How to paint reborn doll hair

Reborn baby dolls began as disassembled vinyl dolls that were tinted, painted, scented and weighted and then put back together to look and feel like a real live baby. Due to the growing popularity of reborn dolls, kits, called blanks, are now available. According to Linda Hopkins, reborner and owner of Sissy's Nursery of Belhaven, North Carolina, "The painting process consists of several layers of paint, heat set between layers, to give the baby the skin tone and colouration of a real baby. Painting hairs requires a very fine liner brush. The paint is thinned with paint thinner to the consistency of water."

Select a photograph of a real baby to use as a painting guide. Match the paint colour to the hair colour desired.

Thin heat-set paint with paint thinner until the paint is the consistency of water.

Begin at the crown of the doll's head. Paint thin lines in 1- to 2-inch strokes in the direction of hair growth. Dip the brush in paint after every 2 to 3 strokes. Paint shorter strokes around the face and hairline.

Paint a second layer of hair using a lighter colour to add a depth dimension to the painted hair. A pinkish or slightly flesh colour works well with lighter shades of hair colour.

Build layers until you are satisfied with the results.


Some reborners paint one or two layers of hair on the doll's head and then root hair for a realistic effect.

Things You'll Need

  • #0000 brush
  • Heat-set paint, colour of choice
  • Paint thinner
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About the Author

For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.