I was quite shocked the other day when I read a social media post about a person who bought a reborn doll online. When she received the doll through the mail she had some suspicions that things may not have been the way they should. She opened the doll up to find that it had been filled with sand instead of premium glass beads. Yet another person talked about opening her doll up to find all kinds of random “scraps”. It appeared the people who had made the dolls were trying to save a buck. I admit I must have been a little naive and assumed all reborn artists stick to the same basic guidelines when creating their dolls. I’m sure that most of them do, but it got me to wondering just how many buyers know what they should expect when buying a reborn doll? So, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you what you can expect when buying one of my reborn doll
My Reborning Process
First, some quick basics. Reborning is taking a blank doll kit that usually consists of a vinyl head, arms, legs, and a cloth body, and transforming it into a realistic looking baby or toddler. It is also very important to mention that this blank doll kit was first sculpted by a very talented artist, sometimes over many years!
A “reborn artist” is a person like me who paints the vinyl kit and puts the doll together. Here are my brief personal procedures just to give you an idea what goes into reborning my dolls.
After washing the blank vinyl kit it is ready to start adding Genesis Heat Set Paints. Many layers are added one, by one, to build up to the final finished looked. After each painted layer, the kit is baked in my Nuwave oven to set the paint. I may have over a dozen layers. I can spend a good 7 days or more just painting and baking one doll.
I’ve always been a person who likes details. I think it’s those small details that can make a big difference. Veins, capillaries, mottling, birth marks, shading, small fingernail scratches, bluing of thin skin areas, blushing, moisture around the eyes, nose, and mouth, are all examples of some of the details I add to each doll. In between I’m referencing pictures of real babies. I take my time. I want to get it just right.
After the painting is finally finished, I then start rooting the hair. I use a premium brand of Mohair and usually root only 1-2 strands per hole. I do prefer my newborns with little hair, but it does take many, many hours. I also root the eyelashes and eyebrows with the same mohair.
Next, I apply E6000 on the inside of the head. It is an industrial strength adhesive that bonds all of the hairs to the inside of the vinyl. This usually dries over night. A magnet is also secured with adhesive to the inside of the head so that a magnetic pacifier can be used with the doll.
Then, it’s time to put the body together. Sometimes I first make some adjustments to the pre-sewn body. There are times when the proportions of the arms, legs, or torso may need to be adjusted to better match the head size. I then sew the arms, legs, or torso to a more perfect proportion.
Once I’m satisfied with the proportions I fill the arms, legs, and torso with premium glass beads (picture above on left). The beads are first filled into a stocking to keep them secure before placing into the doll parts. On dolls with cloth legs and arms (like in the picture on the right) I sew a smaller stocking for each limb. Then, those are filled with glass beads and placed into the limbs. Polyfil is also added along side the stockings to soften. A small piece of felt is placed in opening once it is full and sealed with the same adhesive and a layer of plastic. The head and body are also filled in the same ways.
Lastly, it’s time to get a weight and reborn date for the doll. I get him/her dressed in the new outfit they will go home in.
Your doll has just been reborn!
Then, zip ties are secured to the limbs and head. The zip tie end is placed inside the opening and sewn shut from view (picture on left).