This tutorial will explain the steps that are necessary to prepare your greenware castings before firing.  These steps will help you produce a high quality, finely detailed porcelain doll.  This is the traditional "dry" method of cleaning.  Check my tutorial index for a new tutorial on the wet greenware cleaning method too!

X-Acto Knife

Finger Tool

Ball Stylus Tool

10/0 Sable Spotter Brush

Various Nylon Bristle Brushes, 

Soft China Mop for Dusting

 

Clear Water

Nylon Stocking

Duncan EZ 013 Underglaze

Food Coloring

Ceramic Tile

Palette Knife

 

 

Your greenware casting should be completely dry before using these cleaning methods.  

Although this casting has lots of sharp detail, it is possible to further refine and enhance the detailing, and prepare the overall surface to provide a satiny smooth casting on which to paint, and a highly detailed finished doll.

Begin by removing all mold seam lines with an X-Acto knife or scalpel. Hold blade across the seam lines, and remove with soft, smooth strokes.  Do not chip or hack away at the seam line!
Use your nylon bristled brush to sand the seam areas smooth.
Seam line areas can be smoothed even further by using a nylon stocking stretched over your finger.  

 

Use a soft circular motion to rub gently over the seam areas.
The entire surface of the porcelain casting will fire more smoothly if it is disturbed in the greenware stage.  Gently smooth the face using a soft cat's tongue brush.  Don't rub away details, just gently smooth the surface of the face.
If you wish to deepen details such as eyelids, eye outlines, etc, you can do so using a finger tool.  Use gentle strokes to prevent chipping of the greenware.
In the mold making process, it is usually necessary to fill in nostrils more than I prefer to see them on a finished doll.  Nostrils can be carefully deepened using the finger tool.
A ball stylus works wonderfully to further detail ear modeling.
Any of the detailing you have done with your finger tool or ball stylus must be gently smoothed with a soft 10/0 brush.  These areas are generally the places where you will be applying the most paint, and you want a very smooth painting surface.
The surface of the eyes must be extremely smooth to facilitate a good paint job too.  Gently rub with your 10/0 spotter.
Check the armholes to make sure they are smooth, with no jagged edges. Lightly dampen your cat's tongue brush, and run it around the inside edge of the armhole.  If there are ragged edges, many times they will cause stress cracks in the firing.  Smoothing helps prevent this, and also gives you a nicer doll to assemble.
Use your scalpel to gently clean the bottom opening of the torso.
Again, use a dampened cat's tongue around the inside of the torso opening to smooth.
Use your finger tool to inscribe your signature, initials and/or date on the back of your head.
Carefully examine your greenware piece.  Are there any rough surfaces that need additional attention?

I always finish up by gently cleaning the surface with a nylon stocking over my finger as a final touch up.  Use care never to rub too hard, or you will soften all the details you have just put in!

 

Use your china mop to remove all dust from the casting.  This is vitally important before firing, as any dust remaining on the piece, (in the mouth crevasse nose, and eyes and eyelid creases collect the dust very easily) will vitrify in the firing, and leave you with a white ugly crust that can not be sanded off.

Set your torso aside, and let's clean some limbs.