As a doll maker I fall in love with every new doll I make and can't wait to photograph them. I love to set up pretty vignettes that honor their best features. One of my favorite ways to display dolls is by creating a little scene that tells a story. Below are my tips on how to do this with your dolls.
Your doll needs a context and possibly a chair or stand, so gather some props. Think about era and color. Is the doll vintage looking? Modern? Bright or soft colored? Sweet or dramatic? Gather items that compliment her look.
I like to use doll furniture, baskets, books, vintage boxes and vases for doll display. You could also display your dolls on doll stands which you can find at hobby shops and online. I like posing my dolls because it adds personality.
I collect vintage books in shades of green and blue. My favorite books in this color range are vintage gardening books which I find at thrift shops. Cloth bound books look great together but large paperback books, especially art books, also work.
I pay more attention to color and condition than the book's subject since I don't intend to read them. However I avoid titles that might detract from the friendly feeling of my dolls.
If you don't have doll furniture, you can use books and baskets to prop up your dolls. This display was set up using a stack of books in a blue basket to create a bench for the dolls. You could also set your basket upside down on a table or shelf to form a backless bench.
I collect doll furniture whenever I see it at thrift shops and stores like Hobby Lobby. It may be labeled something else, like "spring plant stand" or "candle stand" but look past the label and think about fit. Is the item a good size to perch your doll on or lean against? You can also find doll furniture on Ebay or Etsy. Type "doll furniture for 18" dolls" or "doll furniture, wicker" in the search line. Garage sales, flea markets and antique stores are another avenue for searching.
I prefer light colored or white doll furniture so the dolls are center stage when I put them together. Its easy to change colors with spray paint on wicker, metal furniture, baskets and glass vases. Painted doll furniture might need sanding before you can spray paint it.
Springtime is a great time to look for baskets at thrift shops. Decide whether you want a handle or not - it can get in the way of some photos but allows you to hang the basket up for display if you have limited space for display. See the basket in the photo below for ideas.
Consider changing up your doll occasionally by adding some color, such as a hat in spring or a scarf in winter. My shop has lots of doll accessory options! Download my doll hat patterns and create a spring collection for your doll. A small seasonal change can make you see your doll collection in a whole new light.
This scene uses a shabby chic cage filled with wood excelsior and a silk flower bouquet, a vintage biscuit tin, and a vase of roses, all in colors that complement my doll's outfit. A few pages torn from a thrift shop book on roses and a vintage tablecloth round out the scene.
If you have several dolls you can easily swap out the flowers or the backdrop pictures to take multiple photos of your dolls in this scene.
An old calendar with pictures of flowers or birds would work just as well as these book illustrations. They are temporarily taped to the wall with washi tape. It makes a really pretty backdrop for doll photos which you can then post on social media, or print on postcards or stickers to share with your friends.
I hope you found these tips useful. I'd love to hear how you display your dolls!
For dolls and accessories similar to those in these photos, please visit my Etsy shop PinkGingerKitty.