Friday, August 6, 2010

How to Create a Dolls Head with Cold Porcelain

Many cold porcelain figures, dolls and animals, all start by modeling a basic cute head and then adding the eyes, expression, hair, etc to create the character (such as the doll shown above).   This 'basic cute head' tutorial was originally published in a Portuguese magazine and I have done my best to translate the instructions into English for those that cannot read the Portuguese.  .

Materials needed are some cold porcelain paste (or other soft air-dry-clay) and a Styrofoam ball.   Tools used are your fingers, a cutting tool, a crochet hook and a ball-end tool.    The first step is to tint your clay/cold porcelain a peach tone or other flesh tone unless your prefer tinting or painting after it has cured.   


Next, wrap the Styrofoam ball in clay or cold porcelain (CP).   Select enough CP paste to completely cover the foam ball (approximately 2" ball shown here).  Press the foam ball into the CP and shape the CP around it 


Close any gaps that appear as you wrap the CP so that you completely enclose the foam ball inside.  Avoid trapping any air. 

With the palms of your hands, smooth and shape the CP into an egg shape.   Using your thumbs, enhance the curvature of the nose and forehead.

Refine the shape of the head and pull some of the clay into a neck.

With a crochet hook, push the CP paste from the bottom up and then form the nose with your fingers 

.....leaving a pointed nose shape.

Strengthen the shape around the area of the eye with your thumb.   Add nostrils.

To mark the mouth, envision an imaginary line that creates a cross between the nose and neck and from one cheek to the other cheek.    Where the imaginary line crosses,  insert the tool straight in to form a mouth.
(note:  The numbering of photos in original tutorial skipped's not missing)

With the end of a crochet hook, create a diagonal crease in each corner of mouth.

Using the diagonal mark as a guide, use your thumb to lift the cheek and indent the chin, smoothing down toward the neck.

With the small end of a ball-end tool, shape the lower lip....running tool from one side to another.

Shape the upper lip with the same tool, using gentle movements.

Define the corners of the mouth by dimpling with large end of ball-end tool.

With smaller end of ball-end tool, create small mark on top of the upper lip.

Ears ... create 2 ears and glue onto the head of the doll.   Shape 2 equal amounts of CP into 2 small ovals.  Roll between fingers to indent slightly.  Attach an ear to each side of head using round-end tool to apply pressure to center of ear.  

After CP has dried and cured, flesh color can be painted (if you didn't pre-tint) and eye decals can be glued on or eyes painted on.  Hair can be molded from additional CP paste or various types of doll hair material can be glued on.  Lots of  different characters can be made by varying the embellishments.  The boy doll and girl doll shown below both started with this basic "cute" head.   The boy's hair is molded clay, but the girl has purchased doll hair glued on.   The head for the little kitty was modeled in a similar way as basic doll's head.

More about cold porcelain at Cold Porcelain Tutorials


  1. Thank you for this tutorial. The pictures and instructions are very good.

  2. Is there a problem with shrinkage around the styrofoam ball? I understand that the clay shrinks about 30%.

  3. It's true that the cold porcelain will shrink, all air dry clay shrinks as the water evaporates. However, if the cold porcelain is applied correctly there shouldn't be a problem. Avoid trapping air and use plenty of CP. See demo video on my cold porcelain blog.


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