Monday 20 August 2018

Calina's Project ~ Photos + Video

Hey there, everyone!! If you follow my blog you know that I occasionally sew and post photos for my mom's doll, named Calina. Calina is actually an artist doll. The artist only made two of them due to resin casting limitations and issues, and so Calina had a lot of steampunk mods to cover those problems. However, the sealant on her body was really worn out and the body blushing had chipped everywhere.

So, after I painted my little dragons, I talked with my mom about the idea of working on Calina. Nevertheless, this project has literally taken me months to complete (I started in Late March, and finished in late June). It implied: unstringing, wiping the paint, cleaning, de-yellowing, cleaning again, painting, full-coverage sueding, stringing, and lingerie making.

It has been a really long journey, with lots of things going on the middle, but I hope you will like to see this summary. I've been posting a lot of WIPs to my Instagram stories, but here is a very long but hopefully interesting video summarizing everything. My idea was for this to work as a tutorial as well.

There are more info under the cut, so I hope you'll find this useful!

De-Yellowing Bath

There are a lot of methods for deyellowing, and I honestly don't know how this would work on a tan doll. What I used in the video are the following elements:
  • Sodium Bicarbonate -aka baking soda.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide, of 40 volumes. I got this on a hair-products store, as this thing is used for bleaching hair. It is available in more volumes, but the more volumes you get, the harsher it is. The sales-guy told me "the 100 volumes thing is poison!". So be careful with what you get.
  • Bleaching gloves. You cannot cotton or fabric gloves, as your hands will get wet, and you really do not want to get wet with this. Regular gloves (those purchased in a pharmacy) are not safe either. Purchase gloves used for bleaching hair, and if they are big, use rubber bands or masking tape to make them stay put.
Doing a little chemistry, the mix yields Sodium Hydroxide, Carbon Dioxide and water. The Hydrogen Peroxide is not acidic, it is caustic, and the mix with the alkaline baking soda results in something that cleans and whitens really nicely. Some whitening toothpaste have this mix!

By experience I can tell you that you really do not want this thing touching your skin. It was summer when I started the project, and without noticing, a little of the mix went into my forearm. I didn't notice right away, but two minutes later I started feeling like a spot in my forearm was exponentially burning. I rushed to the bathroom to clean it with abundant soap, but I ended up with a rush that itched a lot, and that remained really red for almost two days. So be careful. And wear clothes that you don't mind ruining.

Granted that the sealant was a little yellow, but she went from vainilla to a nice mellow cream white. But she was casted with many bubbles, and this bath made them really noticeable. So that is something to be aware of, in case you are doing this on a B-Grade doll.

By the way, the aepoxy is resistant to the mix and you can put it there. The cogs and gears she had were also resistant. However, remember to wash the doll with soap after this. I don't know how this mix would react with the sealant, honestly.

Faceup & Repaint

Here comes an anecdote! We (mum & I) purchased three cans of Testors Dullcote, just to be on the safe side. First, we had issues with the money transference (we bought from a local hobby store in another city), and had to wait ten days for the money to be moved. Then, it happened that the store-guy had not checked his stock correctly, and he mistook the gloss cans with the Dullcote cans. He only had two Dullcote, when we had paid and agreed for three! So, we had to wait around three weeks for him to get his supplies back, and then ship the three cans.

I ended up using around 2 1/2 cans of Testors Dullcote, and I double checked to put two layers before everything, and three layers after everything. The only parts with no sealant at all, are the head-caps.

Oh! And don't get me started on the eyebrows and eyelashes. After my mom's first rejection (the brows were too curvy) I painted a whole A4 paper with brows pairs, trying to practice the perfect shape. In the end, I think they looked cute! And yes, after 5 years of being in the hobby, gluing eyelashes is still a PITA, and it still felt like doing an open-heart surgery!

Full-Coverage Sueding

I have most of my dolls with hot-glue done. However, after a while, the hot-glue becomes sticky, the joints sort of "stick" together, and if a doll is blushed, when that happens the hot-glue peels off a little of the sealant. Not a good thing after I spent a week and a half (literally) painting this girl. So I decided to go ahead and do full-coverage sueding. This is also known as pliver-sueding.

What you basically do, is use fabric glue instead of hot-glue, and you glue suede or fabric to the concave parts of the joints. Many porcelain or artist BJDs comes with this. Good thing is that it does not peel off the blushing, and your fingers are not in risk of being burnt out in the process. Bad thing is that it is a lot of work, and that you might not be able to find a leather that is thin enough and white enough; also, the joints might not sit perfectly and it may be visible.

However, I preferred that to having the blushing peeled off, so I asked for help on Instagram. I was suggested a tutorial, and also directed to another owner who did this.
I completely forgot to take photos of Calina's sueding, but you can see it on the video. However, here are some very blurry snapshots of it, taken from the video. Please, excuse the quality!

Final Photos

I sort of... have a new dragon, and had to buy her eyes. So I offer my mom's to split shipping so she could get some eyes for Calina's open-eye head. We purchased some customs eyes from Shrike Aesthetics (you can read the interview here). I'll be posting a review of the eyes very soon, and hopefully Calina will finally "awake".

And that was all for today! This was a very, very long project, but I'm really happy with the result. Especially and mostly because my mom loved how Calina turned out, and secondly because I really learned a lot from this. I hope that my experience is useful to anyone reading this, and I wish you the best for this week! :D

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer. And if you want to support me, you can invite me a coffee!


  1. Big congrats on getting her done. It looks and sounds like such a huge amount of work that I know I would never attempt it. You are very brave indeed! I've seen photos of artist dolls with full-coverage sueding; they all had bits of fabric sticking out at all the joints. I hardly see any fabric on yours, which means you did an excellent job. Great work!

    1. Thank you so much!! It was a lot of work, but I think it turned out nice!
      The full-coverage sueding was hard to make, and a lot of work, but I think it works great, actually.

  2. Calina is so beautiful! It really seems like a lot of work, so congrats on getting her cleaned and in good shape again. Well done!

    1. Thank you, dear!! She is!!
      And I'm happy my mom is happy with her as well :D

  3. oh my god, a huge job, but the result is great. Calina is very beautiful. I congratulate you for undertaking such a great task. It was worth it. She was very good. Congratulations.

    1. It was! I'm happy you like the result, honestly :D

  4. Que bonita está, ha envejecido con gracia y la tienes muy linda

    1. ¡Muchas gracias! Igual todo este proceso fue para mejorarle la resina y quitarle el "envejecimiento", digamos. Y todo el maquillaje es nuevo.