DIY Knee and Arm Doll Style Ball Joints

Halloween is less than a week away and we’re posting all sorts of costume inspiration, tutorials, and Halloweenie goodness to celebrate! Japanese ball-jointed dolls have fascinated people for ages, with their exaggerated long limbs and preternatural beauty, and no small amount of eeriness.

Delilah Noir by Bradford Exchange- wearing an ensemble designed by Gloomth in 2010!

It’s no wonder we want to borrow their style! This makes a great addition to a doll Halloween costume or just more detail to an awesome event look. Today we’re going to show you a quick way to create ball-joints for your arms, wrists, and legs as seen in our photoshoot with models CheshireCat and Lily! 🙂

The Dolls

You’ll Need:

-1/4″ elastic in black or white. We used white in the photos for a bit of contrast but either color looks equally cool we think. It’s available in packets of about 5-9 yards (at sewing supply shops or most craft/dollar stores) and you won’t need nearly that much.


-Something to jot notes on (paper, cell phone, whatever).

-Sewing needle and thread to match the elastic (hot glue could also work but we haven’t tested that method out).

-Measuring tape (the sewing type, the metal construction style won’t work for this), a piece of string could work for this, as could eyeballing the measurements and making adjustments afterwards (if you’re a risk taker haha).

The Dolls

Step One:

Measure! Take your measuring tape and measure the circumference (around) your leg just above where your knee bends. Mark that down on some scrap paper. Then measure below the knee joint and mark down the measurement. Measure your elbow in the same places, and your wrists if you’re doing those too.

Step Two:

Cut your lengths of elastic to the measurements you’ve taken (don’t add extra length as you need the elastic to stretch a bit when worn or it won’t look right or stay in place). If you want you can try safety pinning the elastics in place to make sure they look exactly as you want them to before you begin sewing them.

Step Three:

Sew the ends of the elastic together (overlap them for best results). Then just put them in place! For the shoot we used reddish pink makeup to add a blush to the joints, darker eyeshadow would also work well for creating more definition to your new bjd style joints! Make sure they are not too tight or digging into your flesh as you don’t want them to disrupt your circulation, even the smallest amount of tension on the elastic creates the joint effect so don’t overdo it. 🙂

The Dolls

Voila! Knee, elbow, and wrist joints just like a perfect ball jointed doll! Add your own makeup and style to make the best dolly inspired costume out there. 🙂

Want to see more of the elastic joints in action? Check out the full shoot here.


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