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Doll Making from Concept to Construction by Susanna Oroyan

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Doll Making from Concept to Construction by Susanna Oroyan

Designing the Doll: From Concept to Construction

C&T Publishing

The Bottom Line

The late Susanna Oroyan has written many books on the art of doll making; however, if you are unfamiliar with this area of arts and crafts, I highly recommend this book for an overall view of the whole process. Set up in galleries, where you will find exemplary examples of designs made from cloth to porcelain, she provides fantastic advice about using molds, armatures, assemblies and jointing those limbs!

Published in 1999, the ideas in this book are still fresh and relevant. Plus, there are many used copies floating around on the internet, allowing you to buy a great resource for a very moderate price.

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  • Stunning Photography
  • A Real A-to-Z Guide to the Craft of Doll Making
  • Fantastic Drawings and Examples of Armatures
  • A Wealth of Creative Ideas


  • Not a Step-by-Step Guide to Doll Making


  • Gallery 1: Designing the figure including making choices, consideration of form, colors, shape and balance.
  • Gallery 2: Choosing Construction Materials - the sky is the limit! Latex, porcelain, cloth, paper and much more.
  • Gallery 3: Jointing - giving the dolls and figures movable arms and legs.
  • Gallery 4: Resources such as trade books and magazines, suppliers and legal information.

Guide Review - Doll Making from Concept to Construction by Susanna Oroyan

While I used to be quite the sewer back in the day and have worked in paper mache and other model building over the years, I was never very interested in doll making. I've mentioned in the past that I would occasionally purchase HauteDoll magazine because of the great photography and stellar construction tips - but never because I was interested in expanding my craft business into doll making.

However, I love reading all sorts of arts and crafts books as I feel they give me a fresh perspective on the type of craft I am currently involved in marketing. When I was reading about the demise of HauteDoll, I came upon some info about Susanna Oroyan and I was interested enough that I went online to purchase a used copy of this book.

Even at full book store price, I would have gotten my full value for the cost. It’s very thought provoking for anyone working in arts and crafts, covering not only craft specific but also general arts and crafts tips too. For example, there is a motivational section on not giving up and realizing that screwing up is part of design-work. From serious doll maker to the hobbyist, you’ll find the details in this book very helpful.

Since I have worked in paper mache, I found the building armatures part of the book the most interesting. There were some pretty nifty sketches, giving me ideas on building armatures I had not used or had forgotten about.

Also, I had never considered dolls as being abstract works of art or sculpture. There were some really cool and edgey images in this arena. And, some dolls with interchangeable heads - think about the marketing appeal for that aspect for your higher priced collector/gallery dolls!

This book really does cover everything you need to know about getting started in doll making. However, please be advised that this is - and was not meant to be - a step-by-step tutorial on how to make dolls.

Check it out for yourself!

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