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Sunday, June 10, 2012

BJD Silicone Molds and Junk Casts

FYI-- One and a third gallons of AM 128 RTV Silicone Rubber makes 3 complete molds (upper torso, lower torso, head) and 4 small half-molds (hands, head cap, both feet in one mold), plus ball-joint junk molds used in elbows, knees, shoulders and hips, for a 1/4 scale ball jointed doll. I'll need to buy another gallon to finish off the small molds, and to mold the arms and legs. And this is just for junk-casting! I'll need another round of silicone to cast the Masters.

Wish I hadn't wasted the first 2/3 of a gallon a few months ago on half-parts I never used! I live and learn, I guess, especially with materials I've never used before. Now I'm hoping I didn't screw up anything important, and that the very EXPENSIVE molds I've finished work properly (i.e. not get stuck together or rip or what have you). I'll know tomorrow. I maybe have enough resin to cast each of the three finished molds a couple times.

Hopefully, too, the original doll parts will survive molding. I'd love to see her completely assembled and finished.

Note 1: I forgot to key-up one of the hands before pouring silicone. I'll attempt to fix this by gouging out a few keys in the flip side.
Note 2: A gallon of silicone doesn't fill up nearly as much mold space as you'd think. I bought what I could afford. No fancy cubic-centimeter estimates here. Just hoping it woulda been enough. Perhaps there was some waste, but I'd rather waste a bit than skimp on the stuff and tear a mold.
Note 3: Now that I thought about it, I coulda keyed up the hand mold right through the wet silicone with the end of a paint brush. It would have filled in the holes. (I just ran into the other room to try it.) Now it's set up too firmly to do that. LOL. Filing that little realization away for future reference...

UPDATE: Two of the molds weren't sealed well enough and started leaking out the bottom. I used clay AND hot glue AND smooth-sided cardboard. Guess I missed a spot. *sigh* Damage control may have been sufficient, but I don't know yet...

UPDATE 2: I ran outta silicone AND resin. I managed a really rough junk cast of the head, upper and lower torso. Both dolls are strung together with a section of chopstick in the head and a rubber band or two tied beneath the crotch. Both dolls hold pretty much any pose (except those requiring limbs :D). You can see the imperfections, bubbles and other nasty stuff really well in the white resin, but I feel better that I at least accomplished this much with her before running out of stuff to work with...

If I sound discouraged, I'm not really. Just tired and a bit disappointed that I won't get all my molds made over my weekend off from work. And poor. ;) Also feeling poor. Now I have to buy another gallon of silicone if I can afford it, and probably some more resin. Thank goodness the mold release will last a while! This delay just means I should work on the remaining parts so that maybe they'll go straight to Master molding... maybe?


Monday, June 4, 2012

All My Updates Are Belong To You!

Since it's been a while since my last post, I'll explain with photo collages... ;)

I received a commission request from my friend Danielle for one of her original characters, Aurelie. She wanted a semi-articulated ragdoll with yarn hair, button eyes, rainbow hair extensions, and a frilly dress. *cringe* She wanted this in response to seeing my "Asuna" fabric doll, a faceless one of a kind doll I'd made ages ago and then stuffed in a tub. Sooo I did a concept sketch and accepted her order. I drew a freehanded, original pattern for the doll and started sewing. She ended up kinda cute...

The first progress shot of Aurelie, with concept sketch, hair and part of her face...
Not to be discouraged by silly things like a full-time job or overworking my pre-carpal-tunnel-syndrome hands, I decided that the other fabric khaki dolls needed work, too... Asuna got a fabric paint face that's really cute. The skinny boy doll became Jareth with his half-finished face. (I realized that fabric paint + brushes is a functional combination. Duh.)

After I'd made that progress, I finished Aurelie's face embroidery and rainbow extensions. Then she sat for a day or two while I started another few projects... I dragged out the Lil Cutesies Berenguer dolls and started reborning the first of six Myth-Babies: Reborn dolls. I had a plain baby head sitting around forever with just elf-ears and sculpted hair removed. So of course, I didn't finish that one. Since the base dolls are so dang cute, this is what happened... He's still not finished, but soon...

Baby Satyr

There is a mermaid in the works, the already-started elf, plus one Myth-Babies doll straight outta Irish mythology. Brandon, my husband, doesn't like this baby. He wants to smack it in the head with a hammer. I don't really blame him, considering. You'll see why when she's finished. ;)

Then I finally finished Aurelie, who ended up being about 90% hand-sewn in the end. Her dress was indeed frilly and cute. Her new mommy absolutely LOVES her. I even made faux leather booties for her. She has an almost Alice in Wonderland feel to her. Handing her over to Danielle was actually difficult! The time that goes into these new babies gets you attached pretty easily. Even if they are full o' frills!

Aurelie, Complete
 And then, with all those Myth-Babies: Reborn hanging out in progress, I had to get crackin' on the MB:BJD sculpt again. She got some refinement. Mostly, she got a healthy couple or three coats of primer and a high-polish from a scrap of satin. My hand hurts, but she's lookin' sharp! (In a stumpy, limbless kinda way...) My next big step on this one is finishing the limbs. My other next step is the reason why I primed her... making molds from the parts! She'll be fully junk-cast in resin by the end of the month! :D

Myth-Babies BJD Collage 7

So, other than spending time on EVERY project ever, I have worked a little on my Volume 2 rough draft. I think I needed a focus break so that the story could swim around in my head for a while before I jump back in. And these are the things I'm doing in the meantime. There, a long, thorough update. Now I'm finished until I get some Myth-Babies made!


P.S. On a perturbing note: The world I created that I call the Dark Planet just got an official name a few months ago, a name that didn't exist on the Internet when I Google-whacked it. :) It was kinda generic: Centaria. But some other author has already used the name in his novels, and various D&D nerds (I say lovingly) are using the name for their worlds as well. I do hate backpedaling on a name, but here I go again. At least the world doesn't show up until Volume 3! ;)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

BJD Progress Collage 6

The first Myth-Babies BJD is looking almost whole. This is the most exciting progress shot yet! Why? Because she not only has all her parts and joints... The parts are actually starting to work right!

Since the last progress post, I have completed the  new upper torso, roughed out finished arms and completed hands. I have made a load of unseen tweaks for functionality purposes. I've completely reworked the legs and knee/elbow joints, and re-set the sockets with the new joints.

I accidentally shattered parts of the original legs and had to remake or repair them. That's why they look rough and crappy. I have more layers and smoothing to do before they'll look presentable!

I'm running out of the pretty pale mixed-up base clay. That's okay by me, since the pure Sculpey III clay is stronger and smoother for the detail work I have to do now. I still haven't figured out which type of hip joint I want to make, so I have only giant resin spheres I made until I decide.

Overall, the doll looks pretty rough and lumpy up close. I'll be sanding and patching her up while I finish up the joints. I'll also be working on her insides-- setting eye wells and hollowing out the head a bit, plus getting her ready for molding by smoothing the core-mold surfaces. (Her forehead is thick because of all the extra clay I needed to add!) Then on to the fine detail work. Not long from now, she'll start getting coats of paint, more sanding and prepped for molding!

I welcome constructive criticism. Let me know what you think, or how I can improve! Thanks!



Head Sculpt :

Progress Collage 1:

Progress Collage 2:

Body, Arms, Legs:

Progress Collage 3:

Progress Collage 4:

Progress Collage 5:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Shutter Blossoms Sale!

My adorable, intelligent and cuddly friend Mika over at Shutter Blossoms (a blog for which I coined the name, I say smugly) is having a sale in her Etsy Store throughout May, too! She sells hand-made jewelry and beautiful photography prints. Go to Shutter Blossoms for links and coupon codes:


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Smashwords Coupon!

More Coupons: Use coupon code KZ98D at Smashwords to get 50% off The Pathos of Rowan Jun eBook throughout May! 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Collern's Axe Collage and Print

Collern's Axe Collage Original Artwork

I'm having a blast making these. Just two out now. 8 more to go!

Buy the original here, with coupon codes SUMMERTIME and HALFOFF to get free shipping and 50% off your purchase through May!

And the print here (same coupon codes apply!):



My 2012 Creative Schedule

I'm a busy bee, or at least I INTEND to be a busy bee a lot. Here's to my compulsive listing complex for helping me organize the remainder of my creative year. Seems to be the only way I ever finish anything, when a deadline is looming. But wonder how much I coulda finished if I did some of those creative things INSTEAD of making this chart. Oh, well... :D

Here's part of my creative chart for the rest of the year. I'll be updating it frequently on my website, hopefully with plenty of ahead-schedule notifications and checkmarks of completion, but possibly with sad notes of deadline extensions.

MaySilver Empress Rough Draft1. Functional Sculpt, BJD
2. MB-Reborn 1-3: Cutesies for sale
1. Begin novel illustrations and cover designs, drafting
2. Illustration Collages, for sale (Finished: 1 of 10)
1. Complete Heritage Collection, for sale
2. All clothes
June1. Silver Empress Revised Draft, Story Adjustments
2. Full Second Draft, Incorporate Changes
1. Refine MB-BJD sculpt appearance
2. Cast joints, hands and feet in resin
3. Prep major body sections for molding. Test-string for balance.
1. Decide on list of novel illustrations and finalize compositions
2. Draft Silver Empress covers and lettering
3. Sketches for Unatan and Azelan World Profile THS website content
On hold until Heritage Collection is sold and 2nd novel is published

Full Creative Schedule:


Half Off AND Free Shipping in the THS Store!

We'll call this the THS Grand Opening Sale! Use the coupon codes "HALFOFF" and "SUMMERTIME" to get 50% off your purchase AND free domestic shipping during the month of May! Original art, prints, ragdolls, and The Pathos of Rowan Jun novel!

The store has T-Shirts, The Pathos of Rowan Jun novels, the entire Heritage Collection from The Ragdolls of the World series, original collage art pieces from Rowan Jun, and prints of that art. This promotion will also apply to any new products I post in the store throughout the end of the month, including additional art, prints, and the Myth-Babies Reborn elf I'm working on!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Free Shipping Throughout May!

Free Domestic Shipping in my Etsy shop on all items, throughout May! 

Enter coupon code "SUMMERTIME" at checkout...

Coupon is good for ALL products listed in the Tamara Henson Studios Etsy Shop, including books and dolls! 

Enjoy your summertime!