What is a Reborn Baby Doll?
A "Reborn" baby is a doll made from either a play doll or a blank vinyl kit. Some artists take play dolls and remove the factory paint, re-blush them for realism, etc. However, most reborn babies are made from blank vinyl kits. This process is often referred to as reborning or newborning. Reborning is a revolutionary new form of doll making wherein artist strive to create baby dolls that are astonishingly realistic. An Artist uses a blank vinyl doll kit (limbs and head) and step by step transforms it, giving it specific details and characteristics that include skin color, undertones, veining, graduations of skin tone, stork bites, etc. Many hours are spent creating the skin tone of the baby - a translucent, 3-D like baby skin that captures the likeness of a real baby.
Why Did I Write this Guide?
If you found this guide you probably are wondering what the heck a reborn baby doll is? The art of reborning is still in its infancy and continues to evolve. People think it strange when I say I am not really a doll person - but it is true - I am not. I never collected dolls or had any real interest in dolls. All that changed in May of 2010. I saw a reborn baby doll ebay and was extremely curious about how these were made to look so real. It was freaky - I kept thinking that cannot be a doll - it can’t! I bought a kit and paint on a whim and the rest is history. Well, there were a lot of mistakes in between. I initially started reborning because I wanted to make extra money - but after I sold my very first baby - and received feedback - I was hooked in a way that is hard to put into words. It was heartwarming and rewarding to know I created this doll that was so loved by a person half way across the country. I basically watched youtube videos - and was fortunate that another reborn artist emailed me and offered to help me along the way. I am a very hard working person and I just wasn't willing to give up - I knew hard work pays off and I am the kind of person that doesn't mind working hard. I was always labeled unartistic - and so when I discovered I had a talent this particular art - I really gave it my all and never looked back. I also registered on the bountiful baby forum which is a great place to learn and share. It takes a long time to make the dolls, and they are expensive to make - which many people do not know.
I get a lot of emails from newer artist or people interested in reborning. I would email them my list of tips. I decided to write this guide as a means of helping others that are considering reborning. I also tried to include things that were particularly helpful to me. The most important thing to remember is to not give up - if it was easy EVERYONE would do it right? It isn’t easy - it is a long process and marketing the baby correctly is an entirely different guide. This guide is written specifically about the "blushing" of the vinyl parts and creating a translucent realistic skin tone. I included some other basic information to "set the table" - but please note that this guide is primarily on the blushing of the vinyl parts. I do plan on writing other guides on making reborn baby dolls soon - like assembly, weighting, rooting the hair, marketing.
Ingredients for Making a Reborn Baby Doll
Genesis Heat Set Paints
Paint Palette (to mix paints)
Solvent (e.g. paint thinner, mona lisa brush cleaner)
Vinyl doll kit
Cloth or Doe Suede Body
Weighting material (e.g. polly fill, glass bead media, knee hi panty hose)
Directions for Making a Reborn Baby Doll with Realistic Skin
I get all my supplies from bountiful baby. I blush my babies with genesis heat set paints (GHSP)- you will need a set of these. These cost about 35.00 for a set of 7 paints and two varnishes. They are also numbered in the recommended order to use them. I do not use them in that order - but they are numbered. These paints are super concentrated - you use them like water colors. I cannot emphasize that enough - they are super concentrated - they are applied in very thin layers and then baked between layers to cure the paint. I always use the word “blushing” when discussing these layers - as they need to be applied very lightly. Bountiful Baby also has a free instruction manual for using the GHSP on their website. If you cannot find it - you can email me and I will email a copy to you. Bountiful Baby also offers a 90 minute DVD on Reborning - this is extremely helpful as it goes through each step of the reborning process. In retrospect, I would have saved myself a lot of mistakes had I watched this DVD first.
Thinning the GHSP
I use the mona lisa brush cleaner to thin my paints - this can be purchased at Michael’s Craft Stores. You can also use and odorless paint thinner - BUT the Mona Lisa Brush Cleaner is BEST. Another artist suggested I use this when I was a newbie and I’ve used it ever since.
Blank Vinyl Kits
I would suggest a sleeping baby to do first - a newborn size. You can find lots of kits online and on bountiful baby by searching reborn baby doll kit. Most websites have a link that will allow you to buy the “related items” for that particular kit, e.g. doe suede body, plugs.
Cooking Up The Baby Bits (Vinyl Limbs and Head)
I have always used my kitchen oven in the middle rack - there are no fumes - and the GHSP are non toxic and the vinyl kits don't have any bad stuff in them. I use a cookie sheet with a towel folded on it. I cook the parts at 250 for 12 minutes - ovens vary so you need to experiment - you could buy a test part from bountiful baby to fool around with or even a vinyl limb from a play doll. Apply some GHSP on the limb (thin layer) - cook - and then take a q-tip and wipe the limb to see if the paint comes off - if it does - it did not cure - so cook it some more. Oven temperatures really do vary - so take the time to figure out what temperature and how long it takes to cure the limbs. You might have to cook the limbs at 265 for 10 to 12 minutes - but once you figure out - your good to go. Always preheat the oven - and always set a timer. It will only take one time for you to forget the timer - and you’ll never do it again - because left in the oven too long - and the vinyl part will melt and lose it’s form. RIP sugar head.
Blushing the Baby Bits (Vinyl Limbs and Head)
When you start blushing the baby - the GHSP are numbered - I do the veining and details like eyebrows at the end of my blushing (rather than first) - I use prisma pencils (pick some of these up at michael's too - brown, light brown, red, purple) to do the veining, capillaries and eyebrows. In the DVD they do veining on the baby with the blue paint - I never could do that very well - so I use the prisma pencils.
TIP: I always wipe down the limbs / head with the brush cleaner / paint thinner to remove any oils or dirt - PLUS the layers go on nicely when the limb has been wiped and still kinda slick from the thinner.
GHSP (baby skin color) - this is an actual color that comes in the set of GHSP - the color is called “BABY SKIN.” Always use makeup wedges to apply this color. It is my opinion that this color is the most important of all the colors. The baby skin - you want it to be watered down - get some porcelain or aluminum / plastic mixing trays- you can use a plate or small bowl - but dab out some of the baby skin from the jar - like the size of an eraser - and then mix in the brush cleaner /thinner - stir it - you want it to be really watered down - use the make up wedge to dip into that mix - then pounce that over the baby - all over - you want to see these little dots - like texture - in my opinion - this is the most important step in making these dolls - if you can get the baby skin on correctly - all the other colors are easy because the baby skin layer - at the end - is what gives the skin that realistic look. When your mix of baby skin starts to pool and look concentrated - stir it. I generally dab my make up wedge into the baby skin - pounce it onto the baby - then take my paint brush and stir it again. Take your time on the baby skin - these paints don't cure until they are baked - so don't be afraid to experiment - some people roll the baby skin on- others pounce it on - just don't paint it with a brush - you are using this color to give the skin the pin dot look. After you get the baby skin done - let the parts dry a little - then lay them all on the cookie sheet - lay the head on its side because it will roll off the cookie sheet.
I preheat my oven to 250 for 10 to 12 minutes - you'll want to experiment with the oven - as ovens vary - but there are no fumes and you don't need a special oven - although I’ve heard people buy special ones - like roaster ovens. Once you get the baby skin done and it is cured (via the oven)- then you are going to do the other colors to add dimension and really start making the skin look realistic.
GHSP - Warmth - use it thin grasshopper - thin! You can apply the warmth on by rolling it with a sponge or pounce on with the make up wedge. You don't have to do the warmth everywhere - but I usually do. Once you
have applied the warmth- then bake again - ALWAYS bake between layers.
You may do several layers of the warmth in order to get the degree of
warmth you want. I normally do about three layers - VERY THIN of this
color - baking in between each layer.
GHSP - red blush / lips - I like to use this color mixed with the purple GHSP. I tweeze out holes in my make up wedge and tweeze out the corners so I can create that honeycomb / mottled look with the makeup wedge when I pounce. I usually use the red blush - I mix that with the purple - like a wine color - and I use the same sponge to do that pouncing, rolling of the sponge on the baby - just to add more realism. BAKE. Then I use the wine color to blush the creases - ears, around the nose - corners of eyes, between toes, fat rolls - all these paint layers need to be very thin. I use this for the lips as well and the nail bids - THIN. This blushing of the creases - inside the nose - around the nose, ears, toes - it may take several rounds in the oven to achieve the look of a real baby. This is true for each color you use.
I use prisma pencils to do the fine detailing - like tiny little capillaries, veins, eyebrows. You can use the corner of a sponge - dipped in the paint (like the red blush) - just a little thicker - and lightly touch the cheeks - above the eyes and it also gives that little stork bite /rashing look.
Don't be afraid to make a mistake - you can wipe it off if you haven't baked it yet. Blushing the vinyl parts reminds me of putting on makeup - you don't want the baby to look "painted."
I do not know for certain - but I believe I rotate blushed limbs in and out of my oven at least 25 times to make one doll. I usually spend extra time on the face hands and feet after I have blushed the baby to insure I've created the most realistic baby doll possible.
I have a lot of people ask me about reborning and someone helped me - so I never mind helping others - that is what we are here for - I love that quote "act like what you say and do matters - because it does."
Also, the bountiful baby has a forum - it is free - so register- it is fabulous and just a treasure trove of info on reborning - lots of questions and answers and just a lot of fun. The information shared with me on the forum has been invaluable.
Vintage Postage stamps for worldwide collecton Sharjah Horse stamps -L@@K
Buy It Now