LiQuaChe' can be purchased over the Internet at:
also detailed instructions
on the website for how to make dolls using LiQuaChe'. I use the
same plaster molds that I use for porcelain. The same molds can be
used for both. Just be sure to clean thoroughly when changing
between the two. I clean my molds with a cotton ball and
alcohol. Clean carefully though, don't rub or you will destroy the
details. I really think that LiQuaChe' is easier on the molds than
the porcelain, but eventually they wear out no matter which you use. *S*
LiQuaChe' is a polymer clay based compound that has been reinforced with
finely ground paper fibers. It is really not your typical paper
mache. It is an air drying polymer clay. I usually buy it in
the pint size containers. I can pour approximately 30 or so dolls
from one pint after dividing it between 2 containers, thinning it
slightly and then coloring. I save my empty containers to mix
different skin tones. When I open a pint, I pour one half of it
into another container, thin it slightly to the consistency of whipping
cream and then I color it. I use an eyedropper to add drops of
color, stir, add more, stir, add more, stir, until I have the color JUST
RIGHT !!! *S* You can "test" the color by placing a drop
or two on the outside of a plaster mold and letting it dry.
LiQuaChe' is poured directly into the plaster mold. A release
agent is NOT needed.
I have been using LiQuaChe' for several years now. I am not sure
how long it has been around. *S*
I always pre-color the LiQuaChe' with Folk Art Acrylic paints before I
pour the mold. It is far easier, for me anyway, to only have to
worry about painting the eyes, eyebrows, lips, and cheeks instead of
having to paint an entire doll.
I take a pint jar - 2 cup size - (the kind used for canning with the
rubber ring so the LiQuaChe' won't dry out). I pour about 1 cup of
LiQuaChe' in the jar and then I either use Folkart bottled acrylics
(some basic colors to work with are #610 Earthenware, #743 Pecan Pie,
#940 Coffee Bean, and #914 Rusty Nail) or water based India inks.
These are the "red" range of colors. I also use #961 Turquoise and
#917 Harvest gold to tone down the reds and give a more natural flesh
appearance to the color. Remember red mixed with green makes brown.
Caucasian Flesh has a tan quality on the pink side with gold
undertones. Do some research and pay attention to the nuances of other
flesh colors and experiment. Just play with it. As I have said
before, drop a drop on the side of a plaster mold and let it dry to
test your color. But remember, as it dries it will lighten even more.
From time to time I also use water based India inks to color the
Li-Qua-Che' before I pour my dolls.
One thing to remember though, you need to color it several shades darker
than you will want it to be because as it dries the color gets much
lighter. When it is wet you may think you have it too dark, but
trust me on this, you most likely really have it too light. LOL I
usually let my dolls dry for about 1 to 2 weeks. I want them to be
SUPER dry!!! And the more they dry, the more they will shrink.
POURING A MOLD:
I thin the product to a whipping cream like consistency with distilled
water (don't use tap water). You can thin up ˝ with water, it
will just take longer for the mold to set. I use an ear syringe to
slowly fill the molds. It helps to force the LiQuaChe’ down into
all the tiny parts such as fingers. I tilt the syringe at an angle
and squeeze out the first drop or two on a paper towel to make sure I
don't have any air bubbles. Then I apply gentle pressure to the
syringe and slowly fill the mold. Tiny doll molds should be
drained rather quickly. I usually wait only a few minutes (1 -2
minutes approx.). When the dolls come out of the mold, I GENTLY
rub the seam lines with my finger. I then let them set up for a
full 24 hours before I continue the cleaning process. I have had
NO problems getting them to release from the molds. As the product
dries, it shrinks and pulls away from the mold, the doll parts fall out
into my hand when I turn the mold over when they have reached the proper
dryness stage. If you have a problem with fingers breaking, try
using molds that do not have separated fingers. You can also pour
a thin solution of Li-Qua-Che' in the arm mold, pour it out immediately
and re-fill it with a slightly thicker solution.
According to my experience with the LiQuaChe', it has about the same
shrinkage as porcelain (very little difference). The trick (if there
is one) is to let the dolls dry for quite some time before proceeding
with the other steps in the creation of your doll. Patience, patience,
patience is the key. I have not had a single problem with any of my
dolls being out of scale. Doll Artists molds for dollhouse scale, as
we all know, come in a wide range of sizes and can still be in scale.
I purchase clothing patterns and have never had to make alterations to
make them fit the dolls I make. When I started out using LiQuaChe I
went by the information that was listed on the LiQuaChe’ website.
However, quite by accident I let some dolls dry for a much longer time
before I had the time to paint them because I was busy with other
things at the time. When I compared them to dolls that I had processed
using the LiQuaChe information, the dolls that I had let dry longer
were smaller in size. I compared the LiQuaChe dolls that had dried 2
weeks before painting and sealing with my porcelain dolls and they were
almost the exact same size. While the LiQuaChe dolls that I had
painted and sealed after only 36 to 48 hours of drying time (as
suggested on their website) were larger than either the porcelain or
the other LiQuaChe dolls. Also, I thin the product probably more than
LiQuaChe’ does because they are working with the LARGE dolls for their
demonstrations. I am working with MUCH SMALLER doll molds, so I have
to go thinner. The more water - the more shrinkage!!! Please note
that all of this is just MY OWN PERSONAL experience and opinion. I
realize that the information does NOT agree with what is on the
LiQuaChe’ website. LiQuaChe’ does NOT shrink as much as porcelain and
I am not saying that it does. However, when I let it dry a couple of
weeks before I painted and sealed it, the difference was very slight.
Several people that have some of my LiQuaChe’ dolls have compared them
to their porcelain dolls. They can also tell you that the difference
is not enough to keep the dolls from still being "in scale."
*S* I never get in a hurry when making dolls with LiQuaChe'. I let
them dry for many days after cleaning before proceeding with the
painting, sealing, dressing & wigging. They continue to shrink
as they dry, so I want them to be dry, dry, dry before I go on to other
steps. LiQuaChe' is not porcelain and will not give a porcelain
look or feel. However, it is very close to what a composition doll
would feel like. The dolls will have a satin sheen to them.
I use Sculpey Glaze #33 Satin by
Polyform Products as a sealer before painting. It is an air drying
glaze for all baked Sculpey products. It thins with water. You
will find it at Michael's or Hobby Lobby or most any craft place that
carries Fimo, Cernit or Sculpey air drying clays. *S* I pre-seal all of
the parts with the sealer that has been thinned really thin. Then
proceed with the painting process.
The doll will be very shiny. Don't worry, this is just a
preliminary step. You can now use oil paint, alkyds, acrylics,
just about any kind of paint that you want. I personally use
Fiesta Oil Based Translucent Stains. I brush on a thin coating of
the natural (colorless) blot with a tissue, and then blush just like you
would a porcelain doll using a medium. These stains take about a
week to dry completely, and since the doll has been sealed, you don't
have to worry about making mistakes. You can "wash" it
off by using the natural as a paint lifter. After about a week, I
seal the doll with Krylon MATTE spray or with a product called Dullcote
#1260 by Testors.
Waaaaa Laaaaaaaaa The doll is
back to a matte finish and sealed. Then I assemble the doll and do
my wigging, dressing, etc.
I have used Jo Sonja Gouache (acrylic) paints, alkyd paint (which is a
fast drying oil paint), and Fiesta oil based stains to paint LiQuaChe'
dolls. Fiesta is a "non-fire" oil based stain used to
stain ceramics. It takes about a week to dry completely.
Most any place that sells supplies for pottery artists either carry it
or can order it for you. A set of Fiesta paints (about 12 jars in
the set, I think) is around $35.00 or so). Fiesta is manufactured
by Ad-hock, P. O. Box 810, Astoria, Or. 97103 (Phone:
503-325-7355). Duncan & Seeley also sell oil based
stains. But, be sure that you get "translucent" stains
and NOT opaque ones.
I have also used India inks to color the LiQuaChe' to a skin color
before pouring my dolls. One thing to remember is that as the
LiQuaChe' dries the color will fade, so make the mixture several shades
darker than you will want the finished doll to be. Many times I have
thought I had it dark enough and 2 weeks later (when the doll is really
dry) I find that it is much too light. *S* You do not need a lot of
paint to get started either. Just a few colors will do. White,
black, brown, blue, and a red or two.
Depending on how much you thin down
the red it can be used for the lips and then used really, really thin
for the cheeks and fingernails.
No matter which medium you use to
finish a doll, use a "glazing" technique. You are not
really painting, but "rouging" with thin, thin, thin, THIN!!!
layers. If you are using the Fiesta stains, remember to lightly
brush on a LITTLE natural to the face and then blot with a rag before
starting to paint or "blush" the features. I touch just
the tip of my brush to the paint and then blot my brush on a lint free
rag. (strips of old tee shirts are great for rags). Then I
touch the tip of my brush to the doll LIGHTLY!!!! You can add
other layers to build depth. Use a Blending & glazing medium
for water based paints to thin acrylics, if that is what you choose to
use. OR - Alkyd paints should be thinned with a blending and
glazing medium for oil paints.
CLEANING NOTE WHEN CHANGING COLORS
I have found that it is best NOT to
clean my brush with thinner when changing colors. No matter how much the
brush is blotted on a towel or rag it seems to still retain a small
amount of the thinner in the brush and has a tendency to thin the next
color I choose to use. Therefore, I simply blot as much of the color out
of my brush as possible on my rag. Load the brush lightly with white.
Clean the brush on the rag. Load the brush again lightly with white and
clean the brush on the rag again. Repeat this process until there is no
longer a hint of the color you were just using. Now you can load with a
new color and begin to paint.
Just remember, you do not need to spend a lot of money to get started.
LiQuaChe' can be purchased by the pint, quart, or by the gallon. One
pint will make about 25 to 30 dolls and costs about $9.00.
Fiesta paint is manufactured by Ad-hock, P. O. Box 810, Astoria, Or.
97103 (Phone: 503-325-7355 )
LiQuaChe' is VERY forgiving. With a #1 sable watercolor brush and
thinned LiQuaChe' I re-sculpt noses, chins, fingers, repair breaks or
cracks, alter the shape of faces and make an entirely NEW
character. *S* I recently re-did 30 Caucasian doll faces and
made them "oriental" for example.
After 20 years of wanting a kiln, I finally was able to purchase one a
couple of months ago. *S* However, I plan to continue to
ALSO make some of my dolls in LiQuaChe’. I really do like the
product. And no, I do NOT have any connection with the
company. LOL The LiQuaChe' dolls look nice, are easy to work with
and they are durable. I believe that any doll that the artist has
taken the time to pay a lot of attention to detail has value. This
is just my humble opinion. However, comparing a porcelain doll to
a LiQuaChe' doll, or a doll made of polymer clay is like comparing
apples to oranges to bananas. They are not the same. Each
has its own strengths & weaknesses.
Please feel free to e-mail me with any
questions you may have.