Sunday, July 14, 2019

Craft foam is amazing

    Craft foam is amazing stuff. I have said this before. I was a really good day when I learned how to make doll armor. And now I have another very interesting doll in the works. She does not need a lot of armor, but  she does need a bit. As you can see, I tried a bunch of times to get the shape right. I can't really do a chest plate with a paper pattern, since it needs to bend and stretch a bit. So trial and error with craft foam and trimming as needed is the way to go. 
     All the while shaping it on the doll to try to get the best fit possible. 

And also trying to get the correct finished shape. 
     Eventually, heating the foam ON the doll seemed like the right thing to do. Craft foam is very shapeable, but it also gets very hot and the less I have to touch the hot foam, the better. 
This seemed about right so I was ready to move onto detailing. 

     This is one of my reference pics (a piece of it anyway) and while I didn't think I could get the pattern exact on the breast plate, I wanted to at least get some of it in, and as close as I could manage. So for that I needed a specialty tool

    This time around the specialty tool was a clicky pen. I did also use a mechanical pencil without the lead. A lot of doll making, or all miniature making really, is looking at the world in a different way. You need to be able to think about what you need and match something with it that will work. Roberto told me a great story at Comic Con about the umbrella handles on his Penguin figure. They were made from that little hook that is on a lot of plastic hangers. And as soon as he said it I realised that yes! Those are perfect!

     After I got through making all the little circles again, I tried the breast plate on the doll again. Not a bad fit! After it is painted turned into metal, I can trim a bit more off in the back if I need to. 
     I do have a couple more accessories to make out the magical material that is craft foam. But this is what I have for now. Not a bad start. 

    Making craft foam into metal is not too hard. First there is fire involved, which I explained a bit about when I made the knight doll. Then you need a base coat of paint in a dark color. This helps the finished piece to look nice and it acts as a primer for the metallic paint. I learned from experience that silver metallic paint does not always cover super well. It takes a lot of coats. Oh and remember how I said miniature making was often looking at the world in an unusual way and finding new ways to use things? The spear handle is made from an old paintbrush. It was perfect in every way so I had to do it. 
     I did make the spear point silver, but the rest of the armor is gold this time around. The other pieces I need to make will be a mix of gold and silver. I have not quite worked out yet the best way to do them. 
     I still have a whole bunch more steps left in making this doll but I have made some pretty good progress on several pieces. I have also managed to get the clothing items cut out, but not sewn yet. I thought about doing it yesterday after the tag sale but then decided I was just too tired to manage it. I could have worked on the doll some more with Maire if I had. But sitting in the sun all day is sort of tiring. Now I am headed off to New Jersey for what should be a really excellent day!

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