The Powertex Art Doll kit was a dream for this Design Team member! These kits are a wonderful project to do if you’re looking to spread your creative wings. The Powertex mdf kit gives you a starting point with lots of room to express yourself.
Powertex Art Doll Time
The Art Doll was created as a sample for a Powertex UK show on Hochanda. The dolls created by the design team were all so unique and interesting. Despite having the same “ingredients” they were all so very different. This blog was originally posted on the Powertex UK Mixed Media Magazine along with other Art Doll projects.
I used a few techniques on my art doll to represent “time flies” but you could just choose the parts you like. That’s the beauty of these kits. Having no rules can be scary like a blank canvas but just try a technique or two that you like and make it yours.There’s lots of detail in this blog so grab a cuppa and enjoy the process! Here she is, my Powertex art doll using the small template.
All supplies were from Powertex UK except the paper fasteners. Use what you have!
- Small art doll mdf kit
- Powertex Universal Medium in Transparent, Ivory and Black
- Rice Paper
- Easy Coat Mat
- Rusty Powder
- Easy Structure
- 3d Sand and Small balls
- Acrylic paints in Red Velvet and Orange Marmalade
- Mdf drop outs
- Assorted keys from Treasure boxes
- Paper fasteners
First pop out your Mdf shapes and try some layouts that you like. I tore up a piece of rice paper to roughly fit the body. The theme is “time flies” so I chose a paper with pocket watches on. This fits the rectangular base of the “box”.
Gathering some of my favourite embellishments makes the art doll unique. I added a circle of hessian fabric that was hardened with Black Powertex, to support the plaster face because I wanted to tilt her head. Small wooden shapes add interest and the Mdf drop outs were perfect for this. At this stage I decided I wanted to give her two halves.
Powertex art doll time, assemble the pieces
To start, get your pieces together with your chosen Powertex and a flat paintbrush. Apply the pocket watch rice paper to the mdf using Easy Coat Matt. Brush it onto the mdf first and lay the paper on top and gently coat with a brush, from the centre outwards. Easy Coat allows any accidental Powertex to be wiped away from the paper. Transparent Powertex will also work but will be less wipeable.
With Black Powertex, start to assemble your doll by painting and sticking the pieces together. Be careful to turn the base panel so the holes are at the bottom. Layer the “frame” underneath the “box” and do not add the bottom panel. Put the “hooks” into place here with the hooks facing forwards. I waited until the textures had been added but you can do it at this stage. Focus on painting the front first and paint the back when it’s dry. At this stage you can start to see how you can decorate your art doll.
While the doll is drying, it’s a great time to prepare any embellishments with acrylic paint, Black and Ivory powertex. Decorate your pieces how you like but at this stage I’m starting to identify which pieces I want to be coloured and which pieces I’m keeping Black or Ivory. Don’t forget the “leg” pieces too, I prepared these with acrylic paints.
When your doll is touch dry use Easy Structure on a plastic palette knife to add thick texture on the wings and around the sides of the body. Use the paste to hide the hard edges where the “frame” part is used to lift up the box. Create indentations and marks on the wings and sides.
At this point I’m also starting to define the two halves of the doll using Ivory Powertex on the box sides and on the rays around her head. Leave this to dry for several hours as the Easy Structure is quite thick in places.
Rusty Powder adds real rust texture and colour. I wanted a dark rust that would show off layers of the transparent acrylic paints on one side but appear very dark on the other side. The mixture I made is Rusty Powder 50/50 with Transparent Powertex and a little white vinegar. Use 3d sand to thicken the mixture and 3d small balls to add texture. Prepare a spray bottle with white vinegar and water and make sure it has plenty of vinegar for a dark rust, about 40%.
Plastic palette knives are perfect for applying the rusty mixture over the wings, head base (not the plaster) and the sides. Paste a little on the “leg” pieces too for texture and colour. Spray these areas generously with the vinegar and water spray and leave it to rust for a few hours before repeating the process. Doing the same again with a slightly weaker rust mixture will give you different shades of rust although this is optional.
The Secret Art Loft acrylic paints from Powertex UK are easy to blend and their transparency makes them perfect for this project. I layered Red Velvet and Orange Marmalade paints onto the rusty areas but only on the left side of the doll. This defined the halves and brightened one side. I also painted the left side of the plaster face with Red Velvet paint and left it to dry. You can repeat these steps as often as you need to get the colour you like.
The body of the art doll
The body of the doll is the “box” part and this is a great place to get creative. Your chosen rice paper might determine the style of embellishments you use. The rice paper is already in place but I wanted to add some details to the body. Coat a small wooden heart with Red Velvet paint and use transparent Powertex to adhere some Small balls. Paint it again with red paint when dry. Glue the heart and silver key in place with Transparent Powertex.
Paint some tiny circles from the drop outs pack in Black and Ivory Powertex to match the dark and light sides of the doll. The threads you can see criss-crossing over the doll are threads pulled from some hessian fabric. Cut strands roughly to size, cover them in black Powertex and leave to dry on a plastic mat while checking they are straight.
When dry, use Transparent Powertex to stick these into a criss-cross pattern over the box. After this, use the drop out circles to cover the ends of the threads and create a pattern around the edge. Coat the body and the hooks on the right side of the doll with Ivory. Your doll is coming together nicely but there’s something crucial missing!
The doll’s head
Transparent Powertex is perfect as a glue to keep the plaster face in place, slightly tilted to one side. Cut six chunks of Powercotton into thick pieces about 3 inches long to create the hair. Lay them on a non stick mat and use a paintbrush to carefully push Ivory Powertex into the fibres however try to keep the strands fairly straight and not too tangled! Brush down in the same direction until the Powertex is massaged into the fibres. When it’s well coated, curl the pieces around the head and down the side of the doll keeping lots of texture. You could apply hair to both sides of course but I chose to keep the “halves” of the doll.
When I applied the curls they were starting to fall quite flat so I used some Large 3d balls underneath and in her hair to keep it propped up! I just glued them in place with Transparent Powertex. In addition, this added extra texture and where the balls could be seen they looked like bubbles in her hair!
To add a bit of colour and texture to this side, I brushed her face, hair and small cardboard stars with Ivory Powertex, pushed the stars into her hair and sprinkled a little Rusty Powder over the wet Powertex. I spritzed a quick spray of the vinegar and water mixture to get the rusting started and because the spray is strong I didn’t need to repeat it.
There’s just a few finishing touches before our doll is ready to display. I’ve already painted the “legs” and given them a rust treatment so now I just paint one leg with Ivory to match the light side. Fit paperfasteners through the holes as “knees” and “hips” for the doll so the legs could hang underneath. Dab black Powertex on the paper fasteners to cover their metallic colour.
The tiny padlock was given the rust treatment earlier and was attached with a little jump ring. I chose tiny keys from the Treasure box which were hung on jump rings and then off the hooks at the bottom. Brush a quick flick of Ivory Powertex to add a highlight to the red side of her face and she’s done!
I can really recommend the art dolls if you like a project you can get creative with. The clock is next on my list!
I really hope you feel inspired to create your own art doll. There’s so much opportunity here to really express yourself. Use products you have and techniques you love. If you’d like to see some other Powertex projects you can find my Powertex blogs here but you can also find a wealth of projects from the Powertex UK Design Team (and me!) over on the Powertex UK Mixed Media Magazine.