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How to Paint the Face on a Cloth Doll

Some cloth doll faces already have contours and definition, while others must be added by the painter.
the small doll image by Serghei Velusceac from Fotolia.com

Painting faces on a doll can seem like a daunting task. Faces are delicate with a lot of depth and detail. A small line can make the expression look weird. The best way to learn how to create the perfect face is to practice beforehand. Draw out sketches of faces on a separate paper and experiment with expressions. Test out colors on scrap pieces of fabric. Planning and patience are the best ways to make your doll's face exactly how you want it.

Some cloth doll faces already have contours and definition, while others must be added by the painter.
the small doll image by Serghei Velusceac from Fotolia.com

Things You'll Need:

  • Sketch Book
  • Tracing Paper
  • Palate
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Pencil
  • Lipliner Pencil
  • Acrylic Paint Brush Able To Paint Thin Lines
  • Powder Brush Smaller Than Your Doll'S Cheek
  • Powdered Makeup Or Pastels
  • Cotton Swab

The Face

Sketch your doll's face on a piece of paper until it looks the way you want. Trace over the face with tracing paper and transfer the face to the doll.

Blend a small amount of powered make-up or pastel on a palate to be used for shadows and blush. Red, pink and peach are appropriate blush colors. Brown, gray and blue give contour and definition to the face.

Test the colors on spare fabric that is the same as the doll's face. This allows you to see how the colors look on the doll and if any adjustments need to be made.

Shade the sides of your doll's nose and underneath the eyebrows for contour and definition. Shade your doll's cheeks with the blush color. Rub the shading in with a cotton swab to blend the color permanently into the fabric.

The Eyes

Paint the doll's eyeballs using a small brush and white acrylic paint and let dry. Paint a thin line of brownish black or dark gray eyeliner on the top lid of the doll's eyes and let dry.

Paint the irises of the doll's eyes in a light or medium color of your choice and let dry. Make the iris a semicircle with the top of the circle underneath the eyelid. A full circle creates a shocked look on your doll's face.

Outline the iris with a darker shade of the first color used. Outline the inside of the darker shade halfway around the iris with a shade lighter than the first color and let dry. This creates depth in the eye.

Paint the pupil in the center of the eye connected to the top eyelid and let dry. Paint a tiny white dot in the pupil to create the look of light in the eyes.

Use the thin brush and brown or gray paint for the eyebrows. Paint the eyebrows lightly with tiny strokes for each eyebrow hair. Use the same tiny brush to paint thin dark brown or black lashes on the top and bottom eyelids. Make the top lashes longer than the bottom.

The Lips

Mix the acrylic paints to create a lip color for your doll. Pinks, reds, mauve, violet and white create fitting lip colors. Black and brown can tone down brighter reds and pinks. The amounts of each depend on if you want the doll's lips to look natural or with lipstick.

Outline your doll's mouth with a pencil or dark lip liner to create the shape you want.

Fill in the doll's lips with the color. Cover any pencil lines with paint and let dry. Use a clear gloss over the dried paint to make shiny lips.

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