Painted Muslin Dolls

PhoenixFireMay 29, 2001

I've been to a few sites that say the have made the dolls out of muslin then painted it....what exactly does this mean?

Is it that cheapie muslin that dentists use and is at the craft shop (the really thin one) or is it really cheesecloth or calico or something?

Do they just make the doll, stuff it hoping that they done bust a seam etc then lacquer it paint it and lacquer again?

Help i have never heard of this type of dollmaking before. I am a beginner and have yet to make my first doll.

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Hi, you can just paint on regular muslin. I have a couple of books that tell about it. You make your doll, and then paint on it, like black boots. It will dry and look nice.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2001 at 10:00AM
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I, too, am trying to learn about painting on muslin and have questions if someone would be so kind as to answer. I have searched on the internet but with little luck.

I understand that you just paint directly on the fabric. I read that you should wash and dry the fabric but not use fabric softener or sheets. Do you pre-treat the fabric otherwise - like with a primer or acrylic base coat?? Do you seal afterwards? Do you use regular acrylic paint? I have fabric paint but it gives a "puff" look which I don't want.

I'm trying to achieve what I call a primitive "leather" look. I've seen this on dolls and other primitive things (animals, ornaments, etc.).

I appreciate any help anyone can offer!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2002 at 8:42AM
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I have always just used regular acrylic paint and when dry I spray with a finish...matt or shiny depending on what look I am going for but spraying a finish is not really necessary. If you have every gotten acrylic paint on a shirt, you know that it is very permanent......

    Bookmark   June 25, 2002 at 6:35AM
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You can just paint the regular muslin (in Australia they call it calico, maybe that's what you were referring to?) with regular acrylic paint... then you can sand it down for a more smooth and primitive looking... It's best to use a sand foam block for that... then you can antique the doll, applying a antique medium, or even shoe wax, that will give the doll a wonderful look! You can even use modge podge to finish it off... there are so many possibilities!!! This technique works especially best when you make a black doll, but you can also paint the doll with some flesh colour too... Here's a link that is very helpful to get more info:

Here is a link that might be useful: info on cloth dolls

    Bookmark   July 8, 2002 at 10:37AM
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I paint mine first with clear gesso as a primer. It is nice to paint on after it is dry. It comes in white, black and clear.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 3:32AM
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hi all.
i saw a couple of primitive dolls for sale on ebay and i kinda liked them. i tried making one and now i'm hooked. i've always loved the country primitive look but i love making the dolls even more. my question is....what is considered primitive? i see things for sale on ebay that don't look primitive and they sell as primitive. and why is it that the strangest looking things are considered primitive and look so wierd?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 11:16PM
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My understanding is that Primitive looking dolls are supposed to be not perfect. Pretend you are riding in a covered wagon over bumpy roads with little bits of fabric and hardly no supplies. You are trying to make a doll to entertain your child. It is dirty and dusty. The doll gets dirty under these circumstances. A lady explained it to me this way. Hope it helps.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 2:22AM
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I recommend for wonderful patterns and kits for muslin dolls. There are all sorts of tips at this website for painting cloth dolls (muslin) and aging them. The site also sells excellent fabric for making dolls.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 5:31PM
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Thanks for all the help - I couldn't find simple instructions on the net either! Just what I wanted to get started. I'm in the UK where painted prim dolls are scarce, so I've been buying thro ebay, but it's not the same as making and loving your own! Just had a new grandaughter so hopefully she'll grow to love them too alongside today's dolls!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 11:36AM
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