There are several ways to add color to your custom American Girl doll’s lips. In this tutorial we will look at the most popular technique, using acrylic paint. Whether your doll’s lips need a refreshing touch of natural color, or you would like to add something more to their smile like shimmery vibrant colors, glittery sparkle, or a touch of clear lip gloss, this quick tutorial will help you achieve a smooth and clean result.
STEP ONE. Mix a combination of acrylic paints to find your ideal lip color. A popular blend for a natural look consists of a reddish color blended with a tan color and touch of white. You could also use pinks, corals, and browns for natural shades. Or, if you wanted something really vibrant, you could go with bright pinks, purples, blues even. The possibilities are endless.
* Blend in a “metallic” or “pearl” tinted paint to add a hint of shimmer like you would find in lipstick.
* For a more glittery appearance, you can use a glitter acrylic paint to give her that extra sparkle.
* If you would like to add gloss only (no color), skip these steps and go directly down to Step 4.
STEP TWO. When you have achieved the right color blend, mix in a good amount of water or textile medium (a liquid designed to thin and aid the flow of paint). Ideally you want the paint to have the consistency of thinned milk — in other words, make it really watery with a touch of color.
STEP THREE. Apply the thinned paint to your doll’s lips in very light layers with a small paint brush, allowing each coat to dry a minute or two in between layers. This is a time consuming process, but the result will be worth it. Keep applying thin layers of paint until it colors the lips to your satisfaction. This requires a lot of patience and persistence, particularly for darker colors. Depending on the color and saturation desired, some lips may only take 2-3 layers whereas others may take 20-30 layers.
* Always make sure the lips are clean and free from dust, etc., before painting.
* If you are using a dark, bold or bright color for your lip paint, you may want to apply a layer or two of natural color, or a layer of clear varnish (see below), before you begin painting to keep the color from potentially spreading and staining the vinyl beyond the border of the lips.
* If you accidentally paint “outside the lines” or over the teeth, don’t panic! Use a cloth dipped in mild soapy water to wipe it off, then wipe again with only water to cleanse the vinyl. Allow to dry before beginning again.
STEP FOUR. Seal the lip color with a polyurethane varnish. There are many sealants to choose from, but DuraClear and Liquitex products are the most often recommended. For a slight gloss look, go with a Matte varnish — most matte finishes actually have a shine to it when dry, just enough for lips (see the doll pictures on this page for your reference, these were sealed with a matte varnish). For a very glossy appearance, choose a Gloss or Satin varnish. Apply a couple thin coats over your doll’s painted lips, let dry, and you are done!