Friday, February 22, 2013

Flock Yo Cornrows!

This flock stuff is just awesome! I can envision so many hair styles to try it with.  However, they all depend on my working the glue properly.  I'm using Mod Podge because that's what I have in stock but Elmer's with the pointy spout might work better for some applications.

I used to wear braids and cornrows a lot so I wanted to try a patterned cornrow style as I thought that would be the most difficult and time consuming and any other style would be easy breezy in comparison. 

I'm going to use the previous practice model so I removed her [green hairstyle] by running warm water over the flock.  After a minute of squishing her head I was able to peel it right off in a single layer.  I later found that I could have done the same without water actually.

Because this is just a test of glue application there are some steps I didn't do; 1) remove the mold seam with a utility knife, 2) cover the head with flexible modeling paste to fill in and make the rooting holes disappear and 3) mix paint to match the flesh tone of her face.

Instead, I used brown paint straight out the bottle and slapped 4 coats on her scalp with no other prep.  Then, using black paint and a brush, I drew on my cornrow pattern.  The third step is where a Elmer's bottle would have come in handy, but I don't have that.  So, using a pointed brush with all its bristles glued shut, I dotted on mod podge to form lines over the black stripes.

My point in this is to build up a line of glue without it flattening or drooping down.  I let the first layer of glue dry over the entire head completely to see if it would spread and it did a little bit.  Right on top of this layer I apply the second layer of glue, dump flock over it and shake off the excess.  Without pausing, I go back over it a 3rd time with another layer of glue and flock.

The second photo shows the glue completely dry which is why you should make your under color either white or the color of the flock you are using.  If you use white, you'll already have a general idea of how your finished product might look because the glue is white.  If you match the flock color, it won't look so sparse once it dries.

For the previous photos, I put down an entire row of glue and then flocked.  I always feel like I'm giving the glue too long to dry so for these blue rows I put down about 1/4 inch of glue, flocked, shook off the excess and then repeated until one row was done.  Because of this, it seemed like more flock was sticking to the glue, so I only did the one layer instead of adding one more. 

Here she is completely dry.  I really think that applying the glue/flock in small sections makes a big difference in the density of flock coverage and you can do less layers.  I rubbed my hand all over her head while inking a face on her and the flock didn't come off.  That doesn't mean, however, that this is a permanent hairdo like rooting.  Just poke it a bit with your fingernail and you can pry the glue right up and off.  Even knowing that, it's still fun to make different styles!

The only bad thing I can say about flock is that it gets everywhere!  So much so that I eventually had to put on a dust mask while using it because it was affecting my sinuses.  Shoot, I'm a delicate, freakin' flower. I can't be having stuff going all up in my nose and lungs and whatnots.  Safety first!  Protect yo-self before you rickety wreck yo-self.  Word to Big Bird.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mystery Box Shenanigans

If you are new around here, my nearest thrift store puts toys in sealed boxes and sells them as is with no opportunity to see the contents [Box 1, Box 2].  Since they were having a 50% off sale on Monday I stopped by to see if there were any mystery boxes I could pick up and they had 4 of them!

I think they raised the prices for the sale 0.o. One box was $3.99, two at $5.99 and the big one was $9.99.  Still, all of that for a final price of $13 seemed a bargain.  Man, what a jip.  Whoever packed those boxes was a complete and utter A-hole! They were literally filled with crap - like broken, busted, discarded junk that should have been thrown away instead of sold to someone.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Here's the stuff that I deemed salvageable:

A laser gaming set with goggles, a plastic sword that makes clanking sounds and a gun blaster that goes ping ping.

I'm no expert but I think that's a real stethoscope because it is heavy as heck! I wasn't going to put it in my ears to test it out though - germs, you know.  Two of the Star Wars canisters were empty but one was unopened and had an new Happy Meal type watch in it.  All the other stuff was in pretty good condition.

A fine collection of hot wheels! I used to love these things when I was a kid and would make cardboard race tracks and push them all around.  Then my mom stepped on one and that was the last I saw of the hot wheels!

Two real watches and the kid's Star Wars one.  Finding real watches, and a Rocawear at that, was unexpected but the way those boxes were packed, whoever dumped that stuffed inside never would have noticed them anyway.

I'm giving all the items in the above photos to a lady I know that asked to see any of the boy type things so she could give them to her grand kids.  Whatever she doesn't want I'll take to a different thrift store.

Out of those 4 great big boxes this is the only stuff I'm going to keep:

A Twister controller without the twister pad.  A Sorry board without any pieces. A few Dominoes. A few of the classic Hot Wheels. A pottery wheel - schweet! Ball bearings from a magnetic game set.  Ambulance that just needs some clean up.  A fully intact checkerboard set. A GI Joe type doll and a broken Harley with pieces missing all over it.

Not the victorious haul I was hoping for, but it'll do pig, it'll do.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Winx Club: Stella's Design Studio

I'm not a Winx person and so far the dolls and their sets have done nothing for me.  However, this design studio is freakin' cute:

I don't even like to sew, cant stand it due to the annoyance of being forced to make my own clothes when I was a kid.  Once we became 12 years old my mother would only buy us shoes and underwear.  If we wanted any new clothes we could either make them and she would buy the fabric and notions or we could use our chore money. Seriously?! OMG, I never got over it. Ugh, I'm having flashbacks of being stuck in the sewing room for days and hours trying to make zippered pants and button holes!

Back of Box Detail

ANYWAY, lol! I think any doll would like having a sewing table and machine.  Now although the legs of the table have Winx branded wings and the sewing machine is pink, I still like the idea of it.  It's crafty yet still fashion-y without being your usual set.

Back of Box Detail

It seems like a perfect match for the Harumika sets, where you could pair your fabrics and clothing mannequin with this table and sewing machine.  This thing is just screaming to be placed in a diorama.

Back of Box Detail

Don't quote me but I think it was between $19.99 and $23.97 at Walmart.  There was so much stuff misplaced on the shelves I couldn't tell what price went with what.  I would not pay full price for this because of the wingy table legs but if I catch it on clearance I will be all over it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Well, Flock You Too!

(^__^).  I was in Joann's yesterday and they are having a clearance on this flocking set:


Originally priced at $24.99 but now reduced to $5.97.  I've been wanting to try flocking for a long time and the price was right!

I know that you are supposed to paint the head the color of the flock you are using, but I wasn't going to waste the black flock while I was testing it out.  I wanted to see what the flock would look like with flesh or an opposing color underneath so her head is black in the front and sides and unpainted in the top and back. I didn't thin my mod podge.  I just glopped it on evenly but thickly.

All dry now. You can definitely see whatever the undercolor is.  However, this means that you can affect the color of the flock by what base color you use.  Good to know.

In [Em'lia's Tutorial] she added a second coat so I tried that too.  This time I wasn't as careful putting the glue on and it's all streaky from the brush I used. Tsk, sloppy.

I actually don't see that a second coat made that much difference.  Could be the flock is thin or my glue was too thick.  Either way, I still like it! I could see some multiple ways to use this stuff and the variety of colors appeal to me.

Joann's is also having a sale on single sheet scrapbook paper, 3 sheets for $.99, normally $.59 each.  Sale ends 2/23/13.  If you've been wanting some of those sheets that look like a brick wall, they've got 'em.  I stocked up!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Tale of Two Biebers

Although Bieber dolls have some great play quality male fashions and accessories, I've never thought much of the bodies.  The older versions have twist-n-turn necks and although newer ones have pivotal necks their range of motion is quite limited and no versions have articulated wrists.  Because of this, I chuck the bodies into the spare parts box, never to be seen again.  However, I dug two out as inking test subjects.  Here they be!

Now named Marcus -|- Original -|- Still named Justin

Bieber heads are much harder and less porous than Barbie's so the ink lays on the surface of the face differently.  The ink is more likely to lift off which can be good or bad depending on your application.  Also, because the face is so hard it's more prone to abrasions or stains from overuse, unlike a Barbie.  In the end, it's really about the quality of your workmanship and skill set.  Mine are a little on the wobbly side, so I do what I can.

Unvarnished -|- Matte varnished

For large surfaces of black I always use a Avery Marks-A-Lot permanent marker. I've been using the same one for 15 years so they've got some staying power.  I would not use marker as part of the face paint (!), just for molded hair and you have to seal it down.  If you want it to retain its original shininess, you have to put gloss varnish on it.  If you want to dull it down, put matte.

Matte varnish will effect the sheen of a magic marker, but it will not make a noticeable change to your artist pens - if it does, you aren't using acid free, ph neutral inks or a quality varnish.  His entire head has been matte varnished and there is no change to his face ink.  If you want wet eyes or shiny lips then add satin varnish to these areas.

2/12/13 Edited to add:

Black haired Marcus is being given away. If you've already commented then you are in the running to get him.  If anyone else is interested just say you want Marcus and I'll add you to the list.  I'll pick a random person on Saturday and get him out in the mail to you on Tuesday, 2/19/13.

Disclaimer:  He's got a wonky eye 'cause one is bigger than the other and he has sloppy sealing streaks from where I fought with a string of dust while applying the varnish - and lost. But hey, it's a free doll, so you get what you get.  He will be nude with no accessories but you will get the body.

2/16/13 Edited to add:
Marcus goes to MajorMistakes!


Since I never played with the Biebers before I took some scale shots to see how they compare height wise to other dolls:

Shorter than a Barbie SIS body

Slightly taller than a Liv body wearing heels

Taller than a Monster body -|- Super taller than a older Bratz body

Shorter than a Fashionista -|- Shorter than a Power Team


To address some inking and longevity concerns:

  • Poor quality inks will absorb into and bleed on vinyl. Acid free, ph neutral inks are less likely to do so. That's why I use Faber-Castell.  Will LePen or Gelly bleed?  I haven't even been using them 30 days yet, so I'll have to get back to you on that.
  • To prevent future bleeding or smudging no matter what quality of ink you use, seal the face when you are finished. I only use Liquitex varnishes.
  • If you touch your fingers to your dolls face while you are inking, you are putting a layer of oil on it.  ANY ink will bleed on top of oil.  So, only use a brush to remove dust and residue from the dolls face while you are inking.
  • If you want to preserve the original vinyl for future reinking or repaints then seal the entire face with matte varnish before you get started. I don't do this, but I'm using cheap dolls so that's not important to me.
  • While I've been using Faber-Castell inks for 30 years, I've only been applying them to vinyl for 1 year. My unvarnished ink applications have not bleed - yet.  Hit me up in 5 or 10 years and I'll let you know if they are still holding up.
  • Would I risk putting ink on a higher priced doll like a Fashion Royalty? HAHAHA, as if I'd untighten my fist long enough to buy something so awesome! Ah, but anyway, if I was lucky enough to find one at the thrift store then yes, I would ink it if I wanted to - but that's just how I roll.

And on that note, please don't be discouraged from trying different mediums and letting your creativity flow where it will.  If it doesn't work, okay, at least you made the effort.  But if it does, props to you!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Monster High - Now with sound!


Walmart has these, but I was so busy pushing and poking I forgot to see how much they cost - not that I'm going to buy one anyway.

In person Clawdeen's face is clearly separated from her head and it's distracting.  She also has what my folks would call a "five"head instead of a forehead because it's HUGE!  You could probably comb her hair differently so it isn't as noticeable.  I don't need my dolls eyes to open and close so that's not a feature I really seek out.  Frankie lights up and makes electric charging sounds and it's fun seeing her skeleton glow like that, but that's all she does.

Given that this is Monster High I think I was expecting different.  Like maybe a multiple sound pack that had more than a single howl on it.  Perhaps a song or some verbiage, but not just "howwwllll" and lightening noises.

Clawdeen's box front



Overall, this is another line that I'll be skipping but it was certainly interesting to look at.