What is a reborn doll?
A reborn doll is a doll that has been updated by an artist to transform it into a realistic looking human infant. The process is known as reborning and is very time-consuming and detailed work. Because of the intense amount of labor and craftsmanship, these finished reborn baby doll stuff can be sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Reborn dolls are typically repurposed from manufactured doll or part kits, with the artist painstakingly removing the original paints and finishes from the doll before beginning their own process of reborning the doll.
Reborn dolls can be made from any manufactured, vinyl doll, but some are more desirable because of their already lifelike features. When selecting a base doll, artists will seek out dolls that already have human expressions, features, and body shapes. Paradise Galleries produces a variety of dolls that provide the perfect base for these reborn doll transformations at an affordable price.
There are several sizes for reborn dolls, ranging from “preemies,” or smaller dolls, to regular-sized dolls. A finished reborn doll can range from mere inches to the size of a small child.
The term reborn applies specifically to these one-of-a-kind, transformed dolls, but has become increasingly common as a term for all realistic-looking baby dolls, regardless of if they are one-of-a-kind or mass manufactured. People often refer to Paradise Galleries’ dolls as “reborn,” when in fact they are referring to their lifelike qualities, so the term is ever-evolving.
History Of The Reborn Movement
The art of making reborn dolls begann the 1880s. Reborning follows a long tradition of collectors, artists, and manufacturers restoring and enhancing dolls in order to portray more realism.The internet has allowed doll artists and collectors to create an online society focused on reborn dolls.In 2002, the first reborn was offered on eBay. This has expanded the reborn market allowing artists to open online stores which function figuratively as nurseries. The niche market for the dolls began with doll collectors who admired the superior lifelike accuracy of the doll. The market quickly reached those who wanted to use the doll as an emotional outlet, either to mother or for therapeutic purposes. Mass media coverage has helped to develop the phenomenon in other countries. Reborning enjoys popularity in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, Latin America and many other countries around the world. Doll manufacturers have also taken advantage of the trend and sell supplies, tools, and accessories catering to reborn followers. This has allowed reborners to invent new techniques causing the dolls to become increasingly realistic over time. Magazines, books, organizations, and conventions dedicated to reborn dolls have been started as a result of this popularity.
How are reborn dolls made？
Artists will begin the reborning process with either a doll kit or a completed manufactured doll. If using a doll that is already painted, the artist will soak the vinyl pieces in a chemical solution to remove the original finish. To begin the doll is taken apart and factory paint is removed.Then a blue color wash may be applied to give the appearance of realistic baby skin undertones.Doll kits are already blank with no finish applied.
The artist will then apply the new finish to the dolls, sometimes applying up to 80 layers of paint. This typically begins with a layer of blue tones to mimic the undertones of realistic baby skin. Many feel that repeated baking of vinyl can cause it to break down over time. In addition, there are fumes and chemicals released during the heating process.These painted layers are baked onto the vinyl doll and painstakingly applied to the skin to add layers of depth and realistic veining, rosacea, and other features of a newborn’s mottled skin.
Striving for the most realistic looking doll possible is the main goal of the reborn artist. At this point, they may even open up the nostrils and ears to provide a more accurate shape to these facial features. The eyes will also be replaced with either a detailed paint job, or with prosthetic eyes.
To apply the hair, artists will root the hairs individually into the scalp, or will apply a wig depending on the amount of hair required. Microrooting involves applying the hairs strand by strand to achieve hair that is extremely lifelike and will be styleable in the same way as a newborn infant.
The next step is to apply hair. The hair can either be done in one of three ways; painting, wiggling or rooting/microrooting.when rooting, hair is added 1–4 hair strands per plug. When microrooting, hair is added individually strand by strand.This can take up to 30 or more hours per head. Once the hair is finished, the original vinyl body is weighted with a soft stuffed body filled with pellets/fine glass beads/fiberfill.The weight corresponds with its age to achieve a real effect.Various additions also can be added to give the doll an even more life like appearance. Reborns heads are often weighted, so that owners have to support the head like one would a real newborn. Purchasers can have magnets attached inside the mouth or head for attaching a pacifier or hair bows. Electronic devices that mimic a heart beat, or make the chest rise and fall to simulate breathing are common.
The dolls are then stuffed and weighted so that they are accurately replicating the weight and weight distribution of a real infant. Many dolls are also given electronic features to make them even more realistic, like hot packs to make them warm, voice boxes, or machines that mimic heart beats and breathing.
Reborning is a relatively new field within the doll making industry. There are new techniques and processes coming out every day that allow artists to achieve incredibly realistic looks for their remade dolls. Reborn dolls offer artists the challenge of creating a lifelike, ultra-realistic baby doll using mass manufactured doll parts. Through extensive hours of painting and refinishing, these dolls are reborn into truly masterful works of art.
What are reborn doll used for
To many who have reborns, it was a baby.
Mental-health experts say this kind of deep emotional connection between a grieving person and a reborn can be useful — whether they’re grieving a child who died or the one they cannot have. “For some women, the fantasy of a baby is powerful, and having the reborn doll allows them to indulge in this fantasy more powerfully,” Dr. Gail Saltz, an associate professor of psychiatry at the NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School, told us. “During those moments they feel a contentment that eludes them in real life.”
You can’t know how people choose to deal with their losses in life.
However, were a reborn to become more than a transitional object — which appears to be the case in Servant — psychiatrists say it could severely hinder a person from accepting reality. In general, Saltz says, she wouldn’t “specifically recommend [a reborn doll girl]” to those dealing with overwhelming feelings of grief or sadness.
But not all who decide to invest in a reborn in the hopes of therapeutic benefits are in a state of denial about their situation. Just over two months ago, Amy Ferguson received Oliver: a 22-inch, 4 pound, 4 ounce reborn she bought on Etsy. “So he is really like a brand-new baby,” she told us, before sending a photo of herself cradling Oliver against her chest. Ferguson, who has schizoaffective disorder, says Oliver has been like an anchor for her. “Doing things like dressing him, taking him on walks on nice days, changing his diapers — it helps me feel like I’m taking care of him.”
Another person, Tavi, told the Cut that the dolls appeal to them because they can’t have biological children for medical reasons. They’re currently in the process of buying their first reborn, which they hope will provide them “a little outlet for wanting to be nurturing and motherly.” They think a lot of people in similar situations are drawn to reborns.
“It’s a positive outlet for people that need to be a parent,” they told us, “for those of us who never will be.”
Reborn owners know that not everyone will be accepting of their decision — in fact, many expect to be misunderstood. While Ferguson says that she’s always “eager to introduce Oliver to others and explain why [she has] him,” and most have been “impressed and supportive,” she’s heard of women who have felt too ashamed to bring their doll in public spaces. Tavi says even their partner has had difficulty grasping why they want a reborn. While their partner is ultimately supportive, they say she doesn’t quite understand the desire and considers the dolls “creepy.” But that doesn’t deter Tavi — who, unlike their partner, has always wanted children — from planning for a future with their reborn doll twins.
“I know when I get my reborn, I’ll want it to be a part of my life,” they told us, “Even though I’ll get strange looks when I take it out to the store or anywhere in public. I’ve wanted one from the moment I learned about.
How to look after a reborn doll?
A reborn doll isn’t your average baby doll and should be handled with great care. A reborn artist (reborner) has spent many hours adding layers of paint, rooting hair and adding detailed features to create your reborn doll and to make it as realistic as possible. These dolls are a work of art and are not the cheapest so the last thing you’d want is for it to get damaged.
How To Clean Reborns
Even if you do your best to keep your reborn doll in the perfect condition you got it, it is inevitable that some dirt and dust will accumulate on it. Small amounts of dust is unlikely to cause any series issues but thick layers can slowly damage the paint and integrity of your reborn. By occasionally cleaning your doll, you can prevent the buildup of dirt and keep it looking immaculate.
If your reborn is just dusty, take a feather duster or lint-free dusting cloth and give it light but thorough wipe. Using cleaning products is not recommended as they may contain harmful chemicals that could stain or stripe the paint of your doll. You should be able to brush it down with a basic feather duster to remove the majority of dust and dirt on its surface.
If your reborn is dirty to the point where a duster cannot do the job then it is recommended that you use a slightly damped cloth to wipe away the stains. Be very gentle and do not scrub the doll as this will damage it’s paint and coloring, Always use a towel to dry it and try not to get the stuffing wet to prevent mold.
If your reborn baby is extreme dirty, you may want to consider sending it back to it’s original artists or find another reborn artist to give it a thorough clean and possibly replace the body and stuffing as needed.
Reborn Hair Care
Part of caring for your reborn is maintaining their hair, keeping it clean and tangle-free.
Mohair hair should never be washed or brushed as it could detach or become matted in cold water. To brush Reborn’s with mohair hair, you can simply pat the hair down with your fingertips to keep the stray hairs in place.
Wig hair should only be brushed with a soft bristle brush as harder brushes can cause the doll’s hair to detach and may even damage the reborn’s paint. Brushing the wig hair with a soft bristle brush will also help to remove dust that may be sitting on the baby’s hair.
In both cases, reborn hair is very fragile when wet and therefore it is not recommended that you wash it’s hair. Instead, use a slightly damped cloth to clean the baby’s head as mentioned above. If you do want to wash it’s hair then use a small amount of gentle baby shampoo and warm water (do not use cold). Dry shampoo can take the sheen off of blond synthetic hair to make it appear more lifelike and you can also spray the damp hair with your favorite leave-in conditioner.