Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Porcelain Doll Kits

Not As Simple As It Seems.....

I hope you will forgive me Dear Readers, as I show you my (Very Unsatisfactory) attempts to assemble some porcelain doll kits that I bought at the Sturbridge Fair. To Begin with a couple of weeks ago when my Sister was visiting, I had asked her if there was anything she would like to have for Her Dollhouse, and she said she was thinking she would like a couple of children dolls to live in it. I said that I didn't have any spare child dolls (they happen to all be attached to Families already...!) but that I could probably make her some.... but it might take a while. In the meantime, she decided that a couple of the Tiny Rats I had started (but had thought were a little out of proportion so had not finished) would do instead. So I promised to finish the Tiny Rats for her. That very afternoon at the Fair I found some lovely porcelain child doll kits, and decided I would surprise my Sister with the children after all! It has been Much Too Busy in my life recently with Gardening and Family visits and Life in general... but I finally got started on the doll kits last weekend. I thought it would be a simple matter of building a wire armature gluing it to the porcelain and wrapping the body in cotton batting...... I don't know What I was Thinking!

For starters... the wire I have is probably too stiff for the small dolls.... 
and then I don't have the proper kind of glue...
(What IS the proper glue...?)
But in my impatience I decided to go ahead and try with what I have....
I carefully stitched cloth around the cotton batting to hold it in place...
And Stuffed the ends into the porcelain legs..... 
with tons of tacky glue....

And stuffed the torso onto a cotton wrapped section of wire.... 
And added the arms.... carefully wrapped and stitched and glued.....

For Both the dolls.....
I know they look a little lopsided.....
but they stand up!!!

I was even Really Patient and let the glue dry for an entire day 
before testing the hold.....

Hah! You can see what good That did for me! 
Definitely NOT the right glue!
So I went online and did a little research. 
I have concluded that I will be better off taking them completely apart 
and starting over with a glue called "Zap a Gap"
Any comments are welcome if you know a better glue!

Meanwhile, I decided to complete the Tiny Rats instead....

They just needed leather glued on their arms and legs and tails......

And some clothes, of course!

So I have made a start....
They are "Country Rats".....
so their clothes are going to be Rustic.....

Still a ways to go....
But since that was all I had accomplished in Weeks....
I thought I would share it with you!
As for the Porcelain Doll kits.... 
I am determined to figure this out!
But it is Definitely Not as Simple as it seems!


  1. I like a glue called "Quick Grip". Comes in a yellow tube. Doesn't set up immediately, so it gives you some wiggle time. Once it dries, it holds forever!
    Good Luck,

    PS. Love the rats!

  2. Hello Betsy,
    You will figure it out and they will be perfect. I remember the days when I trhought hot glue worked for everything...silly Giac!
    The rats are so much fun and beautifully made. I cannot wait to see where they will end up!
    Big hug, and don't give up, you have always manage to do anything you set your mind to, and you have always done it well.
    another big hug,

  3. Hello dear Betsy! I know how frustrating it can be when the glue lets you down! Your children dolls are going to be really cute and the way that you constructed the bodies shows your attention to details! You do good work and you are very aware of All the finer points so I have NO Doubt that these doll kits will become as Fabulous as the work that you always do for your doll's houses! I also recommend trying 'Quick Grip'( and you know that I use it ALL the time! ) I use to sculpt dolls back in the day..... ( I wonder if I shall ever attempt it again!?) Your Country Rats are too cute, Betsy and I like the way that you have them dressed. But now, I think that they need a story of their own, don't you? Just sayin.


  4. Hi Betsy,
    your dolls look just fine, next time you could try pipecleaners for the arms and legs, if the holes in the porcelain are big enough, you can twist 2 pipecleaners for more strenght. Then you can use tacky glue because of the cottony stuff on the pipecleaner helps to make a connection with the porcelain.
    beye beye

  5. I use pipecleaners too and a combination of tacky glue and super glue! But i'm sure you will find what will work for you :-)
    But if I were your sister, I would be very happy with the rats instead, the are soooo cute!!!

  6. Betsy!!! Stiching cotton wrapped section is a WOW!!! from me! I have never done it and suppose never will! I glue everything, even the soft parts are hold by slice,lol! And the pipecleaners Margriet mentioned I use too.
    The glues you mentioned in your post is what ladies in Minidolllist use, I actually can't get them over here so I use the glue I buy in haberdashery and it is a glue for fabrics(okay it does have a note it glues almost everything too ;))
    I love your Rats and have no doubts your children will be the best made and dressed up when finished!!

  7. Hello from Spain, i like your Job. Keep in touch

  8. Oh, disappointing. The dolls look potentially adorable, though, so given the right glue I'm sure they will be. The rats, too - sweet!
    Pipe cleaners? Maybe..
    Lots of love,

  9. The rats are adorable. And I'm curious to see the dolls finished.
    Greetings, Faby

  10. I use pipe cleaners for the armature and Aileene's tacky glue. To help hold the arms and legs onto the body, I glue a wrapping of thin "batting" slightly overlapping the join area and the pipe cleaner. This has worked well for me. I also twist two pipe cleaners together for the legs which makes it easier for dolls to stand without a "stand".

    I never use any of the "super glues" since I am a rather messy gluer and at times, glue myself to the item! At least I can wash myself and the item apart with a water-soluble glue! Also, with these glues, if you make a mistake, it can be easily undone (like put the porcelain arms on the wrong sides of the body!)

    Putting doll kits together (and I have done about 25 or so) is fun and exasperation all rolled into one!!


  11. Thank you for reminding me why it's never dolls for me... *grin* And I'm glad that wiring my BiWuBearies arms is soooooo easy compared with your sewing and gluing... I'm confinced you'll find the perfect glue solution soon and your children will be perfect... and all their parts will belong where there should. Your rats are fantastic, I'm sure your sister will treasure them for always.


  12. Omg, Betsy, those rats are (as we say in MinneSOta): "FER CUUUUTE!" I am especially enamored with their adorable ensembles. I have been looking at a doll kit of my own, and I'm thinking now I might pass on it --WAY too difficult, lol!


  13. Hi Betsy, I also use pipe cleaners for dolls, if I make dolls. I am such a miniaturist who does not often use dolls......
    Your rats are gorgeous, I wish my mice came to you, it is so sad they were lost.
    Hugs, Ilona

  14. Hi Betsy! So sorry for all that wasted time. I admire your persistence and patience. I know of two websites where they have doll assembly tutorials that seem easy to follow. Gisele's Miniature Creations and Cynthia Howe Miniatures. I love your little rats. They are so sweet! I love that pattern for the girl's dress.

  15. You are extremely brave - or should that more accurately be 'foolhardy' ;) I would never in a million years have the courage to attempt those little dolls. I do hope you get the adhesive issue sorted out because they look like they'll be really lovely when finished. Cute rats by the way!

    Thanks for your lovely comments re my French chair make over, so nice of you.

  16. Dolls are so difficult. I don't think I will attempt to make any from scratch . And glue, boy bane of my miniaturist's existence. Thanks to all who suggest Quick Grip! 2 years after my tribal house was completed, I just found 2 of the shelves coming off. Arghhhhhh

    Let me join in the chorus of your admirers on complementing you on the Whiskas! They are really every bit as wonderful as what everyone says. :)

  17. You might want to check out the Yahoo group called: MSATMinidolls

    The members are very helpful and can direct you to just the information you need. You can contact me also and I can send you some instructions for armatures and bodies for mini dolls.