I just discovered how easy it is to carve MDF (medium density fiberboard), a cheap wood product available at lumber yards and the big box hardware stores everywhere. I've always wanted an antique doll so here was the opportunity to make my own and blog about it.
1/2" MDF (medium density fiberboard)
white and black acrylic paint
ultra fine black sharpie marker
non permanent red marker
brown shoe polish
two 2" long thin screws
Download the pattern for this doll body here. The finished doll is about 20" tall but you can alter the pattern to make her any size you wish.
Cut out the pattern and trace it on the MDF. Cut it out with a jig saw. No whining about how you can't use power tools. The guy who invented the jig saw made the prototype out of his wife's sewing machine. If you can use a sewing machine, you can use a jigsaw. Even if you can't use a sewing machine, you can use a jigsaw.
Cut 2 pieces of MDF 1/2" wide and 8" long for the arms. For the legs, cut 2 pieces 1" wide and 8" long.
Using short, shallow cuts, pare off the edges all around the body and limbs with a utility knife. (think peeling carrots) Make a line between the bun and the rest of the hair. Remove wood on both sides of the line to make a 3D look. Repeat for the shoes and the hands. Make a line for the chin, but only remove wood from the neck.
Paint with a spray primer. Allow to dry thoroughly. Paint the doll with white acrylic paint except for the shoes and hair which should be painted black. Draw a simple face with an ultra thin Sharpie black marker. Fill in the lips with a red marker. Draw a red circle on each cheek then smudge the circles with a damp Qtip.
Rub the doll with brown shoe polish for an antique look.
Drill holes on the sides of the arms at the shoulders. The holes should be larger than the screws but smaller than the heads of the screws. Drill a smaller hole in each shoulder. Thread the screws through the arm holes then screw them into the shoulder holes. The arms should be able to move freely.
Drill small holes in the top fronts of the two legs and the bottom of the body. Thread thin elastic cord through both sets of holes and tie behind the legs.
Now she needs to be dressed.
kitchen towel (Dollar Tree)
needle and thread
small safety pin
I'm lazy and wanted to do as little sewing as possible so when I cut apart the towel, I paid attention to the hems that were already there and used them on my doll dress as the hem of the skirt, the neck edge of the bodice and the ends of the sleeves.
Open the kitchen towel and cut it apart with pinking shears. I've laid it out just like it was on the towel.
11" high x the width of the towel (16")
2 1/2" x the rest of the length of the towel (14")
cut in half
7 1/2" x the length of the towel (14")
cut in half
Open the safety pin and stick it into the end of the elastic cording then thread the cording through the end of each sleeve (already hemmed). With rights sides together, sew each sleeve to the unhemmed edge of each bodice. Sew the sides of each sleeve together (again, right sides together). Turn right side out.
Gather the unhemmed side of the skirt. With right sides together, sew the gathered skirt to the bottom of the bodice.
Bend the arms so that they are straight out in front and slip the dress onto the doll. Gather the bottoms of the sleeves with the elastic. Knot the elastic and cut off the extra.
Overlap the back and secure at the waist with a snap, button and loop or small piece of velcro. You can sew up the back seam of the skirt if you don't plan on undressing the doll or you can add bloomers for modesty.