This is a comprehensive list of the supplies I use, and locations to find them. I am located in Canada, and will do my best to supply US equivalents.
I’m an illustrator and art student before I’m a doll customizer. I know the value of good paint, though let’s be honest that paint-so-expensive-it-must-be-made-of-crushed-diamonds isn’t really necessary. Just my opinion, as it is such a small area you’ll be painting. That said, don’t be roped in by the dirt-cheap prices of bad quality paints either, definitely no tempra school paints, children’s paints or cheap art sets. They’ll try to sweet talk you, but you must be strong. Buy each of the colours you need from an art supply store. Go for a nice middle ground acryllic. You’ll save yourself so much time and frustration, and the doll will be grateful you’re not flinging it across the room in a huffy rage.
Specifically I recommend Liquitex or Winsor and Newton. I would say soft body selections of these brands are better than the hard body, as soft goes on smoother and is more transparent. You want to be working transparently and working up the layers to opaque.
I also use both Liquitex matte and Liquitex gloss medium for eyes and lips. Mix with a bit of water, also works as a sealant.
Once again, don’t be cheap with these. Pastel looks gorgeous on dolls, and it’s virtually impossible to get the same flawless blending with any other medium but airbrushing. Use soft chalk pastels. The brand I use is Mungyo Gallery, this is the brand they carry at Currys Art Store.
For the life of me, I haven’t been able to find Mr. Super Clear here in-store in Canada. I have tried Wal-mart, Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Curry’s, Deserre’s, Michael’s and it is no where to be found. So far, I buy it from ebay and haven’t had any problems. It is the best sealant for the job.
I have also looked for Testor’s Dullcote, but they seem to have gone out of business, or so the woman at Michael’s told me. So, my solution was:
Modge Podge Clear Acryllic Sealer Matte I found it at Michael’s, and it is very reasonably priced. It does not react with the doll heads. Make sure to shake well before using. The problem with it, though, is that it is never totally waterproof. Great for touching it up, but not ideal as a final sealant.
So, my solution has been ordering Mr. Super Clear online!
My Little Customs: Ships from the UK, but is reasonably priced. Shipping costs are not as bad as I expected. They have a huge range of colours in Nylon, Saran, and Polypropylene doll hair. They also have some really neat ones like UV colour change hair, and glow in the dark.
I have found so far that I like them best, for more places (and their pros and cons) check out Dollycare’s Doll Hair Review for information on Dollyhair.com and Restoredoll.com
Accessories and Clothing
If you’re making them yourself, the best advice I can give you is to just keep an eye out. There are great, useful things everywhere. Of course I would tell you to go to fabric/craft supply stores, but don’t stop there. Everywhere you go, you’ll find stuff. Some of the best things we have found have been from our own old/unwanted clothes, little knick-knack shops, garage sales, thrift stores, Ardene’s, department stores, etc. Some of the ribbon I have used were on the packaging of chocolate’s, save everything and anything that looks at all useful!
On that note, be resourceful! I found a nice piece of ribbon once in downtown Toronto that was pleated and scrunched on one side, it made the perfect skirt for a doll!
Tear apart old, unfitting clothes to make new dolly ones! You can find them at thrift stores and garage sales easily.
So far, the best location I have found is Shoppers Drugmart. We have tried beauty accessory places like Ardene’s and Claire’s but haven’t found much. Try your local drug mart. They usually have a variety of shapes, try to get one with the lashes very close together, don’t pay attention to the ends because you’ll have to cut them off anyway.