Porcelain doll making is a unique craft because doll makers employ many skills to turn liquid porcelain slip into a finished doll.

Porcelain dolls start with a casting in a plaster mold that must be cleaned and fired in a kiln to over 2000 degrees. Pieces are painted with China paints, which also must be fired in a kiln. An assembled doll needs eyes, wig, costume, shoes and accessories.

Antique reproduction doll makers focus on authentic reproductions of antique French and German dolls originally made as children’s toys in the 18th and 19th centuries. Doll makers research the painting style of each antique doll, as well as its style of body, eyes, wig, and costume.

Modern reproduction doll makers use molds made from dolls sculpted by modern artists. These doll makers often strive to create a finished doll that re-creates a human using eye painting, shading and contouring techniques.

These skills can be learned in a weekly class taught by a highly skilled teacher. During multi-day seminars students can focus on making a particular type of doll. Some seminars teach students costuming, wig making, shoe making and doll accessories.