Thursday, November 1, 2012
A Mostly Text BJD Dyeing Tutorial
This is a mostly text tutorial for how I dyed a recast Pipos Cheshire cat, named Grimalkin, or Big Brother Grim. He began white-skinned:
R.I.T. Dye, powdered (I used one packet in a cup or two of water; use less dye for less saturated color.)
Pot (one you will never cook in again)
String, strainer, tongs, etc
Paper towels, q-tips, etc.
bowl of cold water
Basically, mix the dye into the water according to the directions on the packet. The more powder/less water you use, the strong the color will be. I used just enough water to cover the largest part of the body when completely submerged. Bring the dye to a boil, then reduce the heat. You'll want to keep it pretty hot though, so be careful not to burn yourself.
Un-string the doll, wash and dry it thoroughly, and tie some string around each piece. You'll use the string to dip the doll into the hot dye.
Dunk each piece of the doll into the dye. I recommend starting out with a test piece, like a head cap or other piece that won't be seen. Use this piece to determine how long you will submerge each piece and to help match the shade of all your other pieces. Smaller pieces should need less time.
Once you figure this out (I believe I held each piece for 30-45 seconds at a time per dunk), dunk the piece into a bowl of cold water to rinse off all the extra crap and dye. I also use paper towels at this point to blend the dye around the doll and try to even it out. Let it dry, and then follow the procedure until the doll is the color you want. You will need to replace the cold water often.
Hang the pieces to dry with the string on a hanger or curtain rod or something. Be sure to put newspaper or something below to catch the drips. If you see the dye running, just touch the spots up as best you can with q-tips or paper towels.
Note: You may find it easier to place smaller pieces into a strainer, like I did for Grim's tail. If you do, just keep the pieces moving with a spoon or chopstick or something. Also, you can place the pieces directly into the pot of hot water without using string, but just be careful not to let the pieces rest on the bottom of the pan or they can burn. Also, sometimes the resin can be a little malleable after having been boiled, so handle with care.
Sometimes the doll will not take dye evenly. This is usually because there is some kind of oil (like mold release or something from your fingers) or sanding (places that are sanded will not dye as dark as those that are not). You can choose to sand the whole doll evenly if you want. I didn't bother.
I spent a few hours on this doll with some help from my sister. I ended up letting him dry overnight, and did a second round of dunking with a fresh pot of dye. You will want to seal each piece thoroughly with something like Testors or Mr. Superclear. This will help hold the dye and can prevent rubbing. The dye will likely not be perfect, and Grim has a few spots where we could not get the dye to hold dark, even with rubbing and smoothing. You can use pastels/airbrush/paints etc to even up the color to your taste.
After some body blushing and an almost finished face up he looks like this:
I hope this helps a bit with dyeing. You mostly just need to be brave and go for it. Good luck!