My dolls on display almost always use a saddle stand. Why? This type of stand allows for some fun poses, doesn’t cause clothes to get wrinkled, reduces the chance of stains and the saddle part itself is usually hidden by skirts and dresses. I’ve started making my own stands since I haven’t found a retail model I totally love and plus saving money on stands means more money for dolls, clothes and wigs! So while there are definitely ways to make a stand like this prettier, I’m doing the bare minimum at this point! Cheap stand gets the job done- and it’s easy to make, too.
Budget Stand Ingredients:
Wood plaque base
Wood dowel (about 5/6″ width and 16″ tall)
Drill bit – same diameter as dowel
Small saw or pruning shears
Main ingredient- the base of the stand. I’m using wooden plaques from a hobby shop (in this case Micheal’s). The stand needs to be at least 1/4″ thick so that the post can be inserted deep enough to be stable. These bases are pretty basic – heh – but I’ve sanded them a bit. You can get fancy with some paint, modgepodge paper deco, and felt on the bottom if you like. When the base is prepped, I mark a spot in the rear-center area to drill. I’ve got a 5/16″ drill bit to match the 5/16″ dowel I’ll use as a post (also purchased from Michael’s). The cardboard on my desk gives me a bit of leeway in case I goof and drill too far- don’t want to damage my work space.
Fortunately drilling goes smoothly and I’ve got a nice socket ready for my dowel. The hole is drilled pretty deep, with a few millimeters of wood left on the bottom. I’ve left a bit of sawdust in the hole to help bond with the wood glue. It’s handy to make a couple stands at the same time- in this case I’m also making a smaller stand for my SDC Renee.
Next I’ve figured out my desired post length by posing my doll next to the stand. After marking the dowel I saw off the extra length using a small ceramic hobby saw. The roughest looking end of the dowel gets dipped in wood glue and inserted into the base.
A few hours later, and the wood glue is totally dry. Time to make the saddle! I’ve got some plastic coated electrical wire and felt to cover it. I’ve never had trouble with stains or dents from the wire, but somehow felt feels more cozy and gives an extra layer of security. This wire is heavy-duty enough to bend into some hairpin shapes without snapping, so I need wire cutters to clip it.
I bend a pair of large loops on the wire, and leave a couple inches extra on both ends to wrap around the dowel. It’s secure enough to hold a vinyl doll (or small resin BJD) but you can still adjust the wire pose and height as needed. Really handy if you want to switch between DD, DDS and DDdy! It’s not the prettiest solution but like I mentioned at the start, it’s usually hidden by skirts. Felt is folded around the wire loops, trimmed, and glued in place with a strong flexible adhesive. I’ve tried sewing/fabric glue but it tends to turn yellow after a while, so this stuff does the trick better even if it requires some gloves to apply.
Ta-da! Grown up DD Iori shows off the new stand once the glue on the felt is completely dry. Now the wire saddle can be posed to fit any DD-type body.
We’ve lost the skirt- but it’s for science! You can see how felt saddle gently secures the body. The feet still need to be in a pretty solid pose, but you don’t have to worry about a weak ankle or quick jostle causing a tumble.
I’ll figure out a prettier solution at some point- tinker toys? 3D-printing?- but for now budget stand does the job. And as mentioned before, these stands also work well for MSD and smaller resin dolls. If you’re a bit crafty, why not give it a try?
I’ve been making saddle stands for all my DD’s lately with a very similar method. Though mine have a few more parts to them. I start out with the same wooden bases but I use thin PVC tubing, and a long bolt run up from the underside of the wood. And it takes a few more tools since I have to make the hole a little bigger on the underside for the head of the bold. It’s more work but it makes them really sturdy and gives them some weight to hold the girls down. For the grip I actually buy the tiny wire dollstands they sell at hobbylobby and just take the little C shaped wire bit out, bending the C up instead of out and slipping it into the empty tube. @_@ I’m sorry if that sounds confusing.