|BJD from BlueFairy dolls|
|WIP by Morezmore (OOAK)|
European and Egyptian articulated dolls made of wood and other materials date back hundreds of years. From the late 19th century through the early 20th century French and German manufacturers made bisque dolls with strung bodies articulated with ball-joints made of composition (a mix of pulp, sawdust, glue, etc). Refer to Wikipedia if you're interested in the history of ball-jointed dolls.
Today, BJDs are produced by anything from single-person outfits on a hobby level, to incorporated multinationals.
|"Nappy Choo" BJD|
Different methods are used to create the joints but essentially they all are hollow figures with some type of ball mechanism for the joint. Commercially available ball-jointed dolls are initially modeled in a substance such as clay. The hardened clay body parts are used to form molds for multiple parts to be cast in synthetic polyurethane resin.
Many one of a kind (OOAK) handmade dolls are made of air-dry clays such as Creative Paperclay and LaDoll. Polymer clay is generally considered too fragile for a OOAK ball-jointed doll.
Hand-sculpted dolls are formed in air-dry-clay over a Styrofoam core for head and body. After the clay has cured, the body part is cut into 2 pieces and the Styrofoam is removed. The 2 parts are then re-attached to form a hollow body (or head). Legs and arms are formed around a brass rod (some even use plastic straws) to create a hollow tunnel for stringing the elastic.
If you'd like to try your hand at making your own BJD from Paperclay, there's very good, step-by-step instructions at 'Between us, girls' This website is written in Russian. If your browser doesn't automatically translate, you can use Google Translate. This tutorial is a slight modification of the traditional, complex construction used by many Asian artists and therefore, might be a little easier for your first try at a BJD. Good luck! ;-)