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How to paint eyes and string a doll

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Every person has a dream! And if your dream is to MAKE a DOLL—and make it with your own hands, no less—then you’ve come to the right place. I have a small shop on Etsy, where you can buy a full porcelain doll kit, with which you can make a beautiful creation. It’s your doll to customize as you wish! How does one paint the face of a porcelain doll on their own?

One of my primary tasks, along with everything else on this site, is the preparation of that porcelain kits with which you can make your very own doll - where the finished product will be completely unique to you!

The most important and highly asked question I get from my customers is, "how do I paint a porcelain doll's face on my own?"

Many people know that painting a doll takes specialized paints that dry only inside a kiln on a specific firing regime, also known as "China Fire" (China paints, right). These paints come as dry powder and are mixed with speial water

However, you don't have to have a kiln and China paints at home to complete this task! There are other methods of painting a doll that are much more economical and accessible. I know that some artists use the following to paint their dolls: oil paints, watercolor pencils, some pastels, and paint for BJD Dolls; Dianna Effner herself shares her process for painting a porcelain head using acrylics instead of China paints here.

While you're watching, pay special attention to the headers.

Here she writes that she's using Jo Sonja Artists' Colors, they are acrylic.

In one of the later headers, the phrase "without the kiln" is used (right). This is because acrylic paint will dry on porcelain by itself and can create wonderfully realistic faces!

Similarly, oil paints have a wonderful effect on porcelain faces. You can paint the eyes, lips, etc. the same way as normal, while also giving tone to the face by adding blush, freckles, and more. It's true, though, oil paints take a long time to dry; however, you do not need to set them with anything--they will dry on their own. When oil paint is dry, it sits firmly on the porcelain. At this point, the doll's eyes can even be coated with a glossy varnish to make them shine.

The most important thing is for you to create a doll that reflects your own love and passion for the craft. At the end of this process, your doll will be made by your hands, the only one of his or her kind--just like you :) you'll never find an identical doll in the entire world, which makes your little one truly priceless! Here is also Dianna Effner herself shares her process for painting a porcelain head using acrylics instead of China paints: "Acrylic Paint Demo Faceup on Porcelain" Part 1 - Flesh Tones and Blush Technique Part 2 - Eyebrows Part 3 - Eyelashes Part 4 - The Pupil


How to string a doll In order to string the doll, we are going to need a strong, round elastic cotton cord. I'll try to explain as best I can in writing, but it'll be easier to follow the pictures.

Before you start, I will give you a little trick to help the porcelain not make a terrible noise when it rubs together. To do this, take some regular glue and rub it on that part of the leg, hand, body, etc., where the porcelain will rub itself. Then, pour a little bit of baby powder on top. This way, you won't get that screeching noise. Also attach the Elastic Tape.

Now, to the stringing: fold the cord in half and set the loop inside a metal half-oval hook. Then, thread the two ends of the cord through the top of the head, out the neck, into the body, and out each corresponding leg-hole.

Thread either of the ends of the cord through the metal loop of the appropriate leg, then take the end of the cord back through the same leg-hole in the body and out the other leg-hole. Then, thread the other end of the cord through the metal loop of the other leg, and knot both ends of the cord together tightly. Cut the long ends of the cord and insert the remaining knot into the body so it's not visible.

The process of inserting the arms is even easier, so just follow the pictures below.

Now we glue the pate to the head.

All that's left is to pick up the wig and to dress up our little doll!

Allison - Wednesday Child is so adorable! If you want to see all of my completed OOAK Dolls from Dianna Effner's molds for sale, please click here.

You can find shoes, a dress, and a wig for her by searching these terms in an online shop (like Etsy or Ebay):

for a 10"-11" full porcelain Body - "doll shoes 34 35," "doll wig 6-7," and "doll dress 11."

for an 11"-12" full porcelain Sweet Petite Body (Joanna, Tina, Madeline, Olivia, Nicole) - "doll shoes 36 37," "doll wig 7-8," and "doll dress 12-13."

Thank you! Marina-AllforDoll

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where do you find doll kits.?

Replying to

Hello, you can visit my store on Etsy:

I'll always welcome you with open arms :)



I love your job! Obviously you love your dolls and put your heart on them…. Where can I buy beautiful wigs? Thank you

Replying to

Oh! So nice of you! :) You can find a wig for a doll by searching it in an online shop (like Etsy or eBay). Thank you.


where do I purchase the oil paints to paint my doll? Can these be purchased from you?

Replying to


Unfortunately, I do not sell paints.

You can find paints for doll face by searching these terms in an online shop (like Etsy or Ebay): china paint; acrylic colors; pastel or standard products for BJD...


Your directions on how to string a doll are wonderful. I wish you would fix a pdf that could be downloaded, so I wouldn't have to be on the internet when I used them. Thank you so much.

Replying to


I am glad it helps :)

I will try to do it.

but for now, you may email me at and I'll send you a pdf.

Thank you!

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