"My Li-Qua-Che' Tips"



LiQuaChe' can be purchased over the Internet at:






There are 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.


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.


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.



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