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Friday, January 13, 2012

Why you need an ultra-fine black marker in your supply box

As most of my readers know, I welcome questions, comments and suggestions on this blog, and I have a new one to address today, thanks to new reader Barb. It is, technically, a correction to the book.

On page 56 of my book, Ball-Jointed Dolls for Beginners, I recommend adding an ultra-fine tipped black water-soluble marker to your supply list for new BJD owners. As you read through my tips and techniques, you may have noticed I neglect to mention how exactly this marker comes in handy.

I use a brush marker tip to correct fine mistakes. Here are a few ways in which this tool comes in handy.

Eyelash repair or replacement

Generally, I recommend a clear-drying craft glue when replacing doll eyelashes. Occasionally, even the "experts" among us will get a small glob of glue that doesn't quite dry all the way clear. In this case, the brush tip of the black marker will help cover those globs (once they have dried 24 hours) to blend them in to the rest of the eye. Simply dap just the tip of the brush marker to the glob of glue (I use reading glasses or a magnifying glass, while resting my hand on the table for steadiness), and allow the glue to absorb the color.

Light eyeliner repair

When working around a doll's head, I recommend using wooden tools, such as toothpicks or a rounded cuticle stick, when doing fine work such as eyelash repair. I have been known (as officially the clumsiest "expert" in the world) to accidentally ding a doll's eyeliner when replacing a doll's head, if I'm not paying attention or if it's in the middle of the night. If you accidentally do this with hemostats, even lightly, you risk removing the eyeliner or painted eyelashes.

The black water-soluble marker comes in handy for these tiny repairs. I only use mine for eyeliner, since I don't feel steady enough to touch up the delicate painted eyelashes. I recommend practicing on paper first.

Damage can usually be avoided by:

  • working during times when you are fully awake and alert
  • using a pipe cleaner to grasp the doll's S-hook when reattaching the head to the body, as shown in the book
  • using only wooden implements around your doll's face, and very gentle movements
  • not picking at your doll's face-up with your (painted) fingernails
Why I don't recommend Sharpies

While Sharpie markers come in many forms and sizes and are readily available, I recommend staying away from this type of marker for several reasons:
  • These are permanent markers. You can't fix mistakes. Once it's there, it's there.
  • The ink can bleed deep into the resin, as resin is porous. Even a think line can get larger and thicker over time.
  • On most resin, there is no way to remove Sharpie. Even heavy sanding will not remove the permanent marker from resin. And sanding will ruin your face sculpt. Just don't risk it.
I hope you find this helpful. As always, I welcome your questions and comments!

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