Forget all the pricey Coraline movie replica dolls out there; how about creating your own Coraline doll just like in the movie? Sounds like fun, but what materials do you need?
I reckon you could use whatever’s around you, like old fabrics, thread, and buttons, or you could purchase the supplies. Whatever you decide, here’s a guide on how to choose the best materials for your Coraline doll.
What Should You Know Before Choosing Materials?
While I understand making a doll isn’t the same as building a house, there are certain factors to consider before choosing your materials. Here’s what you need to do;
You need a plan to guide your production, so create a critical path for how you envision your project from start to finish. The vision board highlights important details like the doll’s aesthetics, fabric colors, fabric types, clothes design, and end look. Besides giving an overview of the outcome, it details what actions to happen at each step of the process to make the project a reality.
Checklist of Materials:
Without listing each material item you need for the project, you’re likely to forget. The checklist should have a column for the item description, source, quantity, and purchase price. A checklist also doubles up as a budget, so be sure to capture all important details about your materials. After you’re done with the checklist, one more thing is to identify and research sources for your preferred materials.
If you’re going for a replica similar to the one in the movie, you need to consider all materials details. For instance, I would carefully select the hair yarn or consider the technique to achieve a certain look; the boucle is curly and alpaca is the best for straight hair. To create shorter curls on the doll, embroider mohair yarn directly to the head and brush slightly.
What are the Most Common Materials in Doll Making?
- Wire coat hanger
- Wire cutters
- Air-dry clay
- Aluminium foil
- Paper cup (optional)
- Acrylic paint and paintbrushes
- Fabric/old clothes
- Sewing pins
- Stuffing (a mix of cotton, polyester, wool)
- Sewing machine or kit
How Do You Make a Coraline Doll Step by Step?
Once you have your materials, work out a step-by-step approach to making your doll. Here’s what to do.
Step 1: Building the Frame
Draw or print an image of what your doll should look like. Indicate on the drawing how each body part should be attached to make a whole. The image should have all necessary measurements to guide each step.
The Coraline doll has a wireframe structure, so I chose a wire hanger as the ideal material to bend and create the head, hands, and legs. Instead of a wire hanger, you could opt for brass or copper wires with a 12 -20 gauge.
Step 2: Create Templates
With the frame as your guide, create a template with paperboard or cardboard of each body part and fabric that needs to be cut, sewn, or attached.
Step 3: Make the Head
Start with the head by making an aluminum foil ball around the hook of the coat hanger. Then cover the foil with air-dry clay to form the head. In case this doesn’t work to a suitable effect, you can opt for clay.
If some materials aren’t useful for what you intended, don’t shy from switching to something else. Mark out the eyes, nose, and mouth and use some of the clay to make the ears. Once done, leave it out to dry.
Step 4: Make the Hair
With the dry head, mark out the head area where you want to glue the hair, then cut the yarn to the lengths you wish the hair to be. Ensure you have a pattern to attach the hair and that it’s evenly saturated.
Step 5: Make the Body
Remember the templates; here’s where they come in handy. Make sure the inside out is facing out, and the outside in is inwards. Pin the two layers together and cut out the body shape. Sew the two layers together using a sewing machine or sewing by hand if you prefer, then remove the pins and turn the body’s right side out.
Step 6: Stuff the Body
Get the stuffing and push it into the arms and legs (of the body) using a slim stick or knitting needle. Push it in slowly to avoid creating lumps. Fit the torso into the wireframe, stuff, and sew it. Do the same for the neck, and then attach the arms and legs to the torso.
Step 7: Fix Eyes, Accessories and Clothes
This is the fun part where you finalize your Coraline doll’s aesthetics from eyes to clothes and any paintwork. The clothes are the perfect camouflage for any flaws you encountered while making the body and stuffing it. Ensure the clothes fit and are removable. Drawstrings are also a fantastic idea for skirts and trousers.
Alternative Materials for your Coraline Doll
In hindsight, there are probably things you would do differently if you had to make another Coraline doll. Perhaps something to do with your choice of materials or the procedure used to create the doll to help save on materials.
And in case you don’t have the opportunity to recycle or upcycle materials, there are eco-friendly materials you can consider, like bamboo fibers for stuffing. For instance, instead of aluminum foil for the head, I’d recycle waste plastic paper and wrap it with nylon thread into a compact ball.
Your DIY Coraline doll is ready, and it’s everything you had hoped. A feat achieved with a careful selection of materials both around you and from the supplies shop.
With more practice, you can make great Coraline dolls to play only with a careful selection of sturdy, durable materials.