*~Eclairs and Escalators~*

The Melbourne Dollfie Cafe

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A Newbie Guide
It's like that
annie_chan wrote in dollie_cafe
Browsing on an Lj and seen a pretty doll? Suddenly think- "Gee! I want one of em!" Then rush over to some random forum and bug the crap out of everyone by going- "Hi! I'm a newbie! Where can I get a cheap dollfie?" or "Hi! I'm a newbie! So how do you get one of those dollfies?"

1. Background info
*BEFORE* you run off to some random LJ com/forum (*coff*egl/DoA*endcoff*) to pester people, most of the questions you've got have already been asked a gabillion times. Yes. We know. We've had to answer them at one point -_- Why? Because people don't read things like THESE:

(Please note many sites listed are on the forum which will need membership, provided you are over 13, to access)

Aimee's godsend SD FAQ
**EDIT** Cassiel's incredibly awesome Volks FCS guide to compliment Aimee's Volks FCS Guide
**EDIT** Cassiel's Volks guide
discreet's Berman/Hound FAQ
DoA's Picture Request thread created by Hitasura- who was sick of so many repeat posts asking to see a certain doll (just like us -_-)
DoA's Comparison shots, another thread created due to multiple request posts.

2. Choosing one
the lovely black_geek created a Doll Collective of sorts, where she lists the models/prices/heights and websites of nearly all the dolls and companies to date.

Also very useful the Blank Head Database (exactly as it sounds X3) Very useful to see a doll unmodded and unpainted, so you can decide if they will be the right character for you ^_^

The eyes are the windows to the soul, right? So the perfect color, size, type and style for eyes matter a lot. The Eye Database, steadilly growing, is a great resource to check out what's out there ^_^

3. Oh my GOD! So expensive! So much work!
If you've reached this area of the post thinking that- leave. They're not for you.

If you still want to know more, then keep going.

Many people wonder, how the hell do you save money for them?! Answer here.

Basically it's a lot of sacrifice and hard work. End of story. There's no *easy* way of doing it unless you win the lottery or inherit a fortune :S

Rough price estimates to Australia for Minis

4. Purchasing and the wait

Once you've chosen one your heart is set on (please avoid seeing one as pretty but not feeling 100% about it- reselling and getting a complete dead meet with your money isn't very likely, and think of the time wasted by the company just for you *glare*), you'll find that it's very easy to order.

Apart from purchasing from the main companies and reps, DoA has a Doll Marketplace for larger dolls, mini dolls, and tiny dolls. if you want to chance upon a modded/pre-loved doll. This by all means does not mean it will be heaps cheaper than getting them brand new. You may save as little as 10% off the original price, or not even save at all.

Most companies take paypal nowadays and are very easy step-by-step orders. Plus the people are uber nice.

It is advisable to go to the forum (DoA) and check out the buyer section because some companies (a minority) may not be as awesome in dealing with overseas customers (or just customers in general >.>) whether that may be through their service or the quality of their goods. So do your research! ^__^

Please DON'T flood their poor inboxes with "WHERE'S MY DOLL????!!!!!11111oneoneone" because they'd receive hundreds of them dailly from newbies just like you who don't read things like this.

Of course, email them if it's crucial, or leave a message on their message boards. Just try to avoid stressing them out- afterall, they are doing this for *you*. A few years back, 90% of those companies never shipped internationally and never had an english page- you had to go through a service to order.

Besides the companies listed, a great place to find customized heads/limited dolls is here on YJ(<- WTF?! you say- i shall explain later)

5. Clothes
So while you're waiting, busy yourself by making your little one clothes so when they arrive they wont be stark nekky o.O

DoA has a lovely measurement thread to be paired with a pattern archive. Undead Threads is also an awesome pattern site. Zoi also has a section dedicated to MSD Patterns for use with MSD and SMD-sized dolls.

Most of the doll companies sell clothes that can be purchased along with your doll.

Also, DoA has seamstresses for hire over here and wigmakers if you need a specific wig.

Or if you're feeling really generous, this is the clothes search on YJ

6. Arrival!

Congrats! You survived the wait! ^_^ Upon their arrival, some like to hold what is known as an "Omukae Ceremony", which is a welcoming ceremony of sorts. It is up to you whether you do this or not. *When* to do it is also up to you- some do it upon opening the box, whilst others do it once the doll is "complete" with the wig/eyes/face/clothes they visioned them to have.

For more info on this, some DoA members have had official ones held at a Volks store, and others have done it themselves (me included)

General info

7. Face-ups
Fancy customizing your little one yourself? Well, giving them a "face-up", which is the term for painting their faces (putting "make up" on them) isn't that hard.

First you will need a sealant. Melbournites- the Victorian Hobby Centre on Swanston by KFC and the Hobby Place near Melbourne Central and St Francis Church both stock something called "Testors DullCote", which has been found to be the second best sealant to Mr Super Clear- the sealant specific to these "Asian Ball-Jointed Dolls". (By all means, do try to import MSC but Customs is a hit or miss- some get confiscated whilst some get through)

Don't know which one to choose or how they compare? Read this.

*~Materials that *can* be used on dolls (seal them FIRST)
chalk pastels
watercolor pencils
clear nail polish
acrylic gloss
powder based eye shadow

*~Materials that CANT be used on dolls (regardless of sealing)
anything with oil in it (no oil paint, pastel nor pencil, or make up with oil)

Why? because they *STAIN*

anything from size 0 downward, ROUND brushes (because they come to a fine point when wet whereas liner brushes look...weird)
make-up brushes (for blushing)
acrylic thinner

Basics on blushing here and here
A guide to using chalk pastels and a guide to using watercolor pencils.
The effects of using Alcohol
Face up tutorial collective here
And a face up tutorial by the lovely Leechy here
Paul's cool 'how to paint a dd body tutorial'
And look - Questions asked by newbies
Helene's new awesome step-by-step face-up guide

Technical junk-
alternatives to eye putty
Removing glued-in eyes
Serious Airbrush newbie tips

Don't feel confident enough? When you order, some companies ask whether you want it with make or not (other companies like CustomHouse/Volks already have a default make up applied). If you choose the make up option, you will pay extra and will have to submit a detailed description of what you would like them to do. (others like DoD have a drop-dwon box with color themes for you to choose)

Or you could send them to a face-up artist! DoA has a certain section of the forum dedicated to customizers here. These people offer their services for a fee.

There are international customizers and at times are in high demand, so make sure to see if they are currently taking orders before you email them.

Such customizers are HeavyBomb, Satoko Ohno (an extremely famous and well respected artist), Pookie, Kuin and of course many more.

Feeling extra brave? Some owners like to reshape their doll's eyes- Want to give it a try? (Tutorial in Japanese but easy pictures to follow)

8. Basic upkeep
To sand off the seams on your doll, you need to unstring them first. Seph has done a lovely stringing tutorial and even Luts have one here.

To sand your doll you will need sandpaper in various gradients starting from a medium coarse gradient working down to an uber super fine gradient.

Be sure to be in a well ventilated space as resin dust is toxic

Have a basin of water handy and actually sand IN the basin because wet sandpaper moulds to the shape you need and wet resin dust clumps and is less likely to be breathed in.

Sand in CIRCLES unless you want permanent grooves in your doll. Start sanding with the lesser gradients then work your way to finishing it with a super fine gradient.

To clean your doll, I use a mixture of bicarb soda and toothpaste and a toothbrush ^_^ Get a container with a lid and fill it to about 3/4 with the powder. Following the egde, squirt a cirlce of toothpaste on top of the powder. Put the lid on and shake like hell until you get an even clumpy kind of powder.

Use it like normal toothpaste on your doll!

To remove make-up, try to always use acrylic paint thinner- its less harmful than acetone. Or you can be fancy and get yourself some Volks Make-up remover from Volks ^_^

A nifty trick, before you put your doll back together is to spray the joints with sealant as it creates "grip" for them to hold poses better!

OR Suede their joints. (Tutorial in Japanese but pictures very easy to follow!)

Another thing that can be paired with sueding is to wire your doll ^_^

Cleaning should be done fairly regularly if you play with them often. Here are some general tips.


YJ stands for Yahoo Japan- a Japanese version of ebay, if you like. The Japanese have a huuuge online market for doll stuff but 99% won't ship overseas and if by chance they did you probably don't know how to use it -_-

So you leave that to the experts!

Shopping services such as Rinkya, Celga, Frill Frill, Crescent Shop, Akibado and Shopping Mall Japan will bid on auctions for you for a fee.

Also- some Korean companies don't ship overseas, and for that you'll need a Korean shopping service. Doya, from DoA has one here!

DoA Shopping Threads
Clothes and Shoes
Eyes and Wigs


LeekeWorld Japan, Korea, Asia, Europe, main English site (Asia and Europe work by preorder, but if you don't mind paying ems, then the english site is a purchase now kind of thing)
Kiriko Moth
Love Replica
To name a few.


Minoru world (very recent new English version- used to be Japanese only)


Any more questions? Feel free to ask me here or join the huge international community of Den of Angels- a huge forum where you can interact, post pictures, buy/sell stuff and learn a heap of things from the "Workshop" section (be sure to check that out if you have any further questions on customizing!)

For us locals, please join Angels AU, a specific Yahoo group just for us O^^O


Since the database thing went a bit psycho [/sarcasm], DoA created The Database Database- a database that lists all the databases on DoA XD

Plus, there's an Offsite Database for dollies X3

Cute Japanese tutorial on how to make your own carry case! ^_^
Translated Violin carry-case tutorial


Here are the top guns of the BJD world- these are customizers you *must* know because their work is amazing.

Cherry Bomb
Junx and BerryPot (lovely partners in crime)
Caress of Venus
Dolls Drug Kingdom
Robin's Egg
Wondermom (Omg. 2 hours worth of DoA searching for that ONE link *_*)

Those are just a few, and feel free to lose yourselves in their "links" page- they'll lead to more awesome artists.


Wow. you've reached the end! Congratulations on reading it all! I hope that I've helped you along- these dolls are a wonderful hobby and once you start you'll understand why I created this guide.

I just wanted to prepare you before you go ahead and adopt one, as it can be overwhelming to be a newbie and not know where to start (yes I was once one too).

Hopefully this guide has helped and will continue to help you as you and your doll bond (let's hope you do ^^;) as time goes by, and you'll come to realize that all the back-breaking, eye-straining, wallet-slaughtering work is so very very worth it everytime you look at them.

-Annie love

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You know... Months after being into this hobby, and I still only knew about 25% of the links you posted here. *thank you squishes*

*reading reading* Hey, this is pretty well put together.
*keeps reading*
*backtracks* ... hey, I got plugged. ^___^

looks pretty good. ^^ you forgot the SMJ yja service though:

Oh! Thankyou- its added now ^_^

-Annie love

oh, GREAT guide (adding it to my memories ...), how about adding something about wiring and eye-opening.

Sueding, wiring and eye-opening tutorials added! ^_^

-Annie love love

Nicely done, Kuja and Annie-chan! (I bet Kuja made Annie-chan do most of the work.)

Oops, sorry. That was me. *^^*

I did *not*! I supervised!


-Kuja love

oh my god... this sounds so conceided now but... which type is easier to buy for?
*suffers from immense guilt + shame*

*lol* No it doesn't really X3

Accessory wise, like funiture, miniatures, the Minis are definitely easier. But clotheswise, it seems more make SD sized clothing and items.

But it's a pretty close call @_@ So in this case, its not really going to help you decide XD

-Annie love

... your right there, it doesn't really help...
does anyone else in melbourne have a DoD?

*lol* the mini population in Melbourne has exploded literally- so many people are adopting them because they're little and a lot cheaper than the big ones XD

hooli for one and her housemate Fiene. sefislj has two arriving this week and her friend has one arriving next week.

Also check out DollMore's little ones and SoulDoll has some too.

-Annie love

Holy crap! You so rock! ::steals link::

Thank you SO MUCH for putting this together!

Wow. I can't tell you how much this has helped me! *saves* Thank you so much.

does anyone know the link to that one database that has a lot of pictures of blank heads? is there even a site like that? XD am i dreaming things up?

yes ma'am :3 i've found it since making that post, but thank you very much anyway! ♥

Oh no...

All the links I need for Den of Angels are for users only, and registering is restricted :(

What should I do? I want to see the tutorials. :(

It doesn't look like registering is restricted O_o;
Just click on the link to register (top left corner) and enter your date of birth. It seemed to be okay even though I said I was 10 years old...

(... as if I was 10 -_-;)

Is there a tutorial on how to remove eyes anywhere? I have never done it before and have no idea if they are glued in.

Thanks for this guide!! Even though I've had my boy for a while now, a lot of your links on faceups and just other general info are sooo helpful! <3

MEEP! I tried that Sueding link you have, and it's a 404 :( I'd love to know what sueding is all about :(

haha, I need something to tell me how to attach the head! I just got an Excellent Base Model Beauty doll, A type, and I can't read the directions on the back. o_O

also, got any wig and clothing links that fit this type of doll? ^^;;;;;;

i wish there was a place you could see the diffences in the colors of the DOD faceups i dont want my boy to look too girly and i cant find a link like that anywhere. -_-

this was the greatest this i have ever read

Wow! Thank you so much Annie for this comprehensive FAQ!

This was really helpfull! I've been thinking for a while now about adopting a Dollfie and this really helped me make up my mind!! There where so many things I was trying to find out and this gave me all the answers I needed, thanks so much! <3

I LOVE YOU FOR THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ; M ; ZANX SO LOTS!!!
[bows with lot of respect!]
but I'm still on the wanders of the first stage [after one year of seraching_and hard and painful saving_...which will be my perfect beauty?!?!]

Love Replica is now a porn link.
I...don't think that should be there.

Everything else is awesome though! This is seriously what I need and what I've been looking for!

Thanks for this guide. >.> I was wondering if Sculpey was a good alternative to eye putty or whatnot. Or will that eat away at the resin? I looked on DoA but people say different things so now I am confused ...

Thank you this help me understand alot more.

My sister just recently introduced me to BJDs, and after I asked her about 50 questions, she was like "Just go here" = 3

This is a wonderful guide for people new to the scene because I was feeling SO overwhelmed with all the tiny aspects to this hobby ^^

Thanks again

lord, you have *no* idea how eternelly(SP) I am for this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you very much ^^ This guide is really helpful <3

Love this info.

Hello. I'm not sure where to say this so this is the lucky site I put this on. I'm sad that Crobidoll doesnt get any recognition. Every place I look I cant find anything for that site to make my noobe brain fuction without going crazy. If anyone has importaint info on Crobidoll I would like it. I am Cafevampire on Den Of Angels. Please assist me in getting my first BJD so I can use this information.

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