The process - Alessandra Nicolin Doll Maker BJD

The creation process

How do I give life to my BJD

How a BJD Doll is born

The process is long and compless.

When they ask me how long it takes me to make a doll I can’t really give an accurate answer … my mantra has always is “it takes as long as it takes to make a bjd doll”.

I spent a full year studying the prototype and three months for the creation of the plaster molds for every single part of the body.
The doll is 36 cm high and is composed of 23 pieces including the small connecting piece where I connect the elastic and / or the springs that allow the doll take different positions.

For my dolls I want a real body, with Callipician shapes and classic proportions.

Cooking process

Creating a porcelain BJD doll requires double firings: one at 800 ° C and another firing at 1240 ° C.
The final firing depends on porcelain type.

The liquid porcelain is poured into the plaster mold and left in place for a certain time, which vary depending on the thickness we want for the specific piece we are making.
During the laying the plaster starts to absorb the water and the porcelain starts to dry.

Once the laying time is over, the mold is emptied making sure all undried porcelain is out the mold. When the pieces are dry or almost dry, I start removing the “burrs” and fix the imperfections.

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Put things in place

It’s time to put all pieces in place and start give a life to this beauty.
I create the different holes where the pins will pass and I perfectly define every small detail. The pieces, however, are very fragile and break easily: too much pressure with your fingers would cause a brake, which is why I prefer to make a first baking of 800 degrees to have more resistant pieces and avoid breakage during the assembly phase. 

When the pieces are ready, I bake them at 1240 degrees centigrade. The oven takes about 10 hours to reach the temperature and takes about the same time to cool down every piece of the BJD.

After baking, each piece is sanded with abrasive paper to make the porcelain very smooth and pleasant to touch. I then start painting the pieces with specific pigments for porcelain.

Each “layer” of color must be fixed with the cooking at 700 degrees. For the best result, 5 or 6 layers with relative cooking are required.

The colour and the final assembly

The BJD color will remain the same, eternally unchanged and beautiful: neither light or external factors will ever change the hue over time. 

I love this, and I love to think that my dolls will remain beautiful forever and perhaps become a precious gift to be handed down from generation to generation as a precious treasure. There are ancient porcelain dolls that are over a hundred years old and still beautiful, and if they are still beautiful my dolls can be too. This dream will become reality.

Obviously they are delicate, but at the same time strong and resistant. It’s important to remember that is possible to clean them without ruining the color. Their weak point is the fingers but thanks to the video below you could easily replace them directly by following this few simple steps.

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How to change hands and feet

“I love to think that my dolls can remain beautiful forever and maybe become a precious gift to be handed down from generation to generation as a precious treasure. ”

- Alessandra Nicolin