Friday, April 1, 2016

Miniature Jewelry - Dolls Like Beads, too!

I'm coming out of the closet to you all today - I am a doll enthusiast.  Besides beads, dolls have been something that I have been interested in, collected, and created for most of my life.  I go through more sporadic doll phases though, and lately I have been swept up in the tide of creating for them again.  It all started with some new clothes for some of my Momoko dolls (10.5 inch fashion dolls from Japan.
So, I've been sewing a lot!  There is still quite a bit of hand work to be done with these ensembles - The blazer needs pockets and a closure, the purple blouse and skirt both need closures, the dark purple dress needs some embellishment on the bodice, and the dark calico dress is in need of closures and a repair to one sleeve....but I got beads.
This is Lobelia (Momoko Beautiful Lines), wearing her stock outfit.  This dress came with two removable collars - the peach one matches the ruffles on the dress hem, and the lace one is an interesting contrast.  These tiny accessories got me thinking about making jewelry for the dolls.  It's a challenge to make clothes and accessories that are in scale for these girls - they're smaller than a Barbie!  Time to break out the tiny beads...
I thought I would start with a couple of long necklaces, so I wouldn't need to worry about a clasp.  The first necklace is a long rope of "pearls"...approximately 20/0 vintage pale blue ceylon seed beads.  The second actual blue seed pearls, knotted on silk with a sterling silver Nina Designs hummingbird charm!  I need to find more tiny charms!  But knotting between those tiny pearls is NO fun, and the silk is a little too springy to drape quite right.  Hmm, what to try next?
I pulled out the little teeny seed beads again.  Keep in mind, these are quite a bit smaller than a 15/0 seed beads.  Ultra fine size 15 needles and 000 thread are necessary just to pass through these beads...even with those tools, the holes fill fast.  But I managed to make a netted collar with little opal glass drops, reminiscent of the pearl collars of the 1950's.  I feel like the drops are still a little big at 5x3mm...the next version might need to incorporate a seed bead drop instead.

At this point, I really wanted to try a couple of things that I hadn't seen before...but Momoko's are a little bit expensive.  In an effort to not wreck one of them in a test, I rustled up a Barbie to practice my ideas on and broke out the dremel...
I've caught myself thinking several times, I wish that a ring would stay on this doll's finger!  Well, with the help of a micro drill bit, I made a little hole in between a couple of fingers.  I then cut a piece of 28g copper wire and passed it through the hole with both ends coming up to the top of the hand.  I slid a crystal sequin over both strands of wire and cinched it down tight to the hand.  I'm going to have to figure out how to finesse the next part...because I just snipped the wire off and curved it over to keep the sequin in place.
After the dremel success with the hand, I thought I would attempt to make true ear "piercings" in the softer vinyl of the head.  Most doll earrings consist of a post earring that is punched straight into the head.  I've always thought that real earrings would look really neat, and I think it actually worked out ok!  The craft wire I used (26g) is a little softer than I would prefer, so I will probably break out the sterling to make earrings for the Momoko's.  Ooh, little pearl earrings!  Wouldn't that be pretty?

I hope you all enjoyed my explorations into miniature jewelry making!  Please excuse me while I rummage to find more tiny beads!


  1. Adorable! So tiny! Love the netted collar!

  2. My goodness you are amazing! I love your dolls, their clothes and accessories. I would like to see your magnifying glasses.

  3. I love this! So much fun! I pierced my Barbie's ears with pearl end straight pins when I was a kid. I was over the moon because I wasn't allowed to pierce my ears yet, so I could live vicariously. I love all the things you've made.

  4. Dressing dolls in 1800's costumes is what got me into beading also.

  5. I love your doll collection...I'm a Barbie and doll collector too. I'm always on the look out for small beads for them. I've never seen beads as small as yours thought! Where did you get them?


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