Tuesday, 11 November 2014

How To: Wire Doll Display/Photo Stands

Oh. My. Gosh. You Guys!

This marks the first tutorial I have written in over a year.


This also marks the first tutorial that I'm premiering on the front page of TawnyBee.com simultaneously with this blog post.

Why all the hoopla over a simple doll stand tutorial you ask?

It's super cute first of all...

Well, for almost a year now (I started learning how to crochet on January 1st this year) I've been working toward achieving a dream of mine. I have always wanted to be a toy maker. When I was younger, I was always fascinated when my mother would sew toys for us. My favourite Toy Story movie is number 2 - the under rated one - because there is a scene in it when the old toy restorer comes to the bad guy's apartment to fix up Woody before he's sold. I love that old guy. I love his precision and love he obviously has for his job. I even have a recurring dream about a blue porcelain doll that my mom had sitting on her dresser when I was little. I only have this dream when I'm stressed out and it's basically this blue doll leading me through a maze of an ice castle that it all blue and white and that we never make it out of. I've had this dream since I was about 10 years old in times of supreme stress. Weird.

Anyhoo... I am totally in love with doll making books and knew that I had to learn how to crochet in order to better be able to make some of these fantastic dolls. So I worked and worked at it and learned really fast. I know that the only reason I caught on so fast was because I was fueled by a passion for making toys.

So, in the new year I will be retooling my little Etsy shop to reflect this rekindled passion. I will be selling toys of all kinds. Fabric toys, crocheted toys, toys for girls, boys, adults, geeks. Toys of my own design and toys that have wonderful pattern designers that have graciously allowed me to make their designs. I will also have the standard mama cloth, potty trainers and nursings pads. And the teddy beds that I love making will still be in shop because you will definitely want some storage for all your new pals!

As I am getting ready to launch into a new area, I realized that I will want to participate again in local craft fairs. Which lead me to thinking about displays. Which lead me to thinking about how to make doll stands. Which lead me to try out a few variations. Which lead me to making the stands that are featured in this tutorial. Which lead me to stop yapping and actually get on with this tutorial already! SHEESH.

Materials Needed:

- An old wire hangar - the more bendy and flimsy the better
- a roll of duck tape - they sell tons of cool patterned duck tape, so I went with that
- a pair of pliers - or some serious brute strength of which I have none

Time Needed:
- this is a simple one - it took me about 20 minutes to make one

Skill Needed:
- heck, if you have the talent enough to make a doll, or even go out and buy one, then you can do this project

Step One:
Take your pliers or your arm strength and untwist the hangar. You can try to make the hangar relatively straight, but don't worry too much about making it perfect. It's going to be wrapped in duck tape, so if there are bumps, they will be smoothed out anyway.

Step Two:
Begin by forming a circle on the middle of the hangar. Don't use the entire length of the hangar for this - just the middle. But make the circle as large as you feel it needs to be to make it sturdy. This is the bottom of the stand and the part that will balance the doll, so it should be the most sturdy.

Kinda like this. The two ends of the hangar will be pointed upwards for now.

Step Three:
Begin shaping those two ends. If you have a doll in mind for the stand, it would be great to measure to make sure the supports are at the correct height for your doll. The stand can be bent and moved around to fit when it's done if you don't have a display item in mind just yet though. I bent my two support ends out and around to get this sort of shape.

Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be perfect because the duck tape will smooth out any roughness. You just want two supports that will fit under a doll's arm pits like crutches. If you are looking to support something small like a Barbie Doll, you might even want those supports to touch a little in the centre (making a semi-circle) thus securing the doll a little tighter. For my purposed, I wanted the support but not too tightly because the dolls will be changed out and people will want to come by and pick up the dolls to look more carefully at them - or give them a cuddle ;)

Step Four:
Start wrapping the entire thing in the duck tape. I am not the most graceful wrapper, so I ended up cutting off chunks of the tape and wrapping everything in small pieces instead of twirling the stuff around like a pro. Make sure to wrap the pointy ends of the hangar really well so that you don't harm yourself on the stand.

Ta da! Even if your wrap job is as messy as mine, it still looks awesome because the duck tape is so much fun.

Step 5:
Try it out and make more!

Here is Holly Dolly trying out the doll stand. These stands also make really good props for taking superb product photos as well. Isn't she so cute?

I made a taller one with smaller supports for Betty Boop out of duck tape that had gummy bears on it. :D

It may look a little wonky, but it works! And the great thing about these stands is that they are still adjustable with the tape on them. I could bend the middle piece back for a shorter doll or tighten the upper supports around the doll if needed.

Then you can make little scenes with your dolls.

Anna joined the party!

Wasn't that simple?

I hope to work up to designing my own crochet patterns soon. I'm almost there. But until then I can certainly get in gear and create some sewn toy tutorials for you. What do you think?

1 comment:

anita said...

Love the dolls, Tawn. You did a fantastic job on them!