Bob Marley Cloth Doll by Sally Blood
Cloth Doll Archive,  Doll Making Process,  Human Dolls

How I Created a Bob Marley Doll

Bob Marley Doll

My Bob Marley doll was created in 2015 for my partner’s mother.  I originally created a post on January 17th 2016 on my old blog. This is an updated version post.

Bob Marley: A New Doll Making Challenge

Bob Marley Cloth Doll by Sally Blood

Up until this point, I had not attempted to create a cloth doll inspired by a real person.  For the reason that I was apprehensive about the challenges of trying to effectively create and capture the essence of that person.  How accurately would I be able to recreate the facial features?  Could I really encapsulate their personality through the materials? Despite these fears, I gave it a go anyway.  And whilst I must admit, the doll does not look completely like Bob Marley, I think it was a good first attempt.

Hand Painting The Face of My Bob Marley Doll

As with my previous doll, Rowan Foxglove  I used acrylics to paint a life-like Bob Marley face.  This was such a challenge.  On the one hand, I wanted the face to clearly resemble Bob’s features.  However, on the other hand, I also wanted to retain a strong sense that this is still a cloth doll.  Therefore, it was also difficult to fit Bob’s features within the head and face template I had used, particularly his mouth.

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Success With Paint

The advantages of using paints are, of course, it allows you to mix a greater range of skin tones.  When I first started doll making I used water colouring pencils.  Pencils can be an effective way to colour the face of your cloth doll.  Unfortunately, I found that the overall effect can be too faint for what I wanted to achieve.  So for this project, paint was perfect for my Bob Marley doll.

Struggles With Paint

Mixing the skin tones was not as easy as I first thought.  Perhaps it was because I was a little out of practice. The tones that I mixed looked perfect on the paint palette, but when applied to the face, the shade of colour was often either too light or too dark.  Consequently, I ended up layering way too much paint.  As you can imagine, this resulted in a thick crust like texture over the face.  This is not something I would recommend.  In hindsight, I should have made a practice head before applying the final skin tones to the real bob head.

Creating The Details For My Bob Marley Doll

The Dreadlocks 

Bob Marley’s dreads were created using a technique I first discovered in one of my earlier cloth doll’s, which is to rip up thin strips of T-shirt material. The ripping process slightly stretches the jersey fabric and in turn, cause the raw edges to curl.

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This, I have found is perfect for creating dreadlocks or thicker hair for your cloth doll.  The technique is a really effective alternative to using wool and an awesome way to recycle.

The Guitar 

The cloth guitar was really fun to make.  Like the face, the details of the guitar were painted on using acrylic paint. Looking back, if I was to do this again, I think I would take the time to paint additional detail to the body of the guitar with a wood grain effect.

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Thick white thread and small wooden beads were used to create the guitar strings and tuning pegs.

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Black ribbon and rasta coloured beads created the final finishing touch of the guitar strap.

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The Clothing

I created my own patterns for the shirt and Jeans.  Both patterns were adapted from my jazz doll.  The shirt was based on the jacket pattern, so I simply shortened the sleeves and the jeans were made a little wider. I simply love the floral vintage fabric used for Bob’s shirt.

Final Thoughts About My Bob Marley Doll

All in all, I was really pleased with this cloth doll.  I think this is because I had tried and tested techniques which I had gained from all the other dolls I had created up until this point.  Whether I will attempt any more celebrity dolls, it is hard to say.  This is because I have so many other ideas that I want to try out first.  However, watch this space!

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