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Making Cartoon Curls

She's a Pin Head!

Making Cartoon Curls

While evaluating a vintage Betty Boop sewing pattern I found online, I’ve decided to use Paperclay to make Betty’s hair, rather than yarn or fiber.

After all, she’s got these wicked spiky curls and she is a cartoon.

Betty Boop was my favorite cartoon character growing up.  I’ve always loved her big giant head with that bob and unruly curls.  Now that I’m determined to make her into a doll, the head is the biggest challenge!

The curls are built on pins, which support the curls and prevent them from breaking.

As I’m building on the pins, I’m also layering Paperclay on the hair.  I first painted the hair with white glue to make sure it sticks.


This is going to be time-consuming, and probably the most challenging part of the doll. But that is ok with me. I think it’s worth the effort.


I’ve also finished up her body. It’s got several layers of hard coating and gesso and painted with acrylic paint. I also put on high gloss varnish. I like the way she’s coming out so far… (sorry for the nekkid doll photos, but this is art!)


I’ve made a few improvements to an original (80+ years old?) vintage Betty Boop doll pattern, including changes to the hair, hands, and legs, and of course, some alternative techniques. Follow the next post to see her completed!

Have fun and Boop Boop Be-Doop!



This short tutorial was edited with the original photos intact.  The post is nostalgic.  Follow the next post to see the completed Betty doll.
If you would like to try your hand at making a Betty Boop doll, you can grab my pattern in the shop.


Thread bearer, clay musher, paint brusher, seam ripper. Turning whimsy into reality, one doll at a time.


  • January 22, 2010

    shes looking fab!

  • January 22, 2010

    Hi Rivkah. I haven't started on Betty yet. Can you remind me of the deadline? I think I will be making a few changes too. I especially like hands with fingers. I like the idea of paperclay for the hair….I really just can't see the yarn at all. Are you leaving the pins inside the "curls"? Really fun watching the inprogress.

  • February 3, 2010

    Oh wow Rivkah!!!
    she's coming along great!!
    Seems you and I are of the same
    mind when it came to making
    the hair..
    GREAT idea on the pins!!!
    I made clay spit curls around the bottom of the back and grew tired of doing it,and got lazy!!..LOL ;-D
    Posted another progress pic if you'd like to see! 😉

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