BJD techniques made easy: body blushing

by Alison Rasmussen


I love the realistic look of BJDs. Adding a body blush enhances a doll’s body sculpt and is an easy way to customize your doll and make her your own. The technique is straightforward: add several shades of pastels to the valleys of the body and blend.

Supplies:
  • A resin sealer. I prefer Mr. Superclear for larger dolls. You can also use Testor’s DullCoat, but this attracts dirt pretty easily, and I prefer this for smaller surfaces (face-ups and smaller dolls).
  • Chalk pastels. Most will do, but I don’t recommend square scrapbooking chalks. These are flaky and don’t blend well.
  • Several brushes. I use a large round brush (size 6) and a small angled brush (size 1/8).
  • Magic Eraser

Preparation:

Before you begin, remove your doll’s head. Gently clean your doll’s entire body using a Magic Eraser. Make sure she is free from stains. I also recommend you sand the doll's seam lines before blushing.

Technique:
  1. Prime the doll by spraying her with your choice of sealer. This will make your doll a little tacky so the pastels will stick. Let dry, and repeat on the other side. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation, following the directions on the can. I walk around the doll, using a light coat to prevent flagging (or drips).
  2. Choose the palette based on the doll’s face-up. I use three or four colors, including white (for blending), a color just a shade darker than the doll’s skin tone, one close to the doll’s cheek color, and one that is similar to her lip or eyeshadow color. I make a palette on scrap paper.
  3. To apply, begin with the color closest to her skin tone. I start at the torso. Remember, you’re only applying color to the dips (valleys) in her body. Using the angled brush, apply a bit of the color to her belly button, and blend with the large round brush.
  4. Repeat with the next darkest shade, working in layers, blending each layer as you go. You don’t have to use the darkest shade in every area. And if you add too much, just swipe Magic Eraser over the doll to remove chalk from the raised areas.
  5. As you can see from my finished photos, I apply blush to joints also, but the effect is very subtle. 
  6. You’ll want to spray the doll with resin spray when finished, making sure to spray in the joints. Use a light coat and dry thoroughly before spraying the other side.
If your doll has dramatic face paint, you might prefer more dramatic blushing. You can get that effect by adding more or darker color. You can see samples of other dolls I’ve blushed in my Flickr photostream. (You may need to log in to see some of the photos, since I've classified the nude dolls as "moderate.")

Choose a color palette based on the doll's face-up. I chose these colors and added white.
Add first color with angled brush.
Blend the first color with the round brush.
First color blended.
Adding second color with angled brush.
Second color added.
Second color blended with round brush.
Third color added and blended.
The finished doll, all valleys and joints blushed.
The finished doll. A subtle, yet realistic effect.