I was very excited when I received the Art Dolls as the next design challenge. For a while, I have been wanting to enlarge some of the recycled jewellery pieces I design to make them into wall art, so my mind leapt straight to that idea. An epiphany in the night made me think of the using Powertex Sand and Balls for the Red Queen’s hair and I knew I just had to go with one of my all-time favourite themes of Wonderland. I wanted to play with the juxtaposition of the youthful Alice fresh full of ideas that seem new and the older Red Queen seemingly more powerful but chained to time and her cage full of belongings. I also wanted my work to have an overall silver feel to symbolise a galvanised archetypal story but themed Alice in Pale Blue & Silver and the Red Queen in Red & Gold. They share the colours in their heart as there is a little bit of Alice and Queen in us all.
- Doll MDF Cut Outs – I used both available dolls & keys and saved the wings for another project.
- Dusty Attic chipboards of your choice. I used “Wonderland”.
- Powertex Universal Medium. Colour of your choice. I used Blueish Grey.
- Stone Art
- Balls – Medium
- Easy Coat Varnish – Glossy
- Colourtrix colours of your choice. I used white silver, blue lustre and red pearl.
- Two small Styrofoam Hearts
From your useful box:
- Broken jewellery pieces, charms, earrings, chain or any bits and bobs that ﬁt the Wonderland theme or colour scheme.
- Mixing Bowl
- Paint Brushes (one for Powertex Universal Medium and one for colours)
- Lids for Palette (or alfoil)
- Palette Knife, skewers, ﬂat spatula
- Clay Roller
- Silicone Moulds – I used faces & roses. Pre-made plaster faces available from the website.
- Washing up Container or cleaning
- Gloves, Chux Cloth, Paper towel
- Gladwrap (to wrap Stone Art and to cover opened Powertex bottles) & Air-tight container to store clay.
Step One – Design Layout
- For design ideas Surf the Internet and Pinterest for Alice in Wonderland images.
- Layout pieces to test design ideas.
- Collect the necessary Powertex products and equipment and set up plastic workspace area.
As with all my artwork, my initial collection of idea materials form a skeleton plan and I am happy to abandon materials or ﬁnd new ones as the art piece progresses.
Step Two – Make Plaster Pieces
- Mix Plaster as per directions on the pack and pour into your chosen moulds.
- In this project, I made a rose plaster for the backing of the box behind the Red Queen’s Dress and plaster faces.
- Premade plaster faces and face moulds are available from www.bagendstudio.net
Step Three – Build the Red Queen’s Hair Form
- Using alfoil create two ball shapes and then join them together.
- Cover the alfoil with masking tape and attach to the MDF Doll Form.
Step Four – Seal the MDF Doll Pieces
- With a paint brush seal the Red Queen and Alice pieces with the Blueish Grey Powertex Universal Medium
Step Five – Make the Red Queen’s Hair
- While the Red Queen’s Hair Form is still wet with Powertex, dip it into a bowl of Sand and Balls – Medium, making sure the ‘hair’ is well covered.
- Re-paint the Red Queen with the Powertex Universal Medium, sealing in the balls.
- Make sure all the Queen MDF Cut Out Pieces and Styrofoam heart are sealed on both sides.
Step Six – Make Stone Art Clay
- In a bowl with a medium amount of grey Powertex Universal Medium (approx. 1 cup), add Stone Art (approx. 1 cup) and mix with a flat spatula.
- Keep adding small handfuls of Stone Art until it forms a kneadable dough like mixture that no longer sticks to the bowl or your gloves. Remove the sticky ball and add a little more Stone Art to the bowl to ‘flour’ the ball. Knead until the clay can be pushed into a textured surface and be removed again without sticking.
- Wrap the ball in glad wrap followed by a wet chux cloth and then pop it in an airtight container for later.
Step Seven – Create the Red Queen’s Bodice
- Roll out enough stone art clay to cover the Bodice Section making sure you leave the holes exposed
- Stamp a texture into the clay (use stamp, texture plates, anything that will create an impression)
- Paint the back of the Styrofoam heart with Powertex Universal Medium and push it into the stone art clay.
Step Eight – Build the Box for behind the Red Queen’s Dress
- Roll out enough stone art clay to cover the dress skirt of the Red Queen’s Dress, plus a lip that can be folded up to create an open box.
- Embed collected found objects into the clay. I used my rose plaster on the base, an old rabbit brooch, a clock face & lock charm, Dusty Attic Alice In Wonderland Chipboard pieces, a Tanqueray gin bottle seal, a heart puffy stamp from a craft section. Some I Powertex and some I glued or Stone Arted in.
- I’ve added a picture here of the box contents after embellishing with Colourtrix in Step 10 to illustrate.
Step Nine – Create Alice’s Dress and Attach Face and Hair
- Roll out enough stone art clay to cover the dress of Alice. In this piece, only three quarters was covered because I didn’t have want to make any more clay. Simply press it onto your MDF cut out, stamp it, or use clay tools to fashion garments. Be careful to leave the holes in the shoulders as you still need to attach the arms.
- Using the Styrofoam heart, the plaster face and the Dusty Attic Chippies (I used the wonderland pieces here), paint them with the universal Powertex medium on the back and set them in their desired locations. If they are in the clay you can push them into the clay a bit. Once positioned. Paint the front.
- To make the hair, cut off a length of Powercotton and tie a bow in the middle to help secure it. Place the Powercotton into your gloved palm and using a paint brush apply the Powertex universal medium. This is a little time consuming but it keeps the Powercotton flat so you can easily position it onto your MDF Cut out. Flatten out the hair at the back of your piece, then lay flat onto a plastic covered surface. Using skewers position the hair into place again be careful not to cover the shoulder holes. Sometimes it is easier to move the hair around when it has dried a little (approx. 30mins).
Step Ten – Colourtrix Red Queen and Alice Pieces
- Pour a small amount of Easy Coat Glossy or Easy Varnish into a lid/palette.
- Palette out the metallic Colourtrix pigments of your choice.
- I used White Silver for both dolls and Pearl Red for the Red Queen and Blue Lustre for Alice.
- With a very dry brush take up a small amount of the Glossy Easycoat Varnish into the brush tips and criss-cross your brush onto the palette to load the varnish into your brush.
- Pick up a small amount of the White Silver and criss-cross your brush with it into the palette to create a metallic paint. Apply into areas you wish to become silver, however, when you have used up nearly all the colour on your brush, apply carefully to the plaster face (unless you want a strong silver colour). It is always easier to build colour than remove it, however, a tiny amount of your lead grey Powertex can remove blotches you don’t like. Repeat process for other colours as desired.
Step Eleven – Assemble Doll and Embellish with Found Objects or Jewellery
- Using craft or jewellery wire fashion loops for the holes in the shoulders, arms and forearms.
- Join the loops together or attach small pieces of jewellery chain in-between (I used recycled pieces of chain here and decided to go with gold for the Queen and silver for Alice.
- Use your own found objects and broken jewellery pieces to further embellish your piece. The loops on the end of Alice’s dress were perfect to hang charms from.
- I used both keys from the two MDF Doll Cut Outs as the feet for the Red Queen and attached jewellery wire.
Step Twelve – Attach the Box Behind the Red Queen’s Dress.
- Using Stone Art clay. Create a sausage that fits the perimeter of the box and corresponding Red Queen Dress.
- Paint the top of the box with a little bit of Powertex universal medium – lead grey. Lay the sausage carefully onto the top of the edge of the box making sure the loops of the key legs have a little space either side.
- Paint the back of the Red Queen’s Dress with a little bit of Powertex universal medium – lead grey and lie the Red Queen on top and squeeze together very gently.
- Use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process if necessary, however, it will set quite firmly overnight and fully cure within 3 weeks.
Eventually, I will mount these onto a mirror – through the looking glass.
You could mount on a stand or attach a d-hook on the back as illustrated in my Boho Violin and Eostre Blogs and hang them on your wall.
I Hope you enjoy creating your own
Art Dolls. See you next time Natalie P.