I have the outfits in sections (costumes, pant outfits, suits, etc.) I don't store shoes, gloves or jewelry with the outfit. I store those in the little drawers. The dolls are tied into clear shoe hangers. I also make my own torso hangers. I do all my doll dressing in that room. It makes it easy and convenient to just open the closet and play.












FROM ROSANNA:
My closet is much smaller (and a lot older) than hers, but she made it work. My DH did the dowels for me.

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Stop drooling.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Make a Torso Hanger

Posted by Meg 9/23/12

Here's how I make my dolly torso clothes hangers:

Step 1: Gather your supplies: All these things are available at craft stores, office supplies stores and art stores. You will need:

3/16" rigid foam core board
Exacto knife and extra blades
1/4" ribbon
craft wire for hook
bead that the craft wire will fit through
wire cutter, scissors, pencil
hot glue gun
the black cardboard torso shape from the Ashton Drake outfit box

Step 2: Trace the black cardboard torso shape onto your foam board.

Step 3: Cut out with your exacto knife following the tracing of the torso shape. CUT on a craft surface or a board. You will be cutting all the way through the foam board.

Step 4: With your exacto knife clean up any places on your torso hanger shape that need it. I find I usually have to do a little reshaping and clean up on each one I do.

Step 5: Fashion a wire hanger. I usually do this step first, because when I make hangers I make many at a time and do it like an assembly line. I bent my wire over a pencil and with my fingers to get a hook. Leave a good long (maybe an inch) to be glued into the top of your hanger. I make some with very long necks for outfits with collars....so they have alot of room and won't get squished.

Step 6: Take your wire hanger and push it into the top CENTER of your hanger. This will be the hole you will glue it into later. You are only making a hole for now. Lay your wire hanger aside.

Step 7: Starting at one side of the hole you made in the top with your wire hanger, begin to glue the ribbon on the edges all around your hanger. When you meet the hole on the other side, cut the ribbon and glue it next to the hole. Don't cover the hole with the ribbon.

Step 8: Thread your bead onto the wire hanger. Then put a bit of glue on the hole on the top of the hanger and push the wire through the glue and into the hole you made. Push the wire down some into the foam, being careful not to push it out through the side of your foam hanger part. You may leave the neck of the hanger any height you want.

Step 9: Hang your garment on the hanger and in a garment bag.

Step 10: Repeat. I've made hundreds of these and when I make them I do alot at a time. I draw the torso shape all over a big piece of board and cut them out all at once. I make all the wire hangers at once and so on. It just makes it faster to do alot this way.

Here's some pics of one I made this morning. It's not the neatest one I've made, but I hope the pics will help you with the instructions.
Okey dokey! Have fun!












Repairing a Broken Head Knob

Posted by AnneC 9/17/12

I thought I had done a good job packing Gene for a cross country trip, but it must have been a bumpy ride..
She arrived at her destination with her head snapped off of her neck. (First photo courtesy of her unlucky recipient.)



She was returned to me for first aid. I am not an expert at repairs, but have had good results with my technique. Recently Ivy leapt from one of my doll room shelves and suffered the same injury, and I was able to make her a new neck knob and reattach her head. I wanted to keep this Gene’s head with her original body with its red manicure and pedicure, and thought I would share the process, just in case anyone else’s doll suffers a similar fate.

Here she is before repairs:



To replace the missing knob that fits in the head, I used a small-ish screw and some two part epoxy putty:



The knob material is pretty hard plastic, so I drilled first to make it easier to put the screw where I wanted it. To drill the hole in the neck knob for the screw I went slowly and used four different bits: a small and a medium drill bit, followed by a small and a medium bud burr. The last bur was 2.8mm. I could have used larger drill bits instead of the burrs, but I just didn’t have any.



In these pictures, you can see that I have screwed the screw into the neck knob. It is almost through the neck knob, and is in there good and tight. The end sticks up, but the epoxy will cover it. If you used a shorter screw than I did, you could avoid this. I’ve photographed an Integrity replacement body next to it for comparison.




In this picture I have molded the replacement knob over the screw, trying to get the bottom part as close to the size of the original knob as possible, and to leave the same amount of space under it to allow the head to fit properly.



One hour later, when the epoxy had set, I warmed Gene’s head and popped it back on her body.
You can see in these pictures that her head sits correctly on her neck, and her head turns and tilts just as it originally did.


 


Give Your Doll a Simple Chignon & Tips on Using Gum Arabic

Give your doll a new & simple hair do!



I am not a fan of dolls with long hair. I can never seem to keep it from looking like a rats nest! But sometimes I love a doll so much I will give it this style to keep it neat. Forgive my use of a Tonner doll! LOL I wanted to give Jane this style so I figured it was a good time to do so.

You may want to try this a couple times to practice before you do any cutting and still be able to get an idea as to what your final style will look like.

You will need:
A doll with long hair, preferably shoulder length or longer
A comb
Spray water bottle
Small clear hair bands (I used black only so you can see them)
Scissors
Heavy duty straight pins
Thimble



Plain Jane, home from the beach and needs to get ready for a night on the town….



Lightly spray the hair with water and comb it all away from the face. Try to make sure it is smooth with no strays.



You want to pull all the hair into a ponytail in the center back of the dolls head. Holding the hair in place with one hand, secure it in place with a small rubber band. You will want to try and wrap it a couple times to get a secure hold. Any time you are securing with the bands, be sure to wrap it as many times as you possibly can.

Note, I am using black hair bands so you can see what I am doing, but you can find clear ones in the hair styling department of drug stores and box stores like Wal-Mart.



Gather a small section of hair from underneath the pony tail about the width of a cocktail straw.



At the end , secure a hair band. You will need to wrap it a number of times to hold the hair secure. Then trim the end close to the banding.



Take this section of hair and wrap it around the base of the pony tail to cover the hair band.



Run a pin through the banding and into the back of the dolls head to secure it.



You will now secure a hair band 2 inches down the length of the pony tail.



Take your scissors and cut off the dolls hair ½ ” below the banding. If your doll has really long hair, I suggest you also band it near the tips. This will keep it from getting all over when you cut it.



Roll under the banded hair, tucking it upwards so the end is meeting the base of the pony tail. This will cause the hair between the bands to fan out. Position it so it looks neat and even.



Using a pin, secure it in place by running it through the hair, through the band and into the head. I usually use two pins for this to make sure it stays secure.



And you have done it! A simple chignon!



Jane is ready for her night on the town with this chic & elegant style.



A couple side notes.....

Someone posted on another board that colored bands can discolor the hair. I suggest you use the clear hair bands found in the hair styling department and not rubber bands.

In my years of doll collecting I have only had one or two instances where a dolls hair has come down when the bands disintegrated. I know others say it happened often. I can only guess it is due do the different temperature and storage conditions.

Hair bands tend to break down over time. I suggest at each place you band the hair, you also wrap it with heavy duty thread and secure it well. This way if/when the band breaks, the style will stay in place.

I personally haven't tried this but a friend told me after she cuts the pony tail short and before turning it under, she carefully singes the cut hair with a lighter. It melts the hair slightly, forming an even end to the pony tail. That scares me a little but if you are daring… give it a try! LOL

Don’t be afraid to experiment! But I do suggest you NOT try this on your favorite doll right away. Play around with an older doll until you feel secure in moving ahead.

Feel free to ask me questions!
Mike


Tips on using Gum Arabic

Questions for those who have used Gum Arabic
1) How do you apply it? Q-tip, paintbrush, spritz?
2) Do you dilute it? If so with what? How much?
3) How do you clean it up?

From D'Marcos:
I use a flat, firm paint brush, but it depends on what kind of style you are setting, whether its close to the scalp or more of a curly or flowing style. Do not spritz it unless you have already set the style and just want to use it for extra hold, and be sure to cover your dolls face really well.

You dilute it to the strength that works for you, usually i recommend 50/50 with water (i use distilled bottled water because tap contains minerals that build up after time)but if you just want a light hold, dilute it as much as you want, stronger holds require less water, but get pretty tricky as the solution is very tacky.
It washes out easily with warm water, on any surface, including your doll's hair.


From Tina Morgan:
I used my fingers - I had a bowl of water & a bowl of the water/GA mixture.
I used my fingers to work it through the hair and style it. It's messy - but it worked for me.

The bowl of water was used to clean my fingers in - when they got too sticky!

GA cleans up easily and rinses right off.