Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gypsy ** Loads of Pictures**

For the latest round of the WWP swap over on Craftster, I was inspired to make this little gypsy girl. Instead of making it out of fabric like I originally wanted to, I decided to do something different. I had been itching to make something out of paper mache again (it's been years).

The first thing I needed was to figure out what sort of base to use because I wanted to use up some of the paper pulp I had bought a while back. While doing a bit of research, I stumbled upon a website with instructions on how to make a paper mache doll.

While I used a few of the steps for the gypsy, I created a lot of things as I went along. 

There was quite a bit of  the instructions that I did change as I went along. First thing, I didn't have wallpaper paste laying around and since I didn't plan on doing any wallpapering any time soon, I wasn't going to go out and get some. So Elmer's Glue (Elmer's Glue-All) became my very good friend. And I used newspaper to cover the doll instead of handmade paper. Another change that I had made was that I used some 1/4 inch wooden dowel for the legs instead of wire or chop sticks. Also instead of wrapping the arms in paper mache, I chose to leave them bare, in this case I believe it worked. Another change that I made was using air dry clay for nose and ears and yarn for the hair.

The head of the doll was made the same way as it was suggested on the website. I pushed it onto the edge of my computer desk to give it the little ledge where the eyes would be. I liked doing this because it gave an indication where the nose and cheeks would be as well.

In progress


In all honesty, the earrings were the first thing that I made. I definitely worked backwards on this piece. The earrings and her bangles were made and finished well before I even knew what kind of face or clothing she was going to have. 

The ears are a piece of air dry clay that I formed and glued to her head with E6000. They needed to be shaped just right so that her earrings could dangle a bit and move. This was not an easy task, I went through several ears until I had ones I was happy with.

Once everything was covered with a layer of paper and dried, I added another piece of paper and glue where it needed, making sure the entire styrofoam piece was covered. After the ears and nose were dried and attached with my trusty E6000 glue, everything got a coat of white paint and then 2 coats of a flesh color that I mixed up.

The hair was the fun part for me. I knew I wanted to use some of my Homespun yarn that I just love using for doll hair. But how to attach the hair without having a flat hard spot where the glue dried, that was the question.

And it was a question that was easily solved! I drew where the hair was going to be attached with my pencil. I then cut along the lines that I drew with my craft knife.

To attach the hair, I figured out how long I wanted the hair to be once it was attached to the head, then doubled the length so when I folded it over, it would give a really nice coverage.

I held the hair with the middle of the strand over the cut where it was going to be attached to. I then took a clay tool with a flat edge (butter knife would work too), and shoved it and the yarn into the cut.

I kept doing this until I finished the area I was working on. I needed to be careful to not make it too thick haired. I added double layers where it mattered, base of the back of the head, the front above the face, top of the back of the head. In between, I used single strands of yarn, but attached them the same way. The end of the yarn was pushed into the cut, making sure that when the hair was flipped back, the little tail (if there was any) was under the hair. 

When I had all the hair where I wanted it, I took and glued it all into place by adding a thin line of glue where the head and hair met (on both the top and bottom of the hair).

To make sure the hair stayed in place, I then glued on a piece of trim that was left over from my sister's holiday dress. A bit of E6000 glue behind the ears, and that little headband wasn't going to go anywhere.

The blouse and skirt were both based on the circle skirt, just scaled down to the doll's measurements. The little corset was my own creation.

And here's a photo that my swap partner had taken of her new friend.

I am really pleased with how she turned out. I'm definitely sure that this little gypsy will not be the last one I make.


  1. The hair is ingenious! I always wondered how to attach hair to clay and paper mache dolls, I think you may have just solved that. :)

  2. Glad to help. I thought it was pretty clever myself :)


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