Reborn baby dolls can be created from ready-to-paint vinyl kits or by taking apart store-bought dolls. When the process is complete, older children and adults can enjoy the pleasure of cradling these collectibles that can be cuddled with care. Patience, practice and attention to detail will help you design a doll worth treasuring.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Doll kit or a doll to take apart (head, limbs and body)
- Heat set paints
- Paint thinner
- Variety of paint brushes
- Make-up wedges
- Household oven
- Baking tray
- Rooting needle
- Craft glue
- Glass eyes
- Glass beads and poly-pellets
- Poly-fil craft stuffing
Purchase a vinyl reborn doll kit or find a store bought doll to take apart. First-timers will find it easier to paint an inexpensive prepared kit. If you're using an intact doll, detach the limbs and head from the body. Wash them in warm soap water.
Purchase heat set paints through an online supply store. Basic colours include two flesh tones, blue, purple, red, aqua/green and brown. Doll kits are ready to paint, but store bought dolls' limbs need to be stained inside with mauve dye.
Apply the first coat of paint by dabbing two flesh tone paints on the limbs and head. Take a make-up wedge and dab until the parts are coated. Lay them on a baking tray and bake at 129 degrees Cor 8 minutes.
Dab a second coat of flesh paints and bake the limbs and head for eight minutes. Mix the aqua/green paint with paint thinner and draw veins with small squiggly lines using a fine paint brush on the doll's temple, jawbone, legs, feet, ankles, wrists and hands. Bake again.
Mix red paint and a drop of green into a rose colour. Dab on doll's cheeks, legs, arms, palms, bottom of feet, eyes, ears and lips to give the doll a splotchy newborn look. Bake for eight minutes. Dab pale blue paint, mint green and lilac in a spotted pattern. Paint shadows with blue and purple undertones across the eyes, nose, lips, and inside the ears. Cover creases and wrinkles with red and brown paint. Bake again.
Paint eyebrows in short strokes with the hair colour. Paint the lips with flesh and red colours. Manicure the fingernails and toenails with a flesh tone. Bake again.
Comb the mohair and place a piece on the head. Stick a 38 to 43 crown rooting needle with three to six barbs through the hair into the vinyl. Start in an outer circle and move inward to the crown. Hand-root eyelashes for closed-eye dolls or glue fake lashes for open-eyed dolls. Glass eyes should be popped into open-eyed dolls' heads and secured with glue.
Assemble the doll by weighting the limbs, head and body with glass beads, poly-pellets and poly-fil for a cuddly feel. Attach the cloth body to the limbs and head with zip ties for security. Dress the completed doll.
Tips and warnings
- Glue a magnet to the top of the doll's head and behind the mouth so that magnetic pacifiers, bottles and hair bows can easily stick.
- Paint, paint thinner and craft glue have strong toxic smells and should be used in ventilated areas.
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