Vintage Tin Dolly

I have a sweet spot for dolls. Ever since I could remember, I had some sort of doll, whether it was a troll doll, Sweet April doll that cried real tears, Barbie and even now, my Asian Ball Jointed Dolls (ABJD). I’m really not sure why I dig them, but I definitely do. Years ago, I had seen some altered dolls, art pieces with human/doll features to them, some with doll parts and others were dolls made up of random parts and ephemera. Toy Story’s Sid’s mash up of doll parts and erector sets and legos (and god knows what else) was fairly interesting to me, but keeping it less creepy is definitely is a goal. I’m looking for otherworldly.

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My pile of crap…I mean crafts!
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Doing a mock up of the doll, placing craft pieces into place to see how it all fits and looks.

Over the years, I have collected numerous doll parts, finding them at various flea markets, shows, thrift shops and junk heaps. This particular doll part was found in the basement of my friend’s house as she was decluttering for her Grandmother. I actually found two similar dolls, I think, and they are both dolls that were made to be placed on top of a toilet paper roll cover. They were paper mache or composite dolls…really unsure of it, but they feel like they are either paper or compressed wood.

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More mock ups.

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My craft stash is mighty and I have been collecting ephemera for several years now. I, in fact, need to either use it or lose it as it is taking over my house. 😦 So, I purposely try to find projects to use as much of the supplies as I can. Some of the items I used: raw wool, fabric trims, fringe, antique thread spools, little heart embellishment, some rhinestone buttons and earrings, pearl trim, a piece of metal trim, a lot of hot glue and some Prima Gold Texture Paste.

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All the parts and embellishments I was planning on using on the doll.

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I’m including all the photos as I worked out the final project. A lot of the time, I will search through my art stash and make a pile of stuff I think will work within the idea I had, and hopefully they go together. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle for me, grabbing pieces here and there, placing them together to help visualize my project. Depending on luck, this process sometimes takes a lot of time as, at least in my head, I don’t always have a clear picture of what it should turn out as, so I’m constantly editing myself and trying random things in order to keep the work fresh. With this doll, I tried a number of fabrics and fiber pieces, as well as extra fake flower picks I had laying around.
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The doll and her “butt” or lower body at least.
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Vintage “butt” or the tin box base I used.

One of the big things I wanted to do was leave the doll fairly original with her hair all still intact and her face pretty much left alone. I could of repainted her face, and this is definitely an option in the future, but not this time. I did, however, use the Prima Gold Texture Paste to paint over her red dress. I thought the gold really looks so much nicer in general.
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The fringe I used and trim for the beginning layers.

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Glued the trim and the wool down to shape hips.
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Wool, trim and fringe to make a fake dress skirt.

The fringe was from a sample of Curtain Trim fringe. You could make one similar yourself using embroidery floss or even yarn. I layer a lot of the trim, beaded fringe, trims and other ribbons as I glue to add more details and dimension over the seasonings tin box. Once I glued the “dress” down, I glued her “feet” onto the bottom…4 wooden spools really kept her standing best and kept her level.
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Final for the skirts.
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Time to alter the main doll.
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Painted the texture paint on. No need for gesso.

The upper body of the doll, I added a “necklace,” a rhinestone button as a crown, and a metal heart to her hand. I then glued the body top to the “dress.”
I really like how she came out. I’m hoping to make other dolls out of the various tins I have in the future.
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Placed her on top her skirts and wrapped a beaded trim around her waist.


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This was the trim I used for her “belt.”


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Gluing her “feet on with hot glue.


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Adding further “jewlery” like the button hat, necklace and heart in her hand.


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Final shot of her finished.  I think I added a rhinestone button to her skirts in the front.  For the most part, she is done.


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