Friday, May 8, 2009

My 5 Tips for Creating Jewelry for Dolls

This post was inspired by the awesome Dave Robertson who is the Web Optimizer and Twitters for Rings & Things.

When Dave asked me (a couple of weeks ago) via Twitter if I had any tips for making doll jewelry, I pretty quickly replied "not really". I mean I love making doll jewelry, and I have had some success selling my doll jewelry, but working on miniatures can be hard on the eyes and hands and it's definitely not a "mainstream" craft, or one that I make a ton of profit on (I like to keep my prices low). I did tell him one tip - "magnifier glasses are a must" - and that's true, at least for me. So I suppose that is my tip #1.

Dave's question did get me thinking though and other doll jewelry making "tips" just kept coming to me, so I told Dave I would create a blog post of my "tips for creating doll jewelry". HA! Easier said than done.

The moment I seriously set out to write this blog, I developed a case of writers bloc. I began to question whether I really had any relevant or useful tips for people who might want to get into making doll jewelry. As I mentioned above, my profit margin isn't high (read: non-existent), so these are not tips for "making a lot of money by creating and selling doll jewelry". These are also not "time-saving" tips necessarily. But I have been creating doll jewelry since 2006 and I have learned a few things during these past few years that have made my doll jewelry making experience more enjoyable and which allow me to continue to do it.

So here are my 5 tips for creating jewelry for dolls:

Tip #1: Magnifier glasses are a must. I did say I would start out with this tip, so here it is. This is miniature work, no matter how you look at it. I already wear glasses, but I have magnifier glasses, magnifying lenses, whatever type of magnifiers I can find, to help me create this miniature jewelry. Along with this goes good lighting, but I think that is a must no matter what kind of crafts you create. I am a fan of Ott-Lite and have 5 of them in my craft room.


People jewelry vs. doll jewelry.

Tip #2: Be aware of the target market. I sell my doll jewelry to adult doll collectors all over the world. I don't market my doll jewelry to children or collectors under the age of 14. It's not that I don't want young people who play with dolls, or young doll collectors to enjoy my doll jewelry, but that is just not my target market. The styles I create and the materials I use are selected with my specific target market in mind.

Tip #3: A lot of different dolls will be needed as fit and photography models. (At least this is what I tell my husband.) I wasn't a doll collector before I started creating doll jewelry. I liked dolls and was a huge fan of dolls, but I was not a collector. I would be considered one now, though I always "justify" my purchases by saying the dolls are "models" for my jewelry. There are a LOT of dolls out there and I don't even have one of each type of doll that it's possible to create jewelry for, but I have 11.5" Barbie dolls, 11.5" Silkstone dolls, 12" Fashion Royalty dolls, 16" Tonner dolls like Tyler, Shauna, well as a couple of other miscellaneous dolls. I'm currently looking for the right Blythe or Pullip doll to use as a model. (Doll collectors: Any suggestions?) You can certainly photograph your doll jewelry without it being on a doll, but how will you know how it "fits" the doll you are marketing it for if don't have the doll to try it out on?

Tonner Shauna 16", Barbie Silkstone 11.5", Tonner Ellowyne 16"

Which brings me to my next tip.

Tip #4: Consider scale/proportion. Oversized jewelry is in. So I would say just about anything goes with doll jewelry, but for the most part I try to use beads and findings that make the designs look proportional and scaled down for that particular sized doll. Also I make my own bracelet and necklace hook closures, since I have never been able to find anything premade that I feel is to the right scale. The photo below shows my handcrafted hooks and the size eyepins I use to create them.

Doll jewelry necklaces, eyepins, doll jewelry hooks made from eyepins.

And least, but not last, and perhaps the most important tip of all...

Tip #5: Have fun. Dressing up dolls is all about fun...and a little creating jewelry that will allow doll collectors to have even more fun with their dolls should be fun, so have fun!! :-)

Happy creating!


  1. Hi Stephanie, these are great tips. Thanks for taking the time to post this intro to a neat area of jewelry making that I'm sure is totally new to most of us. Great job!

    at Rings & Things

  2. Wonderful love..wondering where on earth to find appropriate size beads, chains, findings etc...any great online sites you like??

  3. I make doll jewelry to go with the outfits I auction off on eBay. Accessories are KEY to getting good bids. Thanks for the tip on making hooks out of eyepins! I have found that even the tiniest magnetic fasteners weigh the necklace down and "pull" it up against the neck in front, and I have been looking for other options, so thanks and yes, I do have an absolute blast making this stuff!! Kathy