In case you have never heard of reborn dolls or have heard of them but do not know what they are, here is where you will find out. A reborn doll is a doll that is made to look like a real baby. These dolls are so lifelike that it is uncanny. Some of these dolls are so lifelike that they have even been rescued by police officers when people have reported them for being left unattended in parked vehicles.
So where did the idea of a reborn doll come from? How are they made and who makes them? Can you make them yourself? Where can you buy them? Those are all question that will be answered for you here today. We will start at the beginning.
The art that is a reborn doll got its start in the 1990s. It is based in a tradition of artists, collectors and manufacturers restoring dolls and making them more enhanced and lifelike. With the way that the internet brings people from all over the world together based on their interests, the reborn doll creators, collectors and artists have formed a rather tight online society with their base being the dolls.
Although reborn dolls got their start in the 1990s the first one was not marketed on eBay until 2002. With the success of online marketing for the dolls, there are now entire online stores dedicated to this art form. They are quite fittingly called nurseries.
While many people collect these dolls for the works of art that they are, some people are using them as tools for managing grief from the loss of a child. Psychologist waver on the effectiveness of this and some even see it as more of a potential emotional danger.
The art of the dolls has reached worldwide attention and while they are more popular in Australia and Britain they are also popular in such places as all of the rest of Europe, Canada, Latin America and even Africa.
There are tools and supplies being sold to make them all over the world and there are even accessories that you can purchase for the dolls. As of this writing there are even conventions, organizations, books and magazines that are dedicated to nothing but this art form. When you get to see your very first reborn doll, you will understand exactly why that is.
The process of making a reborn doll is called reborning and the people who do it are called reborners. As you might expect this is a very long and time consuming process. The process starts with either a vinyl doll kit or a manufactured vinyl doll and the supplies and tools that are needed. All of these things can be purchased separately from each other.
How the doll looks when it is finished will depend on the reborner. Sometimes these artists create the dolls in the image of a live child and sometimes not.
As long as the doll is vinyl then any type can be used in this craft. There are some premade vinyl dolls that are more popular for reshaping into reborn dolls. Those made by Secrist Dolls, Apple Valley, Ashton-Drake Galleries, Lee Middleton, Zapf and Berenguer Babies are some of the most popular ones. They come in various sizes and with varying facial expressions. The materials that the bodies are made from will be lifelike and one of the aforementioned companies actually has a vinyl that is trademarked for these dolls. These manufacturers also make the dolls in sizes from Preemies to child sizes. A preemie can be as small as 4 inches.
These dolls are available for purchase on eBay. At the time of this writing a search on eBay for “reborn dolls” returned 9,575 results. They are in all shapes and sizes and they can be bought using the buy it now feature or bought in auctions. The highest priced doll on there at this time is selling for £5,958 and the lowest priced doll is selling for £1.99 although the dolls being sold for that price do not look like anything has been done to them in order for them to be truly reborn dolls. They look like any toy dolls that you would buy at a toy store.
You can buy reborn doll accessories on eBay too. Anything from clothes to blankets, pacifiers and bibs can be found and purchased. In short, anything that you would buy for a real live baby can be purchased for the reborn dolls and all of it can be found on eBay.
Believe it or not these dolls have been featured on a number of television shows. One notable episode of Dr. Phil comes immediately to mind. The topic of discussion that day was “Obsessions” and reborn dolls were one of the obsessions that were discussed.
There was also a show known as “My Fake Baby” that covered the lives of some of the women who are collectors of the reborn dolls. This was a documentary and it was featured on the British show Richard & Judy. During the show there was also an interview with reborner Jaime Eaton. Also interviewed were psychiatrist Raj Presuad and collector Mary Flint.
In 2009 20/20 did an episode that discussed not only the attachment that some people have with these dolls but also the mothering process that goes along with it.
One week after that show ABC News ran an article on the emotional interaction that people have with the dolls and the process of making them.
Another American news program, Inside Edition, had a segment that showcased reborner Eve Newsom along with the reborn babies that she has made.
Most of the best designers have their own shops where they sell the dolls, accessories and sometimes even the kits to make them. One of the top “nurseries” is Le Berceau des Reves. After that one there are Blessed Baby Creations and Nurserie La Petite Fee Luciole, Bella Bambina Nursery and Ten Pink Toes Reborn Nursery. There are also La Culla delle Coccole, Nikkis-Seaside-Babies, Yellow Cottage Nursery, Precious Babies Nursery and Binky Baby Nursery. There are a great many more than this that are out there though and simply searching online will get you more results than you can go through.
Kits for Making Them
Newborning is the term used to describe the process of making one of these dolls from a kit instead of turning an already made doll into a “reborn” one. Starter kits for this process generally come with faces and heads, limbs and eyelashes, paint brushes and pellets for weight, genesis heat set paints, cable ties, cloth bodies, nose drill bits, thinning shears, fake tears, cotton dipped applicators, cosmetic foam wedges and glue. Those are the materials that will be necessities. There are many more supplies that you may need.
You may want to get some acetone in case you do not like the paint that the factory put on the doll. Whether the baby is to have hair or not is optional but if so then you will need to get some hair. For this you can use fine mohair, wigs or even human hair. If you choose for the doll to have hair then you will also need a rotting tool and these are sold in various sizes. You may also want to purchase some eyes for the doll and if so they are also offered in a plethora of both sizes and brands.
If you are making a doll in this fashion then you will more than likely take the doll apart and remove the factory paint and then apply a blue color wash to the inside of each of the vinyl parts for more realistic undertones for the skin. If the doll is to be awake then you will need to add eyes.
The outer parts of the vinyl will need not just a few but dozens of layers of paint. If you are using the heat set paint then after each coat the doll will either need to be baked in the oven or blown by a heat gun un order for the specialized paint to dry. You should also drill the holes for the nose and manicure the nails. Then you will want to add the hair. When you finish with the hair you stuff the original vinyl body with the weight pellets. Some people also weight the heads. You can also put magnets in the head to hold bows or inside the mouth to hold a pacifier. There are even electronic devices that you can get that will make the heart beat or even make the chest fall and rise to simulate breathing. Some of the dolls can be given umbilical cords. They also make things for baby fat, voice boxes or even heat packs to make the doll feel warm to the touch.
All in all, if you are going to make one of these dolls do not plan to spend less than 2 months on one.