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Instructions for Making Reborn Dolls

Instructions for Making Reborn Dolls

Babies are cuddly and cute. But have you heard of reborn dolls that are as cuddly and cute as real life babies? Leaf through the article to get tips on making reborn dolls.
CraftCue Staff
Reborn dolls are vinyl and cotton dolls made to look like real life babies. The concept was first introduced in late 1980s in the United States. The dolls became instantly popular and have since been purchased by couples who wish to fill up a psychological void felt after losing a child. Often, such dolls are used as a therapy to help a mother deal with her post abortion syndrome. The technology and craftsmanship that goes into making this extraordinary piece of art is astounding. Artists can not only make reborn dolls out of the reborn doll kits, but they can also make customized reborn dolls to resemble the pictures of a child that clients provide. There is even a special variety of reborn dolls made to look like prematurely born babies. Most of the dolls come with a soft tummy plate, a flexible spine, a clamped umbilical cord and a special baby scent. If you feel like trying your hand at this unique art, then you are definitely at the right place.

Buying a Doll Kit

There are some standard reborn doll making kits available in the market. Popular brands manufacturing these kits include Secrist Dolls, Zapf, Lee Middleton, Ashton Drake Galleries, Apple Valley and Berenguer Babies. Select the kit that perfectly suits your requirement. Your kit should ideally contain a video with clear audio video instructions on the making of reborn dolls. Along with this, the kit usually contains the following:
  • Normal or pre-painted dolls
  • Doll's body sculpting supplies
  • Limbs
  • Wigs and eyes
  • Hair rooting supplies
  • Eyebrows and eyelashes
  • Heat set paints and brushes
  • Glues
  • Clothes and accessories
  • Miscellaneous tools
Steps to Make Reborn Dolls
  • Start with choosing the best doll for making your very own reborn doll. Check to see if the doll's body is made of cloth or vinyl. There are some kits that supply dolls with cloth bodies. In case your doll happens to have a vinyl body, then you may have to detach it and sew a proportionately sized cloth body for the doll.
  • Once this is done, you can fill the center of this cloth body with cotton or plastic pellets. This gives the doll a soft and realistic feel like a real life baby. Some doll makers even add electronic devices to mimic heart beats and heat packs to give a warm feel to reborn dolls, but this is always optional.
  • Now reassemble the doll with its head and limbs. You will have to make use of a sewing needle for this purpose.
  • The next step involves painting the reborn doll. You need to start this process by first covering the cloth body of the dolls with an old but clean rag. Your reborn doll may have a layer of factory paint on it. If you wish to get rid of the factory paint, you will need to use a chemical called acetone.
  • Now the most imaginative process of making a reborn doll starts. You need to have some linseed oil, sponge applicators, painting brushes and oil paints in place. Mix the oil paints to get a nice peachy complexion like color. Use brushes for gently painting the first layer of skin color over the limbs and face of the doll. Let the doll dry overnight.
  • Use a sponge to apply the second layer with a tinge of pink color on the doll's surface. Using a sponge is important as it gives a matte finish to the dolls which is more realistic than shiny faces and limbs. Remember to make sufficient paint mixture at one time for both the layers of paint to get consistency in color. After the sponge painting is done, let the doll dry overnight.
  • The next step involves adding eyes and eye features to the doll. You may need to use watercolor pencils to make tiny lines of eyebrows on your doll. Another option is to use real or synthetic hair for making eyebrows and eyelashes on your doll. Use glue to paste a thin layer of eyebrow hair over the doll's eyes. As far as eyes are concerned, you can use the adhesive eyes available in the reborn doll kit.
  • For making the lips, use a little of red or light pink color to paint it on the lips with a thin bristled brush.
  • One of the most skillful steps is to create hair for your reborn doll. Popular hair material options include natural or synthetic mohair, human hair, synthetic doll hair or viscose. The trick is to make a perfect set of holes on the doll's scalp using either a gauge drill or some felting needles. Be equipped with quite a few felting needles as they are prone to break when rooting hair. Make holes in a spiral form on the scalp starting with the top center of the head.
  • Now use some hair rooting glue, felting needles and hair strands to root the hair inside the holes. See that the hair looks as natural as possible after it is rooted. After this job is done, your doll is actually ready.
  • But wait, you need to do some hair styling for the doll and dress it up in baby clothes before it is actually complete. Make the doll presentable by using baby blankets, baby bibs, pacifiers, bows and ribbons etc. Doll makers even place some dolls in baby baskets for an extra special visual effect.
You need not always be an expert in making these dolls. It takes years to gain perfection in this art. In fact, some dolls look so realistic that store owners refuse to stock them citing reasons of being too lifelike dolls. However, reborn dolls are collector's favorites all over the world. Pursuing this art will not only be satisfying but also highly profitable for you.