How to Make Doll Wire Bodies
Wire-crafting and doll-making are two skills that go hand in hand. By making a wire doll body, or armature, for the doll's internal structures, you can give the finished doll both sturdy form and flexibility. A basic wire doll body is also a good beginning wire craft project with a relatively low margin for error, whether you're creating a doll whose form will be entirely made from wire or looking to add body and clothing parts made from other craft supplies.
Decide how tall you want your finished doll to be. Use a ruler or tape measure to figure out this measurement and make a note of it.
Choose a wire of an appropriate thickness for your doll. As a rule, imagine how thick your doll's spine would be if she were a real human and choose a wire of about this thickness. This rough estimate will make the wire frame thick enough to support the weight of the doll without being too bulky.
Cut a length of wire about four times the measure of the height you want your doll to be. If in doubt, cut the wire longer than you think you'll need, as you can always trim the excess.
Form the head and neck 1. Fold the wire in half so that the ends meet, but don't crease the folded end to a point; instead, form a round loop, then twist it off, making two twists to form the neck. Bend the two tail ends of the wire out from the neck at 90 degree angles. (These will become the doll's arms.)
Make the doll's arms. Measure half the original height measurement from the neck on each side, then bend the wire back in to the centre from this point 1. At the centre, make another bend in each wire to realign it with the “spine” of the doll. Use pliers or vice grips to grasp the doll arms and spiral twist them together tightly all down the length of the doll's arms.
Form the middle of the doll's body. Twist together the two wires for the central spine, just as you did with the arms. Do this for a length roughly equal to twice the height of the head (or down to where the doll's natural waist looks like it should start).
Make the legs and feet 1. Bend the two wire ends so that they extend outward horizontally (as they did for the arms), then bend them back down vertically after a short distance (about equal to what the doll's hand-width would be) to form the hips. Bend the wire forward to create feet at the point where you want the doll's legs to end, then trim the wire ends.
Build the doll over the wire frame. Add materials like beads, cloth or clay to create body parts or clothing. Leave as much or as little of the wire armature exposed as you like.
- "The Complete Book of Dollmaking: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide to More Than 50 Traditional and Contemporary Techniques"; Pamela Peake, Sylvia Critcher and Alicia Merrett; 1997