I'm sure there
are other painters that use acrylics, but this is what I do when I
I use Ceramcoat acrylics, with some Americana, and I'm painting a trunk
with JoSonya's tube acrylics. I don't like Plaid very well as it seems
chalky to me and dry. These are my preferences. I also do Norwegian
Rosemaling with oils, but that isn't the question here.
Yes, you can use water to thin. When I'm painting and I want it to be
the best of course, the paint goes on in several layers with the last
being mostly all paint. The first application is more of a wash, in that
it is thinned 3 to 1 with water. The second is more paint, and the third
is almost all paint. This gives me the best results for me. Others do it
differently and others seem to manage with beautiful pieces with
undiluted paint, too. I just don't happen to be one of them.
Wait until each layer is completely dry or you'll have a hole that is
hard to cover.
I haven't painted too many doll faces, but I do know less is better. I
would be using thinned washes of paint, letting each layer dry for the
mouth and eyelids. But, I think my preference for a porcelain doll face
would be chalks applied with a Q-tip in the same manner. Less is better
until you've achieved the result you want. Were I painting a face on
wood? I would be using spit and a dab of color, letting it bleed out and
then applying more if it needed it. This is just my way, but hope it
many people writing about painting faces today, I wanted to add that
there is a very good acrylic paint made by Golden, which are Fluid
Acrylics. These aren't as heavy and opaque as a lot of other acrylics.
They should have them at Michael's, an art supply store, or at one of
the many internet discount art supply stores.
biggest problem is the eyes and as Gina says "the eyes have it" if you
can do beautiful eyes then the rest is a piece of cake. I was painting
the whites of the eye first, then dipping the bigger side of a stylus in
some black paint and very gently dabbing that into the eye in the
direction I wanted her to look. Then dipping the smaller side of the
stylus into the color I wanted to use and very carefully try to center
that into the black circle I had made. Using a very small brush, outline
the whole eye from corner to corner.
Well you say that doesn't sound hard so far right? Well my doll kept
looking at me through this thick paint and looked very ghoulish, it was
scary LOL The good thing about using acrylic paint is that you can take
off whatever you did over and over and I certainly did that!!! Then I
got an idea, I got a bottle of paint medium and poured a few
drops on the paper palette I was using and put a tiny amount on the
brush and then mixed it with the color paint I was going to use.. What a
difference! The paint was thinner, and it was easier to make those thin
lines around her eyes. When the paint dried it didn't have that thick
I also painted nice full lips. I had a tendency to make my dolls lips
too thin so I corrected that also.
When I was satisfied with what I did, and the paint was dry I painted
gloss varnish on the lips and the eyes. Wow, she came alive and looks
pretty. Don't think she looks like the pro's dolls because she doesn't
but she is pretty good for me.
So basically what I discovered is that once that acrylic paint was
thinned with medium everything went a little smoother for me and looked
better too. You need to experiment with what size brushes work best for
work with the acrylics...no matter how tiny the surface, i.e. doll eyes
or mouth...my acrylic paint is diluted progressively. What I mean by
that, is the first coat of paint that goes on, is diluted with water 3
to 1, almost a thin wash of paint. That dries, next coat is 2 to 1, and
it dries. The last coat is still not paint "from the bottle", but
diluted just a little less than the second step. I almost never "paint
from the bottle". To me, it is just too thick and impossible to get
smooth applications, which is what you'd want for a doll face at least.
It doesn't take that many extra seconds to do it this way. I have a
spray bottle made from a cut down sprayer (the small ones), and an empty
paint bottle filled with water, and it works quite nicely.
In reference to the Ott light...I LOVE mine and don't know how I did it.
I'm trying to find a deal on the magnifier that fits on mine (it's a
floor model). I don't feel the price is justified, so will bide my time.
painting tip we use...is spit. Oh, don't say yuk!!! I'm serious. Just a
drop of spit on the cheek and the very tip of the paint brush in the
rosy color paint, and then "dab" that color into the spit until it
starts to spread outward. The LEAVE IT ALONE until it dries. If you need
to add more, do it after it dries. This is with acrylic paint, BTW. I
use Ceramcoat, but Americana is nice, too.
acrylic/enamel paints and they are more permanent that acrylic paints.
The brand name is DecoArt Ultra Gloss. I find it in some of the local
craft supply stores like Ben Franklin's. The enamel makes the color
adhere better and form a stronger bond. If I only use acrylic paint, I
repaint with a varnish, but this is a second step which can be avoided
by using acrylic/enamel paints.
(sorry my area <G>) as you may know, that is all I exclusively paint
with. I have tried china painting, and it just wasn't my style. But to
each their own. As far as durability, I had my first doll ever made (see
the 1st FF - FRILLS AND FANCY (online doll dressing newsletter) on my
site, and since '89 her paint was in mint condition. Of course, to be
fair I don't play with my dolls, and consider them pieces of art to be
viewed only. So she was in a curio, or sealed room box most the time. If
you want to remove your doll's clothing, I'll tell you right now that no
matter how many coatings of acrylic sealer goes on, it WONT protect it
well enough. If you do scrape off the face paint, its almost impossible
to fix (in my opinion without having a haphazard look). So I just take a
Q-tip, dip it in fingernail polish remover, and take off blush, paint,
and sealer that is visible. Then simply repaint.
As far as painting goes, I like the soft colors of Aileen's Acrylic
Paints. I have been experimenting with using the same shade lid and
'under' lid. Comes from my new painting Art class I'm taking <G>. This
way you can get more of a realistic 3-D effect. Also, if you use acrylic
paints (and to be fair don't know if you can do this with china
painting) you can build up the pupil in the eye ball to resemble glass
eyes. Sorry plug <G> I do offer an Acrylic Face Painting book for those
interested. I even list colors for those that would like to have a
Eye’s “spark of life”. What I have done on my dolls (and in a few
painting I did) is put just a tiny dot of white in the eye. I also make
sure that the eyes are glossy. After I’m done with all the face painting
(in acrylic), I spray a couple coats of a matte sealer on the doll head.
After that is dry, I use a clear gloss enamel and put a touch on each
eye and a little on the lips. They will look wet.
Basically any of the acrylic paints will work but you
do need to put a sealer over them, otherwise
they will wash off, scratch off, etc.
quite easily. Most ceramic studios sell the clear mat sealer in spray
cans. Several of the paint companies
have heat set acrylics which are made for use on porcelain/glass which
are more permanent than regular. Pebo and Liquitex are some of the brand
names for heat set acrylics but there
are lots of others. There are also some enamels for painting on
glass/china which are not heat set. I have not experimented with the
Genesis paints which stay wet until you hit
them with a heat gun yet but they might work
as well. You will not get the wonderful translucency, building up of
color with acrylics that you get with china painting even if you use
only the translucent acrylic
colors...but if you don’t have a kiln, experiment with the acrylics
which are available to you and choose the one that looks the most
natural to your eye.
I use acrylics,
too, but only for the features, such as eyes. To get blush in the cheeks
and to hi-light contours of the skin, I use dry pastel, BEFORE the piece
is baked. Dry (or chalk) pastels are available at your local art store.
I first 'scribble' out some of the color
onto a piece of paper, then use a dry paintbrush to dab and apply the
pigment to the doll before it goes into the oven. It looks a bit garish
until it's baked, but the colors soften beautifully as they're absorbed
into the clay. You can also rub extra color onto the doll after it's
baked, with these pastels. Good luck!
Diana in Canada
You are looking
for the Acrylic paints that come in the 2 oz. plastic bottles. They have
a little Gesso mixed in so they have a non gloss or matte finish. Or you
can mix a touch of Gesso into the paint you have.
You cannot use
China paint because China paint will not dry until after it's been
Try using model car paint (such as Testors). It comes in both matte and
gloss finish. Doesn't work well for cheeks but you can use regular blush
on the cheeks prior to baking the piece and use the paint for eyes, lips
When I took a
sculpting class using Sculpey, we painted our dolls with thin wash of
oil paints. Then we put them in the oven overnight to dry them. The oven
light was left on, but the oven was not turned on. The heat from the
light helped cure/dry the paint. You can do this several times adding
more layers for dimension. I like this better than my experiments with
the acrylic paints.
I don't mind
using the acrylics on clay. I do however, coat them with two coats of
Gesso first. It does seem to take an extra coat or two, but when
finished they're okay.
I think what we
are saying here is that everyone finds their favorite method of painting
and sticks to it because it works well for them. You have to do some
experimentation to get to this point so try a little of everything and
keep an open mind.
EXCEPT: Drying something in the oven is never a good idea. They get
turned on accidentally. My friend needed a drying box so we had her
husband convert a wooden box into a box with a light bulb. She lives in
a humid area and needed a reliable way to dry her work. Yes, she loves
it. Much safer.
I use FW Acrylic
Artists ink. I get my from a Artist Supply store and they last forever.
You can mix and add water. The faces on my dolls come out just
beautiful. I also use Artist chalk to add shades and blush. They are
Hugs to you, Sherri D. (Houston, TX.)
I let the paint
dry under a desk lamp, and that's it! Or if you want to seal it ? I
would use a clear poly glaze, depending on the clay type. Hope this
Hugs, Sherri D. ( Houston TX )
A note about
dry pastels: some people use their own make-up blush and it works for
them, but I must buy the cheap stuff (!) because I noticed it had minute
gold flecks in it, which were only noticeable once it had been brushed
onto the clay. I also wondered about the durability of the color,
because there are pastel pictures which are hundreds of years old and
still beautiful, but make-up is made to last a day. Some art stores
allow you to buy dry pastels one stick at a time, so your investment
might be a dollar or two.
Diana in Canada
difference in flecks or not are whether the product is a shiny or matte
product. Makeup made to shimmer has the gold flecks, while matte does
use China paint on your clay as china paint needs to be fired.
Maybe try acrylic paints that come in the tubes, my sister
used tube acrylics on her sculpted cats and dogs. it worked fine.
Sylvia in Big D
I got this hint from one of Dana's publications. She suggests to look at
make up charts ,you know the ones that can be found in magazines or
makeup counters. I think it's a great way to see how a face can be made
to look different by simply using a different eye color or changing the
shape of the brows etc. I find the simplest way for me to do it is by
looking at an existing dolls face I like and try to copy it.
There is a video
called Sculpting Miniature Dolls I and II by Evelyn Lenz Flook. The #2
video teaches how to paint the faces in detail.
A hint when
painting dolls' faces is to view the face of the doll in a mirror, it
gives you another prospective that will be of great help.
painting eyes have the doll look in a mirror to see her reflection. If
she doesn't fall over laughing then you have painted her right. LOL,
actually it does work. It gives you a different perspective.
Painting & eyes
The first time I
painted eyes with acrylic paints, I drew miniature faces with eyes only
painting the eyes on a doll, if you do one eye and then turn the doll
upside down and paint the other eye, you will get a better match. This
works great when you are sculpting also.
Bev in Colo
Eyes and Teeth Painting
I use "Janette"s sparkle and Tooth paint for the whites
in the eyes and on teeth if any. Using just a plain white under glaze
does not give you a background luster and I find that under glaze does
not always smooth out like I like it.. Their are a couple of others on
the market and they come in a small squeeze bottle just for teeth or say
I use a
crow quill pen for some things and I like the regular cats tongue for
the eyelashes and eyebrows. I keep the brush really pointy and just use
the very tip of it.
Paint Colors to
Use for Faces
hi Annie! for lips
I usually custom mix the color that I want from apple
barrel colors by plaid (the cheap stuff from
Wal-Mart) I usually use a mixture
of light pink and dusty mauve for lips and cheeks. more pink for
fair skin or young girls, more mauve for darker
complexions. for the cheeks I mix a
shade lighter of the lip color with extender medium, then I apply
it and wipe it off with a DRY paper towel (if
you use a wet one it will just wash
it off). I repeat this process a couple of times until it is the
color and density I want. I have found that
using the acrylics without the
extender medium just makes it look like the lady put on really thick
pancake makeup that morning! for
the eyes I use a mixture of burnt umber and nutmeg
brown for brown eyes and laguna and cobalt blue for
blue eyes. Laguna is actually a
green, but I don't like flat blue eyes. I frequently mix lavender
or purple in with cobalt instead of the laguna.
or Kelly green or... you get the
picture. by mixing colors like this I can get a large variation in skin
and eye color and only buy two or three bottles
of paint. I usually use the nutmeg
brown for eyebrows no matter the color of hair or skin. also you
will need black for pupils and white for the
light reflection in the eyes
(absolutely necessary. otherwise eyes look dead.) and a matte varnish
for after everything is dry so her
face doesn't rub off while people are
admiring her. hope this helps and good luck!
yes, it's called extender medium. it causes the paint to be
transparent (like a water color) rather than
opaque (like oils). I found mine
right there with the other paints at Wal-Mart. I suppose that if they
don't have it you might try a craft shop like
Michael’s. ( I think that's the
name) any place that carries paints for tole or decorative painting
should have it. but don't use it for anything
but the cheek color. you want the
eyes to be opaque. in fact, I think someone has posted a tip about
making the eyes appear three dimensional. maybe
that will surface again now (HINT,
HINT). the good news about all of this is that you only use a drop at
a time of each of these colors. I can usually
paint three dolls with two drops of
paint if I'm quick enough that the drops don't dry out. so anything
you buy will last you a very long time <G>.
You're very welcome and don't sweat
it. if you mess up the doll's face just wipe it all off with a wet
paper towel and start again. it happens to me
all the time.