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DOLLHOUSE DOLLS FAQ

1. WHAT ARE YOUR DOLLHOUSE DOLLS MADE OF?
2. DO YOU USE MOLDS FROM OTHER DOLL MAKERS?
3. DO YOU SELL YOUR OWN MOLDS
4. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CREATE A DOLL?
5.WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS FOR COSTUMES?
6. DO YOU SEW THE CLOTHES OR GLUE THEM TOGETHER?
6. WHY DO YOU MAKE A MOLD OF THE HEAD WHEN IT IS A ONE-OF-A-KIND DOLL?
7. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MAKING PORTRAIT DOLLS?
8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT MAKING DOLLS?
9. HOW MANY PICTURES OF ME DO YOU NEED TO MAKE A PORTRAIT DOLL?
10. DO YOU MAKE BRIDAL GOWNS?
11. HOW MUCH DO PORTRAIT DOLLS COST?
12. IF I BUY ONE OF THE 'CELEBRITY DOLLS' SEEN IN YOUR PORTRAIT DOLL SECTION - WILL IT COST MORE THAN YOUR REGULAR DOLLS?
13. WHY DO PORTRAIT DOLLS COST SO MUCH MORE THAN THE DOLLHOUSE DOLLS?
14. CAN I HAVE YOU SCULPT A PORTRAIT DOLL OF A CELEBRITY?
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1. WHAT ARE YOUR PORTRAIT DOLLS MADE OF?

I make the dolls heads, arms legs and torso out of porcelain. The body can be of cloth with wire armiture or porcelain, depending on whether the doll is jointed or not. The face is china painted. The wig is usually a polyester fiber, though I also sometimes use mohair. It depends on the color and the style.
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2. WHY DON'T YOU USE FIMO OR SOME OTHER PLASTIC CLAY?

I don't use fimo because I don't know how long it will ultimately last. When handled with care, porcelain will last, unchanged for at least 2000 years. The plastic clays have not been around long enough for us to know how they will be affected over time.
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3. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CREATE A PORTRAIT DOLL?

It takes about 50 hours from start to finish, sometimes longer.
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4. HOW ARE YOUR PORTRAIT DOLLS DIFFERENT FROM YOUR OTHER DOLLHOUSE DOLLS?

My portrait dolls are made from your photos to look like you. They are one-of-a-kind dolls.
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5. HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM?

I start by sculpting a fimo model of the head. I make it about 26% larger than the final doll head will be (because porcelain shrinks when fired). I then make a plaster mold from the model and pour liquid porcelain (slip) into the mold. Once it is leather hard I take the head out of the mold and sharpen the features and make any necessary additional changes. I then fire it in a kiln at 2,250 degrees. I then use this porecelain 'model' to make another plaster mold. Pour the porcelain again and the resulting head will be the finished head. When it is leather hard I sharpen the features again and make sure it is as perfect as it can be. I fire the finished head in the kiln. After it has been fired I begin the process of china painting. This often takes up to 10 firings to get the lifelike expression. I then wig the doll. The arms and legs are fired at the same time as the head. Most of the shoes are painted with an oil base paint, some are glazed. The doll is then assembled. The costume is researched and a pattern is made to create it. I sew most of the costume and do as little glueing as possible. Any accessories are added and the doll is done.
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6. WHY DO YOU MAKE A MOLD OF THE HEAD WHEN IT IS A ONE-OF-A-KIND DOLL?

I do it for several reasons. Back when I made the Ozzie Smith doll I sculpted it in porcelain (no mold). I started out just fooling around during the world series, but when it started to really look like him I got serious about it and made it a true portrait doll. When I put it in the kiln to be fired it dawned on me that if anything went wrong, i.e. if the head cracked or had a flaw in the porcelain or was overfired, all that work would be gone and I'd have to start all over. So I decided it would always be best to make a mold. I also prefer to sculpt the original in fimo because I don't have to keep it from drying out. I sculpt the head over several weeks sometimes and porcelain has to be kept wet. I make two models so that I can make changes to the head if I need to. Sometimes you don't see something in the fimo that becomes apparent in the porcelain. I also like having a porcelain model because it holds up better under the mold making process. It is also advantageous to have a mold so that if sometime in the future the person who commisioned the portrait wants a second doll or if something happened to the first doll (if it were dropped and broke) a new head could be made for the normal price of my regular dolls.

7. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MAKING PORTRAIT DOLLS?

I've been making portrait dolls since 1984. My first one was the head of Basil Rathbone.
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8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT MAKING DOLLS?

I like sculpting the heads the best. That is why I began doing portrait dolls. I will never run out of subjects that way.
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9. HOW MANY PICTURES OF ME DO YOU NEED TO MAKE A PORTRAIT DOLL?

The more the better. I absolutely need 7 photos. 1)Front view; 2&3)Both profiles; 4&5)both one quarter turns; 6)full length front; 7)full length side view. The head photos should be at least 2 inches high with the expression you want on the doll. You can send as many photos as you like. I will send them all back. You can even send a video tape, but I can't guarantee that that will be returned (as VCRs occasionally eat tapes). The video tape should be in addition to the photos. The more photos I have to work with the better the likeness will be.
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10. DO YOU MAKE BRIDAL GOWNS?

No, not at this time.
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11. HOW MUCH DO PORTRAIT DOLLS COST?

Most dolls cost $495.00 plus shipping. Occasionally a doll will require a good bit more work for the costume and so it will be priced accordingly. Most accessories are not extra. Fancy jewelry and other more expensive accessories will be priced at cost. This will be quoted before you order.
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12. IF I BUY ONE OF THE 'CELEBRITY DOLLS' SEEN IN YOUR PORTRAIT DOLL SECTION - WILL IT COST MORE THAN YOUR REGULAR DOLLS?

Of the dolls available in that section, only the Ozzie Smith doll is a one-of-a-kind doll (and he costs what a portrait doll would cost dressed in his outfit). "Blue" and "Manolito" have already been sold. The rest of the celebrities (i.e. Erika, Anna, Basil, Nigel etc.) can be purchased through the Customized Dolls section just like you would purchase any other doll in that section. You select a head and the costume. You need not think of them as the celebrity they were modelled after. All my dolls were modelled after somebody (you just don't know the other people). Sometimes they are a composit of several people. I used a few famous people because I really liked their faces.
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13. WHY DO PORTRAIT DOLLS COST SO MUCH MORE THAN THE DOLLHOUSE DOLLS?

Most of the added cost is in the head. A portrait doll is a one-of-a-kind doll. That means that all of the time it takes to sculpt the head is included in the price of that doll. While a regular dollhouse doll head may take me as long to sculpt, I can make many duplicates of that same head. That means that the initial sculpting time (and expense) is divided between a number of dolls. It takes a lot less time to simply pour and clean a doll head than it does to create a new one from scratch. This is also why original doll artist dolls cost more than dolls bought from a doll maker who uses someone elses molds.
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14. CAN I HAVE YOU SCULPT A PORTRAIT DOLL OF A CELEBRITY?

Sure. You can have me sculpt anyone you like, so long as you are willing to pay the $395.00 Portrait Doll price.
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If you have any questions you would like me to answer, please fill in the form below and click on "submit". I will answer your question by e-mail (so be sure to include your address on the form). If I think the answer to your question will be of interest to others, I will add it to my list.

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