Category Archives: Dolls

Met the spooky spool doll family!

It’s this time of the year again. I am in Halloween mode again and after the success I had with my paper clay art dolls (Thank you, they are almost sold out!!) I decided to make something else.

I found these wooden vintage thread spools I got from my grandmother and thrifty stores and set out to make a new set of Kokeshi art dolls.

I started out choosing the best spools, and then I glued wooden heads to them. I like how they look with their huge heads and their whimsical air.

Then, I sketch out who will they be with pencil and wait for the glue to dry.

And while they are drying, it’s time to try out different outfits! That’s a very fun part! Paper hats, vintage fabrics, crepe paper, tinsel and what not I find in the studio.

This year, I upped my game with them. Their faces are not only hand painted, but also carved out with fire. Each doll has a custom face I drew, burnt and painted to make each other very special.

Then, cones the painting. Following the lines I used to draw the faces, I paint each one them. very carefully with my fine brushes and artist’s paints, each doll has a very special personality.

Then, the dressing! Yay! Each doll has their own outfit designed according to their personality. Some are whimsical, some spooky, and all of them are made with lots of Love.

The final details, their paper hats. And now they are off to their official photoshoot before they are ready to be adopted.

Do you like them? I do! And looking how humble materials like vintage spool threads, wood spheres, little pompoms, paint and collage paper become art dolls makes me very happy.

Now, meet the entire family on my online gallery and art shop, danitaart.com

Happy Halloween!

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It’s all about Frida!

Danita handmade Kokeshi Art Doll Kawaii Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera

I was reorganizing the studio looking for materials to start making new art dolls, and then I found a box full of kokeshi doll bodies I forgot about. So, what did I do? Fridas!

I made a pair of super cute kokeshi dolls as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the famous artistic couple. Frida is a source of inspiration for me, and since I recently visited their homes in Mexico city, a homage to them was in order.

The original set sold immediately, and I got requests for more sets of these adorable handmade kokeshi art dolls. So, here they are. I still have a few unpainted bodies to share with you.Danita Art Handmade Kokeshi Kawaii Art Dolls Frida Kahlo Diego RiveraLet’s go from unfinished bodies to a beautiful set of hand painted kokeshi art dolls, customized with your favorite colors to match your personality and decoration. What do you say? Will you get a set for you?

But I did not stop there… and I really don’t think I can make them any smaller than this.

In the box I found the original kokeshi bodies I found a few sets of tiny kokeshi doll bodies! I was on a roll and I took my finest brushes to make a few sets of micro Frida and Diego sets.

They measure just a little less than one inch tall (2.5cm), and they are adorable! If you like tiny things (I do!) you are going to love them… just see how huge a regular pencil looks next to them. It looks like I have a giant pencil laying around the studio.

The sets are only $35.00 each and I only have 4 of them. If you are interested, better head to my shop and choose your favorite!

Danita Art Frida Kahlo mixed media painting blue house pop surrealist

I also made a painting too! A commissioned Frida with a house in her hands.

I had this commission almost finished when I made the dolls, so it felt like cheating when I added it to the newsletter… but then she is so beautiful it’s hard to resist not sharing her, right?

She is available as a signed paper print and mounted wood blocks here.

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The music lover

My love for music brought me to create this art doll. Paula loves music, and she has hundreds of records that she plays in her vintage gramophone.

Her face is sculpted by hand in paper clay, then painted with mixed media techniques to give her glass eyes a lovely and melancholic expression that has little bit of Danita’s soul in it.

Her hair is made with dyed wool, braided and styled just for her. Her clothes are also hand made, with little pockets in her dress where she can put her hands if she gets cold.

And then, last but not least, her gramophone! It’s totally hand made, and it plays “Memories” when you turn the crank. It’s so lovely!

She is waiting to go home with you and then share her vintage vinyl records with you in a rainy afternoon.

 

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All about little red riding hood

Danita Art Doll WIP Work in progress art doll paper clay head faceYou already know what happens when I get obsessed with a theme, right? I will not stop until I am utterly and completely satisfied with exploring every option and technique about it.

This past days my obsession has taken me to work with Little red riding hood, and I have been watercolor paintings, paper dolls, classes, and now, an art doll.

Little red riding hood art doll handmade paper clay Danita ArtWorking with her all night, I just had to add her to my ever growing collection of art dolls. Each one of them holds a little piece of my soul, and I just love making them. Now, Little red riding hood is looking for a home! Go and see more of her on my online shop!

MEET LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

Buy maybe a doll is not what you were looking for? How about an original painting inspired by little red riding hood? I have one for you!

Danita watercolor little red riding hood original painting

I made here while I was in the forest last month, filming my latest online tutorial “Sketching in the woods” where I teach you how to paint a little red riding hood watercolor portrait just like this one.

SEE THE WATERCOLOR PAINTING

 

SIGN UP FOR THE PAINTING CLASS

And then, last, but not least… A little red riding hood paper doll! I have been working on this original paintings turned into poseable dolls.Poesable art doll template DIY paper crafts project by DanitaNow you can create your own with my downloadable pattern. It’s ready to be printed, colored and assembled so you can have you very own Danita Paper doll.

GET A DOWNLOADABLE DOLL PATTERN

I hope you liked what I have been doing with little red riding hood. Let me know in the comments section what you think and which one of the little red riding hood girls is your favorite!

Hand painted watercolor art dolls by Danita

Since I was child I have been obsessed with dolls. Paper dolls that you could cut and then set and dress in a million ways. I would take old JC Penney catalogs an cut the dresses for my dolls.

Now that I am older (And supposedly, wiser… ) that obsession was going to wane so I could concentrate on adult things like making a living and paying taxes.

SEE THE COMPLETE PAPER DOLL COLLECTION

So, one day a few weeks ago, I took my pencil and proceeded to draw a face on one of my favorite watercolor papers. I had the intention to start a new painting. Honest.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. All those childhood memories came rushing back and I changed course. I was going to make a paper doll.

I laid out the initial drawings and sketches and decided they were going to be cut-out, dress-up dolls like the ones I used to play with when I was a child.

After the first inking, I was hooked. My family knew I was up to something, and when they saw me grinning after I walked out to the studio, they knew it was going to be one of those weeks.

One of those weeks when I disappear from reality and hide in my studio, and I do not talk to anyone. Or go out. Or eat. Or Sleep. I’m in one of my art attacks.

The dolls were all inked up and now it’s time to paint them. So I got my watercolors and started to paint each one of them. They are unique and each one has their personality, so they deserve to have unique and one of a kind outfits.

See what I mean? Alice in wonderland even has her own bottle of Drink Me, An Eat Me cookie and a white rabbit to hop along with her down the rabbit hole.

Then it’s time to cut each piece by hand, and then start assembling them. This is kind of delicate because I have to make sure that each piece fits as expected, and some adjustments are required. So you have to be careful with your scissors.

Here’s one of the dolls with all her pieces put together, ready to be assembled. It’s not fun to see dismembered dolls all over my studio tables, and then I have to make sure I did not miss a limb!

Some magic and lots of work and sleepless nights, they are ready for the world! Each doll is articulated and can be posed any way you want.

I even had a piece of wood painted with chalkboard paint so I could play with them! They are a lot of fun! You can draw whatever scenario you want on the chalkboard, and then have lots of lots of adventures with them.

I also made stop motion animations with them, because why not?

She’s ready for adoption! #available #danita #danitaart #paperdoll #artdoll #paperartdoll #watercolor #ink

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With these dolls, you can create your own happy place. It brought me so many memories from when I was a child and your world is safe and everything is possible.

You can start a collection with them, and if you are a responsible person and not a big kid like me, you may want to preserve them in a beautiful frame.

They will look great on a wall too! Just make sure you get them out of the glass from time to time so you can play with them… There is no fun in being a doll if no one is going to play with you!

You can visit the complete collection on my website, there is a special collection dedicated to them right here.

SEE THE COMPLETE PAPER DOLL COLLECTION

Thanks for staying with me! Don’t forget to share and comment your thoughts, I would love to hear your opinion on them!

Fluffy bunny art doll; A self portrait

Danita Art Making Dolls Why How To Make Dolls Tutorial

I like to read old doll making books because they have techniques for doing everything by hand (I’m old school like that) and I came across this quote.

It really hit a string for me, because it encompasses everything I believe about making my own dolls. Mass produced items have a perfect quality about them, but to me, they are soulless and nothing more than a pretty thing to look at.

That is probably the main reason why I very rarely repeat an artwork, not even if it’s a commissioned piece because someone missed the original work and they would love to adopt a piece just like her.

Danita Art Doll Process Dollmaking Techniques Vintage Dress pattern handmade

That refusal may sound as stubborn or pretentious at first sight, but there is a real practical reason why I can’t do it. Not even if I wanted to do so.

You see, I put a piece of my soul on every single doll I make. A tiny drop of my awareness and my mindfulness goes on each of them, and with that, all my emotions, feelings and thoughts will shape them. That’s why I can’t do it. It’s impossible to reproduce the moment that inspired them, they are a little moment of my life , frozen in time.

That is why I love my process, where I get to choose every single detail of the dolls I make, from the fabric of the dress to the buttons that hold the doll’s arms.

I set out to make this one a very pretty girl, but I really wasn’t aware of what I was making until the very end. All I knew is that she was going to be very special.

Danita Lace Vintage Doll Paperclay Handmade How To Process Dollmaking

Each element is carefully chosen with the doll’s personality in mind, and I can swear to you that they talk to me about what they want to wear, how they want to look and everything they want to be.

I knew that I wanted her to be vintage looking, and when I found the bunny rabbit fabric hiding on my closet, I knew it was perfect.

Danita handmade Wool Felted Hair Doll Handmade OOAK

We tried different hair colors, different clothe styles and different haircuts until we were sure that’s what we want. It’s an exhausting and repetitive process sometimes, because the doll is not sure what she wants to be, and I am known for starting all over again if I am not satisfied with an idea.

Danita Doll Art Handmade Hair Wig Dollmaking Techniques Tips Doll Making Eyes

Other times, everything just flows, the doll and I are sure of what we want and it’s only a matter of finding the right materials and textures for each personality. This little girl was just that, perfect.

Felted Wool Danita Bunny Rabbit Ears Black White Fluffy Cosplay Miniature Handmade

But… Something was amiss, and suddenly I knew what it was. She wanted to be like me, and I realized I was making a self portrait, so I used wool to felt fluffy bunny ears and she was ready.

Danita Art Handmade Art Doll Paperclay Ceramic Toy cosplay Anthropomorphic Toy

See what I mean? She’s perfect! And so lovely, that she got adopted right away.

An art doll mini tutorial by Danita

I am having a great time and work creating an art doll collection. I have been working non stop on the dolls and I thought it would be fun to stop for a moment to tell you the story of the doll creation using images from the doll making process and turning the tale into a mini tutorial.

Danita Art Doll Materials Tools List Messy Desk

Look at my desk… Someone told me that a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind, so I guess that makes me one of the most creative people in this planet. No contest on that.

But hidden within the mess, there are secrets to be found, like all the materials and tools used when you create an art doll. Can you spy them all in this picture? There’s one you can’t see but it’s the most important one of all… Love for what you do.

Danita Art Doll Making Dollmaking Dollmaker Tutorial Steps How to

The first thing you want to do is pick the fabric for your doll bodies. Something resistant and sturdy that is also breathable is my weapon of choice, but you can choose anything you wish as long as it’s workable into small flexible pieces.

I create the patterns from my dolls from a standard but usually let the doll dictate what she wants to be, so the dolls are never the same, always different from one another. I really insist on that to give each doll a personality.

Danita Art Doll Handmade Techniques Tutorial Stuffed Bodies Muslin Polyfill

Once your bodies are cut and sewn, it’s time to stuff them! The perfect time to do this is while binge watch on my favorite TV shows and movies. I always buy a huge bag of Poly-Fil, grab my trusty stuffing tools and set to work!

Danita Art Doll Heads Tutorial Paperclay Paper Clay How To make

Once the bodies are filled and my binge for TV and movies satisfied, the dolls move to my working table to start making the doll heads using paper clay, my sculpting tools, and as a new addition to my dolls, glass eyes!

Danita Art Doll Sculpting Sculpture Paper Clay Tutorial How to Secrets

Making a doll face with paper clay starts with a very rough surface that you have to sand and work until you have a smooth surface as a foundation, and let’s be very careful not to scratch the glass eyes with your sanding block.

Your hands and the sculpting tools will be of great help here. I polish, remove and add clay all over the place until I am happy with how things are looking. It’s a very labor intensive process so it’s important that you take your time working this step.

Danita Art Doll Head Face Paper Clay Paperclay Sculpture Handmade Dollmaking How to

They always look very strange while you work the doll making steps. Next, after I am happy with the way the face is looking, I start to trace out features with a stabilo pencil because the next step is to paint the face.

Danita Art Doll Painted Head Paperclay Paper Clay Tutorial WIP

I use a lot of materials at hand here, specially with pan pastels and stick pastels, ink pencils and acrylic paints with the same techniques I use on my mixed media paintings. Getting the right amount of blush and color on the eyes is crucial to make the doll very realistic and with a lovely expression.

Danita Art Doll Handmade Eyelashes Painted Detail Face Techniques Tutorial

Once I am finished with the face, it’s time to add more features to it to make it even more real. I love how I have learned how to bring my mixed media and watercolor paintings into the real world with my Art dolls.

Danita Art Doll Dress Hand Made Sewing Tutorial Clothes for dolls

And did you know that sometimes I spend more time choosing the perfect fabric for the doll that making it?

A piece of my soul goes into each doll I make, to me they are alive in a way and I can hear them whispering what they want. Sometimes they know right away, sometimes they will take their time choosing who they want to be, but it’s a very important step and I must get it right.

Wouldn’t you be the same if you were given the freedom to choose who you want to be? It’s a very important decision and one must take all the time it’s needed.

Danita Art Doll Clothes Trouser Handmade Tutorial Tecniques

All the clothes on my dolls are handmade, most of the time from scratch. You can see here that I took a piece of fabric and turned it into trousers for this little girl.

I insist on everything being handmade. It adds to the uniqueness of each doll and to her final personality.

Danita Art Dress Handmade Fabric Clothes Unique OOAK Tutorial How To Make

The dress is made with a fabric I found on a thrifty store somewhere during my travels. I will collect fabric, lace and props I find during my too frequent visits to antique and second hand stores and when the time comes, I will be ready for the perfect doll to wear it.

The lace on her also came from a very old box of lacy thing I was given by a friend. They are very precious to me because some of them come from another time, and there will never be one like it again. Using old, used things with a new purpose makes everything magical.

Danita Art Doll Choker Gold Cameo Handmade Corset Tutorial

Once I’m done with the dress, I will add accessories to the doll. She is wearing a very nice choker with a cameo I made myself here in the studio with golden colored flakes and jewelry resin, like the ones I use on my original jewelry, only very small.

The dolls are pure mischief when they are finished. I really love to play with them in the studio while they impatiently wait for their final photos. We have lots of adventures and sometimes they even help to make other dolls.

Danita Art Handmade Doll Paper Clay Paperclay Sculpture Fine Art Toy Finished For Sale

Now the final step is to place them for adoption on my online gallery and shop, where they will sit on my virtual showcase, waiting for the perfect match that will take them to their forever home.

Penelope was very lucky! She did not last five minutes on the virtual shop front when her new adoptive parents picked her up. She is now very grateful to the people who gave her a forever home to start a new story in their hands. I’m really looking forward to hear from the stories and adventures they will have together.

I really hope you liked this little insight into my work. I wish I could live closer to my friends and fans so we could get together and learn what I teach on my online classes.

Danita Art Workshop Live Classes Dollmaking Doll Making Mixed Media Painting Tutorial How To

And luckily, the opportunity to spend some time learning with me in person is coming very soon. I have been invited by NW Country Art Retreats to teach a 4 day workshop in their beautiful place near Mount Rainer in Washington State.

I hope you can join me. Together, we will create a beautiful art doll just like the one we saw how to make on this tutorial, plus much more. And I will be just delighted to be in your company, working, laughing and sharing a beautiful time together.