Do you love Santos Cage Dolls, or have you ever wanted to learn to make a Santos Cage Doll? I recently taught this workshop at the shop, and I’ve also taught the technique previously to make a Santos Cage Doll online, and I wanted to share the technique with you here. You can sign up below to take an online e-course I’ve taught. There is a basic class and I also offer an expanded art doll workshop too. There’s also a video of this post you can watch of a bit of the process of making a cage doll.
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I have made and sold Santos Cage Dolls since 2009. I wanted one for myself and couldn’t afford one, so I decided to teach myself how to make one, which let me to creating the e-course for Making Santos Cage Dolls! If you’ve never made one, don’t worry if you don’t have any experience! And if you liked this brief tutorial and want to know more, you can take the Santos Cage Doll Workshop here. My first dolls were very rustic, and then overtime they’ve evolved with my own personal touches.
What are Santos Dolls?
Santos Dolls are a genre of dolls as icons meant to represent the saints. Originally believed to originate around the 13th century as rustic carvings, they were created to use at in home altars in small villages, especially when there were no priests around, in times of war or when churches weren’t close. they have a deep religious history. Santos Cage dolls have been used in many Western European cultures such as France, Italy and Spain as well as the Latin Americas. Some places they are simple wood carvings, and in other countries they wear ornate religious garb, golden crowns and necklaces. European santos dolls have become art unto themselves and original dolls are very collectible art pieces fetching high prices on Ebay and Etsy. Produced heavily in the 1700’s and 1800’s, Now you can find reasonable reproductions out of resin, or make your own. As someone who was raised Catholic, I admire the beauty, symbolism and craftmanship of the dolls which is why I wanted to try to find a way to make the cage version. A Santos Cage Doll has spaced out wood slats for it’s base instead of a full skirt or legs.
You can purchase supplies here in my Amazon Store.
Let’s get started creating a Santos Cage Doll!
While this is something that is really hard to give a good pictorial step by step for, I will give you an overview of each step. When creating a Santos Cage Doll, the first thing that needs to be made is the armature. This is what holds the clay together. I prefer to use a cardboard mannequin body, a cardboard egg shape, and a square dowel rod glued together to assemble the base of the doll.
Once the doll is assembled, add clay to the neck and body and let it dry. This will support the head and body. Paperclay re-wets easily, so don’t worry about it being too dry unlike conventional clay.
After the neck is dry, it’s a good time to cover the entire structure in paper clay. I like paper clay the best because it’s really responsive to not only touch, but water. it also holds it’s shape well too.
Once that’s dry you can start sculpting the face. Faces seem intimidating, but really they are just a mix of shapes like circles and half-moons, or as I like to call them, bananas. If you would like more in-depth instruction, register here for the online workshop.
I always think the lips are the trickiest part. That’s why I love the clay tool used in the image. It has a flat end and a scooped end which really help give the lips a more delicate shape.
Once you finish the face, create the arm holes if you are going to add free hanging arms with wire. For static arms, shape those and add them and the very last step. Then add the hair and let your doll dry a full day before painting.
Once your doll is dry, I recommend painting the hair and body first and then tinkering with he features last.
While your doll is drying, it’s a great time to shape and form the dolls appendages. Make sure to make small holes in the joint where they secure together.
Practice your eyes on a separate piece of paper first. It makes it so much easier to then paint them on the dolls face.
Once your skin and features are painted, the the dolls fry a fill 24 hours before adding the base.
To add the base, glue the wood slats and embroidery hoop together and then add it to the doll. It helps with spacing and support of your art form.
After your base is added, if you are doing movable arms, add these last with wire, or leave your doll armless!
Join the arms together with twine or wire and enjoy your gorgeous art piece! I hope you love creating a true artistic doll that are beautiful and rustic as much as I do. As you gain more experience you can try even modeling them after French, Italian or Spanish versions.
Where to buy a Santos Cage Doll?
If you aren’t into making your own , you can buy Santos Cage Dolls on Etsy, Ebay or some main stream retailers such as Ballard Designs carry a version.
You can also register for my second cage doll workshop Santos Cage Dolls II, Inspired Figures. You can go directly to Jeanne’s website (the fastest and easiest way to register) HERE
*This was posted Via Jennifer Rizzo. com