So long story short, I really want a BJD some day, but right now, I can’t afford a “proper” one (probably not for another year or so at least- I need to get a better job and get through PUDDLE and such first!) That hasn’t stopped me from looking and mostly oohing and aahing at them, though, and in that process one day, I stumbled across this listing for a 3D-printed BJD on Etsy. Naturally I was intrigued, and at the price listed, it was much more within my price range than a “standard” BJD, so I decided to go for it!
The 3D Printed Creature Creator Kit was created and designed by Doll Art by Julie (website here), whose other OOAK and custom dolls are amazing as well, so definitely take a look if you get a chance! One of the things that drew me most to this 3D printed BJD were the myriad customizing options: every portion of the doll is customizable with a range of option parts (various animal paws/ears, tail options or wing options for an additional charge, etc.) as well as the color of the plastic the doll is printed in being up to you. The angel wings option immediately made me think of my original character Aura, who you’ve met before if you’ve explored my Dolly Family page as she was my first ever custom doll as well. Really I’m hoping that if these dolls are relatively nice, I could eventually create all four of my main original characters so she won’t be lonely!
I asked the creator about eye and wig size, and the doll takes 6mm eyes and a 2-3″ wig if you select the “Laila” head option as I have. I was also able to order the wings in a different color than the rest of the body (although I’d recommend contacting the creator yourself if you’re wanting to do a multi-colored order to make sure that what you have in mind is all right!) I went ahead and ordered the doll with all standard “human” female parts in flesh color, as well as angel wings in white. I also ordered a pair of green eyes from Mimiwoo for her at the same time.
The doll took a little while to get to me because she was travelling from New Zealand, but it wasn’t an unreasonable wait time by any means. The packaging was cute, and really drove home to me how tiny this doll actually is:
The back of the packaging includes a list of the contents, as well as assembly instructions for the doll and a link to the designer’s website where she has a photo tutorial and relevant videos.
I took the doll out of her ziploc bag so you can see all the pieces as they came. I did leave some of the smaller parts in their little bags so I didn’t lose them or mix them up.
The kit includes all the body parts requested, elastic for stringing, a wire for assistance in stringing, 3D printed eyes, rubber bands for head connection, and eye putty. There are also magnets, both for the head pieces and the feet, to hold the doll’s head cap together and to help her stand and pose. A washer is included as a stand for her. You can also get a feel for her size based on the fact that this photo was taken sitting on my closed laptop.
The one thing included in the kit that I had the hardest time figuring out is the two small beads, pictured in the bag with the magnets and rubber bands, etc. It was only once I watched the assembly tutorial video on the designer’s website that I realized these were an alternate eye option.
Aura’s eyes came in the day after she did, and even though it’s going to be a little while before I put her all together, I couldn’t resist popping her eyes in to get a feel for how they looked. Here’s her tiny head with her even tinier eyes:
Now, some general observations about the doll. As you can see from the picture above, this kit does not come with nice, smooth parts like you would get from a resin or vinyl doll. The striping effect is a byproduct of the 3D printing process and I was fully expecting it, myself, but it may not be super evident in the Etsy listing’s photos and such so I wanted to let you know. This may not bother some people, but if it will bother you, please be aware that a lot of sanding will be required to get a smooth finish.
I’ll also say that it took a bit of work with an Exact-o knife before the pockets in her head for the eyes were wide enough to take the eyes. A lot of the little joints and pieces could use some clearing out as well.
I’m personally okay with the fact that this doll is going to take a lot of sanding. I find I bond with my dolls the more I work on them or with them, so spending some quality sanding time on Aura will let me really bond with her. I may be singing a different tune once the process is underway for all I know, and it might dissuade me from buying the three more I’m thinking about at present, but I’ll let you know where I stand on that once all the work is done.
I intend to sand Aura thoroughly and paint her face at least before assembly. I’m also considering giving her a basic full body blushing- she’s here at least partially to curb my BJD craving, so I might as well work with her like I might a more traditional BJD. I couldn’t find any wigs I really liked for her and really didn’t want to spend as much on a wig as I did on the doll herself, so Aura will most likely be getting a homemade brushed yarn wig. Of course, clothing for her will be custom-made too, since I don’t have a clue what size she would wear. I’m hoping I might be able to modify one of the tiny BJD patterns I’ve bought from DGRequiem for my Ai dolls (AKA my other BJD “appetizer” dolls), but we’ll just have to see.
I’m probably not going to work on Aura until after Easter so stay tuned for then! I’ll let you know when I’ve made progress on her!