Getting started with your first OOAK doll repaint: Supplies
Most fashion dolls are made of vinyl, so choosing the right materials is key to creating a beautiful repaint that will last for many years to come.
Some paints are not recommended for use on vinyl. For example, oil paints will bleed into the vinyl and spread — transforming your amazing doll repaint into an impressionist canvas.
Most doll repaint artists use acrylic paints for both their durability and their ease of use. But not all acrylic paints are created alike. While a gifted repaint artist may be able to use any paint with success — created with a whole lot of patience and skill — some of us need to start with a quality paint.
Golden paints are the brand that many repaint artists use, and they are the paints that I use.
The brushes you use are up to you. I haven’t noticed a difference in any of the brands that I’ve used. Most brushes tend to be the 10/0 size, but I’ve used others that are 3/0 and 5/0.
You will find that you will need different brushes for different uses: Small, fine-tipped brushes for details like eyeliner and lashes, and broader, flat brushes for eye shadow or blush. Experiment until you find what works for you.
Of course, there are many other color tools besides paint that can help you create beautiful effects, such as shading and blending. Here are a few that I and other artists have used:
- Chalk pastels
- Watercolor pencils
- Watercolor paints
- Graphic dyes
The key to using these tools properly is to avoid any products that contain oil-based ingredients, and then to set them with a quality sealer.
Like paints, sealers should be chosen according to your preferences. Inexpensive craft sealers can be used with success. However, not all are the same quality. I have used sealers that were tacky to the touch days after application, as well as sealers that dried with a sheen.
The Liquid brand Gloss sealer and medium is the gloss sealer that I use. It creates nice glossy, smooth finish. One important tip: Only apply the sealer to the areas you want to shine, such as the eyes and the lips. When I started repainting, I used the sealer on the whole face and just couldn’t understand why my doll was so shiny:)
A great matte sealer that most artists use is the Winsor Newton matt varnish. It is oil-based, but it won’t cause your paint to run and won’t harm the vinyl.
Other dolls may require different types of sealers, based on the material of the doll and the types of paint you use. For example, Mister Super Clear is the sealer of choice when doing face-ups on ball-jointed dolls.
These are the paint supplies that I use when I repaint my OOAK dolls, and they are the supplies that many other repaint artists use. However, when you get started repainting, you will soon learn what works best for your individual process. The key is to experiment and to try new things until you find what gives you the best results.
Have you started repainting your own dolls, or are you a seasoned pro? What brands of paints, sealers, brushes, and other supplies do you use? Tell us your picks in the comments!
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