Head and Body Painting


So you want a doll in a color not readily available? Painting is your best option.

Materials needed:

  • Sandpaper
  • Exacto/craft blade
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Airbrush
  • Airbrush paints designed for plastics (Createx, Vallejo model air)
  • Paintbrush
  • Matte brush-on sealant
  • Matte spray-on sealant

First, go through all the steps in the body matteing tutorial. This will prime the body so that the paint will adhere better. After you sand it, cleanse the body with rubbing alcohol to remove any plastic dust and let it dry.

Second, on whatever kind of doll you have, if there are any friction joints (two joints rubbing against each other, like a type 2 elbow/knee joint) you are going to shave away at the inside of the joint so that it doesn't rub against the other body part. This won't loosen the joints, but it will keep the joints from shaving off the paint after you apply it.

Now comes the airbrushing. You DO NOT need an expensive airbrush. A hobby airbrush for $20-30 USD will do perfectly well. Wal-mart carries them in the model aisle near the toy section. Tip: When mixing your paint, mix about twice as much as you need (about 1/2 ounce) and keep it in a paint tupperware or other small sealable container. This will keep you with a jar of 'patch' to repair any scratches or rubs down the road.

Take your time with the airbrush. Airbrush each piece with a light layer on one side, let it dry, do other other side, let it dry, and then hold it up and do a light spritz all over to even it out and cover any spots you missed. The thinner the coat, the better.

Once all your pieces are airbrushed and dry, brush on a THIN coat of sealant. I recommend delta creamacoat matte varnish/sealant. It dries quickly, works in very thin coats, and is waterproof. It's the best sealant I've ever used. Anyway, once you do a thin coat over all your pieces, reassemble. Tip: When you reassemble the doll, don't push arms all the way in, or any other similar joints that will be rubbing up against each other. Even a fraction of a cm will go a long way towards preserving the paint, and won't look much different.

Apply the makeup of the doll. Just a warning here: you won't get a second chance. If you screw up, you will have to repaint the entire head. Water on a tissue will remove small mistakes (why sealing it with waterproof sealant is good) but for anything moderate, you'll have to start over. Brush a second coat of matte sealant over the face.

Once all the painting is done, spray the assembled doll with a matte sealant.

Apply wig. Done.