HOW TO PAINT BISQUE or VINYL DOLL HEADS, HANDS, & FOOTWEAR TO CREATE THE PORCELAIN OR ANTIQUE LOOK            Print this page
Bisque doll parts are already fired & ready to paint.  No further firings are needed.   These methods will also work on vinyl, porcelain, or ceramic.    BACK TO PRINT INDEX                                          


SUPPLIES
Any good brand of acrylic paint.  I use Americana Deco Art in the bottles, but any acrylic paint will work..
Colors:
Medium Flesh - White - Black - Dk. Brown - Cadmium Red - Mocha
(optional for a lighter porcelain look skin tone) - Metallic Gold (for rings) - Blue Gray (blue eyes)
Acrylic Medium:
Deco Art Extender or Jo Sonja Retarder or any acrylic medium to extend the dry time of the acrylics
GOOD BRUSHES:
1/2" to 3/4" wide square flat for base coating.  1/2" & 1/4" to 1/8" wide flat or filbert (cat tongue) for detailing.  A good liner with a sharp point & bristles no longer than 3/4" for control.  Old worn brushes for optional antiquing.
SEALER:                         BE SURE TO COVER ACRYLIC EYES BEFORE SPRAYING
Matte Finish spray:
Krylon Brand for a flat finish & use as a hair spay to finish and smooth beards.
Krylon Crystal Clear or Patricia Nimmocks Matte Finish (best)- satin finish for a final finish on the bisque. This is available at most Wal-Mart & craft stores.
Any brush on water based (acrylic) Satin Varnish to use instead of the sprays.
OPTIONAL   Antiquing......Bt. Umber oil paint.....odorless mineral spirits or odorless artist oil painting brush cleaner.
      Or Bt. Umber acrylic paint + acrylic medium........Old brush & soft rags.

BRUSH CARE:

Acrylic paint is very hard on the brushes.  Dampen the brush before loading the paint.  Clean the brush often if painting very long.  When finished painting, clean the brushes in water + dish soap or invest in acrylic brush cleaner for the final cleanup.  I keep a jar of the acrylic brush cleaner to clean my brushes after cleaning the paint out in soapy water.  The acrylic brush cleaner will last a very long time.
SAND THE BISQUE PARTS:
Sand ONLY any imperfections or seams before painting.  Purchase the foam sanding pads in the fine texture.  I find these in the painting department at Wal-mart.  I cut them in half.

PAINT BISQUE HEAD

Using the larger flat brush, base coat the head with two coats of flesh color acrylic paint thinned with a little water or extender.  Dry between coats of paint.  Keep the paint smooth as you
paint.
PAINTING EYES:

 
(If you are not using set in eyes.)  Base the eyeballs with 2-3 coats of white acrylic.  If you get the white on the eyelids, let dry then just re-paint with the flesh.  Do not worry about mistakes when you are painting with the acrylic paints.   Just let dry & start again.   Start in the center of the eyeball, and paint in the iris/pupil area with medium blue acrylic paint. (or brown.)  
OPTIONAL: 
Slightly lighten the lower iris with white (or orange for brown eyes.)  Pat blend to soften the colors together.  Be sure to wipe the excess paint out of the brush before blending.  Darken the upper iris with black.  Paint the pupil with black.  Again, pat blend to soften.  Dip the pointed round brush or liner into the white acrylic.  Put a sparkle dot at the 10:00 or 2:00 position on the iris/pupil.  DO NOT place this in the center of the iris.

OIL PAINT:  this method is much easier.  Just use the instructions for acrylic.  The alkyd oil paints dry a lot quicker.  I use just the alkyd white and the darker colors regular any brand oils.

BLUSH & LIPS:
Brush a fairly heavy coat of the flesh color + some acrylic medium on the cheeks and lip area (one at a time)  (about 2/3 paint to 1/3 extender or retarder).  This will keep the paint from drying too quickly.  A good idea is to have two brushes, one loaded with the flesh and the other with the red.  Brush a small amount of cad. Red on the cheeks, and brush blend into the wet flesh acrylic.  Wipe the brush on a paper towel to remove excess paint.  Keep the strokes going two directions in a back and forth motion.  If the paint starts to tack up too quickly, dip the brush into the medium, and continue blending.  Pick up the flesh acrylic to blend over the hard edges of the red to soften these harsh lines.  This does take some practice.  Remember, keep the brush moving in two directions in a back and forth motion!  If you are not satisfied with this, acrylic dries quickly, and you can start over.
Brush some of the red + flesh color on the lips, but do not paint them too red.
NO PAINT method for blushing the cheeks and lips is buy a red makeup pencil or stencil creme.  First spray the face with the Matte Finish & set until dry.  Apply a small amount of the makeup to the cheeks & lips with a dry brush or your finger (use very little makeup).  Then blend or soften with a finger, dry brush, or paper towel.  When satisfied, spray again with Matte Finish.
You can substitute the brush on acrylic varnish for the Matte Finish spray. DO NOT spray acrylic or glass eyes, cover with masking tape or vaseline.
EYELASHES:
 
With a small liner brush, mix water + black acrylic (or black + bt. umber).  With the side edge of the bristles close to the metal ferrule, paint the inside edge of the top eyelids.  Drag the bristles on your palette surface to remove most of the paint.  Practice painting lashes on a plastic lid or palette paper.  Too much paint in the brush will make FAT lashes.  Pull some tiny lashes from the corners of the eyes.  Do not put too many lashes or too red lips on Santa so he will not look like he is wearing makeup.
TEETH:
  Mix white and flesh acrylic, and brush this on the teeth.  Let dry, then with almost all white paint, high light or add more to the surface of the teeth.  Remember teeth are NEVER pure white (except in Hollywood).

PAINT BISQUE HANDS  
Base coat & let dry per instructions for the head.
Blush (optional).....
Mix some acrylic retarder with the flesh color, and brush a generous coat on the top of the hand.  Tap some red acrylic on the joints and knuckles on the hand.  Wipe the excess paint from the brush, and blend and soften the red areas before it has time to dry.  You can also use the "makeup" method described above for the blush.  When dry, spray with the Matte finish or brush on a coat of satin varnish.  Paint the ring metallic gold.

PAINT SHOES OR BOOTS
:    Base coat with two coats of paint using the following colors:    Socks – off white (or color to match clothing)        Shoes or Boots– brown (or black)  & the soles – black or brown.  Remember to keep the paint thinned for easier control.          When dry, load a liner with black + water.  Paint the detail lines on the shoes, and the laces.  When dry brush on a coat of satin varnish or spray with Matte Finish.
ANTIQUE THE BISQUE
OR VINYL (optional...to create the old weathered look)

Acrylic method:  Seal the bisque with Matte Finish or brush on a coat of Satin Water Based Varnish & let dry.  Mix dark brown with acrylic medium (40% paint to 60% medium)  Brush over the bisque, then wipe off with a soft old rag to the desired effect.  If the antiquing dries or tacks up too quickly, pick up some of the acrylic medium, and brush on the bisque to re-wet the surface.  Be sure to clean the paint off the eyeballs with a damp brush before the antiquing dries.   When the antiquing is totally dry, brush on another coat of the satin varnish or spray with a Matte Finish spray.  DO NOT let sprays of any kind get on the acrylic eyes.  Cover with bits of masking tape before spraying.

Oil Paint Method:
    (If I choose to antique, this is the method I prefer)

Mix burnt umber oil paint with turp (artist oil paint brush cleaner) or mineral spirits (more turp than paint).  Brush on the bisque pieces, let set 5 to 10 minutes, then wipe off with a soft old rag.  Clean the eyeballs with turp or mineral spirits before the antiquing dries. If there is too much antiquing, just brush over the pieces with the turp, & wipe off with the rag.  When dry, spray with Matte Finish.
OPTIONAL.....I really like to mix  bt. umber oil paint with a product called "Liquin" by Winsor Newton company, or "LiquiGlaze" by Martin/F. Weber (Permalba) company for antiquing.  It is an oil painting gel medium.  This leaves such a nice finish, there is no need to spray with the Matte Varnish after antiquing.  This will dry overnight.  If you cannot find this product & would like to try it, please contact us, & we will add some to your order.
Also, remember that you can put an oil base product over any acrylic product, but DO NOT put any acrylic product over an oil based product or paint.
FINISH
Lightly spray with matte finish or Krylon Crystal Clear.

OPTIONAL....PORCELAIN LOOK FINISH....After spraying 2 coats of Matte Finish, lightly sand the finished pieces with the foam sander.  This is the step that really smoothes the surface to create the porcelain look and feel.  The formula for the Krylon brand Matte Finish has changed.  It is now a very flat no shine what so ever product.  I now use Patricia Nimmocks Matte Finish  spray for a final satin finish.  This is available at most Wal-marts or crafts stores.  Find in the craft paint area.
.....Cover acrylic eyes with bits of masking tape before ANY sprays.  Even hairspray will dull the eye balls.

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