|+| sample setup |+|

[1] acrylic paints - Volks paint set + Ceramcoat acrylics
[2] thinner - "Model Master" thinner for acrylics
[3] volks pen - water-soluble pen for drawing eyebrow guidelines
[4] paintbrushes
[5] mr. paint tray - for mixing paints
[6] brush cleaner - "Better Way" brush cleaning fluid for acrylics to keep brushes from getting buildup
[7] volks paper palette - for mixing small amounts of colors
[8] tissue - for removal and whatever else
[9] q-tips - for paint removal, fixing mistakes, and blushing; two types
[10] cottonballs - for paint removal, fixing mistakes, and blushing
[11] Liquitex Slow-Dri fluid retarder - to extend paint working time
Not in photo: Pastels and sandpaper


This page is exclusively about the supplies I use for faceups. I will provide a "shopping list" first for your fast reference. Below, I describe the supplies in bold and why/how I use them. As with any advice, note that the supplies and brands I mention are recommendations; you may find something else that works as well or even better. I hope I can help you out with picking up the supplies you'll need for your first faceup. I am not including any supplies you will need if you have any customizing to do, like eye beveling or any sanding; these are the basics.

~ Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner and Restorer
~ General brush cleaner for acrylic paints
~ Mr. Super Clear
~ Acrylic paints (medium viscosity recommended)
~ Watercolor / colored pencils (in addition to or to replace paints)
~ Fluid retarder
~ Acrylic thinner
~ Chalk pastels
~ 20/0 or smaller liner brush and other fine brushes
~ Soft brush for applying pastels
~ Brush-on gloss sealant

~ Cleaning sponge (Pikatto Kirei or Mr. Clean)
~ Sandpaper (medium or fine grit, for shaving pastels)
~ Stand to put your head on for spraying
~ Mask for spraying
~ Q-tips, cotton balls, and tissue
~ Elmer's glue, tweezers, and toothpick(s)
~ Something to mix paint on/in (palette, plastic plate, etc)
~ Paper towels, for drying things on and shaving pastels onto
~ Clean printer paper (to protect the work surface and test brushstrokes)

|+| Removal Supplies |+|
Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner: There are a number of things you can use to remove your doll's current faceup. However, a while back this was recommended on a doll forum, and I wouldn't use anything else. It's designed for removing even dried acrylic paint from brushes, so it's quite strong: strong enough to eat through MSC pretty readily. Nail polish remover is another common choice, but it has to be removed as quickly as possible from the resin because it will soften it and eventually damage it. The Winsor & Newton seems to have no ill effect on the resin. Note however: it is very drying to your hands, so wear disposable gloves if you have them. Also, keep it away from brush handles and thin plastics as it will eat through the lacquer on wood, and destroy plastic.

Cotton balls and Q-tips: See pic later on. Cotton balls are great to put the Winsor&Newton on to wipe the head, and Q-tips for the same purpose in smaller areas like the rims of the eyes and mouth.

Cleaning Sponge: Personally I use the Volks-made Pikatto Kirei sponge, but the Mr. Clean sponge works also. This is a good way to remove any reside of MSC from the head after removal and make sure that it's totally clean of dirt, oil, whatever.

|+| Faceup Supplies |+|
Sealant: You can't use just any matte sealant on your heads! Even if you're doing craft or cosplay stuff, all sealants are NOT created equal and many of them will ruin your work. I highly recommend that you make the effort to get Mr. Super Clear; it's not just a brand thing, it really is better. MSC is the best sealant I've ever used. I currently use the UV Cut MSC, and haven't had any issues with its results versus the regular; but I can't guarantee it's any better, either, so it's up to you. Volks now carries a product called Mr. Top Coat, which they recommend as a substitute; I haven't tried it personally but have heard good things. I have a friend who uses Mr. Top Coat for everything except the final coat, and then uses the UV Cut MSC.

Stand: I use a "head stand" for spraying (see it in action here), which was a rather cheesy Christmas decoration with a hat on top of it. You could make something similar with a dowel and block, and even improve it by putting a foam ball on top to hold your head more securely.

Brush Cleaner: When you're done with removing the faceup, put the Windsor and Newton AWAY. If you use it at all from this point on, you will have to remove the whole faceup - even a little will eat throughthe MSC. Any basic, non-aggressive brush cleaner (look for it to be non-toxic) is what you want. Make sure it's for acrylics; cleaning fluid designed for oil paint won't work. The "Better Way" brand works fine and is cheap. You can also use thinner AS brush cleaner, but I prefer not to.

Fluid Retarder: In faceups you're working with very small amounts of paint and they will dry very quickly if you don't use retarder. This will keep your mixed paints from drying up too fast, and will also keep paint on the head moist enough that you will have some working time to remove it if you make a mistake. Be careful how much you use - the bottle recommends 25% of the total volume.

Acryl(ic) Thinner: Thinner goes a long way (*rimshot*) in keeping your faceups from getting too heavy or "painted on" looking. I like the Model Master thinner's bottle; the narrow tip lets you use just one drop at a time.

Q-tips: I use both regular ones, and a kind with a flatter tip at one end and a pointed tip at the other. This second kind is available in drugstores, I get mine at Walgreen's (with the makeup sponges). I dip them in brush cleaner while removing the faceup to get into tight areas; use them again with brush cleaner to remove small amounts of paint during faceups; and use them to apply blush in certain areas.

Cotton balls and/or tissue: Something to keep handy for wiping off . . . well, anything that winds up where you don't want it but doesn't require the precision of a Q-tip. If you make a mistake while blushing, a damp cottonball is perfect for removing blushing just in one section without having to start over.

Paints: Many people swear by specific brands. Definitely stay away from the under-a-dollar "craft" paint brands; they tend to be pretty awful even for crafts. Staying within the same paint brand is usually best, though you can mix types (experiment; some paints don't combine well or react strangely with thinner). I have had problems with Testor's model paints and so don't recommend them for painting on BJDs. IMHO, as long as you use "decent" paint, you don't need "good" paint.You'll note I'm using the bottle-type Liquitex and Delta Ceramcoat; I have had perfectly good results with both. (Just stay away from the super-cheapie offbrand "craft" paint, I don't eve use that for crafts.) I found the tube Liquitex required too much thinner and had no particular advantages. If you want to try faceups and don't want to worry about what colors to get, the "Zoukeimura" paint sets are nice - the colors are great and the little bottles handy; a good choice for beginners before you expand what type of colors you'd like to use.

Paint Trays or Palette: You'll want something to mix your paints in. I actually use a plastic palette so I have somewhere to set my mixing brushes, PLUS Mr. Paint Tray (available from Volks, they're cheaper than similar little metal tins available at craft stores) for mixing and for brush cleaner. Volks also sells a paper palette which is useful for mixing very small amounts of paint, but if you thin the paint a lot, it will run off the paper.

Brushes: Brushes have a lot to do with personal preference and what you're able to find in your area. The most important brush is the one you use for eyebrows and eyelashes and other very fine details. You want the smallest liner brush you can find; I used a 20/0 Liner. If you can, the Zoukeimura brushes are worth investing in; they are stiffer than liners and it makes them much easier to control. I have a variety of other very small brushes with different types of points which I use for painting teeth, tear ducts, lip gloss, etc.

Watercolor Pencil: You can use watercolor and/or colored pencils for a whole faceup if you like, and I have. But currently, I'm using just a very pale flesh color which I use to draw very light guidelines for eyebrow shape before I paint. To see a photo of pencils I used to do a faceup, click here.

Gloss: Most people gloss at least the lips. After you do your final coating, everything on the head will be matte (not shiny). I currently use Testor's gloss. Volks recommends using Tamiya gloss mixed about 50/50 with the Tamiya thinner. I have used clear gloss topcoat for nail polish as well. It's up to personal taste, but I also gloss the tear ducts and inside of the eyes and sometimes gloss the upper lid of the eye as well. You can also tint your gloss with small amounts of acrylic, pastels, or pigment powders (like the Shine Pearl Volks sells).

Eyelash Setting: The supplies for setting eyelashes are simple: eyelashes, white glue (Elmer's), toothpick, and tweezers. The toothpick makes it a bit easier to apply just a small amount of glue; you can unscrew the lid from the Elmer's and dip the toothpick in.