The Polymer Clay Adventure is a fabulous year-long online retreat with 22 instructors created and hosted by Ilysa Ginsburg & Kira Slye. I’m happy to be on board, and my tutorial debuts this weekend. In 10 half hour  video segments, I  show start to finish how to create a ball joint doll using polymer clay.

That includes sculpting the face and body, painting the details, and 2 ways to apply hair. Also included along with access to the video downloads are a dvd and full color 25 page .pdf tutorial that takes you step by step with another ball joint doll. Make it in whatever scale and style you like–dolls are a lot of fun to make.

Then there’s the fun of dressing them up and supplying them with miniature accessories!

I particularly enjoyed the things I learned in shooting and editing the video. Shown here is the opening sequence showing the dolls and the supplies needed to make them.

I shot and included everything in real-time except some of the sanding, which gets pretty boring after ten minutes or so. That means it takes me around 8-10 hours to create a ball joint doll, depending on the size. I do it over the course of a few days, which is not only easier on my hands, but allows me to get perspective on how things are coming along. There is a lot of baking and re-baking to build up the form, then a lot of sanding to refine things.

Sometimes I start and stop and start again, (the ears took two tries) and you get to see that too. They are not so much mistakes as starting points that give you choosing points! Do you like ’em–if not, have at it until you do, but remember that things can be changed a lot with the final sanding.

Preparing for and editing the video took far longer than shooting it though! For those that are curious, I used a Nikon Coolpix P500 digital camera on a tripod that put it over head, focused on my hands and work area, and 2 OTT  full spectrum lights. I have the tripod with two legs on the table, and one extended further and wedged into a nearby wicker dresser-drawer to get the angle right. The lip of the drawer keeps the tripod from falling forward.

When rotated 180 degrees, the viewer gets to see what is going on as though standing right there with me, and I talk as I go, explaining in detail what I’m doing and why. There is also a print .pdf to see it all again from another doll making session with a smaller doll.

For editing photos, I used Adobe Photoshop, and for digital editing, I used a program called VSDC Free Video Editor. My digital camera records sound, but I also used a Tascam DR 05 sound recorder, and an editing program called Audacity. I put many of these items in the electronics section of the Polyclay Picks aStore at Amazon if you would like more information on them.

Those are the technical bits–I look forward to doing lots more video tutorials next year, but for now, I’m going to spend some time making another doll or two and dressing them.