1. Please check the announcement in the DOA News section. Broken links to TinyPic were noticed over the weekend, and today we confirmed they've been shutting down over the last month. Since a lot of people appear to have pictures there, be aware that Monday, 9/16/19 appears to be the last day to download your photos.
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Lessons learned

Sep 10, 2019

    1. After doing my first major doll customization, I have learned a few things.

      • Watercolor, when thinned to the consistency of milk is is good for getting a walnut texture. But to keep it from getting everywhere it has to be sealed at least twice.
      • Gouache gets some nice effects and its easy to clean if a mistake is made, BUT IT TAKES FOREVER TO DRY! And you need even more sealant to ‘waterproof’ it. Definitely not worth the effort. The same can be applied to thick water color paint.
      • Pearlex powder stops looking shiny and shimmery after the 4th layer of sealant. And slowly becomes a tint as more is added.
      • The bathroom fan is not a substitute for a window and it’s definitely NOT adequate ventilation for spraying MSC.
      What are some things you've learned through out your time in the hobby?
       
      • x 5
    2. I laughed at the Pearlex item, because it's true. :D
      • Resin turns yellow far more slowly than my favored brand of spray sealant. /o\

      • It takes a stronger wire than I think it does to stabilize a kicky leg.

      • Copper wire leaves interesting black marks on the inside of joints. This is alarming when first discovered, but comes off relatively easily.

      • Taking things off is always, always more trouble than putting them on.
       
      • x 3
    3. Sealant that isn't made for plastic always looks shiny, whether it's gloss or matte.
       
      • x 2
    4. 1. Resin dolls are tougher than you expect.
      2. Acrylic paints have to be thinned.
      3. Elastic wears out faster than you think.
       
      • x 1
      • It's okay to cut corners with doll clothing when making things for yourself. Fully lining things isn't needed and is going to end up looking bulky if layering a lot of clothes.
      • Handsewing stretchy fabrics is a pain
      • Handsewing slippery fabrics is a pain
       
      • x 5
    5. My lessons learned and observations from being on DoA for 15 years:

      - Don't be impulsive when it comes to buying dolls. The market is heavily saturated, so take your time to find the doll that is right for you.

      - If you find a doll that you love and it is out of your current budget, save for it. Don't sacrifice your financial stability for a hobby, and don't settle on a doll because the price is cheaper.

      - Don't use dolls as an escape from real life problems that need to be addressed and/or treated with professional help.

      - Experiment and learn as many new skills as you can within your capacity. If your handmade wig or sewn clothes aren't perfect on the first try, keep on practicing. You will improve the more you create. However, if you realize something doesn't bring you happiness or joy, it's okay to purchase dolly items from others and support other artisans. (I don't like doing faceups, but I love sewing and doing hair!)

      - There isn't perfection in the hobby. Don't worry so much about what others think or say about what you like; provided that you aren't hurting yourself or others, you do you. In addition to comparison, worrying so much about what others think is a thief of joy.
       
      • x 9
    6. -If a doll doesn't have teeth and you want them to, you can just... shove some in there. Thermoplastic pellets work really well for me and they're fully removable.

      -Resin eyes are relatively simple to make, but make sure you use proper colorant if you're using UV resin. I used white acrylic paint for a stupid long time and it yellowed immediately every time.

      -A thin layer of clear nail topcoat over handmade eyes keeps them from scratching up during placement. It also can sometimes fix pre-existing scuffs and scratches and make the eyes clear again.

      -Taobao is a better place to buy almost anything, and even things that are hard to find in the english speaking markets (GLASSES) are usually easy to find on taobao.
       
      • x 3
    7. -Buy the thing you love instead of trying to be cheap. It’s okay to save money on some things but if you LOVE that wig, eyes, piece of clothing, you’ll probably end up spending as much or more on cheap substitutes as you keep buying and being unhappy and trying again.
       
      • x 4
    8. Some of the things I've learned in this hobby:
      - Whatever wait time is quoted to you when buying a handmade item from a seller - double it (lol).
      - ZM Finishing Spray is easier to work with than MSC.
      - Acrylic paints are horrible for faceups if you make any mistakes.
      - When I am curious or have questions about something in the hobby - there is almost always a YouTube video about it!
      - Drawing eyelashes with a sharp watercolor pencil is way easier than painting them on.
       
      • x 3

    9. This this this! I probably spent a good $100 if not more on shoes before just getting that one pair of nice shoes that fit my mnfs back in the day when shoes for them were few and far between. And I still have trouble finding the ones I like now because they're not popular anymore. Le sigh....
       
    10. I did not know that was an alternative to MSC. Thank you!
       
    11. Would you mind elaborating on this? I'm curious what your experience has been.
       
    12. Those two are also pain on sewing machine!
       
    13. I think what they are referring to is that its pretty much liquid plastic. Once its on its really tough to remove with out screwing up everything under it.
       
      • x 1
      • Always pre-wash fabrics and never leave dark coloured clothing for long periods of time on a doll especially if the humidity is high
      • Forget about desiccants get a plug-in dehumidifier because for some weird reason, weird yellow spots appear on even the best sealed dolls if you throw these in. These can be washed, but it's such a waste if your doll has custom tattoos that you know you can only reproduce when you are in the zone (which never happens!) so just don't. ever.
      • Tan/dark skinned dolls turn green. :( pink skinned dolls fade or turn bluish purple :( white skinned dolls turn yellow :(
      • Handle them with care but don't be afraid of customization resin is way tougher than you think
      • Apoxie sculpt is probably the most resin safe sculpting material that you can use on doll mods because there are some companies that use resin that do not tolerate air dry clay very well.
      • There are companies that throw the word/phrase "limited" "last" "discontinuation sale" around just to drive profits or generate hype. :evil::evil::evil:
      • Invest on a good liner brush:thumbup
      • Love your lungs. Wear the right mask.
      • Just buy that doll that you like during its sale period because things get real---real fast from 650USD to 2300USD :dohjust do a layaway already! this will save you from frustration and your wallet will thank you later!
      • NEVER sacrifice financial stability for a doll because after all, it's still just a hobby.
      • Dolls are a great outlet for relieving stress, but if you have problems, you should resolve them or get professional help.
      • Learn how to ignore people who judge you because of how "weird" "expensive" "creepy" "cursed" (anything negative really!) your dolls are. They probably don't know how much your dolls are really worth to you <3
       
      • x 6
    14. Display your dolls if you can. It helps curb the urge to buy more.
      Be kind to yourself, don't put yourself down for having a hobby
      Don't get too spendy, too quick. There is plenty of time.
      It could take years to finish a doll and that's ok.
       
      • x 1
    15. If you think you aren't in love with a doll when it shows up- give it a few months! A few months and some bonding can really work wonders, a doll you wanted to sell/were indifferent to could become one of your favorites.
       
    16. Oh, another one: your plans don't always work the way you want them to, but sometimes it's a good thing.

      I wanted my first doll to have long silver hair, or maybe black. After about a year and a half of buying and trying so many black and silver wigs and not liking any of them, I jokingly stuck my sister's doll's shaggy blond wig on him thinking it would be awful and funny and it. was. PERFECT. He's now been blond for about 10 years. Not at all what I thought I wanted for him, but I felt so much more bonded to him, like I really knew him, once he had a look that fit him.
       
    17. Tweezers and lashes good for train your nerves.
      Mod podge can go anywhere you don't want it to go.
      NEVER Paint a face up in a room with bad lighting. NEVER.
      Never sew anything without measure your doll.
       
    18. I'm posting again because I just learned something.

      Feather wigs and eyelashes are a thing. They don't seem to be very common, but they are a thing.