HandBook for Dollmakers
Mimi's Stuffing Tool
by Gloria J. "Mimi" Winer
Making Mimi's Stuffing Tool
I frequently make dolls without clothes to show off just how good a cloth doll can be. It's not that I particularly like nude dollsit's that I don't want the clothing to hide my work. So, as you have probably noticed, I'm a little bit crazy about stuffing smoothly.
I have described earlier how I use the nesting technique either with my fingers or with a hemostat. I also use a specially designed stuffing tool in two ways:
I wrap the tip of the tool with stuffing like a cotton swab and slide stuffing under the skin to fill in exactly where I want it. This is the technique I use for filling in soft spots or dips in the body or face, and for adding knuckles to the fingers.
I use the tip of the stuffing tool to straighten seams. It will slip under the skin and I can turn the seam allowance all in the same direction for a smoother appearance.
The stuffing tool that I use is a Stanley 64-846 screwdriver with a wooden drawer knob attached to the handle so that it doesn't hurt my hand. It has a 1/8-inch wide blade without any "ears." You can use the screwdriver "as is" from the store, but hours of use will rub blisters on your hand. The knob makes it much more comfortable to use.
You can find both the screwdriver and the knob in most hardware stores, and it is not hard to assemble them.
Materials and Tools
- Stanley 64-846 screwdriver (This is a 6-inch long, 1/8-inch blade
screwdriver without "ears" as shown in the photos below.)
- Allison #931 Wood Round Knob, Finish Natural, 1¼-inch diameter
- Electric drill with 11/64-inch drill bit
- 5-minute or 10-minute epoxy glue
- Hacksaw and vise
to make the stuffing tool, follow these instructions:
Cut the head off of the screw supplied with the knob. Put the screw into a vise to hold it and use a hacksaw to cut it off at the end of the threads as shown in the following drawing.
Drill an 11/64-inch diameter hole ½-inch deep in the end of the screwdriver handle.
My husband Jim uses a drill press to make my stuffing tools, but you can do it with an electric drill if you are careful to keep the drill straight. It helps if you use a center punch to mark where the hole will go so that the drill bit doesn't wander.
Do not hold the screwdriver in your hand while drilling the handle. Use a vise or pliers to hold it.
Mix up some quick-setting epoxy glue.
Use any glue that will join metal to wood (the screw and the knob) and metal to plastic (the screw and the screwdriver handle) without requiring air to dry.
Put a little epoxy on the threads on the cut end of the screw or in the hole in the knob.
Using the pliers, screw the cut-off end of the screw into the knob as far as it will go. It should stick out about 3/8 of an inch.
Put a little epoxy onto the end of the screw sticking out.
Screw the knob into the hole in the handle of the screwdriver as far as it will go. (Use the pliers to hold the screwdriver handle.)
Copyright © Jim and Gloria Winer.
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