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 try.  

This method will make greenware cleaning fast, easy, and most importantly, more healthy!

Your greenware 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 results.

T.I.B.s 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 House of Caron.



Set of T.I.B.s Brushes  


Bowl of Clean tap water

Absorbent fabric

Xacto Knife

Finger Tool

Ball Stylus



General Cleaning Technique

Pour desired greenware in the normal manner.  If you need information on greenware casting, refer to my tutorial "Casting Miniature Molds".  

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 body.  

This is the first position used in this method when cleaning and removing seams.


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 the bristles.

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 in.  
After all seam lines have been removed, and all additional detailing has been done, it is time to smooth your entire surface.

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 the piece.

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!!!!

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 feet......


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 attaching. 

No other method is as fast or gives such wonderful results when adding or patching greenware.



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