Making Your Own Reborn Doll
There are reborn doll kit photos/store listings at the very bottom of this page. Most kits come with JUST the head & limbs, but you can also buy complete kits that have all the parts & supplies.
These kits are called 'Complete Beginner Reborn Doll Kits' which include all the supplies & tools you need for reborning as well as the sculpted head & limbs. The complete kit is really the easiest way to go and most of them also have a DVD tutorial on the step by step reborning process. Complete reborn doll starter kits start at about $125 and can cost as much as $245
How To Make a Reborn doll out of a Manufactured Vinyl Baby Doll.
STEP (1) DISASSEMBLY, PAINT REMOVAL & SANDING
The first step is to strip and disassemble an ordinary store bought baby doll. The common choices for a starting doll are Berjusa Berenguer, Ashton Drake or Masterpiece Dolls as well as others. During the disassembly stage you will be removing the hair, factory paint and eyes. For beginners, it is probably best to use one of the many reborn kits available now that have already done this rather challenging & messy step. Some popular reborn kits can be found by Val Shelton, Secrist and Knoops.
Smoothing Out the Hair Grooves on Your Reborn Dolls Head
Before applying the paint removers, your will need to sand most of the paint off as well as smooth out the old hair grooves. To remove the hair grooves from the doll's head, you MUST have a Dremmel Tool with a FINE or EXTRA FINE grain sanding attachment. Hand sanding is going to be WAY too much work as the doll material is fairly dense.
BE CAREFUL not to oversand. It is OK to leave a bit of the deeper grooves. Some of the grooves are so deep that completely removing them would leave the remaining vinyl much too thin and unstable.
After power sanding most of the paint off, remove any of the paints left behind using the Goof Off. To get down into deeper grooves you can use the pointy end of a metal nail file with a cotton pad over it. Press the cotton covered edge into the hair grooves and then scrape/scoop out the embedded paint.
Rub a final coating of Goof Off all over the head, wipe/scrape remaining paint and then use your fine nail emery board to finish sanding the head.
STEP (2) CLEANING: Must be done immediately after paint removal!
Wash your reborn dolls head and limbs in a warm bath with mild dish detergent to get the chemicals off as soon as you are done. Set them out to dry & your fresh, clean baby will soon be ready to continue the reborning process.
STEP (3) PAINTING & APPLYING COLOUR
HOW TO USE GENESIS HEAT SET PAINTS
The realistic baby newborn effect is created using artist oils, gouache, stencil creams, Genesis Heat Set Paints, dyes & inks, to apply lifelike somewhat blotchy skin tones. Newborn babies bodies and faces are very mottled in their colourations so the paints are applied in blotches using different sized cosmetic sponges.
Tiny brushes are then used to apply details like mouth, fingers, eyes, eyebrows, wrinkles, lips and ears. Don't try to do this in one session as this part of the process must be done in thin transparent layers. & - 10 days is not unusual. Use very thin layers in a variety different but similar skin colours, including yellows, violets, pinks, blues and reds. Sometimes paint is applied to the inside of the dolls skin for greater depth of realism. However, Interior painting, if done at all, must be done carefully & sparingly, with a light touch, or the doll may exhibit signs of bruising in the future.
When you have finished the colouring process, you can then cover the whole surface with a sealant to protect the skin and also give a more realistic layer to nails and lips.
STEP (4) EYES: You will probably want to replace the factory eyes with more realistic glass ones. It depends on the reborner and the quality of the original eye. There are lots of reborn doll eyes available; Glass eyes are the most realistic looking, as well as the more expensive. The Acrylic eyes are the most common and least expensive way to go. Most Reborn Doll artists use these. Reborn Eyes are available in a variety of colours and sizes and shapes. The cornea should be very clear with a life like shape (conical not flat).
Eyelashes come in all colours as well as different lengths; make sure you do not use too long a lash on some of the tinier reborn dolls. After the new eyes have been inserted, eyelashes can be glued into place. Realistic special effects such as tears, sleep, tiny imperfections are sometimes added, using clear colourless coatings.
The proper glue you need to glue your reborn doll eyes and wigs must have the following properties:
CLEAR & COLOURLESS
ADHERES STRONGLY TO VINYL MATERIALS
VIDEO ON HOW TO INSERT NEW EYES INTO REBORN DOLL
STEP (5) NEW HAIR: Many artists prefer hand-rooting hair, usually with fine quality kid mohair, but alpaca, viscose, human hair and silk have been used successfully. Some reborners prefer to use wigs. Some of the best wigs are made from real human hair or mohair, and then skillfully trimmed and styled to match the style of reborn baby the artist is making.
Real Human Hair is often used to create a very realistic feel and look to your reborn dolls head
Mohair, available in all lengths and colors, straight , kinky or curly, is favoured for the rooting process, where the reborn dolls hair is woven onto the scalp.
Viscose, a natural plant fiber, is popular as well. Use styling gel to flatten the hair against the reborns head.
Some artists just use tiny wigs, available in a variety of styles and colours.
STEP (6). REALISTIC WEIGHTING/HEFT: The body should be realistically weighted with safe, non deteriorating materials such as poly pellets, glass beads, granules and pellets.
Soft elastomer or silicone pellets can also be used but ONLY IF they are secured inside a cloth bag or sock to prevent leakage or contact with any of the vinyl or silicone-vinyl parts. The body is then finished off with soft polyfill stuffing to surround the weighting materials for a cuddly feel to the finished baby doll. This step can be finicky and time consuming but it is worth the effort to place the filling in realistic plumps and folds. It will give your baby doll a unique and real life like character and identity.The vinyl parts of the doll should be appropriately weighted with safe, inert materials such as polypellets, glass beads, glass granules or glass pellets.
Never under any circumstances use candle gels, clays, waxes, or similar items, or food items such as rice or beans inside a doll! Any doll created in this manner will deteriorate, become moldy and/or attract insects or other vermin.Sand, even sterilized sand, is no longer being recommended for collectors dolls because a sand filled doll will not be allowed to go through the customs requirements for most countries of the world. Sand can harbour pathogens that may cause out of control pest & disease problems to the agricultural industry.
STEP (7) BODY & JOINTED LIMBS: If you want your reborn baby doll to have the movable & poseable look and feel of a real baby, then you will have to replace the original factory doll body with a new jointed doll body. A variety of jointed limb sizes are available: 65mm, 55mm, 45 mm, 35mm
These moving parts, spokes, washers and locks, are used to connect baby limbs to the body. With some high-end collectible dolls, the original factory body may be reused if it is not damaged when it is taken apart.
ATTACHING HEAD & LIMBS VIDEOS
STEP (8) FINISHING TOUCHES: You may want to place your signature or artists mark on your new reborn creation and possibly a birth date. This can be placed somewhere on the baby dolls body, either embroidered on, stenciled or painted.
Once all of the paint & sealants have completely hardened and dried thoroughly, it is time to finish the final appearance of your newborn. Your new baby will need diapering and dressing in his or her new baby clothes, socks & shoes, jewelery, hair accessories and any other important individual items that will fill your new baby doll with the spirit & character of his or her new life.
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