How to Draw Faces on Cloth Dolls

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Doll faces can be simple or complex.
Doll faces can be simple or complex. (Image: doll face image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com)

Whether you are making handmade dolls for a special young one in your life, as a fundraiser for someone else, or just to make a little extra money, no doll is complete without a face. It is easiest to draw faces on dolls before the fabric pattern pieces are sewn together so you have a flat surface to work on, but you can draw faces on cloth dolls at any time during construction.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth doll or face fabric pattern piece
  • Fabric pen, fine point
  • Gel pens or acrylic paints, various colors
  • Fine-tipped brush, if needed

Fold your pattern piece in half widthwise. Press a crease into the fabric. Open out the piece. Fold it lengthwise, pressing a crease into the fabric once more. This should divide the face up into quadrants. If you are working on a doll that is already sewn together, where folding the face fabric isn’t an option, imagine centered horizontal and vertical lines running over the face with an intersection in the center of your fabric.

Draw the eyes of your doll centered along the horizontal crease or imagined horizontal line with the fabric pen. Try to make the space between the eyes approximately the same width as the eyes themselves to give the doll face a balanced, realistic look. Make the eyes larger to overemphasize the doll's eyes. Leave a small space between them.

Draw in a mouth centered on the vertical crease or imagined line just below a point, halfway between the eyes and the doll’s chin. The mouth can be a simple one line smile or a full mouth with an upper and lower lip.

Place the nose of your doll halfway between the eyes and the mouth. The nose can be as simple as a small curved line or have more definition and nostrils.

Add other details, such as eyebrows, eyelashes, glasses, beauty marks, etc., as desired to suit the mood and style of the doll you are trying to create.

Use gel pens or paints to color in the face as you would like. Add blush to the cheeks and color in the lips and the eyes of the doll. Add any other details.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice drawing a few faces on paper before you try it on cloth. Practice on scrap pieces of cloth until you get the hang of it. The nature of cloth allows it to move under the pressure of a pen, so be sure to practice drawing both your face (on paper) and your technique (on cloth).
  • Don't use any other pen or marker on your doll's face other than those sold for use on fabrics. Other non-fabric mediums may bleed through the cloth, making your lines blurry rather than crisp.

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