There are a lot of theories floating around out there about how to put a Ball Jointed Doll together, the truth is that each doll created will be put together differently because of her measurements. But this might help. The construction and engineering of the inner workings of a BJD will consist of:
1.dowel pins epoxied into each joint of your BJD.
2. Line each joint with leather (soft side glued to the porcelain, shiny side of leather out, very important)
3. Assemble your springs, swivels, and s-hooks.The picture below is a sample of how one portion of the Ball Jointed Doll (BJD) assembly is constructed; each section will be different:
The size and tension of your springs are key. I can’t tell you what size to use because each doll is different so you will have to purchase several sizes and test them for each joint. After purchasing about $600 worth of different sizes with different tensions I finally came up with the combination that works for my doll. It’s a pain, but worth it. I was, however surprised at how tight the spring tension has to be.
Each s-hook for your BJD will most likely be custom, there’s just no getting around it. Be sure to use round nose pliers so that the side connecting the joint is perfectly round. Round nose pliers are used by jewelers and look like this:
4. Assembling your Ball Jointed Doll starts with the hands and feet first. You must assemble each extremity separately before connecting it to the torso.
5. The most important step is to document each spring, swivel and s-hook combination you try, lay it out and take a picture. I am a professional at Adobe photoshop so it was easy for me to take a picture of my doll (actual size) and then when each section was figured out I took a picture of those combination’s and overlayed them so that I ended up with a detailed diagram of her assembly. Here is a sample of what I’m talking about:
I detailed the exact size, tension, and where I purchased each piece. Many of the pieces were special ordered because few places will carry enough of each spring that you would need. My doll consists of 17 springs, 12 swivels, and 25 s-hooks.
Is a Ball Jointed Doll worth all this work? Absolutely!! Nothing compares to the flexibility and ease of posing these dolls, and they hold a pose. Here are a few more pictures I thought you might like, the first is from the original sculpt after I cut her apart to joint her:
I’m sure there are lots of questions, please feel free to ask! In the mean time, I’m working on the costume design for the next one.
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