Fairy #30 Start to Finish Tutorial – Part 1

Part 2 >> | Part 3 >>

This tutorial replaced Fairy #16 tutorial, it is the same pose but done with some different techniques that I now follow. If you have a need to see the old tutorial you are welcome to email me.

You may wish to download the 3D pdf file of the pose by clicking here. This is a great reference to ensure you have all your angles and proportions right

Table of contents

IntroductionReturn to Menu

When it comes to sculpting these types of dolls there really is many ways you can go about it. Some people choose to sculpt the head first, some the body. As you get into this craft you will develop your own individual patterns and behaviours. For this reason I would like to point out that my methods in this tutorial are those I have used and found to work well, but should you decide to go a slightly different way please by all means do so. I will also provide options that look like this:

OPTION: If you are finding you are squishing parts already completed as you sculpt new parts you may wish to do a part-bake. Please see the notes under “Part-Baking Tips” here

You may also come across a Tip throughout this tutorial. These will point out tips and tricks to take note of. They may also point you to the Tips and Tricks information which will give you further information on that subject. Tips look like this:

TIP: Please see Tips and Tricks for more information regarding the cooking process. It is well worth the read if this is your first doll.

Try to have fun with it, and don’t let frustrations stop you from completing your work. Like any new craft it does get easier the more you practice. And remember that the pictures provided in this tutorial are for guidelines only. Every doll created is a one of a kind piece of art, so your creation will look very different to mine.

This tutorial is based on a work at your own pace, so I cannot say how long it will take you. The clay itself will not harden in the air even over time. But please note however that if you add uncooked clay on top of cooked clay you will have approximately 2 weeks to cook that clay. This is due to the cooked clay sucking the moisture out of the uncooked clay. Leaving it longer than two weeks could result in the top uncooked clay becoming dry and cracked.

Tools Required Return to Menu

  • Living Doll Clay
  • 1 x Body Armature
  • Tinfoil and Tape
  • 1 Pair of eyes (optional)
  • 1 Pair of hand armatures (optional)
  • 1 Pair of feet armatures (optional)
  • Piece of Tibetan lamb’s wool for hair
  • Tissue paper for clothing
  • Fantasy film>, wire and feathers for wings
  • Sandpaper
  • Tacky glue
  • Fabric glue
  • 10/0 Paintbrush
  • Hardwood sculpting tool 9pc Set
  • Genesis heat set paints or Acrylic paints
  • Baby wipes (to keep hands and work area clean)
  • Toothpicks
  • Scalpel
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Super Glue
  • Polyfill
  • Cotton Tips
  • Acetone
  • Gloss Varnish
  • Iron
  • Soldering Iron (or candle)
  • Drill
  • Oil Thinner (such as linseed oil) or Sculpey Oil Softner

Guideline Pictures Return to Menu

Please use the pictures below to help you when bending your armature into place (please note your screen size will change the physical sizing of these images)

Creating the Armature Return to Menu

If you are using one of my kits you will already have your armature made for you, so you may skip this step.

If you do not have an armature follow the steps below to create one

  1. Using 22g wire cut a length 40cm long (roughly 2.5 times the length of the doll) And one length of 15cm.
  2. Bend the 40cm wire in half, use pliers to twist the wire the length of the head.
  3. Continuously place the armature over the guideline picture to ensure you get the right proportions.
  4. At the shoulders Insert the 15cm piece and, while holding it with your pliers, twist the short piece around one side and then the other side creating the arms.
  5. Twist the wires back together under the arms and twist all the way down the torso until you reach the pelvic area.
  6. Separate the wires again and bend with the pelvic triangle and cut off excess at the foot.
  7. Repeat process with the second leg.

The armature will serve two purposes; first it will guide you in your proportions helping to ensure your doll looks right; second (and most importantly) it will strengthen your sculpt both when creating the piece and also for the long term durability of your doll.

Filling out the armatureReturn to Menu

Step 1

In the past I have used old clay to fill out the inner core of the doll. But now I prefer to use the tinfoil and masking tape method.

This method saves your clay (you can keep your old clay for props). But most importantly it means you don’t have to cook your doll as long, as the clay is not as thick.

First rip the tinfoil into strips and tightly wrap around the doll.

Step 2

The tinfoil should be packed out around the torso upper arms and thighs. Avoid the lower arms and calves area. Also avoid packing to much in the crotch area. If you pack out the breast and bum make sure you leave the centre hollows free to allow you room to sculpt correctly.

After the tinfoil is in place tightly wrap it in masking tape ensuring there are no gaps. The tape makes sure there is no oxidation from the metal on the clay.

Sculpting the Face Return to Menu

After getting tired of fighting to get the right face shape I have come up with a new way of sculpting the face. This is done by creating the centre ball which acts as the skull, inserting the eyes and eyelids and then cooking at 130° Celsius. Then the features are added in shapes bulking out the face in the correct manner.

If you are using one of my kits you will find I have already supplied you with a set of eyes. If you do not have a kit then you can go to this site http://www.dollworld.co.nz/pre-made-eyes/ and follow the instructions there to make your own, alternately you can just sculpt the eyes, rather than inserting them.

Now let’s start sculpting the head. You can follow these steps as a guideline, but do let your own creativeness come through, as each person usually finds they have their own style that reflects through all of their dolls. Keep your work area clean to avoid getting dirt and dust into the clay, this is helped by having baby wipes available to keep hands and work area clean.

Step 1

Start by crumpling up a ball of tinfoil roughly .4 of an inch.

Using a wire pole or a toothpick is helpful when sculpting the face, a stylus also works well

Step 2

After the tinfoil is in place tightly wrap it in masking tape ensuring there are no gaps.

The tape makes sure there is no oxidation from the metal on the clay.

Step 3

Lightly mark the centre of the face, and two thirds down (should be about .6 of an inch)

My lines are for you to see clearly, yours don’t need to be so deep.

Step 4

Now press each eye in along the horizontal line. There should be about the width of one eye between them.

This step is super important and you should take your time to get it right.

Step 5

Add a piece of clay across each eye and sculpt the eyelids. Now cook for 10min!

Step 6

Once cooled add a triangle of clay to the lower face. The eyes are half way down now.

Step 7

Add a sausage nose, round cheeks and a line across the forehead. This fills out the face.

Step 8

Start defining the face by pressing down the nose bridge and smoothing out the forehead.

Step 9

Work out how long you want the nose and press the rest of the nose sausage down creating the mouth ridge.

Step 10

Smooth the cheek mounds upwards to just under the eye. Use a toothpick to define the eye shape.

Step 11

Spend some time now smoothing out the forehead, cheeks and chin area.

Step 12

Define the lips by creating an indented line half way between the nose and chin. Press down under the line to create the bottom lip.

Step 13

Create the top lip by pressing up from the lip line and flattening. Press down to define.

Step 14

Start adding details such as the nostrils (go lightly) and the bump between nose and lips.

Step 15

Smooth out the cheek and forehead lines and spend time defining each feature.

Step 16

I fine tune the features by scratching away like a sketching artist with a toothpick.

Step 17

Smooth out features including the eyebrow ridge. A stylus is great for smoothing.

Step 18

Add a flat ball of clay to the face for the ears, press down in centre to join and create eardrum.

Step 19

Press down a line around the ear going all the way around by ending short of the lobe.

Step 20

If you are creating a fairy pinch the ends to create the peak, or just leave if it’s not a fairy.



When you are happy with the head it’s time to cook it. Give your sculpt one last check over, is everything symmetric? Are the ears tips sitting right? Is it nice and smooth? Place it in the oven at 275° Fahrenheit or 130° Celsius for 30 minutes.

TIP: Please see Tips and Tricks here for more information regarding the cooking process. It is well worth the read if this is your first doll.

Part 2 >> | Part 3 >>



There are 4 comments for this article
  1. June leech at 1:06 pm

    I enjoyed your tutorial I’m new to sculpting and I’ve finished 2 fairy dolls ,I’m not happy with them and would like to improve ,the thing I’m most disappointed in is the face I just can’t get her to look pretty enough,and I have made up my mind to keep making the head and face till I get it right,before going on to the body ,is this a good way to go ?

    • dollartbyjulie at 8:33 pm

      Hi June. Making lots of heads is definitely the way to go. There is so many different ways you can go about the head, and I don’t always use the same method myself. I suggest you go through a bunch of tutorials out there to try different methods and see what fits. You can also try using a mirror or taking a photo and using Photoshop to mirror the image and you can see what’s not symmetric and what is out of proportion to a real face. You can also try making some larger faces if the small scale is too hard to start with. Don’t be afraid to make a face and smash it down and start again, and keep doing it until you are happy with it.

  2. Bronwyn at 9:36 am

    Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for this. Having worked with ceramic clay a lot, I found polymer clay to be such a difficult animal to control! I just could not figure out where to start to create these little creatures that have jumped in my head the last few months. My “hot hands” just melt way all my hard work with one wrong touch, haha! With so many fails I was just about ready to give up the idea and try find another clay to work with. I have been inspired again by all your useful tips. Can’t wait to get started!

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