Posted on 67 Comments

How to Paint a Doll’s Face

I made a little video for ya’ll about how I go about painting faces for my dolls, and a little doll painting tutorial to go with it. I use genesis heat set paints since they dry when I want them too (that was always why I liked painting in oils years ago).  Hope you enjoy!

How to Paint a Doll’s Face

genesis paints

Your doll’s head
Genesis Artist Oil Color
(or Genesis Artist Heat Set Oil Color Try Out Set)
Craft Cotton Swabs
Miniature Micro Detail Paint Brushes
Oven Thermometer


  1. Blush the face. Blushing the dolls face means brushing in some flesh tone on some key areas like the upper part of the forehead, around the eyes, on the interior of the eyes, the cheeks of course, the nose, the chin, and the ears. Anywhere you might find more color on the face.
  2. Go over the wet paint With a dry brush to feather that color off into the areas without paint.
  3. Add blue to the lips, and around the eyes, to create a natural transparent look to the doll’s skin. Feather the blue color with a dry brush for a more natural look.
  4. Paint the whites of the eyes
  5. Assuming you are using Genesis Heat Set Paints, now is the time to bake the head in the oven for about five minutes at 250 degrees. Make sure you buy an oven thermometer before attempting this because often ovens are inaccurate and its easy to burn polymer clay creations without an oven thermometer.
  6. Paint in the iris, keeping in mind the eye lid should cover a bit of the top of the iris, and there is a shadow from the lid on the iris. Also consider that it is common for the iris to have a darker rim.
  7. Use black to pronounce some areas more than others, usually this would include the corners of the eyes and the top and bottom eyelashes.
  8. Paint the eyelashes. Use Genesis paint thinning medium to get a smooth paint consistency for fine lines such as the lashes.
  9. Add the striations in the iris with a pointy cotton swab. Since the paint is not dry you can just use the swab to life the paint leaving fine lines with a lighter color.
  10. Add the pupil with black paint. Some points to consider about the pupil. The pupil is actually a hole in the iris, it’s always black, it’s always a circle (unless you’re looking at it from the side), and its always in the center of the iris.
  11. Add the reflection from the light source right onto the pupil.
  12. Add a warm hue to the lips as another paint layer on top of the dry blue layer. I like using the same color that I used for blushing the face, mixed with a just a tad of red.
  13. Bake the doll to set it for good; about 5 minutes at 250 degrees.
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