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Armature to Art Doll Part 2 by Magweno Armature to Art Doll Part 2 by Magweno
Part two!
Part one: [link]

Special thanks:

Notable links:
Mark Dennis: [link]
Sandra Arteaga Dolls: [link]
Jack Johnston Artdolls: [link]

UK Online supplies:
Mohair Bear Making Supplies: [link]
Lakeland Fly Tying: [link]

I hope this tutorial helped you, if you make a creature with it then please please send me a link to it! I'd love to see what comes of this!

is a group I have started to bring together all the incredible art dolls found on this brilliant 'site! If you have a doll, need some help or just want some inspiration then swing by and have a look!


What is Fimo?
Fimo is a polymer clay (meaning it's plastic based) which is baked in a standard home oven at 110C for half an hour to cure it. It feels a little like elasticy play-dough when fresh and sets hard when baked.
Other affordable craft polymer clays are Sculpey and Primo, you can use both of these for this tutorial quite happily.

Can I use another type of clay for my doll?
You could use air drying clay too. That would be fine, just skip the parts about the oven!

I don't have pin heads, what do I use for eyes?
You can use beads, marbles, bits of Fimo rolled and cooked earlier (remember Fimo doesn't need to be baked as long if it's thin/small) etc. Anything round, really! *MaryBunnie uses "Czech glass drop" beads and loves them.

I know, it's frustrating! It's also hard to know if you have the right one as there is such a lack of distinction in florists. If it feels papery then it's right, if it feels smooth and is shiney then it's wrong. If you're buying online then try to look for 'stemwind'. If you're not buying online then look in Poundland (in Britain), local florists, gardening centers, haberdasheries and anywhere that sells fake or real flowers, they will usually have some.

I hate floral tape!!
That's fine, it's not for everyone, if you honestly can't stand it (or can't find it) then you could also use masking tape, but it's stiff nature could be even more frustrating. If both masking tape and floral tape send you into a frenzy then you can also go ahead and not use either! It just means the fimo won't stick to the wire and could prove even more frustrating... :D

What gauge wire do you use?
I don't know! (That's helpful isn't it :giggle:)
I used to buy my wire in my Universities art supplies shop and it didn't have the gauge marked on it, or the material (zinc, aluminium etc) If you're buying in that sort of situation then use your own judgement to decide on the best wire for you. If you're making a large doll, you will need a strong wire. If you are making a small and delicate doll then you'll need a smaller wire! I use a mix for my dolls, thick for the armatures and thin for the wings.
Recently I moved home and there aren't any craft stores here, so I have to get creative with my suppliers! My local gardening center sells gardening wire, for tying up trees and other established plants, and I use that for the armatures. It is a LOT stiffer but also harder to nick and therefore lasts longer. So far it's working excellently, but I do have to use pliers to form it.

What gauge jewelry wire do you use?
Once again, I don't know. I would say it's a medium gauge. It comes on a spool, it's cheap, I used to use copper but now I use... Well it's gold in colour, so it could be brass! I'm not sure! You just have to go to your supplier and see what they have.
A helpful hint: my supplier also stocks floral tape and the wire I use and the tape are next to each other - this means the wire could also be that wire you get for putting in flowers to form them. Try looking in a florist.

What gauge are the tubes?
3/32" or 2.4mm aluminium tubes.

Where can I get good fur?
I buy my fur from Mohair Bear Making Supplies, who are a British company who order their fur from Germany (some of it anyway). Sometimes if they don't have what I want (a rare occurrence!) then I go to Christie Bears. If you are shopping online then look for teddy bear supply websites, they usually have the highest quality fur.
You can go to haberdasheries and look at their fur, I sometimes go to a dressmakers supplies store as they stock soft furs for bridal capes and things.
If you live in America then I'm told Jo Anns and Michaels often have nice fur. Also try Etsy, there are a number of sellers on there. ~mammalfeathers buys her fur in scrap packs from a supplier on Etsy and loves it, as the mixed variety inspire new designs.

What can I use to make the pattern?
You can use any cottony fabric you can find. Old pillow-cases, old t-shirts, I use the lining of some curtains that were being thrown out of my old house. They were huge so it's lasting me a long time! (It also means all my patterns are spotty which is quite nice.)
I have also used newspaper a few times to make patterns, or just newsprint paper, and measured the doll instead of wrapping the fabric around it.

How do you dye fur?
.... *deep breath*
Faux fur is impossible to dye. I have tried hundreds of methods and read through hundreds more tutorials, and everything is kind of half baked. Essentially the plastic that makes the fur doesn't take dye but does stain, so there are methods like sharpie dying or acrylic washes. (*thedreamwolf used copics to colour Afalon's mane!)
However I have found personally that sharpie dying is very expensive and acrylic washes make the fur go 'crispy'. If I have to do markings on a doll I will use Dylon Fabric Paints. What I do is take a small amount on a paintbrush and brush it very softly onto the fur, making sure there aren't any globs, then brush it more vigorously with a nail brush.
The fur stays very soft, maybe not as soft as the original fur, but compared to dyeing with acrylics and sharpies it's a lot better. Of course the more paint you put on then the 'stickier' it gets. Also Dylon fabric paints are heat set so it means if the fur gets wet at any point then it's going to be ruined (but it would be ruined whether or not it had paint on it!).
Of course you can use RIT dyes on natural materials like mohair, but I think mohair fur is pretty gross! I tried using it on faux fur and it doesn't work of course, it just dyed the backing of the fabric.
*WoodSplitterLee uses Tulip fabric spray paint to colour her dolls, which she bought in Michaels, but Britain doesn't have a Michaels so I haven't tried them yet. Tins of fabric spray paint are available from a number of suppliers but they're too expensive for me to buy for the dolls at the moment.
My best advice is to just buy fur in the colour you need! I know that's useless but it really is something that should be considered. However I always buy short pile almond coloured fur and it takes the dye very well.

How do you make wings?
That's a secret! ;) If you've got this far and made a doll I'm sure you can work out a method using your knew found knowledge.

How do you stick feathers on?
Using hot glue primarily but recently I've been using fabri-tac (it's an American product and expensive to buy over here but I found some and tried it out! Turns out it's exactly the same as UHU glue, or bostik multi-purpose glue.)
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thevioletduchess Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thank you for putting this out there. I have been researching and getting glimpses of how to make the armature, but nothing this complete. You really filled in some gaps.
DemiDemon82 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2017
Thank you so much for this tutorial!! I've been itching to make my first posable doll. I've done his head but had no idea about how to sort his fur out. Sending mahoosive hugs. Just want to add you're an amazing artist and a real inspiration xx
Crystalheart9 Featured By Owner Edited Jan 7, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awwww, I could hug you for this tutorial.  I've been wanting to create my own fabulous art doll and had no idea what so ever how to put it together.  Thank you so much for all your hard work creating this very informative tutorial:hug:  Your griffin turned out beautiful.
Foxbriar Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2017
Great tutorial!  I can't wait to give this a go, especially when I get to the KitKat and Guinness part!  It was a Guinness ..right??  This tutorial makes this project much less daunting and I have most of the I'm going for it!!!
Thank you!!!
DragonTheOverlander Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I have been looking for a good quality, legitimate tutorial ALL OVER the web. But alas, I could not find one. But NOW I found this one, which is MEGA AWESOME!!!!!! Lol

In the past, I made some kind of ugly looking dragons. Well, the first one and second one were ugly, but the rest of them were a bit better. But, I have been using wool roving on them instead of fur because I found out the hard way, that if you make the creature too small, or you put too much wadding on it, the fur makes it look too fat and disproportional. That's why I've been using wool roving. And, I was never good at making patterns so the fabric would either hang loosely, or it would be too small, and I'd have to keep cutting random pieces to sew on to make it fit. °~°

But now, I've found your tutorial, and your style of making patterns is easy, has less seams, and anyone can do it. So thank you, your tutorial has helped me out big time, and I made my first furry critter. Its a spotted griffin, (fake fur) with paws in back, and talons in front. Also, I used white chicken feathers on the wings with gold painted on the tips.

Totally awesome. Full to the brim with creativity.
RaptorRemixed Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I got mad and ate a rock

smashfold Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you for this :)

One of the awful thing about being an artist is, as you say in your first tutorial, "I want to make one of those!" comes straight after admiration. Ive been making plushies since seeing them online, but now I've started I've become enamoured of this slightly more earthy and magical art doll. I can't wait to give this a try.
Mi-chan785 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2015
thisi s sooo cool!
Keldain Featured By Owner May 25, 2015
Thank you for sharing! :)
evangeline40003 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2015  Student
Thank you so so so much for these tutorials!! I never even thought to look for them for some reason but always wanted to learn how to make stuff like this~ I am so excited now, thank you!! :D :hug:
XenoBaby Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
this is amazing. thank you so much for sharing. ive been looking everywhere for some kind of tutorial on how to put fur on the sculpted pieces. i want to make a character from my dungeons and dragons game i play frequently.  
Hoshiiyo Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much :D 
Lost-in-the-day Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014  Professional General Artist
Yay for part 2, just as awesome as part 1!
christafinias Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks for sharing your tutorials, very kind of you!
AmethystCreatures Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Student General Artist
Just wanted to note, if anyone wants to make their doll softer but not lose the armature's stiffness, you can wrap wool or I use pipe cleaners around the aluminium wire so that you cannot feel the wire through your toy stuffing and faux fur! It also has extra wire in the pipe cleaners for extra support! :3

Violet OOAK Poseable Doll 5 (Comp) by Twisted-Distance  
Scyther-X Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I made my little zucchini with the help of this!…
Thank you! :D
Magweno Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
:D What a cutie! Congrats!
Scyther-X Featured By Owner May 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks :)
stolen-foxes Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
This was done so professionally!  You did a great job at explaining some very  complicated things.  I found it easy to understand and very helpful-thank you so much!
LunaticPandaAura Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014
Thank you so much for posting a tutorial!!!! :D
Ive wanted to make posable creatures for a while, i had a vague idea of how to begin but now i know all the fine tuning. Now at least i can make the attempt. thank you thank you thank you!!
Magweno Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
:) Good luck!
FluffyGerbil Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Student General Artist
It seems like forever since I've started searching for tutorials on this, I'm so greatful I found this! I will have to try this now, thanks!!! Wish me luck lol
Kathryn-Knette Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been terribly interested in this art for YEARS, but I never could find anything close to this (I think the time I was really looking was the same time you took these tutorials down). All I could really do was buy an amazingly expensive doll to tear apart. I never actually did that, but I did eventually just lose hope and let the awesome artists who could somehow conjure these creatures have their fun.
I'm not the best, and I usually need a push along with some inspiration in order to really start these projects. It was a couple of days ago now that I stumbled across your tutorial, and it opened a whole new world for me. Now I'm only a couple of steps away from completing my first pet (which I will proudly show off, but also return credit), and I can't stop thinking about new, unique ideas (that I'm surprised I haven't seen some sort of variation of). I've learned a ton and am already trying to develop my own style and processes with the first creature.

Thank you so much for being so generous. I realize these types of things don't always work out (being someone who wants to be paid for her work, but is also too caring to accept money for help, I can relate), but I'm sure the light of the situation shines brighter than the dark.

Keep being so great. Without people like you, this world would suck on some royal levels.
Magweno Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
Good luck! 
Kathryn-Knette Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
doglover589346 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014
This is awesome thank you.
katagro Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014   Artist
awesome!!!Heart - Free  thank you much Frozen - HUG! 
Spider-Lass Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014  Student General Artist
So I'm making Kitty Pryde's dragon, Lockheed, who does not have fur, what should I use for skin?
Magweno Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
Ohh you could use cotton or fake leather
StormOwlArt Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
is there another word for "wadding"? :)
Magweno Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
batting, quilt batting
StormOwlArt Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you! :hug:
StormOwlArt Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh, and also (sorry for all the questions!) what is "dark brown wash" for bringing the details in the face?

thanks! :hug:
BloodyMizz Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
i don't understand how i can make them moveable?
Magweno Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Did you real the first part? That has all the info on how to build the armature :)
Hama-Girl Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for directing me to your tutorial, it's so so informative. Best thing I've found on the net, since wood splitter lee (another doll maker on here who is madly popular, annoyingly so really) doesn't even respond to notes. Frigid :/

I just had one question though: about the fur supplier, mohair bear making supplies. You say that the fur is reasonably priced, what's reasonable to you, since you have experience in buying things like this? How much fur did you need on your Griffin in the tutorial? I don't think I want to spend 40 on a square metre, but I can't find long pile fur anywhere else :(

I think he looks great, by the way :D

Magweno Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I think 6 is very reasonable for a quarter meter - minky is 7 for a full meter and that is CHEAP at I've been paying 30 for half meters of the good stuff lately (haha sounds like a drug!)
Hama-Girl Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Is that how much you need? Just a quarter meter? It looks like more than that :O

Well I guess if you're doing it as a business it's worthwhile paying more for better stuff since you'll get a return on it- but I don't wanna do that, I can't afford to spend too much on this. But at the same time, I want it to look
Magweno Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Sometimes I only buy an eighth, you really don't need much for a small doll.

Yep you gotta balance it out. Quality and budget. I have to do that with people who don't want to spend much on an art doll, there are lots of cheap furs that look and feel great! It also depends on what you THINK is good, if you like how it looks and feels well- you're making it for you so it doesn't matter what other people think :) the fur in this tutorial is cheap as chips, it was like 12 a meter I think? But I loved it at the time. I still use it for bits and pieces (three years on and I still haven't finished the original meter!)
Hama-Girl Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aaaah right that's great ^_^ I'll try and figure out how much that is without a tape measure paha ^_^;

I'm a perfectionist, I'll want that fur to be as nice as possible for the lowest price aha xDD

I looked on that website you suggested,, but I couldn't actually find any fur on it u.u
Magweno Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
plushaddict sells minky ("Shannon smooth" they call it) which is a very short, cheap fur. it's a 2mm pile or something, I use it for the jackalopes, gryphons, abdabs and other small things I've been producing lately. is best for small amounts of reasonably priced fur, look under 'the fabric room/faux furs', they have sizes on there too. you can get 1/16th of a yard of really good quality fur for 5.55 there

Hama-Girl Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh great, thanks so much! When I looked at your tutorial again today I realised the scale of your griffin- I have the same music manuscript book he's resting on, and I know how big he is now haha- I was asking about fur sizes because in my mind he looked about 5 feet long haha!
Magweno Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
haha oh my goodness, sorry I never did mention scale did I ^_^ He was about 10" long ish, I generally work at a 6" scale from chest to butt
(1 Reply)
Magweno Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
That makes me so mad. I answered a butt load of Lees questions when she first found my doll, Vindur, then the second she got popular she switched off and took all the credit. If I'm honest she was the reason I took the tutorials down , I was so pissed about it. :/

I buy small amounts and scrap bags, you definitely don't need a meter for the griffon in the tutorial. I used maybe 20x20cm. If you make the cotton pattern and measure it you can find out how much you need, MBMS only take a day or two to post out (USUALLY - recently they've been really dreadful.)
Hama-Girl Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Really!! God, that's awful! I see why you took them down then, that makes a lot of sense..!

It's so unfair, she makes thousands of dollars a month off that and she just doesn't even respond to her followers, I don't get it. Seems so insular. :S

Oh you answered here about the fur. Oops ahaha.

Thanks so much for your help ^_^ Feel so privileged to be able to talk to a professional about it ^_^
Magweno Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I understand, I make thousands of pounds a month from my work with art dolls and sometimes it gets really hectic keeping up with orders and finding enough time in the day to make dolls,package and post dolls, take photos, edit photos then come home and write listings, then reply to emails about customs, THEN spend time with my family and doing chores and cooking supper, looking after pets, doing my accounts, the list goes on and on! Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day to reply to comments and emails asking how you make art dolls. it's such a specialised and involved process and to tell one person every thing I know about it could fill a book. BUT I do think that giving people a starting push can be so helpful, and there are two or three artists I will ALWAYs admire and respect for giving me their time and knowledge on subjects they are experts at. =SovaeArt and ~mammalfeathers are two. :)
I do understand why some artist don't reply to messages, there are lots of reasons not to, but I tried it and just felt like a horrible person. So I take time out during my lunch hour and when I'm taking a break to do something I enjoy and reply to comments and notes. It makes it a lot easier when it's nice people like you who ask politely haha, some people can be so rude and just demand an answer as if it's their right. Not the best way to make friends.
Eviecats Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013
I wish I could like a comment on da, because you so hit the nail on the head :heart:  =)
Magweno Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Hama-Girl Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can imagine it's really hectic- but hey, at least you're doing a job that you can really enjoy, must beat sitting in an office somewhere ;)

Maybe you should write a book aha! Get into publishing as well then, as if you didn't put a long enough jobs list in that message! :')

Oh it really is so helpful, thank you so much for giving me this time to just finish off the questions I had- I feel prepared and ready to take on a small piece of the posable doll world now! *determined face*..right as soon as I've got all my materials together, which right now is just needles and thread paha! But I do have my sculpey on its way to me in the mail ^_^

Oh gosh I know u.u I set up this dA account to make pixel art grids so cross stitchers and minecraft pixel art people could make stuff like pokemon easier as I know there are no patterns out there and not everyone thinks to stick the grid function on in paint to do it...I do it all for free and don't ever charge anything unless it's my own original work, but there are some people that are just so rude, they think it's their god given right to have free art from you..pah! Better not get me started on that, I might not stop >.<
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