Annyeong (korean ‘hello’)! Welcome to Dollightful. In collaboration with a grand total of ten other doll artists, we’ve created a whole roster of spooky, scary, and cute Halloween dolls for your viewing pleasure. I decided to make a banshee, a spirit from Irish folklore known for shrieking and mourning about the death of someone soon to come. I’ll be using Monster High’s Spectra Vondergeist as a base. Let’s start by wiping down the face with acetone. Nail polish remover works sometimes, but if you want a quick and easy removal pick up some pure acetone. With a sharp pair of thread scissors, give the doll a buzz cut close to the head. Taking your longest pair of needle nose pliers, get in there and start removing the leftover stubble. With the pliers closed, I like to wriggle them around and pull out chains at a time, then pinch and remove them through the neck hole. If the head is too stiff, soften it in some hot water first. Looking nice and squeaky clean! (Too clean..) Let’s make some drastic changes. The banshee’s whole deal is shrieking and crying, so I was set on giving this doll an actual open mouth. First I’m going to mark where I want to make the cuts with a pencil. I’m following the mold and natural lines of the face so that the separation will look less awkward. Then with a fresh razor blade, very carefully cut along the pencil lines. The vinyl head was squishy and wants to bounce away so watch those fingers. And it’s off! Oh Spectra, what have I done to you – To give my sculpting medium something to grab onto, and to make the vinyl less bouncy, root a small wire through the jaw. To form her new set of chompers, I’ll be using epoxy sculpt— a two-part medium that cures when mixed, so you don’t have to bake it. Really great for working on plastic dolls like this. So first, I tried to gauge the size of the teeth by forming two simple upper and lower teeth shapes. I round off the top set so that it fits into the head. Epoxy cures in about two hours and there’s a nice window about 20 minutes in where it’s hardened enough to bend in shape without it returning to putty form. And that’s where I prefer working with the stuff. So after getting the basic shapes in place— the upper and lower rows of teeth and the tongue— we can add more detail. Working with toothpicks and needles, pick out and sculpt individual teeth from the semi-hardened epoxy Do the same to the upper row. Now feels like a good time to set the upper row in place, so I again make a small armature wire to plant some base epoxy to before inserting the teeth. If you’re satisfied with your work so far, set it aside to fully cure and come back to it later to add another round. I came back a few times to add the canines and molars, and also added a large flap to the back of the mouth so that you won’t see through to the doll’s head. Even at this stage she’s already looking really great! And I was pretty excited about how well the mouth is going It’s time to reconnect the jaw. With the same wire, form a secure stitch on either side of the jaw. Make sure the wire comes out on the inside so that it’s hidden. Then mark where it lines up on the cheeks I use needles to puncture the vinyl beforehand, so that the wire can pass through more easily. But, before we connect them, I realized I should paint them now while the pieces are separated. Using acrylic paints, fill in the color. I painted on base colors first, then came back in with red to brighten the tip of the tongue – And I also took a grungy looking brown, watered it down, and painted it into the crevices of the teeth. One last time with a lighter cream color, come back in and dry brush the tops to accentuate the detail. Is it just me or does this part look like a Francis Bacon painting? Maybe it’s the orange background. Okay, so once that’s nice and dry, thread the wires through the cheeks to finally reconnect the jaw. I cut the wires off and bend them back around to lay as flat as possible. I’m going to fill in the larger gaps with hot glue first before going in with more epoxy, because the vinyl just wanted to bounce around and was being really difficult. Hopefully this will strengthen the structure. You can use the nozzle of the glue gun to stroke the glue flatter and shape it to an extent. Time for the trickiest part— re-sculpting the jaw and making the epoxy flow seamlessly into the vinyl sculpt. While it’s still a mushy putty, push it around all the crevices and coax it to lay flat against the cheeks. You can dab a little water on to help flatten and smooth the surface, too. I did several sessions on this part, trying to fill in any awkward spots and gaps between my modifications and the head. Modifying the face like this is kind of tricky and risky, but I figured “Hey, if I mess up badly, and it looks ugly, She’s a monster anyways,” right? You can’t lose. When the epoxy is fully cured it can be sanded. This is definitely helpful when smoothing things out and making it more closely resemble the vinyl. I use manicure sanding blocks to get things nice and smooth. After a wipe down with a wet cloth we can airbrush her. Don’t forget to mask off the teeth first! I cut out a small strip of paper and wedged it in place. I use Vallejo Game air paints. This time, I’ll be priming the face first and then adding the white color. Primers help the final color stick better, and it will conceal the darker color of the epoxy underneath, so I don’t have to use as many layers. If you don’t have an airbrush, it is possible to get a flat color with multiple layers of watery acrylic paint, like how I used to paint my unicorn-os. After that, it’s time for sealant. I give my dolls two coats of Mr. Super Clear before I start. It was pretty difficult to tell how well I had sculpted her because of the epoxy’s contrasting color, but now that she’s a uniform color, I’m pretty pleased with this! With my reference sketch nearby, let’s draw her face! For a complete list of materials, please see my all materials for doll customizing video, where I go into a more thorough rundown. Starting with pastels, blush the doll’s eyes, lips, and nose. I’m using a bright red because she’s supposed to look like she’s been crying. Use a kneaded eraser to shape the pastels, because they can get a little out of control. For some reason they were really slippery on this doll’s face. Maybe it was because of the primer…? With a black pencil, I begin sketching the eyes. My original plan was to have solid red beady eyes, but it just wasn’t working with Spectra’s mold, so I change it later on. I sketched in her worried eyebrows and continue to build color. Whenever you want to save your progress, give the doll another spray of MSC. It’s like making a new layer in Photoshop. With the soft and blurry pastels in place, let’s turn to paint to add some opacity. This is when I decided she should have eye whites after all, so I fill those in and darken the iris color. During this face up she kept going back and forth between horrifying and kind of derpy looking? It was very subtle, but like, the size of the irises, the angle of the eyebrows, all these tiny adjustments had to be done to make her look more scary than stupid. I usually keep the eye whites a solid color, but to add realism and depth, shade around the entire eye with a grey to black. This will make them look wide and 3D. And we can bring out the red in her eyes with some more paint. With a few finishing touches like the tear ducts and accenting eyelids, the face is done. Well— almost. I want her to be crying 3D tears, and I saw my pal Color do this with nail polish. So I’m going to give it a shot. I dab a little on a palette first, then apply each tear carefully with a toothpick. It worked pretty well! Man, you can tell this doll has seen some serious- Shifting to the hair, I’ll be using combed yarn wefts in the same color white as the doll. I’m definitely going for a monochromatic look this time. So, starting from the base of the head, I glue on weft after weft until we reach the crown. To fake a part, glue a weft down backwards, wait for it to dry, and then fold it over on itself. Repeat for the other side. Also, if you don’t want to wait a hair dryer on a low setting is a great way to speed things up! I’m not going to trim the ends this time because I want the hair to look unkempt. Now for her clothing. I’m using an old pattern of mine from a doll I made before the channel was around. Coincidentally also a Spectrum. It’s a basic long-sleeve shirt pattern modified to have bell shaped sleeves, and a cutaway skirt consisting of three layers. To see how I copy and modify doll clothes, I’ve got a video for that too. I believe this pattern was partially lifted from Draculaura’s Thirteen Wishes doll? The base of the dress is made from white cotton, and I used an easily fray-able white chiffon for accents. I’m always advising to fray check the edges of pattern pieces, but don’t bother this time. I gather and attach ruffles to each tear, and stitch everything together until the basic dress is done. She’s got a corset that ties on the exterior, so I created this shape with two small strips of elastic to act as boning, then stitch on some teeny tiny beads to look like the eyelids. Then, with a thick white thread, we can lace her up. Her ensemble looks too pristine though, so let’s rough it up! I gave it a trim here and there, stretched, tore, and distressed the fabric until it looked worn and tattered. The less you think about this, the better. Being reckless will aid in the distressed fabric’s believability. I’ve noticed that spending too much time on it results in a contrived, fakey looking tatter. So have at it! And there we go! All the pieces are made. Let’s reunite her head to her body and call her done. She sure is a freaky doll. Yarn was definitely the right choice for the banshee. I love how you can pose it, make it look like it’s floating around in a phantom breeze. I also like how she’s very low contrast except for her face, so it really stands out. Her top row of teeth are a little big, and the cheekbones are pretty strong, But all in all I think the jaw opening experiment was a success. Let me know what you think of her in the comments below, and who’s scarier— the Banshee or the Wendigo? It’s almost time to go trick-or-treating! Speaking of treats, make sure to check out everyone else’s doll videos, too. Included in this impressive lineup are Hextian, Mozekyto, Moonlight Jewel, Anastasia Custom, Tamakyu, Maria Lazar, Nicole’s Dreams, Dolls’ Brand-New Look, Patrick Custom, and GM art! Working with these guys was a blast, and I love how the group has such variety in both subject and style. I’ll make a playlist so you guys can binge. Looks like the sun is setting. Let’s head on out. *ding-dong, cricket chirping begins* Trick-or-treat! (x3) Thank you, happy Halloween! Nice haul this year! *chirping continues* Do you hear that? Someone might need our help. Aw, come on guys! *ruffling of leaves, hoot of owl, chirping continues* *soft sobbing* *ruffling stops, sobbing continues* *sobbing grows louder* *and louder* *sobbing is no longer soft* *loud, hissing screech* *screaming x3* *exclamation x3* *breathy hissing* *hissing continues* Someone… stole your candy bucket? *hissing confirmation* Aw, you poor thing! Let’s go find it. *chirping continues, wolf howl, ruffling continues* *ruffling and chirping continue* *ruffling stops, replaced by crinkling of plastic* Aw, Wendy! *woosh* *hissing* *chirping continues* *fade back into music* Be safe out there, everyone! And Happy Halloween! Stay artsy! Annyeong!