Tag Archives: bricolage

Fancy new Wasp Dolly!

Wasp Doll on balcony by Suzanne Forbes May 24 2020Wow, this is another project that took ages!

Not as long as the Giant Alien Venus Flytrap, but I’ve been working on the doll part of it since March, and her steed for years!

Wasp Doll in salon full shot by Suzanne Forbes May 24 2020There are so many processes, layers, coats, cures and stages to a big bricolage or assemblage art project.

I bought this headless Monster High Wydowna Spider doll body on eBay for a couple dollars, when I was looking for doll arms for the Eliza doll.

Wasp Doll WIP headless by Suzanne Forbes May 2020Then I just let it bounce around the doll parts drawer for a couple years. I had some vague idea of making an insect doll with it.

When I started messing with holographic and iridescent vinyl, I used the tiniest scraps to make the body a superhero suit in the style of Ororo’s First Appearance. I made a standing neck ruffle of crystal-studded glitter pvc during the same couple months, and an inner ruffle of clear blue vinyl that came from a package or something. Trying to use some actual trash in all my assemblage now!

Wasp Doll WIP wires in armpit by Suzanne Forbes May 2020Because almost no adhesive will hold shaped vinyl or pvc against its natural flexion, I secured the ruffles with wire and wired them carefully around the doll’s armpits to preserve articulation.

Wasp Doll WIP feet by Suzanne Forbes May 2020I had some yellow plastic doll sandals with filigree tops, which I snipped down, colored with a blue paint pen, painted with blue interference paint, and coated with Mod Podge. I put those on her shins, tied them on with ribbon and then sculpted some shoes onto her feet with Apoxie Sculpt. Sanded them, painted them blue, gave them shine with blue interference paint, and varnished shoes and spats with my hardcore German solvent-based varnish. And added some jewels, attached with UV resin. Done!

For her head, I had several loose doll heads I considered. I tried one out, coloring it black, styling its hair, adding huge jeweled eyes – but it didn’t look right.

I had to sculpt her head from scratch in the end.

Fly Doll head test fit WIP by Suzanne ForbesI formed two connected balls out of crumpled aluminium foil, and then I used the same method of alternating layers of air-dry clay, then Apoxie Sculpt, as I did for the Alien Venus Flytrap.

I find initially covering a tin-foil base shape with air-dry clay is both faster and easier than using Apoxie Sculpt, because you don’t have to mix it and the air-dry clay is softer, so pressing it onto the base doesn’t deform it.

After a day or two of drying the air-dry clay can be sanded to refine its shape and covered with Apoxie Sculpt for more strength and rigidity. Let that cure for a day, sand and refine with your Tack-Life mini-dremel, then smooth with air-dry clay!

In the end I got a pretty nice head, and then I painted it with black tube acrylics.

And then, so many coats of Mod Podge Matte diluted with water.

It worked so well! (See the Giant Audrey post for the subject of whether you can dilute Mod Podge, a heated topic! ) Diluting the Mod Podge let me get smooth coats without brush marks, and the pencil let me rotate the head to help drips self-level. One of the many important things I have learned from action figure customizers is to always, always put your head on a stick.

Fly Doll Head WIP by Suzanne Forbes

The head was looking almost as if it had been manufactured with the body, which is always the customizers’ goal.

The subsurface specularity of the layers of Matte Mod Podge (which isn’t really matte) almost precisely matched the albedo of the molded plastic.

Wasp Doll WIP by Suzanne Forbes May 2020

Of course, I foolishly ignored another crucial action figure customizer thing, which is, always, always, always prime!

I just decided to skip it for some reason! And you can see the results above. The areas of the head I hadn’t covered with Apoxie Sculpt let in moisture and the head cracked from moisture absorbed during the Mod Podge coats, even though the head had been painted with multiple coats of black tube acrylic first. Air-dry clay, even if it’s cured, can expand and crack when moisture seeps into it. ALWAYS PRIME!!!

Wasp Doll WIP UV resin head by Suzanne Forbes May 2020Anyway, having screwed up with not priming, I proceeded to screw up again with the UV resin.

I had envisioned the doll’s eyes as covered in refractive, transparent layers of UV resin and glitter from the beginning. I used Padico UV/LED resin, which cures almost instantly when hit with a UV LED flashlight. But I am a UV resin amateur. When I started to put the resin and glitter layers on the eyeballs, of course it crept over onto the forehead and beak. It is very gooey, very drippy stuff, and the minute it touched the rest of the head, it couldn’t be wiped off without destroying the whole finish.

Wasp Doll WIP drilled out head by Suzanne Forbes May 2020So I covered the whole head with resin. Which messed up the lines of the sculpt a bit, because it is so hard to apply UV resin to a rounded complex shape and get a level finish! You can see that on the lumpy eyeballs above. And it changed the albedo of the finish so it was now higher than the body!

Augh. I had to keep going, at this point – sometimes you just have to.

I drilled out the base of the head to fit the neck join of the body – my drill goes right through the crumpled foil- and attached antennae from a plastic bug. (Those had been Mod Podged, painted black, then Mod Podged again!)

Wasp Doll bra by Suzanne Forbes May 24 2020I used UV resin to attach the antennae, and I have to say that is a bricolage and assemblage application that UV resin is perfect for!

It is faster than Super Glue and holds more varied connecting surfaces. I just put a blob of resin on the base of the antenna, held it onto the head with one hand and hit it with the UV LED torch with the other. BOOM!

I also put a light wash of diluted Mod Podge over the center of the doll’s face to knock down the albedo. It is a hack, and could be scraped off, but it looks ok.

Wasp Doll WIP wing by Suzanne Forbes May 2020

The wings were another UV resin experiment.

I had some cicada wings printed onto acetate from a doll company, bought years ago, and I wanted to bond the acetate wings onto Angelina Fantasy Film. In retrospect, I should have used holographic vinyl, which is thicker! But I smeared a layer of UV resin on the back of the wings (not yet cut out of their sheet) and put the Fantasy film over it and squidged them together like filling a cake. Then I hit the sandwich with the torch to cure it and cut the wings out.

I would say it worked fairly well, bonding the surfaces without smearing the print on the acetate or warping either film. Probably white glue or Mod Podge would have worked too. However, I felt like my UV resin luck was running out. I didn’t think I could get a smooth layer on the surface of the wings, although people on etsy do it all the time. So I used my hardcore German varnish. I coated the wings heavily and let it drip off (terrible fumes!). It did self-level pretty well, although it got a little thick at the edges.

Wasp Doll WIP wings and wires by Suzanne Forbes May 2020The final touch was something to cover the wires around her shoulders that hold the ruff on, and something to hide the place where I glued the wings on her back. I was peering into my ribbon drawer, thinking of ruffling a thin organza ribbon, when I saw a hair flower that had lost its back. Bingo! I tore it apart and the results were even better than I hoped – it was constructed of little triangular folded wings that fit perfectly in all the spaces!

I put her jeweled metal girdle on and tied it with ribbon at the back, and fused it with the front of her costume using UV resin.

Wasp Doll in salon with other dolls by Suzanne Forbes May 24 2020Oh wow was I glad to be done! SO MANY PROCESSES!!!!

How I made the ombré filigree holographic vinyl and resin girdle will be in the next post, which is…

 The Wasp Doll has a horse-bird-steed thing, too!

Other doll-things I have made:

Limb-Different Non-Binary Fetish Fairy

Reserved Parking for Eliza

The Gothest Action Figure Custom ever.

Valentine’s Monster Doll Armada

Snow Queen/Jadis

Fearless Pink Gay Santa

Custom Elsa Lancaster as The Bride

Gothic Rococo Horribella

Horribellas

Mummified Fairy King

Evil Mermaid

Opal Fimo Mantis Doll

Earliest dolls! with bad photos!

 

 

Project roundup: some things I’ve been working on!

Projects by Suzanne Forbes March to May 20 2020As usual, I have lots of small bricolage and embroidery projects going, so here’s a roundup!

Motto of EG embroidered by Suzanne Forbes WIP May 2020My Beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Eva said something on twitter I thought made good sense, so I embroidered it as a motto.

On bug fabric of course! It was my first time embroidering text, which is harder than you’d think. I tried two new things.

First, I printed the text on regular paper and used my new LED lightbox to project it through the light cotton fabric. Then, when the piece was finished, I sprayed the hell out of both sides of it with craft fixativ.

Motto of EG embroidered by Suzanne Forbes May 2020On the rare occasions when I’ve done a piece this big, I have had problems with the fabric warping or wrinkling. Especially the big cotton octopus. So I am hoping the craft fixativ, which is an acrylic film, will help prevent moisture from making the fabric stretch.

If you would like to see truly excellent embroidering of (often salty) text mottos, visit my SIL Caitlin’s Insta.

Sacred Heart Bricolage by Suzanne Forbes May 2020 Sacred heart embroidery bricolage!

Sacred Heart Bricolage detail by Suzanne Forbes May 2020I used a commercial heart appliqué as the base and sewed it onto velvet, then heavily re-embroidered it all and added crystals, beads and red plastic pearls from a New Orleans bead string with a lobster on it that had been in my materials stash for decades.

I like to make Sacred Hearts every year, because they are such a powerful symbol of faith. I guess I need a lot of faith this year, cause this is the second one I’ve made so far and it’s only May!

 

Dragonfly pillbox hat!dragonfly pillbox hat Suzanne Forbes march 2020

No filter, the colors are actually that bright.

I had had this dragonfly floating around in my crafts supplies for at least ten years, getting bent up and dusty. I rescued it, rehabilitated it, studded it with jewels, and attached it to this bright blue commercial pillbox base. I happened to have ordered some hat veiling with velvet dots and some purple pompom trim that all matched perfectly. It all came together delightfully and I really look forward to wearing it outside at some point, Goddess willing.

More bricolage projects coming soon, with a VERY wild insect dolly and her bird-horse steed, when I go on Make-Cation on May 20 🙂