I could really use an experienced repaint/face-up artist to ask a few questions, please...  I'm really enjoying this new challenge of mine to create a few special dolls for myself but I need some help... 

1) With the first two MH dolls I did the watercolor pencils worked beautifully but on this third and four try they are barely leaving any color, what have I done wrong?  I put two coats of sealant on before I started and I can't figure it out.

2) Do you seal after you add the blush or the eyes and then add more color as needed?  Or do you only seal when you're completely done?

3) I'm using Liquitex gloss medium & varnish for the lips and eyes after I seal... as I understand it, this stuff is water soluble... will it come off if I wash the face in the future? 

4) Can I do a boil perm on the doll after I've done a face-up?  Even if I don't put the whole head in the water, will the steam and heat affect the doll?

5) What kind of aftercare do you suggest for the doll?  I mean, what if she gets dusty or dirty, how delicate is the new face-up? 

I've only done two dolls and I'm afraid to test them... they might be as good as I get.  I'm not looking to repaint dolls to sell or anything like that...  I just want a doll I like... I would have ordered a custom doll from an artist I like only she isn't doing them anymore.  So, I'm left to create my own...  plus, I'm really enjoying the effort...

Thank you!  

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  • I ran into a problem with the final coat of gloss varnish for the lips and eyes staying tacky and not drying or curing hard.  I asked questions on several blogs by different repaint artists but only one replied, My Monster Crush... she was so helpful and her advice worked. 

    She suggested I simply put another coat of sealer over the face, Mr. Super Clear, and then when dry try a different varnish.  She has also had the same problem with Liquitex Gloss.  So, I did as she said and I used what I had available... a cheap craft varnish, American DuraClear gloss varnish... and it worked beautifully.  It dried completely, no more tacky lips and eyes and my work is saved!! 

    My Monster Crush's link to her blog is here... http://monstercrush.blogspot.com

  • Hi Tilly, I know exactly what you're going through! I'm also stuck with some un-answered questions. Let me try to help you with the little knowledge I've got from my own experience.

    !) I've read that in order for watercolor pencils or pastels to adhere well you must first apply a coat of matte seal. I read you use Mr. Super Clear, which is supposed to be the best option to work with vinyl. It won't get yellowish with time or crack. Have you tried sharpening the pencils again completely so there are no remains of sealer from your last work (just guessing here, since I haven't tried using watercolor pencils.)

    2) I read a tutorial from Laurie Leigh in which she mentioned that since acrylics, pastels and watercolors are easily washed off with water you can apply a coat of seal in order to protect any stage of the re-paint work, in case you make a mistake in the next stage and you need to erase it your previous work will stay intact. I've tried that using matte seal and leave the gloss touches to the end. So I gues you can seal and re-paint, seal and re-paint as many times as you need.

    3 and 4) Just like you, I was even scared of touching my work and didn't know what would happen if I got my dolls wet. I also use Liquitex gloss and also wondered about its water solubility. Found no answer on internet so... I made my own experiment. I washed one of my first re-paint tries, even used a small soft brush and make-up stayed on just perfect. Then I literally boilt my doll's head for some seconds. The sealer seemed to start peeling off a little bit and came off only if I scratched on it. So I assume that if you just use some vapor to re-style your babies' hair there won't be any real damage. And maybe you can use an extra seal layer after the hair re-style is done. The only problem I experienced was with applied lashes, some of them came off with hot water.

    Once again, this was just an experiment done on a Barbie's head and what I recommend is that you try it with a head and just some strokes of paint to see what happens. Remember you can always erase it all and use the head for a real work.

    5) For what I've seen, aftercare is not any different from the one you have with your other dolls. You can use a soft brush to get rid of dust or dirt or even use a wet soft piece of cloth to clean them. But once again, dear, my recommendation is always try to experiment and find what works the best for you.

    Hope this helps a little and I will share whatever I find on internet with you and all other re-paint beginners out there.

    BMK (Big Mexican Kisses)

    • Thank you, Isabel!  The humidity finally dropped to below 50% so I'm doing a little work on the dolls and then re-applying the seal... so far so good.  I'm on my third layer.  It does preserve the work you've done that you like, while letting you add more and if you mess up and have to remove any work...  you're not starting over, just down to whatever level you lasted sealed.  

      I think one of my problems was that I wasn't applying enough sealer... I did a heavier coat with the first one and it worked beautifully... and, trying to be more precise I been using lighter coats and it's not working as well.  I think we really need a good base coat of sealer, so, I'm doing several layers before I start...  and, again, I'm sealing as I go... so, I can keep adding color and get more intensity. 

      It's all trial and error, isn't it?  Wish we didn't have to re-invent the wheel here but maybe there is a method to this kind of learning... I'll certainly share whatever I discover...  I really appreciate your detail!!   

    • btw... I love this idea of working a little and then sealing the work... makes it a lot less nerve wrecking.  I hope there's no such thing as too much sealer on a face.... I've sealed about 5 times now and I have a couple more to go... we'll see. 

      And, while we're talking about face-ups... the eyelashes are the hardest part for me.  I thought the eyebrows would be the hardest but no, it's the lashes... I'm at the point now with the one I'm working on where all I have to add are the lashes and blush...   I realize I probably should have done the blush first but I didn't... next time. 

      I dislike that I'm not skillful enough to really plan a face paint... neither expression nor color is really something I control... unfortunately, it depends on how heavy my hand is or isn't.  I can easily imagine having to have hundreds of face-ups under my belt before I would begin to feel confident.  That's never going to happen with my limited resources but, if I manage to get a few cute dolls out of this, I'll be happy!  

    • Well dear, you already have a couple of cute ones. So it's just a matter of practice. I'm also resources limited since most of the material used for re-painting is not available in my country, so if I run out of Liquitex I might have to wait for 6 months or even more to get another bottle. But still, that should not stop us, ok...

      Longing to see your next work. 

    • Here are the three I've worked on for the last couple days... I'm going to let them dry for a good while and then I'll decide hair and clothes...  and then decent photographs!  I only have two more dolls I can paint and then I'm all out unless I take some of these finished dolls and start over!   I wiped one of them clean already and even with sealer her skin was a little stained... not sure how many times I can really redo them? And, I haven't seen anymore super cheap MH dolls on ebay... I got 5 naked (and rather dirty) dolls for $12.00 and they were all different!  

      I need to spend more time looking at eyes and eye color and maked up eyes... I've never used much make-up so I'm not very familiar with what looks good or enhances the eye.  Thank all that is good in the world for the internet... everything at my finger tips!!   Have a good night everyone!  

  • I've scoured the internet but all the tutorials leave out these and other little details and there aren't any opportunities for Q & A.  The humidity has been high lately and is high again today so I can do nothing but wait...  guess, it's a good day for more internet searches.  Would love to hear from the experts in here!

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