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How to have more fun with my BJD?

Jul 3, 2017

    1. Hello,

      I bought my first BJD for my birthday about a year ago after saving up for the longest time. That doll was the first BJD I'd ever fallen in love with and the only one I'd ever had the guts to actually buy. Like an expecting mother, I waited patiently for my doll, had fun buying clothes, and so on. When he finally arrived, he was even more beautiful than I expected. The problem is, he was such an expensive purchase and I found myself so intimidated by him that I've barely played with him since. Over the past year I've tried sewing him some clothes, taken a few pictures (doll photography has been a hobby of mine for quite some time), and I've even spent a lot of time developing his character and his story. Still, I haven't been able to connect with him or get the joy out of him that I was expecting when I ordered him.

      I still really admire the BJD hobby and desperately wish to be more active in it-- I watch tons of doll videos, I browse the forum, I've created tons of characters to go with this doll in my head, I even have a long wishlist of other dolls I would love to own... but when it comes down to it, I'm quite honestly afraid to play with my own doll. I'm not sure what to do about this. Now that I'm finally on summer break, I actually have some proper free time to devote to hobbies and such. I would love to have this become the time when I finally "connect" with my doll. Do I need to build him a room/furniture? Sew him a whole wardrobe? Buy another doll to keep him company? I'm not sure what to do.

      So I was wondering: have any of you had similar experiences? What did you do to overcome them? Do you have any suggestions for things I could do to help me "connect" with my doll?
    2. Initially, I didn't dare to touch my doll too. I just displayed him on my table and admired his sculpt Everyday!!! But then I kept longing for that "something" everytime I went on doa or instagram and saw others with their dolls. So bit by bit I started to touch him more, pose him a little differently each time I see him, even if I'm not taking his photos! I enjoy bringing him out a lot to meet friends too, cause then I don't need to buy new dolls (yet) but my doll can have the company of other dolls. Perhaps you could bring your doll to a dollmeet?
      • x 2
    3. There's nothing wrong with just looking at your doll.

      Mine spend most of their time just sitting around. I still enjoy looking at them.

      They occasionally get changed or photographed, but they mostly just sit on my table.

      Don't pressure yourself -- there are plenty of ways to enjoy your dolls.
      • x 2
    4. This might sound odd, but since you've given him a character, have you tried just silly random things like having him watch t.v. with you, or having a 'conversation' with him over breakfast? Interactions that would focus on the character rather than the object?
      • x 3
    5. I've been having this same issue! Maybe I'm just not attached to my little girl as much as I'd had hoped, which I hope isn't the case. I'd really love trying to have a dolly play date, but, alas, I don't know anyone nearby with the same hobby.

      For now, what helps me a bit is making things for my doll and writing stories about her. Sometimes I try to pose her like I imagine she'd look like in a specific scene of a story I have in mind. Sometimes I like to imagine how she'd react to various things nearby. Even now I'm suuuper conscious of her "price tag", but I'm hoping with time this wears off.
      • x 1
    6. You've got to be brave and try handling your doll some more!

      I was also extremely cautious when touching my first doll, but over time, I grew accustomed to it. You can always wear gloves if it bothers you too much, but as long as you're being careful and not touching the faceup, everything should be just fine! I always wash my hands before handling my dolls, and I try my best not to put them on any unclean surfaces. They're still in pretty good condition, if I do say so myself.

      Doll photography has so far been my favorite part of the hobby. I'm always learning how to improve my skills when I take photos of my dolls. I also like attending meetups and seeing other dolls IRL. Do you have any doll related social media accounts? I created a BJD Instagram account last year, and it's been super fun posting there and interacting with other people in the hobby!

      Hopefully you get some goo advice and can start enjoying your dolls more ASAP. :3nodding:
      • x 2
    7. Definitely try different wigs on him. I've had my feelings toward a doll completely change once I got the right wig on it. The right eyes help too. I think it is a good sign that you found him more beautiful than you expected when he arrived.

      I will say that one of the biggest things that has helped a doll come alive for me is interaction with another doll. Sometimes it gives a previous doll who has provided little character inspiration a whole new direction to go in. But I am very much character driven. It sounds like you might be too!


      Maxim didn't have much purpose until Maura came home and decided she wanted him. He was totally smitten. Then she didn't want him. Now they cause each other all kinds of grief. ;)

      Linda S.
      #7 galatia9, Jul 3, 2017
      Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
      • x 1
    8. Going to a dollmeet might help you put your purchase in perspective. With my first two dolls I felt like I had spent a lot of money. Then I went to a doll meet and met two girls with dozens of limited soom dolls and saw how they just flopped them around, no big deal. They were a little extreme but it helped me get over a lot of my fear.

      If I have a doll that's too expensive I won't play with it either. Maybe try getting a "cheap" doll or one with accessible replacement parts and see if it appeals to you more.
      • x 1
    9. Definitely try just hanging out with him. I was nervous to touch my first MSD...Until I had to restring him. He spent the next week in my arms almost constantly after that. Watching YT videos, sewing, taking goofy pictures of him and (by pure accident) actually wound up dozing off hugging him a few times. I definitely felt less intimidated once I handled him enough. He's yours. He won't shatter with a single breath. :)
      • x 3
    10. If you enjoy sewing, why not sew some more outfits and try changing them once a day or once every few days? I really enjoy making clothing for dolls and being able to create a full wardrobe!
      • x 1
    11. You know, it is definitely understandable to be wary of playing with your doll, especially since he is your first. BUT like a first time parent, you just have to try things. See what you are and aren't comfortable with, but don't force yourself.
      I got my first doll in November 2015 and for a while I didn't have anything for her besides shoes I purchased with her and a dress/head scarf combo I made quickly when she arrived. I had gotten her just one set of new clothes, no wig cause I wanted to try making one, and I had fun with her. I tried different poses to see what she could and couldn't do. I put things in her hands to see what she could hold and what would fit with her size. Heck just this year she got a faceup finally haha.
      So you really don't need to do anything you don't want to. Just try small interactions here and there and have fun. As long as you don't drop him on hard surfaces and don't bang him around, he will be fine.
      • x 1
    12. So, the core problem is your fear to handle the doll. I think you need to study the ways how to handle the doll safely: dollstands, wire, pillows on the floor in case of falling down, etc. No need to start with difficult posing or crazy photo ideas. Start with simple things, just start. =)
      I had the same problem with an action figure: it was so awesome, but so fragile. I thought that it was a waste of money. But little by little I make photoshoots, I move it very gently. And it works, I'm not so scare to keep it in my hands.
      • x 1
    13. I also used to be terrified to handle my dolls. My first doll, I'd often leave him alone for months at a time. In hindsight, I probably picked a really difficult choice for my first doll, as he came with a super elaborate fullset outfit that got in the way of posing and also required a bit more maintenance than I was prepared for. I think for me it definitely helped getting another doll for him to interact with (that makes such a difference when it comes to posing and photographs!), and it also helped making some dumb mistakes along the way, because as soon as I messed up and saw that it wasn't the end of the world, I felt a lot more comfortable handling him. Now I try to do something new every time I pose and photograph my dolls, and I feel closer to them than I ever have. I feel like I find out something new about them every time I play with them, and they keep surprising me with what they can do!
      • x 1
    14. For me, the most enjoyable aspect is the visual itself - face up and expression and the atmosphere or image you try to go for. I'd say capturing the essence of that something via style and fashion and then have it all come together on a picture is the most entertaining aspect of BJD for me! Just like trying to find the perfect shot with a camera. It's all a lovely creative process!
      • x 1
    15. Thank you all so much! I wasn't expecting to get so many responses. ^_^ I have a bit more hope now that I realize my problem isn't as rare as I thought. I've been away from home for a few days so I don't have access to my doll at the moment, but I can't wait to try everything you've suggested as soon as I get home!

      Thanks again for all your help. :)
    16. Having this exact same problem with my first doll as well! Some great suggestions here, I'm trying to just push through it but it's harder than I thought it would be!
      • x 1
    17. To me having fun with my doll is planning their crew out, taking pics of them, and posing them together randomly, and even just chatting about them and sharing them with friends online. I haven't got around to doing as much with them as I want because life happens, and they do tend to just sit around quite often, but anytime I get a break it's cool to have them ready to adventure. I've found I prefer to do my own faceups on my crew these days because it seems to help me with the whole bonding process..
      • x 1
    18. I, too, had feelings of being afraid to "mess up" my doll. She had body blushing/painting from the company, and I felt uncomfortable playing with her because I was concerned about ruining the painting. I feel more comfortable handling a doll I painted myself because I know that if I mess up the paint, I can fix it. I feel that as I learn more about BJDs and acquire more skills, I'll become more confident in handling them. :)

      It was years after I got my first doll that I started painting my own face-ups, but even learning little things, like observing how the pieces fit together and how they pose, can help you learn more about dolls and maybe get more comfortable handling them.
    19. I think one of the biggest things to remember is that BJDs really aren't as fragile as they seem. You don't need gloves to handle them, and the paint won't fall off if you touch it once. Fingers don't snap off randomly, and ears generally stay firmly attached to the head. I personally love taking my dolls out with me, like if I'm going to the craft store or the fabric store, or even if I'm just shopping for myself; I'm not the type to keep my dolls in a glass cabinet (not that there's anything wrong with that), and I think that's what really allowed me to "bond" with my dolls.

      I've also found that having a character before you get a doll seems to help with bonding, because you already know the character, if that makes sense. Making a project out of a doll helps too; for my DZ Carter, Ilya, I loved his character before I got the doll, and the process of creating that character in doll form (getting the right faceup, making his clothes/accessories, etc.) was super rewarding, and really helped give the doll "personality."

      But it really depends on what you enjoy and how you want to interact with your doll. Try crafting something, like making wigs or furniture; take pictures inside and out; try switching up your doll's style or character with a new wig or faceup. There's tons of stuff to try, so don't give up!