What is a BJD? FAQ

BJD is an acronym that stands for 'Ball Jointed Doll'. This are dolls articulated with balls and socket joints, that are strung with elastic. While the first ones were German, currently, we use the term BJD to truly refer to the ABJD -where the 'A' means Asian-, a more modern type of doll that are casten in polyuretan syntetic resin, and come in many sizes and styles.

This new style was started by Volks Co., a japanese toy company, around 2002. After that, many companies started making their own line of dolls, and currently, South Korea is the home to most of this companies and brands. China also has many factories, and recently many individual artists have started to appear on the scene, mostly from France and Spain.

Companies vs Artists

While we refer to this brands as 'companies', this dolls are far from being mass-produced, and the 'companies' tend to be 2~5 persons, with the biggest one having around 20 employees. BJDs are individually casted, and need a lot of atention in the process -for example, if the resin is not properly 'cured' the tension of the elastic can produce warping and deformations. Also, the resin is toxic in dust form, and once breathed, it allocates on the lungs were the particles cannot be dissolved by the organism.

Also, the curing and producing of resin is highly related to the weather, humidity and other uncontrollable factors. This are not 'toys' but pieces of arts and thus, are expensive. While there is a huge variety in price, the most current number is around $300 (in USD).

Customization

A really interesting factor of this hobby, is the customization available for the dolls. Starting by the 'skin color', many brands offer several tones to choose: paper-white, normal, butterish, tan, ebony... and even fantasy colors as gray, purples, blues, and more. That availability depends on the company and sometimes, the events they hold.
The face of the dolls can be repainted, and that is called 'face-up': you can add blush, eyebrows, eyelashes, shadow, and more. There are currently several skilled faceup artists that you can commission to paint your doll. Also, companies tend to offer 'default' faceups for their dolls, if you want to get one ready.
Eyes and wigs are changeable, and you can choose sizes, styles, colors... And then, the clothing, the idea of making background stories for them, and more.

Sizes

There are currently many sizes in the market, and while many people label them with the original Volks' brand names, I prefer using the numeric and generic values:
  • 1/3 (or SD) are dolls around 60cm to 80cm tall. They tend to be mature like, have the most variety, and are also the most expensive.
  • 1/4 (or mini, or MSD) are dolls between 40cm and 47cm tall. They used to be childish, but we are gladly moving onto 'mature minis', a tendency that I particularly love.
  • 1/6 (or YoSD) are dolls between 20cm and 35cm tall.
  • 1/12 or Tiny, are dolls of less than 20cm, with the most popular size being 16cm. They have a lot of dioramas (doll rooms) available! 

Companies/Brands

Currently there are so many, but here are my all time favorite brands:
I also strongly suggest to get an invitation to DoA (Den of Angels, the world's biggest international BJD forum) and check the following sites:


For the following picture, I talked to Dearmine and they allowed me to use the image. She is an "anthro" type doll: half animal, half human. This are really nice dolls too, and also BJD.

Dearmine Diana, basic edition. Sold by Dearmine.
Click image to go to the sells page.