Preparing For Your BSJ Doll Making Journey: Essential Tools


When Black people were enslaved in America, we were denied many of the simple pleasures of life. However through skill, ingenuity and creativity, Black mothers found ways to provide dolls for their daughters. Mothers saved bits and scraps of cloth, gathered pieces from nature, and secretly rescued/recycled from the slaveholder’s rubbish. They used whatever they could to create dolls for their daughters. The daughters in turn learned from their moms and continued to evolve the art as more resources became available. Thus over the years, the legacy of black cloth doll folk artists has become an important and rich part of our culture and telling our story. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, one of Brown Shugah Junction’s goals is to make sure that the art of black cloth (rag) doll making is not lost, continues to evolve as an art form and source of pride, bring joy to all children and tell our story.

Next BSJ Black Cloth (Rag) Dollmaking History Moment: Black Dollmaking: Centuries of African Heritage

Preparing For Your BSJ Doll Making Journey: Essential Tools

[endif]--I hope you enjoyed the resources I shared with you in my last blog entry to help you gain or hone some of the basic skills needed for dollmaking. So as you continue your dollmaking journey with Brown Shugah Junction here are a few tools you might want to gather to help you along the way.

In my 30 years of dollmaking I have gathered, used and found my favorite dollmaking tools.

However, first here is a general look at some of the tools I have gathered over the years:

For Stuffing: I have used: (from left to right) extra long tweeters, Dritz for Dolls Stuff It II Tool, Barbara Willis Stuffing Forks for Stuffing Dolls, wire wrapping mandrel , assorted chopsticks, wooden crochet hook, wooden dowel and hemostats.

General Cutting Tools: I’ve used for Dollmaking: (from left to right) 6” appliqué scissors, pinking shears, and 8” sharp shears (used for fabric only!!!... never cut paper or anything else with your dollmaking cutting tools)

After a lot of trial and error these are my four personal favorites and mostly used tools:

Appliqué Scissor: they are sharp, best for cut small parts, and the duck bill help the avoid cutting mistakes

Hemostats: Great stuffing tools and good for turning small pieces right sides (because I stuff so many dolls at the same time…I added paddling over the ridges with masking and electrical tape)

Extra Long Tweeters: Great for picking and stuffing fiberfill…especially for stuffing legs and arms.

Dritz for Dolls Stuff It II Tool: Great for stuffing small spaces and adjusting stuffing inside a stuffed piece

FOR BASIC DOLL MAKING, IF YOU HAVE A GOOD SHARP PAIR OF SCISSORS AND AN ASSORTMENT OF CHOPSTICKS OR DOWELS, YOU WILL appliqué scissors, pinking shears, and 8” sharp shears (used for fabric only!!!... never cut paper or anything else with your dollmaking cutting tools)

Bottom line: Ask any cloth dollmaker, and they'll surely tell you that they have collected a treasure trove of tools over the years. Including multiple styles and sizes of hemostats, marking utensils, scissors, dowels , tweezers, needles, etc. I even have favorite ball head pins I use exclusively !!! As you continue on your dollmaking journey, you will discover your own favorite collection of tools. However to get you started BROWN SHUGAH JUNCTION has put together an 6 PIECE DOLLMAKER'S ESSENTIAL TOOL KIT that has all the basics needed to begin your dollmaking journey !!! At the introductory price of only $25!!!... ( saving you not only $$$, but the hassle and expense of finding and buying these tools individually!) ...

Buy your kits today! Supplies are limited! here via the BSJ shop or contact me and I can simply email you a PayPal invoice

$25.00 per set


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