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Monday, January 11, 2010

Making a Treasure Chest

One of the most attractive things about doll making is that it can incorporate almost any type of art or craft that you enjoy. While making dolls I have incorporated sewing, embroidery, sculpting, painting, wood working, miniatures, rubber stamping and more.

As a child I loved doll houses and all the tiny stuff you could buy or make for them. I spent hours reading miniature magazines and sewing tiny clothes or teddy bears for the tiny people I had. Those tiny accessories were so amazing to me. As an adult, I have delved into the miniature arena as a part of my doll making. My scale is not the traditional dollhouse scale of 1:12 but the items I create for my sculptures are still on the small side and so fun to make I could do it all day.

Currently I am working on several projects but one of them keeps calling my name! She is a tiny 8” mermaid that is in the very beginning of the sculpting process. She has a body armature and I have a plan. I am so excited about making a mermaid. My grandparents lived across the street (literally) from the Rehobeth Bay in Delaware and I spent every summer with them until I went to college – and even a couple after that. When I was growing up, my grandfather was out on the ocean by 6:00 am every morning, sometimes earlier and if I was up, I was out there with him. I learned to swim when I was tiny and could drive and dock a boat by the age of 8, fillet a fish by 9 and caught and landed a 20 pound tuna at age 11 (a lot tougher than it sounds!!)

The ocean is a haven for me. I love the sounds and smells of it and feel as at home on the deck of a boat as I do on land. I think, because I have other sculptures that I have to finish before I can start on her, I am seeing things for her everywhere so as a compromise with myself (yeah, I know silly – but I hate the guilt of an unfinished gift!!) I am working on the display that she will be in. I have shells and sand, a pretty round base and I am making a treasure chest for her.

Here are some in progress pictures…

I bought the chest below from Michael’s for $1 (Ok, I really only paid .80 for it since I had a 20% off coupon!) It is a simple pine box.

The first thing I did was to remove all of the hardware from the box and sand it down so that it was fairly smooth (not too smooth, it is a pirate chest after all).

I added a nice base coat of Raw Umber paint.

Once the paint was dry, I sculpted the “metal bands” out of Prosculpt clay. I then baked the bands right on the piece. I had to stand in the kitchen watching the oven to make sure that my little treasure chest didn’t burst into flames.

Now comes the fun part, painting some details on the chest, gold leafing and antiquing the bands and hardware then filling the chest up with treasure. I already have a treasure map that will fit into a tiny bottle, some tiny strung pearls and a mini strand of real garnets that will be calling the chest home. I am searching for more fun things to put in there. Check back soon to see the finished chest.

Thanks for visiting,


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