I trimmed up the inside of the head today. I started out by scribing a line where I wanted to cut, with the tip of my paring knife. Click on any image to enlarge it.
Then I used the paring knife to cut the carving wax up to the line.
I followed the design of the inside of the skull cap.
The other day, on one of the doll making forums, someone asked how to test-string a work-in-progress BJD. One of the wonderful properties of carving wax is that it is strong enough to be test-strung with round elastic doll cord. In this quick test-stringing tutorial, I am using 3mm elastic.
Test-Stringing a Carving Wax WIP BJD
I tie the elastic in one big loop. This loop is then doubled over and tied again, making two loops. I pull the elastic through a plastic neck button. The approximate length of the two loops is from the inside of the head, down to the knees. The elastic will be stretched to go on down to the feet. Tension and friction are two of the things that allow a BJD to be posed.
I use a stringing tool that I made from a wire coat hanger. One end is bent into a hook. The other end is bent into a loop, to accept a wooden dowel handle. My stringing tool is 29cm in length (almost 12 inches long). This snapshot also shows the elastic loop with the plastic neck button.
This is a snapshot of the wooden dowel handle in the loop of the stringing tool. This handle is nice to have when stringing the BJD more tightly. I do not use it when I am loosely test-stringing the carving wax BJD.
I use the stringing tool to pull the elastic through the various doll parts. Here, the stringing tool is put through the neck socket, into the head, and has hooked both of the elastic loops.
I pull both loops through the neck socket until the plastic neck button is seated inside the head.
I put the stringing tool up through the upper torso from the waist socket through the neck hole, and hook the two elastic loops.
I pull the two elastic loops through the torso and seat the head socket on the neck ball.
I put the stringing tool in one of the hip sockets of the lower torso, through the hole in the top of the lower torso, hook one of the elastic loops, and pull the loop through that hip socket. I do the same thing with the other hip socket and the other elastic loop. Now each elastic loop is ready to be pulled through a leg.
I put the stringing tool through the left upper leg, and hook the elastic. I pull the elastic through the upper leg.
Before I string the left lower leg, I make sure the left foot is ready with a pin and S-hook attached. The feet are terminal joints where the elastic loop is fastened. The elastic loop is fastened to one end of the S-hook. The other end of the S-hook is attached to a pin which goes through the ankle ball of the foot.
This is kind of tricky to do. I put the stringing tool through the left lower carving wax leg, hook the elastic, and pull it through the lower leg. I hold the ankle of the lower leg in my left hand, with the ring finger and little finger. I grab the elastic with the other two fingers and my thumb, and hold it. Then I unhook the stringing tool from the elastic with my right hand, pick up the left foot, with the S-hook between my fingers, and hook the S-hook onto the elastic loop. I make sure that the S-hook is attached to the pin, then I slowly let the elastic pull the foot to the socket. Then I can let it go. Once you've done it a few times, it gets easier. If the S-hook is not attached to the pin, and you hook the elastic to the S-hook and let go, the S-hook will shoot through the lower leg like a paper clip from a rubber band. Been there, done that.
Do the exact same thing to the right leg and foot as to the left leg and foot. Both loops of elastic go from the head, through the neck, through the upper torso, through the lower torso (where they split to go through the legs), then through the upper legs, lower legs, and terminating at the feet.
Another piece of 3mm round elastic doll cord is used to tension the arms and hands. This elastic will go through the upper torso from shoulder socket to shoulder socket, down through the upper arms, through the lower arms, and terminate at the hands. The hands will have pins and S-hooks, similar to the feet. The pins go through the wrist balls. The S-hooks fit in slots.
I tie the elastic in a loop with a length that goes from elbow to elbow. I make the knot go in the middle, so it will end up inside the upper torso. I put the stringing tool through the shoulder sockets of the upper torso and hook one end of the elastic loop.
I pull the elastic loop almost all the way through, stopping it at the shoulder socket with a flat popsicle stick. I have also used a paint brush handle, a toothbrush handle, the handle of my paring knife, a wooden dowel, whatever is handy.
Most of the elastic loop is now on the left side of the torso. I put the stringing tool through the left upper arm, and hook the elastic loop.
I pull the elastic through the upper arm, then I put the stringing tool through the lower arm, and hook the elastic.
I pull the elastic through the lower arm, and hook it onto the S-hook from the hand. The elastic is not under tension at this point, so make sure the wrist ball gets seated in the wrist socket by pulling the elastic tight.
I put the stringing tool through the right upper arm and hook the elastic loop on the right side of the torso. The popsicle stick falls out. It has done a good job, and is no longer needed.
I put the stringing tool through the right lower arm, hook the elastic loop, and pull it through the wrist socket.
I hook the S-hook from the wrist ball to the elastic loop in much the same way I terminated the feet. The elastic should be under tension with this hand, so make sure the S-hook is attached to the pin in the wrist ball before letting go of the hand. I ease the wrist ball into the wrist socket of the lower arm before letting go.
Here she is, test-strung with two pieces of 3mm round elastic doll cord. One piece of elastic has two loops, and goes from the head to the feet. The other piece of elastic goes from wrist to wrist, through the upper torso. I hope this little tutorial was helpful? I still remember when test-stringing a WIP BJD was a mystery. Now I unstring and restring my carving wax BJD so often, I can almost do it automatically.
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