Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bringing Your Baby Doll to Life - Part 1

Over the next several posts, I'll be sharing photographs of Kaylee, as I bring her to life through the wonderful art of reborning (sometimes called newborning).

Kaylee will be 19 inches in length when she is completed. She has 3/4 limbs, which means 3/4 of the arms and legs are vinyl, with the remainder of each limb being a part of the cloth body. I purchased my Kaylee kit directly from Secrist Dolls. Her eyes were pre-inserted since I ordered them at the same time I bought the kit. They are a lovely shade of blue.

Once I've selected the doll kit I wish to reborn, I like to give the head and limbs a gentle bath in warm water with baby shampoo bubbles. I then rinse each part inside and out with warm water and set them on my drying rack. This gentle bath ensures any smudges from handling at the manufacturer are cleared away before I begin painting. I love the scent of baby shampoo, don't you? Brings back memories of when my 12 year old and 9 year old were wee ones.

Washing vinyl head and limbs before painting ensures surface is clean.

Drying rack

Next, I set up my paint palette. I like to use Genesis Heat Set paints. Use a porcelain or aluminum palette when mixing your heat set paints. Plastic palettes will react with the heat set paints, so never use plastic palettes. Use wooden craft sticks to lay out your colors.

For more color mixing and reborn painting guidance, see Secrist's The Art of Newborning II: Painting with Genesis Heat Set Paints (not an affiliate link). Stephanie Sullivan, renowned reborn artist, guides you through the color mixing and painting process. I can't recommend this DVD highly enough!

Using a 00 round brush, apply veining using a very thin mix of Genesis Phthalo Blue 03, Phthalo Green 06, and odorless paint thinner (I use Mona Lisa Brand). Browse pictures of real babies online to get ideas and inspiration for where to paint the veins.
Veining color mix
Apply the veining on the head, arms, and legs. Blot each vein as you go using a clean cosmetic foam wedge sponge. You want the veins to have a barely there appearance.

Veining should be applied lightly to give a natural, barely there appearance.

Genesis heat set paints must be baked at 265 degrees Fahrenheit or 130 degrees Celsius for 8 minutes. I use a dedicated countertop oven for my reborn dolls. I set the oven to the bake setting. I like to use the "stay on" feature on my oven. I use an oven thermometer to ensure the temperature of the oven is accurate. The outside of the oven will get very hot! Use caution to avoid burns and keep the oven in a place out of the reach of children and pets.

Dedicated countertop oven and oven thermometer to ensure correct temperature.

Rather than placing your doll parts directly on the baking pan, first layer fabric napkins to protect the parts from being scorched. Set a timer so the doll parts are baked for exactly 8 minutes. Over-baking will ruin the vinyl.

Once all the parts have been baked, allow them to cool completely before proceeding to the next step.

Up Next: Foundation Layer #1

Bring home one of my precious angels! See Baby Keri's Auction and My Babies on Etsy.

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