Porcelain bjd assembling tutorial, how to string your bjd doll

Hello everyone!!!

This tutorial is intended to string with elastic cords our doll model Malena , for those who request them in blank and disassembled  to customize them with china paints or another complex technique.
For her measures and weight the elastic cord is enough to put her toghether with an acceptable tension ( for our bigger girls, Maxine and Lucienne, the stringing is made with metal springs)
The elastic, leather and metal axis and hooks are included in our blank doll kits.
To purchase a blank doll you can go here:

porcelain_bjd on eBay 
 Porcelainbjddolls en Etsy  
Mercado Libre Argentina  
or ask to
Paulina Gravagno 

This is valid also for the normal dolls, in case you need to change the cords. Remember that is preferable to cut the old cord and dispose it, and replace it completely once you disassemble the doll.
The dolls in the pictures are a tattooed geisha girl made in 2013 with our old mld Meiko and the new one Malena, unpainted, blank.
I tried to make the threading as easier as possible, but the tutorial can seems a little messy, specially because english is not my main language; if any of you have doubts or suggestions, please don't hesitate to ask, we will be very grateful to hear your advice and improve this tutorial and others to come.


 Tools and materials
 Any round elastic is suitable, as long as its thickness allows it to pass through the openings of the limbs. If you do not have a round elastic at hand you can try the flat elastic but also check that it passes through the openings, especially those of the arms that are the narrowest of all the pieces.  If you disarm again the doll, is preferrable to change the elastic cords in every occasion you do that, the elastic usually rubs and suffers when arming and disassembling the doll so it is preferrable, to be sure, to replace it.

Each elastic, according to the brand and the provenance, stretches different, so you have to testing them. Usually 20 cms. for the legs, another 20 for the torso and almost 25 for the arms, from wrist to wrist, is enough.


We usually start by sanding the pieces, which came out of the kiln with a rough residue on the surface due to the firing process; once sanded, the surface is satin finish with a very soft glow. Use a 220 or more fine grid sand paper. We clean the pieces with alcohol to remove any trace of residues that may have been left and to prepare the pieces for painting. 

We use acrilycs, pastels and lacquer to paint, but china paints and any other artistic media can be applied to them. In this tutorial (I will soon update it too :3 )  is described how is our own way to paint our dolls (link)

 Joint protection 

Once the pieces are ready, painted and decorated, you must glue the leather into the joints using two components glue or any other strong glue you feel comfortable to use, with the border marks looking  to the inside. Let the glue properly cure before to assemble the doll, following the specifications of each type. Check that every leather lining is properly fixed and correct it if necessary.

Hooks and Axis
Then you must glue the metal axis into every joint. For hands and feet, this is the moment to put the hooks in place, lock with the axis and glue it in place.
 The axis are measured and indicated the position in the little insert inside the box. I control them to pass easily through the holes, but if you find any of them doesn't fit, don't force it, try to replace it with another one. They are very tiny, so if you lost any of them, you can use surgical wire, stainless steel quality, to cut another one, the type used for dental implants, it is flexible but hard and  resistant, it doesn't  oxidize and came in several thickness. It is the same used too for the big hook in the head and the little ones for hands, feet and shoes.  Be careful when you cut this type of wire, the remaining bias point is very sharp :P !!!
Once they are glued, is almost impossible to take them off.

Putting all toghether

The first pieces to be assembled are the head, chest ,and torso, and finally the legs.  You need three pieces of elastic, of 20-22 cms. each one aprox. 

Make two loops and join them togheter with the third loop. I make a common knot in the first two, but a loose, eight shaped knot in the third one, you will see later why. Use a long needle and strong nylon fine cord or a piece of cable as stringing tool. You will end as in this picture.


The U hook will be covered later by the wig.  
 Pass the eight shaped knot cord through the chest to the top of the head, and secure the extreme with the U hook. 
The knots must be visible under the chest piece.
Pass the other two loops through the torso, one per leg. 

 Lock the extrems of the cords everytime you string a piece.

String each leg , lock the cord at the  ankles to work with tranquility. Pass the hook of the foot into the loop, close it with a flat pointed plier and only then, and taking the foot with your hand,  slowly take back the tool you used to lock the loop and let the hook enter inside the leg. If you feel some resistance, pull from the upper leg to strech the cords. At this point , the elastic will still feel loose.

To get more tension, pull from the knot in the middle of the torso, between the chest and hips, until you feel is enough, and make a new knot, as firm as posible. Trim the excess and hide the knot into the pieces. You can also twist the limbs two or three times, this strech the elastic even more, but be careful, too much tension can cause the breakage of the elastic.

 Now remains  only the arms and hands. 
Use a long needle, a slightly curvy one or very fine wire as threading tool. First make a long loop, closed with an eight shaped loose knot, pass it in this order: from the top of the arm, through the elbow to the wrist, lock the extrem, pass the hand hook, close it , and procede as in the feet case. VERY IMPORTANT NOW:  the fingers are the most fragile part of a porcelain doll, wrap the hands in bubble plastic to protect them until you finish the assembling, (that is not in the pictures because they looked better this way :D ) is the best way to prevent accidents.
Pass the other extrem of the loop through the chest and the remaining arm pieces to the other wrist. 
 The knot must be accesible inone of the shoulders, pull from it and make a new knot. 

The doll is ready now for wigging and dressing.

One of my favourite hair tutorials, very simple but efective, is made by  Hannie Sarris
 This is all for the moment, please ask if anything is not enough clearly explained, you can let a comment below or contact us  in any the links. 
This is my own way to stringing, there is other methods in the web, if you find them more adecuate to your way of to make things, that can be adapted to our doll, even hybrid systems of metal springs and elastic cords. 
Thanks to all for visiting us!!! 


porcelain_bjd on eBay 
 Porcelainbjddolls en Etsy  
Mercado Libre Argentina  
or ask to
Paulina Gravagno 

Note 2018:
This is a short video showing how to change the feet of the dolls, usually is also my first step to disassemble one:


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