I have been
making porcelain dolls since the 70's, and frankly am rather a
traditionalist when it comes to the techniques I use. I have
always cleaned my greenware dry, because I felt it gave much better
results than the soft fire method. I know that there are serious
health risks involved in years of breathing porcelain dust, but I was
not willing to sacrifice the quality of my finished dolls. I am
thrilled to say that there is finally a new method that gives results as
good as, and in many cases superior to dry cleaning. I am pleased
to share this information with you, and hope that you will give it a
will make greenware cleaning fast, easy, and most importantly, more
will be beautifully cleaned in 1/3 the time, with ....
No more dust
in the lungs, or all over the house!
You MUST use the brushes
specified in this tutorial, nothing else will give the same
brushes stands for Tisha's Incredible Brushes. Tisha Ritter
has developed this wonderful product line, and the methods for it's
use. I have adapted and illustrated her techniques for use
with our tiny doll castings to show you how wonderfully these brushes
can work for us too.
T.I.B.s brushes are available from
Set of T.I.B.s
Clean tap water
General Cleaning Technique
||Pour desired greenware in the normal manner. If you
need information on greenware casting, refer to my tutorial "Casting
This cleaning method works with either leather hard or completely dry
greenware with the same excellent results. You will find that you are
much less likely to break tiny fingers, etc. if you clean your
greenware at the leather hard stage. This is particularly
helpful for beginners. HOWEVER, when working on
miniatures in leather hard stage, it is much easier to melt off features
with too much water. so be sure to follow instructions regarding
blotting brushes carefully.
||When using the T.I.B.s brushes, two different positions
are used. Using the right brush position for each step is VERY
important for the best results.
This is the usual position that you would use a brush to stroke, with
the flattest side of the bristles horizontal, parallel to the surface.
We will call this the horizontal position. This position is
used in the second step of cleaning.
||The brush is rotated 1/4 turn, so that the narrow side of
the brush is actually the edge that comes in contact with the
porcelain. The wide flat area of the ferrule is facing your
This is the first position used in this method when cleaning and
||You will need to keep a bowl of clean plain tap water at
hand. During some steps, you will be cleaning your brush
often. To clean, tap and press the brush against the side of the
bowl. Swishing the brush around in the center of the bowl does not clean
it out. You must use the side of the bowl to remove the clay from
You will also need a piece of absorbent cloth, such as a cloth
diaper, or old cotton t-shirt, folded several layer thick on which to
blot excess water from your brushes.
||Ok, lets begin to clean our doll
Gently remove bulk of mold seams using your scalpel.
||Dampen your T.I.B.s brush in clear water. Blot brush
lightly on absorbent cloth pad to remove excess water.
||Hold brush in the position shown, the Vertical position,
and move across the seam line, using the side of the brush to move in
the direction shown. Continue stroking in this manner down the
entire length of the seam area.
You do not need to rinse your brush very often at this point, as the
clay in the bristles helps with the cleaning process.
Use this method to smooth all areas where seams have been removed.
||Use your dampened brush to smooth areas such as the cutout
on the bottom of the torso, tops of arms or legs, and armholes.
Notice how quickly these brushes smooth jagged cut edges??
||Use a tiny ball stylus to define nostrils if desired.
||Use a finger tool to define ears, sides of nostrils,
eyelids, mouth creases, or any other area that you want more definition
||After all seam lines have been removed, and
all additional detailing has been done, it is time to smooth your entire
The HORIZONTAL brush position is used for this step, and you MUST
rinse your brush often.
Wet your brush, and blot excess water. Use just the soft TIPS
of the bristles to gently stroke over the entire surface of the
doll. Start at the top of head, and stroke downward, following the
curves and contours of the face. Allow the water to flow over the
piece removing any remainig paste or dust. After every 2 strokes, STOP,
rinse your brush completely and blot. then continue. You
should see any white streaks on the surface disappearing, and your
surface should be completely smooth when finished.
||To clean hands, use your scalpel or finger tool to remove
seams. Define or separate fingers as desired using the finger
tool. Use your size 6 T.I.B.s brush in the vertical position to smooth
seam areas in the same manner as you did for the head.
||After cleaning seams, use your brush in the horizontal
position to do an all over smoothing of the piece, remembering to use a
very light tough, a very clean brush, and to blot excess water each time
you rinse your brush.
The same basic technique is used on legs.
Solving Problem Areas and Attaching and Patching
||T.I.B.s brushes are also wonderful for problem situations,
such as pinholes, and messy joined parts.
Everyone gets pinholes on occasion. The old solution used to be
to try and sand them down, or fill them, neither of which was very
effective, or much fun. The most drastic solution was to throw out
Not any more. Here is a LARGE pinhole.
||With a damp T.I.B.s brush in the vertical position, I
stroked across the pinhole 3 times, and then stroked once in the
horizontal position. The pinhole has completely vanished!!!!
||ATTACHING AND PATCHING...
I want to make a special doll for an upcoming tutorial. I need
to have two legs that can be used in a kneeling position. The mold
I have has a left leg that is in the perfect position The right
leg is bent too much for my use. I can't have a doll with two left
||My solution will be to cut off the feet on a pair of legs,
and attach a right foot to a left leg........
Working with leather hard greenware...
I cut the feet off at the same place on the ankles, and stuck the
foot into place with just a tiny bit of water on the joining surfaces.
||Using the brush in the vertical position, I stroked
quickly across the area where the two pieces were joined.
I then finished cleaning the seams on the piece, and smoothed the
overall surface with the brush in the horizontal position, remembering
to rinse and blot often when smoothing.
||After less than a dozen brushstrokes over the attached
area, the leg is perfect, with no sign of any patching or
No other method is as fast or gives such wonderful results when
adding or patching greenware.
you for visiting my site,
and taking an interest in my online tutorials.
Just as a gentle reminder,
these lessons have been designed
to help you learn the basics of miniature doll making.
Please visit this site and refer to these tutorials
often as you like.
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|Note: T.I.B.s, Tishas Incredible Brushes, products and name are copyright
protected and presented here with permission of the owner.