So what is a BJD?
BJD or Ball Jointed Dolls is basically what the name suggests, it’s a doll, with joints shaped as balls and held together by elastic. They date back to porcelain dolls and the purpose is collecting and not “playing” as kid’s dolls suggest.
Modern day ball jointed dolls are mostly made out of resin, this method originates from japan from the company Volks. They were the first known company to cast in resin and many terminology originates from them, like how we use SD (short for Super Dollfie) for 60cm cm dolls. Yes you read that right, 60cm is a very common size for dolls around these woods. The full list of sizes range from 9cm’s up to above 90cm’s but the more common categories are: below 30cm, 40-50cm, 60-70cm. There are some that reach 80cm’s too, and a few that go to 90, and some special ones that are above that, those dolls can absolutely take human child clothes too.
What makes these dolls so special? Well as you can see in the picture, they are pose-able, like really well. They bend in all kind of places to achieve realistic poses; can hold these poses and stand on their own.
The other unique aspect is the full customization; the dolls come from the companies as blank canvases that you can make into anything. A standard doll box on arrival hold the doll, maybe some eyes but that is not always the case, some companies like to ass little underwear to their dolls and most companies offer a painting service too. There are some full sets that come with a set of specific clothes, a wig, accessories, but those do tend to cost more and sometimes sell for a limited amount of time or quantity.
So you got a blank doll, without any painting, it’s bald and has no eyes or clothes. You can choose all this to suit your needs, but not just these:
There are changeable resin parts too; usually dolls come with a flat feet but you can buy high heeled feet for them, you can change out their hands to have different positions. You can also find jointed hands for dolls, these are more articulate and work as the dolls other joints.
Some boy dolls also come with different private parts that can be changed out, this is just for fun and we usually get a good laugh out of it 🙂
Some dolls have different parts from different companies, like a head from x company on a y company body. These are caller hybrid dolls, they are very common; you can make all kinds of different characters and none will look the same, there are so many variations.
Resin also comes in many different colors, from paper white through multiple shades of skin colors and even some fantasy colors like green and blue etc.
You will also need wigs (that is if you don’t want a bald doll, that is also fine ) and eyes for your doll. Here comes the fun part, because there are thousands of options and many materials to choose from.
Wigs are most commonly made out of synthetic fibers, these are pre-styled usually and newer ones are hear resistant, meaning you can style it with a bit of heat. Synthetic mohair is also a common material, this is a more soft and thin fiber. And then there are the natural hairs, like angora, alpaca soy and goat fibers.
Then the eyes; most common are glass and acrylic eyes, these are the ones that usually come with a doll for free too if the company offers them. There are silicone eyes and also resin eyes, which tend to be on the more price-y side of the scale.
Now is a great age to be in the hobby, because there are many individual artists making these accessories. If you just look at Etsy, there is a whole bunch of small businesses, many of them taking custom orders so you can have as much of a unique item as you want.
What we do in the hobby
I get this question a lot when people learn about this hobby. In all honesty, even ifyou just collect dolls because they are pretty, it is fine. This is a luxusy hobby but a hobby is supposed to be fun and make you feel nice. It’s up to you what you want to do, or not do with the dolls.
That said, I myself take part in many aspects of the hobby, sewing of course being the main aspect, but I also have a story for my dolls, I want to tell that story so I write it, and I want to visualize that story so I take photos and edit them too. Many others do the same. Some use them as models or inspiration for drawing, others like to just take them places to do photography while others are happy to keep them home and just pamper them in new clothes every month. Everyone lives a different aspect of the hobby but we all love the dolls.