BJD techniques made easy: sanding seam lines

by Alison Rasmussen



Sky's hand, before sanding, originally uploaded by alington.
Some Asian BJDs come without their seam lines sanded. The first time I noticed a seam line on my doll, embarrassingly, I thought it was a crack, and I panicked.

Don't panic. Seam lines, or parting lines, are simply the lines between the top and bottom of the molds used to pour the resin, and are a normal part of making BJDs. Some companies give you the option of sanding seam lines. But if yours doesn't, you can follow these easy steps to sand your doll.

An important note before we start: If your doll is a tan or dyed resin, you will want to leave the seam lines alone. Many times, the colored resin used for BJDs is either tinted unevenly, or your doll might be dipped (so your sanding will leave marks). Either way, I don't recommend sanding dolls that are darker toned resin.

Supplies:
  • Wet wash cloth
  • Bowl of water
  • Dry lap towel
  • Face mask
  • Jewelry grade sanding paper, 220, 440 and possibly 600 grit
  • Mr Superclear UV Cut (optional)
Sky's hand, after sanding, originally uploaded by alington.
  1. Start by removing your doll's head. You won't want to mess up your doll's face-up while doing this technique.
  2. Put on the face mask. Using the sandpaper wet will help decrease the resin dust, but you really want to wear a mask, so you won't breathe in even a little bit of resin. It's toxic. Don't risk it. Also, take care that the people around you don't breathe it in, either.
  3. Wet down the first part of the doll's body--I usually start with the torso. Wet the 220 grit sand paper and find the parting line, usually on the doll's neck and side. Using a light to medium touch and small overlapping circles, move the sand paper along the seam line until you can't feel it with your fingers.
  4. Repeat on the other side, rewetting the doll and paper as needed. You don't need to soak the doll, just wetting down the grit is fine.
  5. Next, move on the the finer grade of paper, 440 grit, and repeat the process for the other side of the torso. This grade should take out the color difference between the line and the rest of the body. You may need to follow up with 600 grit, or let the doll rest for a day and see how she looks in the morning to check your progress later.
  6. Do one piece at a time, careful not to accidentally modify any joints or to press too hard, especially with the coarser grits of paper. 
  7. When working on the hands and feet, take care of the fingers and toes.
  8. When you're finished, let the doll rest at least 24 hours, and look at your work in daylight. The lines should be the same color as the doll. If they aren't, it means you should sand a little more. Start again with 220 and work up to the finer grades of paper. You can also consider blushing the doll with white or resin-colored pastels to cover any shade differences.
  9. When you're happy with your results, and the doll has rested at least 24 hours, you have the option to spray her with a thin coat of Mr Superclear UV Cut. Make sure you buy a fresh can, and that you shake it well, and that you spray outdoors. (The Junkyspot always has fresh shipments of this stuff (as they are always selling out), and they have great prices.) This gives your doll an extra coat of protection from light and dirt, and also primes her for body blushing.
Great job! Now you've gotten to know your doll a little bit better, and you've done your first customization!