Sunday, February 27, 2011

Faery Art Doll Tutorial

K.Michelle from K.Michelle Creations is back with another fabulous fairy tutorial!

Faery Paper Mache Art Doll

What you need:

1 ~ 2½” Styrofoam ball
1 ~ Styrofoam cone (base diameter is 1 ½ ) proportional to your ball
18 gauge wire
20 gauge wire
chopstick or dowel (I used ¼ inch dowel)
White Glue (Elmer's Glue All or PVA works great)
E6000 (or any other type of strong glue)
Wire Cutters
Round Nose pliers
Craft Knife
Painters Tape/Masking Tape
Gesso or White Paint
Paint in various colors
Base of some sort (I used a round wooden disk)
220 grit sandpaper
Hacksaw (if you are using dowels)
Paper Clay (Any type of air dry clay or polymer clay will work)
Embellishments (fabric, yarn, paper, etc)
Utility Knife
Paper plate or bowl (for glue)
Paint brushes (various sizes)
Flat Edge (Butter knife will work)
Wax paper/Non stick work mat


Foam brush
spray sealer

Step 1: After gathering all your materials, it's time to prep your Styrofoam ball. Find an edge of a counter, table, desk that has a curved edge to it. Once found, decide where you wish the face to be and press the ball on the curved edge. You may need to form the curve a bit on the Styrofoam ball with your thumbs. Just press the indentation until you are happy with it. This will be where your Fae's eyes will be.

Step 2: Now it's time to prep the legs and neck. Cut 2 - 5 ½ inch lengths of dowel for the legs, and a shorter piece about 3 inches for the neck. Using your utility knife (or sandpaper), you are going to whittle each of the dowels into a point. BE CAREFUL to cut away from yourself! Each leg will have 1 end whittled and the neck piece will have both ends whittled. These points will make it easier to insert the dowels into the Styrofoam Take your sandpaper and sand the rough spots until they are smooth.

Step 3: Insert one end of your double pointed dowel into the top of the Styrofoam cone in the center. You don't need to insert your dowel very far, just half an inch or so. Remove your dowel. Repeat this step with your Styrofoam ball, be sure to insert your dowel into the bottom of the head and as centered as possible (it's OK to be slightly off centered. Mine ended up being slightly tilted but I decided to go with it). Again, you only need to insert the dowel about half an inch into the ball. Set the head and neck aside and pick up your leg dowels. With the bottom of the cone facing you, decide where you wish the legs to be and insert the pointed end of the dowels about half an inch or so.

Step 4: Squeeze a bit of white glue into the hole you created in the Styrofoam ball. Do the same for the top of the neck. Be generous with the glue, you don't want your head popping off the dowel or off your doll. Insert your dowel into the Styrofoam and into the top of your cone. Don't worry if the glue oozes out, just wipe it off with your finger. Insert your leg dowels, but DO NOT GLUE! Set your doll aside for the moment.

Step 5: Moving onto the base. I am using paper clay for mine and a wooden circle plaque for mine. Pull out a hunk of clay and form a ball. Press it onto your base and form to your liking. Make sure you have enough clay to hold onto the legs when they are pressed in. Once you have your base the way you like, take your doll and gently press the legs into the clay, try not to wiggle the legs too much. Remove the doll's body from the legs. Straighten the legs a bit and wrap with a piece of blue tape or masking tape to keep the legs pretty straight. Set aside to dry for a few days (After a few days the top of your clay will be mostly dry. To dry the underside, find a large jar (canning jar works well) and insert the leg portion into the jar, gently resting it in the mouth of the jar. This will allow for the underside of the clay base to dry.) * If you are using polymer clay, follow the instructions on the manufacturers package*

Step 6: At this point you may or may not wish to craft the nose and ears for your doll. For the ears, make 2 more balls and begin shaping them into the ear shape you wish. I did tear drop shapes for mine. If you wish for your doll to have earrings, insert little pieces of wire into the clay (if you are using an air dry clay that shrinks a lot as it dries, leave the wire in the ears until dry, this way your holes will not close up). Make sure the part of the ear that will attach to the head is as thin as you are comfortable making it. Add a slight curve to the ears and let dry. I propped my ears up against a glue bottle to help keep the curve a bit. For the nose, use another smaller ball of clay and shape to your desire. Set aside and let dry. *Again if you are using polymer clay, follow the package instructions)

Step 7: Take your 18 gauge wire and wire cutters. Cut 2 pieces of wire about 6 - 6 ½ inches long. With your round nose pliers, grasp one end of the wire and curl it backwards to make a loop (This forms the hand). Repeat for the second wire. At the other end (the non looped end), place your pliers about 2/4 inches down and bend the wire 90 degrees. Set these aside.

Step 8: Time to make a mess! Take some newspaper and tear it into various sizes. Once you have a decent pile of various size newspaper, grab your Fae Doll and your white glue. Pour a small amount of glue onto the Styrofoam and spread it out with your finger or foam brush in a small workable area. Place a piece of newspaper into the glue on the Styrofoam and spread a bit of glue on top of the newspaper (this will allow your other pieces of news paper to stick to each other). Add more glue to the Styrofoam, add another piece of newspaper, over lapping the first piece, add a bit of glue to the top of the newspaper and repeat until you have covered the head, neck and body of your Fae. Be sure to leave the bottom side of your body dry so you can set your art doll down to dry. Let the glue dry thoroughly.

Once dry, it's time to cover the bottom of the body in the same way you did the rest. Spread your glue, add a piece of newspaper, spread a bit of glue on top of the newspaper and repeat. Be sure not to cover up the leg holes! You want to be sure to cover the edges of your Styrofoam as well, we don't want flaking paper. Once you have the edges of the Styrofoam covered, go ahead and add a few more pieces around the bottom of the cone to seal the edge pieces. This will help keep the paper from pulling away as the glue dries and gives a nice edge. Once the entire bottom and edge is covered, set aside and let dry fully.

Step 9: Once the glue is dry, give your Fae Doll a good coat of gesso or white paint. Let dry. Repeat for the very bottom of your body and let dry. After the gesso is dry, give your Fae Doll 2 coats of whatever color you are using for skin tone. I went with my trusty light flesh tone paint mixed with some white. Let dry. At this point, check on your legs and base. If the clay is dry, add a coat of gesso to your legs if you are going to paint them and let dry.

Step 10: Let's move back to the base and our legs. Sand or score the top of the wood. I used my utility knife to do this. Once the wood is scored to satisfaction, add a good amount of your E6000 glue. Press your clay base into the glue firmly. Once it's set, wipe up the extra glue that oozed out with your finger and let dry. Set the base aside, we'll be back to it.

Step 11: While paint and glue are drying, we'll work on the wings. Draw your wing shape on a piece of paper. I went with a 2 part wing. Once you have your wing shape drawn out, take a good length of 20 gauge wire and trace your drawing with the wire. Repeat until you have 2 pieces of each part of your wing. With your pliers, twist the ends of the wire together until you have a good half inch of twisted wire (this will be inserted into the body of your Fae Doll). Next, trace your wing shapes onto another piece of paper. I'm using a piece of mulberry paper that you can find in the scrapbook section of any craft store. Once you have your shapes drawn, cut them out and add a bead of glue. Smear the glue with your finger making sure the entire piece is covered evenly with glue. Place a piece of 20 gauge wire in the middle of the glued piece of paper. Place your second piece of paper over the wire and 1st piece of paper making a sandwich. Be sure to press the papers together firmly and tightly around the wire. Set aside to dry. Repeat for the second wing. If you are doing a larger wing, cut 2 pieces of paper a little bit larger than your wing shape. Smear a good amount of glue onto 1 sheet of paper, again being sure to have an even coat. Place your wire shape into the glue, add your second sheet of paper. Again, be sure to press the paper firmly to squeeze out any air bubbles and tightly against the wire. Repeat the gluing and sandwiching process for all your wing pieces. Set aside to dry.

Once your wings are dry, using a pair of scissors, cut around your wing shapes. Be sure to leave a bit of paper around the edges of your wire. If you cut too close to the wire, your wing will fall apart. Repeat for all the wing pieces.

I ran a small bead of glitter paint (My fabric glitter paint isn't just for fabrics lol) along the edges of the wing parts. Once dry, I scribbled a little bit onto the wings themselves to add a bit of sparkle. This step is completely optional. After all the wing pieces are finished to your liking, set them aside.

Step 12: Next up, glue on your nose and ears. I used my trusty E6000 to glue them on. If you find your ears don't sit flush to your head, gently press a flat area with your fingers onto the head where the ears will be glued. While the glue dries, decide where you wish your arms to be and poke them into the body (but don't glue! We'll glue them in last). Once the glue is dried and to hide the seam of the ears, add a bit of white glue and paper like you did covering the Styrofoam in the beginning. Let dry.

Step 13: Let's move back to the base again. Go ahead and paint the legs and base the way you wish. Once dry, add a bit of glue to the holes in the bottom of your doll, insert the legs and let dry.

Step 14: As soon as the glue is dry, go ahead and draw your face. You will also want to draw where you want to add your hair. Since my faery will have pig tails, I drew a line along the front hair line, down the middle, along the back and around the ears. When you draw your lines, be careful not to allow your lines to touch. You don't want to weaken the Styrofoam If you draw lines next to each other, be sure to leave a bit of space between them. You will only be adding a few rows of yarn. After your lines are drawn, decide where you want your wings to be and poke them into the body. Don't glue, we'll glue them last.

Step 15: Starting at the top with your craft knife, carefully cut your lines. Once your lines are cut. Paint your ears and nose your skin tone color and paint your face. If your fae has some earrings, feel free to add them now. You can wait until after the hair is added if you wish, it's just easier for me to put the earrings in before the hair is attached. Since the painting was finished, I went ahead and gave my Faery a good coat of matte spray sealer (optional).

To add the hair: Select the yarn or ribbon you wish to use. Decide on your length and and double, folding in half. Starting in the middle of the head (if you are doing straight hair, start in the back), place the middle of your yarn over your cut. Press your straight edge (butter knife works fine) into your cut. Gently remove your straight edge. Place your next strand next to your first and press into your cut. Repeat this until you reach the end of your line.

Once you have your first line finished, place all the yarn onto one side. Add a small bead of white glue at the base of the yarn where it meets the head. This is an added precaution to keep the hair from pulling out. Once dry, repeat for the opposite side. After the glue dries, continue on to the next line. Keep repeating these steps until you have covered your head to your liking. It's OK if you don't use all the cuts that you've made. When you have the hair as full as you like, go ahead and style it.

After you have the hair finished, it's time to dress your Faery and glue her wings and arms into their final positions. I added a bit of white glue into the holes of the arms and wings. Once dry, I went back in and added a small amount of E6000 with a toothpick around the outside to make sure they are secure.

And there you have it! Your very own Faery Art Doll. Enjoy!!


  1. your fairy is a delight and lively!
    you have a generous heart to share each step of the way. it must have taken so long to create this tutorial. lovely to meet you through your art.

  2. That is amazing and so cute! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. How adorable! A wonderful tutorial. Thanks for sharing! :0)

  4. She's beautiful! I may have to make a few for my daughters - thanks so much for sharing this :o)

  5. Absoluteyl adorable! I am collecting ideas for summer projects with my granddaughters and this will be perfect fot the one who loves fairies. Thanks for sharing!

  6. WOW! So cute! And the tutorial is wonderful.

    I've been enjoying this "series" so much! I don't always have time to comment but I want y'all to know, I think it's just FANTASTIC!


  7. Detailed tutorial is wonderful...what a true artist. Adorable fairy!!!

  8. She is absolutely adorable! Love the step by step tutorial.

  9. Oh, how I love those dollies! wonderfull job, karen!

  10. another amazing tutorial thanks so much x

  11. Wonderful tutorial and she is so cute!

  12. She is just a cute as a button. Great tutorial, thanks for sharing.

    Sherry XOXO :-)

  13. Oh my goodness! This faerie is STUNNING. Thanks for the tutorial!!!! I shall have to try this. :) Theresa

  14. What a wonderful little fairy, and an equally excellent tutorial! Honestly, I really must give this a go. Thank you so much!

    I have to say, this fairy month has been so educational and inspiring! So many times I've said 'I'm going to try that' or 'I must bookmark this page'. There's been enough ideas and helpful instruction to keep me going till next year!

  15. This is truly amazing. I am going to have to try to make one for myself. :) Thank you for the tutorial.

  16. Ok, I seriously LOVE this. It's gorgeous and am totally going to have to make this for myself!

  17. Thank you for sharing your art making with budding artists in such great detail. Whether you realize it or not, you leave a legacy.

  18. Such a great Tutorial! Thank you. Your Fairy is adorable! I better get to working on some for my daughters fairy party. :)

  19. Beautiful and a great tutorial!

  20. Absolutely astonishing!!! Great work of Art!! Thank you for sharing!!!! ��