<![CDATA[Custom Doll Baby - Reborn Doll Artist Tips]]>Sat, 22 Jul 2017 11:49:38 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[How to Reborn: Free Step-by-Step Videos! ]]>Fri, 31 Dec 2021 20:14:14 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/how-to-make-a-reborn-doll-free-step-by-step-videos
You can create your our Reborn Baby Doll following my detailed, step-by-step videos.  You're invited to Reborn with Me! 

Join me as I walk through the entire process of reborning a Realborn Asher Awake by Bountiful Baby! 
Follow along step-by-step as I transform a blank doll kit into a lifelike doll baby.  A lot of the videos are even in HD! 
PREPARATION
  1. Getting Started - gathering the supplies, inserting the eyes and taking before photos.
  2. Kit Prep - getting your doll kit clean and ready for painting
COMPLEXION PAINTING
  1. How to Base Coat - a good base coat will save you a lot of grief later 
  2. Mottling - gorgeously mottled vinyl looks like blood flowing under the baby's skin!
  3. Veining - subtly painted veins looks amazing on a reborn doll
  4. Blue Shading - another advanced painting step that brings life to the baby's skin
  5. Complexion Layers - once the under-skin work is done, you're ready to add some skin! 
  6. Blushing - warm the skin and make it look bight with beautiful blushing
  7. Creasing - create the illusion of folds in the skin when you paint the baby creases
  8. Accent Blushing - accent blushing makes the hands, feet, knees and elbows really pop! 
  9. Sweet Spot Blushing - when i comes to blushing, I don't stop till I get enough! 
FINE DETAIL PAINTING
  1. ​Lip & Nail Blushing - too much red makes a baby look like a doll.  Find out how to get just enough blush for a real-baby look. 
SKIN TEXTURING, SEALING & VARNISHES
  1. Skin Texturing - one of the most challenging reborning steps demystified
  2. Glossing - wet lips and a moist nose really bring a reborn doll to life!
ROOTING
  1. Draw Your Hair Plan - a hair plan helps you root faster and ensure that the hairs are flowing in a natural growth direction
  2. Rooting Directionally - learn how to angle your needle so the hairs follow your hair plan
  3. Getting Started Rooting - how to warm the head and prep the hair for an excellent rooting experience.
  4. Rooting Lanugo or Peach Fuzz - this advanced rooting technique gives your doll the perfect peach-fuzz look
FINISHING TOUCHES
  1. Sealing & Gluing - protect hours of rooting from pulling out by sealing the hair from the inside.  While you're at it, let's add some magnets and eyelashes!  
  2. Perfect Baby Tears - this may be more work that you're up for, but jeweler's grade resin makes spectacular baby tears! Also works as a gloss. 
  3. Stuffing, Weighing & Assembly - high quality materials properly distributed make your doll feel like a real baby in your arms
​See the Completed Doll on Alissa Beth's Page! 
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<![CDATA[Free Rooting Courses!]]>Thu, 31 Dec 2020 22:21:39 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/welcome-to-the-rooting-series
Here's where you can find tips and demos for all things rooting.  Stop by often to ask your questions and share your advice! 
Here are the topics on the hopper.  Anything in pink is now available for your enjoyment! 

Rooting Core Courses

Advanced Rooting Courses
Bi-Racial Rooting Courses & Resources
Coming Soon!
  • How I Root the CustomDollBaby.com Brands
  • Lightning-Fast Rooting
  • Cuticle-Aligned Rooting
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<![CDATA[How to Hide Cable Ties on Your Reborn Doll]]>Wed, 25 Jan 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/how-to-hide-cable-ties-on-your-reborn-doll​No matter what tool you use to trim your cable ties, there is always the risk of leaving a sharp edge that can cut or scratch you or your customer. 

The Magically Disappearing Cable Ties Trick has been used by large doll manufacturers like Ashton Drake for years and I've had great success with it here at CustomDollBaby.com.  This snip-free method is a reliable way to secure your doll's limbs and protect your customers.  
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<![CDATA[Heat-Set Oil Paint vs. Air-Dry Acrylic Paint: Which is Better for Reborning?]]>Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:54:55 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/heat-set-vs-air-dry-acrylic-paint-which-is-better-for-reborning
Gathering all the supplies needed for reborning can an overwhelming and expensive undertaking, so beginners often ask me what kinds of materials are the best use of their money.

One of the most contentious issues is the question of whether to invest in a set of Heat-Set Paints or Air-Dry Acrylic Paints. In this post, I will provide the information you need to make the most informed decision possible.

Genesis Heat Set Paints

Nuwave oven for reborning
Genesis Heat-Set paints have been the choice of reborn artists for years.  These paints are reliable - we have decades of experience to know that they adhere well to vinyl.  They offer artists more control. Heat-set paint does not cure until you heat it up, giving the artist ample working time for blending her colors into incredible lifelike effects.  

However, you must warm the vinyl to cure heat-set paint.   Hot vinyl releases toxic fumes, including vinyl chloride, which is believed to be carcinogenic.  So, to use heat-set paint, you must buy an oven that you use exclusively for crafts and you must locate this oven outside your living space. 

There are still many videos on YouTube of artists baking doll kits in the kitchen.  This is an extremely health hazardous practice.  

Acrylic Paints

Picture
Today, there are many brands of acrylic paints formulated specifically for reborning. Artists who are very familiar with the medium also create their own air-dry reborning paints from artist acrylics available in the craft store, such a Liquitex.

The benefit of acrylic paint is that you do not have to heat the vinyl.  So if you do not wish to buy a craft oven, this may be a good alternative.  

However, acrylic paints also carry heath-risks which are largely understated by the proponents of air-dry paint.

Most acrylic paints contain ammonia and/or formaldehyde, which causes that “nail polish stench” many of us know.  Acrylic paints can also contain phthalates, which act as a plasticizer to reduce chipping and cracking. These solvents are respiratory hazards that evaporate into your workshop as the paint cures.  So make sure you can work in a well-ventilated area when handling air dry paints.  For me, enough exposure to those fumes trigger migraines, and I reborn for hours at a time.    

Comparison of Heat-Set to Air-Dry

Besides the health-risk imposed by both types of paint, there are other trade-offs to consider when deciding whether to use Heat-Set or Air-Dry Paint:
 
Heat-Set Paint
Ease of Use
Heat-Set Paint cures when the artist is ready, giving ample time to create blending and shading effects.  The paint can be removed before curing if you make a mistake.
Air-Dry Paint
Air-Dry Paint dries almost on contact, limiting working time. Artists have to pounce small areas to get even tone before paint dries. However, retarder and extender mediums can be added to increase working time.

Curing Time
Heat-Set paint cures to a permanent finish in 8 minutes in the oven.  Then it takes about 20 - 30 minutes for the vinyl to cool to a workable temperature. 
Acrylic paints require a few days to two weeks to reach full cure. While you can continue to add layers before then, you're still at risk of rubbing or washing your paint off.    

Reliability
When cured properly, heat set paint will reliably stick to vinyl and color will not leach through the vinyl.
Some acrylic paints require vinyl preparation in order to get proper adhesion to vinyl.  A cheap acrylic paint will flake off the vinyl or leach through.  Make sure you choose a brand known to work with vinyl and carefully follow the instructions for the brand you choose to avoid adhesion issues later.   

Health-Risks
Heat-Set Paints work well with odorless paint thinners, which carry warning labels.   Please read and follow carefully. Heating the vinyl also releases toxic fumes, which should be kept outside your living area for your safety. 
Acrylic paints contain ammonia, formaldehyde and phthalates, which are respiratory hazards. Please work in a well-ventilated area and follow all recommended precautions.

Doll Options
Heat-set paint cannot be used on dolls that cannot be put into the oven or exposed to a heat gun. Very large doll kits, like child-sized dolls, may not fit in your portable oven and may be cumbersome to heat by heat gun. Putting LDC soft-line doll kits in the oven is not recommended. Fashion dolls and other dolls you cannot take apart (removing eyes and hair), should not be painted with heat-set paint.
Acrylic paint will work on any doll you can get the paint to adhere to. 

So, What's the Verdict?

At the end of the day, the choice of Heat-Set versus Acrylic is up to you.  I've worked with Genesis for years and I can trouble-shoot literally any problem you could encounter with Genesis.  I have seen it all!  I am less familiar with air dry paint, but that is no reason to avoid it if you feel that medium works best for you.  I've trained many artists who work in air-dry, but I am less useful when things go wrong as each air-dry brand works differently.  

As much as I would love to steer you to Genesis, the heath-risk of heating vinyl cannot be overstated.  However, acrylic paint carries health risk too.  You have to decide which you can manage better.  I manage the Genesis risk by using a portable oven and curing the paints far from my work space.  Acrylic paint evaporates all its nasty fumes into my workshop as the paint dries.  These fumes, for me, trigger migraines.  But I still have a Luminaire set for dolls I cannot put in my oven.  So I feel that I can manage the risk of Genesis better.  But you must decide what works best for you.  

(For the record, the NOVOCS solvent used to paint silicone dolls is a known carcinogen. So is E6000 glue, which many crafters use for various purposes.  So to put this in perspective, anybody who works with chemicals to make anything is exposed to some very toxic stuff.  The key is mitigating the risk to your health.)   
Reborn artist using respirator
Artist at MYA Babies Silicone Painting Course using a Respirator for Protection

Quick Q&A

Which paint makes more lifelike reborn dolls?
Artists who  have mastered Heat-Set paint create incredible lifelike dolls.  Artists who have mastered Air-Dry paint create incredible lifelike dolls.  Once you've learned how to work with either paint, there's nothing you can't do!  
Which paint is more widely used by reborn artists? 
As more artists convert to air-dry, my information may become dated, but it is my understanding from my survey results that most reborn artists work with Heat-Set paint. Old-timers like me are especially more likely to use heat-set because that's what was available when we were first getting started.  That said, most of the tutorials available will use GHSP.  But, more and more air-dry tutorials and workshops are becoming available. And you can easily apply Genesis painting technique to Air-Dry. 

Which Will Paint You Choose? 

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<![CDATA[How to Pierce Reborn Doll Ears]]>Mon, 12 Dec 2016 08:00:00 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/how-to-pierce-reborn-doll-ears
​On occasion I get a question about how to pierce the ears on a reborn doll.  Since Soniyah is going home with a little bling, I thought this would be a good time to record a quick ear piercing tutorial.

Piercing for me is the last step before assembly.  I simply use a rooting needle to make a small hole and push my stud through it.  You can warm the head if you need to, but stay under 100-degrees or you may start to melt lashes or adhesives.  Be sure to let your customers know that earrings are a choking hazard, or use earrings that screw in and don't come out.
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<![CDATA[When to Bake Your Reborn Doll ]]>Wed, 02 Nov 2016 21:02:50 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/when-to-bake-your-reborn-doll

Question:

Am I supposed to bake after each layer? Or let it dry first then bake? Or add on the layers and bake them together?  

Answer:

That's really up to you.  Different artists do it differently, but in this post I provide some guidelines and rules of thumb to help you decide when to put the kit in the oven and when to keep painting. 

Rule #1: Bake if you're worried your next layer will mess up the layer you just painted

The beauty of Genesis Heat Set Paints is the incredible freedom we have to work with the paint before it cures.  The benefit: our paint remains move-able and blend-able until we put it in the oven.  The catch: our paint remains move-able and blend-able until we put it in the oven. 

If you just completed a layer that you want to neither move nor blend, it's time to cure.  Layers that meet this criteria include:
  • Wash Layers - like the base coat, complexion layers and warm blushing layers.  Some artists build color on a dry wash.  But if you need really smooth and even layers, you may be better off baking each one. 
  • Detail Layers - like veins, creases, nails and painted hair.  Once this fine lining and shading is finished, you don't want to risk smudges by painting on top of it before you cure. 

On the other hand, do not bake a layer that you intend to blend.  For example, I do 2 to 6 mottling layers on my dolls.  I like for these layers to blend with one another, so I do not bake between each one.  I bake after all the mottling is done.  Same with some blushing steps. 

Rule #2: Always let it dry, no matter what

One hard and fast rule of Genesis Heat Set Painting is to always let it dry, no matter what you plan to do next.  We use odorless paint thinners to make the paint loose and move-able.  Always allow these solvents to evaporate completely before you paint on top of it and before you bake it.  This stuff is flammable, so we don't want to put wet paint in a hot oven.  Also, solvents make your work shiny and difficult to see.  I always carefully inspect my work before I cure, but I don't really know what I have until the paint is dry. 

Guideline: How I do it

I try not to over-prescribe because reborning is an art and art requires freedom.  However, if it helps, here's a quick guide to when I bake:I don't always do these steps strictly in this order.  This is a much better depiction of how to reborn: Reborn with Me!  But you can see that I generally cure my wash layers and detail layers, but add color on blend-able layers like mottling and blushing. 

Got Oven Trouble? 

Got Another Question?  Leave a Reply! 

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<![CDATA[My Paint Looks Chalky on my Reborn Doll.  What Should I Do? ]]>Wed, 19 Oct 2016 19:01:57 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/my-paint-looks-chalky-on-my-reborn-doll-what-should-i-do bob ross paint thinner for reborn dolls
I think your paint thinner may actually be the culprit. A thinner that dries too fast will become chalky before you can pounce it off. Mona Lisa is notorious for that and many reborn artists have stopped using that brand for that reason.

Bob Ross is a great, slow drying thinner that works well with the Genesis.  

Another trick: try mixing your paint in a few ounces of Bob Ross thinner in an air tight jar.  Add a drop (really, just one!) of Linseed Oil. Mix carefully and cap when not in use. Make sure you work in a well ventilated area, it's stinky stuff.

Between the slow-drying thinner and the Linseed Oil, your dolls should be chalkiness free! 

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<![CDATA[Genesis Heat-Set Premixed Complexion Colors for Reborn Dolls]]>Mon, 17 Oct 2016 19:16:43 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/genesis-heat-set-premixed-complexion-colors-for-reborn-dollsgenesis heat set paints for reborning flesh colors
Both Bountiful Baby and Authentic Reborn offer the Seven Flesh Colors; Flesh 02 - Flesh 08.  Where's Flesh 01?  I don't know.   I have another post with more information about each complexion color and how it behaves on vinyl.   ​I also have recommendations for how to use premixed complexion paints for African American, Biracial and Black Reborn Dolls.  Here, I'll just touch on a few.  

Click each photo to view larger with commentary, where available.

Learn More

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<![CDATA[More Genesis Colors for Your Palette! ]]>Mon, 10 Oct 2016 21:55:43 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/other-must-have-genesis-colorsSo, you bought the Bountiful Baby Beginner's Paint Set and the Genesis 5 Basic Colors  Set.  Now you're good to go, right?  Probably.  However, if you need to neutralize your vinyl, like blending your own colors or are working on an advanced Ethnic, African-American or Bi-Racial reborn doll, there are a few more paints you need to grab.  

Neutralizers

If you purchased a vinyl reborn doll kit, it probably came in a peach-colored vinyl.  Usually, this is a fine base for your work.  But sometimes, it may look a little too orange (Real Effect) or too pink (Secrist) for your purposes.  In such cases, you'll need to neutralize the vinyl doll kit to achieve the color you want. 
Phtalo Blue is a bright primary blue excellent for neutralizing orange vinyl and premixed paints that tend to turn orange.  Orange is the opposite of blue on the color wheel and this color takes the orange out of anything. 

Phtalo Green is a great color for neutralizing vinyl that looks too pink.This can also help you tone down a doll that is too rosy due to over-blushing. 

Mint Green can also be used to neutralize vinyl that is too pink.  It is also useful for folks who like to wash the inside of the vinyl with blue or green to create a more lifelike skin tone.  I don't personally do internal washes because I only blue and green wash certain areas.  You don't need it, but you may find it useful.   

Other Highly-Recommended Genesis Colors

Dioxazine Purple is a beautiful color for mottling and shading the eyelids. I also use it to create my creasing color.  You will need this color to Reborn with Me! so make sure you have some on your palette.  

Pyrrole Red is another color needed for your Reborn with Me! palette.  I use this color in my blushing mixture and on occasion in my creasing colors.  It is a darker red than Genesis Red and the two work very well together in a blushing mixture.  This is also an ingredient in the blood red mottling layer. 

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<![CDATA[Bountiful Baby Premixed Paint for Eyebrows, Hair and Creases]]>Mon, 10 Oct 2016 21:36:32 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/bountiful-baby-premixed-paint-for-eyebrows-hair-and-creases​You have a few premixed options when painting hair and eyebrows.

All three are brown.  Ethnic Brown is the darkest and easiest to work with. Brow Brown needs to be neutralized with blue before you use it.  Brow Blonde looks more like a light brown than a blonde to me, but it is still a useful hair painting color.  

Creases is another premix color that I do not recommend using as named.  As you can see, it is a deep, reddish-brown that looks too dark in baby wrinkles and creases.
I recommend using my creasing color to paint small wrinkles and a more concentrated color for deeper creases.  The Creases premix, however, works great for nostrils and ear canals. 

Learn More:

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<![CDATA[Set of Five Basic Genesis Colors Set]]>Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:39:24 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/set-of-five-basic-genesis-colors-setIf you like buying sets and you're going to buy the Starter Kit, I also suggest that you buy the Set of 5 Basic Genesis Colors.  Every artist needs primary colors and this is an easy way to kick off your palette. 
Genesis Red is a bright, brilliant, pure red.  
I use it to warm Flesh 08 for my Peachy Keen Complexion Mixture
I use it in my Hot Sauce Mixture to warm white or pale kits. 
It is also the base color of my custom blushing recipe.  
​All around must have primary color.  

Genesis Yellow is a beautiful, bright, sunny yellow.  
I use it in my yellow mottling layer and Gold Wash.   Artists also use yellow on baby noses, around the eyes and in "Baby Glow" mixtures.

Pro Tip: Genesis Yellow is highly pigmented, so add tiny amounts to your mix till you get the color you want.

Ultramarine Blue is an Ultra-useful color.  Every artist should have some on hand.  A bright, primary blue, Ultramarine Blue is great for neutralizing any premix that has too much orange in it, like Brow Brown and Flesh 02.

I also use it in my dirty purple mottling color, custom blushing color, and custom creases color

Burnt Umber is a basic brown that mixes well with other colors.  

I use it in my blood red mottling layer, my blushing mix, and African American custom complexions.  

​If you're planning to pick up Kate's AA Reborning Tutorial, this paint will be on your shopping list.

With this set, you will also receive a jar of Titanium White.  Yes, the same Titanium White in Bob Ross' "happy little clouds."  This is a pure white that is useful for making other colors lighter.  Interestingly, I don't use it very much.   I didn't take a picture because it's, well, just white.

Learn More

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<![CDATA[Bountiful Baby Starter Kit Paints]]>Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:17:21 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/bountiful-baby-starter-kit-paintsYears ago, I started reborning with a Bountiful Baby Beginner Kit.  Though it does not contain absolutely everything you need, starter kits are great when a massive shopping list of supplies seems overwhelming.  Before you start buying paints a la carte, let's see what's useful in the Starter Kit's Premixed Paint Set.
Vein Blue is a very useful premixed color that I highly recommend to reborn artists.  I use it to paint my veins, do delicate shading work and even work my blue mottling layer.

​Back in my day the kit came with Flesh 08, but today you get Baby Skin.   Still, Flesh 08 is a good color to have on hand because it is nice and creamy for the base coat and painting nail tips.  In multiple layers, it can look a bit pale on the doll, which is why I recommend my Peachy Keen blend for complexion coloring. 

Warm Blush can be difficult to work with.  Intended for blush washesaccent blushing and painting creases, it is such a brown color that it can be difficult to blend.  I typically use my own blushing mix.

Pro Tip: If you're having trouble blending Warm Blush, mix it with your flesh color first for smoother application.  

Lip/Blush/Nail is a redder color than Warm Blush.  I do use it to paint reborn lips and, in combination with a lot of other things, to paint reborn nails.  If you're very handy with colors, you could create your own version of this. But I find it to be a useful premix to have on hand.

​To paint the tiny veins and capillaries in the eyelid, Bountiful Baby recommends Eyelid Purple.

Since so few of my babies are sleepers, I very rarely use this color. It can probably also be used for shading the translucent skin around the eyelids, but I usually use Dioxazine Purple and my blushing color for that.

Brow Brown is a fine color for painting reborn eyebrows, eyelashes and hair.  BUT it tends to turn orange when cured on the vinyl.  (Many brown Prismacolor Pencils also turn orange when heated on vinyl, FYI.)

Pro Tip: Neutralize Brow Brown with a little Ultramarine Blue and you're back in business! 

Nail Tips should not be used as the name would suggest.  No matter how great your mastery of the liner brush (or toothpick), Nail Tips will always leave a bright "French Manicure" on your doll.  I use Flesh 08 to paint lifelike reborn baby nails.

But don't throw it away.  Nail Tips is great for painting teeth

Finally, your starter kit will include a small jar of Matte Varnish.  Matte Varnish is a clear coating that removes shine from the doll.  However, it is hell to work with straight out of the jar.  It can become flaky, crusty and even turn white.  After years of working with it, I've found ways to make Matte Varnish work for you, so check out my Secret Sauce recipe for flawless skin texturing and sealant on your reborn doll.    

Learn More

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<![CDATA[Recommended Genesis Heat Set Paints for Reborning]]>Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:02:59 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/recommended-genesis-heat-set-paints-for-reborning
​Which paints should I buy to get started reborning?  What do the Genesis Heat Set Paints look like and what do I use them for?

In this Ultimate Guide to Genesis Heat Set Paints for Reborning, we'll address all these questions and more.  Click Read More to get started!
​Genesis® Heat-Set Artist Oil colors or Genesis Heat Set Paints (GHSP) are a time-tested staple in reborning because these permanent and waterproof colors adhere well to vinyl and allow the artist ample time to paint and tweak her work before heat-curing the paint.  

Though acrylic paints are growing in popularity, many of us old-timers have stuck with the Genesis because it has been around for decades and has proven reliable over the years.  As a result most tutorials and workshops still use Genesis, so I always suggest beginners start there to learn the techniques before branching into newer forms of painting such as acrylics and powders.  

But the question I often get from beginners is Which Paints Should I Buy?  The cost of oil paint can add up, so check out my thorough review of what's out there and what you actually need before you start to shop.
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<![CDATA[Preparing Human Hair for Micro Rooting Reborn Dolls]]>Sat, 11 Jun 2016 19:48:38 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/preparing-human-hair-for-micro-rooting-reborn-dolls​Human hair is an excellent alternative to mohair for large infant and toddler sized reborn dolls.  In addition to creating more color, texture and length options, human hair can create a fuller-looking hairdo.  However, human hair is very different from mohair, wool and alpaca, so you have to root it carefully to get a natural-looking style.
1. Use a lower gauge needle.  I use a 42 gauge regular and a 42 gauge crown.  Anything much smaller will have a difficult time grabbing your hair.  For more info on which needle is best for which hair, please see: Assessing Your Rooting Needle Needs: https://youtu.be/8X-lCcECmBw 

2. Root directionally. human hair has a tendency to stick up.  You have to root it flat in order for it to lay flat.  Learn more about rooting directionally at: https://youtu.be/HtoTrXGPd58

3. Hair diameter varies by donor. Asian hair is thicker than European hair.  But European hair is still thicker than mohair.  Understanding where your hair came from will help you pick the best needle to root it.  See more info on hair diameter by origin on my blog: http://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/rooting-103-assessing-your-needle-needs 

4. Do not trim human hair too short. Human hair needs weight to lay down.  If it is too short, it will stick up.  Leave 3 - 4 inches minimum, which is why this works best on older babies.

5. Treat before you root. Human hair tends to get very dry because it no longer has the natural oils on a scalp to keep it moisturized.  For best results, shampoo condition human hair before you root it.  
Shampoo until you've removed any extra dye, which could stain your doll. Use a quality conditioner (fortifying or protein treatments work well) to replenish much needed moisture.  You can use whatever products you like for your own hair, just avoid pyrithione zinc and other anti-dandruff ingredients as this may remove too much color.

Wondering which human hair to buy? Check out my human hair shopping tips at: http://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/find-the-perfect-curl-for-your-biracial-reborn-dolls 

Get an Instant Quote for your Custom Reborn Doll Today: 
http://www.poll-maker.com/QZVT149
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<![CDATA[How to Make My Peachy Keen Complexion Mixture (GHSP)]]>Thu, 05 May 2016 19:38:04 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/how-to-make-my-peachy-keen-complexion-mixture-ghspPeachy Keen adds beautiful rosy and golden undertones to the lifelike baby doll.  It's great for all your complexion layers and base coat!  You can fine tune this recipe to your taste!
All you need is Flesh 08, Genesis Red and Raw Sienna! 
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<![CDATA[Creating a Palette for Reborn Doll Nails]]>Wed, 27 Apr 2016 19:40:25 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/creating-a-palette-for-reborn-doll-nailsUse these four colors over and over again to create lifelike baby nails on all of your reborn dolls!
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<![CDATA[How to Pattern a Sponge for Mottling Reborn Dolls]]>Sat, 23 Apr 2016 15:49:54 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/how-to-pattern-a-sponge-for-mottling-reborn-dolls
Mottling is the process of adding multi-colored layers of delicate patterns to create the appearance of blood flowing under baby’s skin.  I put a lot of care into creating my mottling sponges because I reuse them over and over again to create gorgeous skin texture on my lifelike baby dolls.

There are a variety of suitable materials for mottling sponges, including sea sponges and bath sponges.  I prefer to work with a firm cosmetic wedge which gives me more control over the pattern and more consistent results.

Learn more about mottling and the entire reborning process on the Reborn with Me! Playlist! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z9y0vcdeO0&list=PLY0D7_fO0RBeErTy6k83PKTKFLXYtME1Q   
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<![CDATA[Dewy Skin Medium Product Review]]>Wed, 06 Apr 2016 15:26:00 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/dewy-skin-medium-product-review
I've been getting a lot of questions about Dewy Skin, so I decided to try it out!

Dewy Skin medium, by Precious Little Baby Dust, is a heat-set medium that can be used to seal the paint, create lifelike skin texture and sheen for glowing baby skin. 

Through my tests, I found that it works fine for all of these purposes.

Few notes:
- Add time (not heat) for a proper cure.  15 minutes at 250 F works well for me.
- Bake while wet for sheen.  Let it dry then bake for matte.
- I forgot to cure a piece and left it over night. It turned white like matte varnish would, but did bake clear.

Where to buy it? 
​https://www.dollsbysandie.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=10520
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<![CDATA[Recommended Ovens for Curing Heat-Set Paints for Reborning]]>Mon, 21 Mar 2016 07:00:00 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/recommended-ovens-for-curing-heat-set-paints-for-reborningThere's nothing worse than spending hours painting a reborn doll only to watch it melt in the oven or to see the paint wipe off later because it wasn't properly cured.  Followed this handy oven guide to perfectly cure your heat-set reborning paints!
​I get a lot of questions about ovens, so I'm excited to finally post this NuWave oven demo.

Disclaimer: I do not work for NuWave and NuWave did not pay me to produce this video.  But if you know someone at NuWave, send them this video and I'll let you know where they can send my check. LOL

In this video, I will demonstrate how to set up and program your NuWave oven for reborning.  Of the available options, I prefer the NuWave because:
  • It is portable.  Vinyl puts off nasty fumes when heated.  The NuWave is easy to relocate to a well ventilated area
  • It is accurate.  All NuWave products have very accurate internal thermostats, so it heats evenly and maintains constant temperature.  Convection ovens can sometimes reach 20 - 50 degrees hotter than the temperature you set, leading to shiny spots and melting on the doll.
  • It shuts itself off.  If you forget about the timer, no problem.  The NuWave shuts itself off when it is done cooking so you never over-bake.

What about convection ovens or toaster ovens?
While toaster ovens are also portable, they have several limitations for reborning:
  • They are not accurate. Temperature can swing above and below the set temp.
  • They do not heat evenly.  The back of a convection oven can be up to 50 degrees hotter than the front - leading to a part that is melted in the back and never cured in the front.  (Trust me, I've melted a lot of dolls in convection ovens.)

What about conventional ovens?
It is not recommended that you heat vinyl in any oven that is also used for cooking food because the chemicals evaporated off of hot vinyl stick to the inside of the oven.  They re-evaporate the next time you heat the oven, which means you risk contaminating your food.  

Secondly, conventional ovens cannot be moved, so you also risk releasing vinyl fumes into your home.

What about heat guns?
Heat guns are great for curing small areas on your doll, like just the lips or just the veins.  Make sure you don't hold it too close to the piece and keep it always in motion.  Honestly, I just bake the whole kit, even when I'm only curing small areas because I like getting that curing time back to work on something else.

If you have a NuWave oven like mine, keep this chart handy:
Power Setting Temperature
10 (HI)            342°F(172°C) - this is the default setting! =-0
9                      325°F (163°C)
8                      300°F(149°C)
7                      275°F(135°C) - tempting, but too hot
6                      250°F(121°C) - my favorite curing setting :-D
5                      225°F(107°C)
4                      175°F(79°C)
3                      150°F(66°C)
2                      116°F(47°C)
1                      106°F(41°C) - my favorite drying setting

Genesis Heat Set Paints (GHSP) cure at any temperature between 250 and 285 Fahrenheit.  My parts cure just fine at 250.  At 275 in the NuWave oven, the parts become shiny.

A normal bake cycle for me is 11 minutes at Power Setting 6.  It takes the NuWave oven 3 minutes to reach the set temperature, so an 11 minute bake cycle gives me that warm up time plus a full 8 minutes of curing time.

Varnishes and Mediums need more TIME, not more heat.  I find that 15 minutes at 250 Fahrenheit is enough to cure most heat set mediums and varnishes.  If you find that you need a better cure, add more time, not more heat.

Where to get it:  
Make sure your oven comes with the 3" extender ring!

How do you cure heat-set paints?

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<![CDATA[Reborn with Me! Part 21: How to Weight, Stuff and Assemble Your Reborn Doll]]>Wed, 24 Feb 2016 18:24:02 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/reborn-with-me-part-21-how-to-weight-stuff-and-assemble-your-reborn-doll
How much should a reborn doll weigh?

How do I know how much weighting material to put in the limbs versus the head?

Why does my doll feel so heavy?
These are questions I hear often from reborn doll artists.  The reality is that it is difficult to find satisfying answers to these questions.  Which is why I developed one tool that quickly and easily answers them all! Click Read More to learn how I achieve lifelike Real Feel weight on my reborn dolls!

Acceptable Weighting Materials 

Reborn dolls are hand-crafted to look and feel just like a real baby.  Now that we've carefully painted and rooted Alissa Beth to look like a real baby, we need to make her feel like one.  We accomplish this through proper stuffing and weighting.
At CustomDollBaby.com, I only use the highest quality stuffing and weighting materials.  I use premium poly-fil for volume and softness.  There are a variety of high-quality weighting materials that you can use to make your doll feel just like a real baby in your arms. These include:
- Fine Glass Beads: http://www.bbreborndollsupplies.com/product/1663 
- Silicone Baby Fat Inserts: http://www.bbreborndollsupplies.com/product/2488
- Baby Fat Pellets: http://www.bbreborndollsupplies.com/product/716 
- Poly-Pellets: http://www.bbreborndollsupplies.com/product/218

A doll should never be weighted with any form of sand.  Sand is non-uniform - which makes the doll feel gritty rather than soft.  Depending on the source, sand can also carry bacteria and contamination.  If your doll is weighted with sand, replace the sand with a high-quality material as soon as possible!

Now that we know what we can put in the doll for weighting, we need to figure out just how much weighting material we need.  Find out next time in Stuffing & Weighting 201: Distributing Weight for Optimal Life-likeness!

Calculating Ideal Baby Weight

First, you don't need as much weight as you may have thought.  Real babies are mostly water.  7lbs of mostly water feels a lot lighter than 7lbs of glass beads.  This is known as the "dead weight" effect.  In other words, if you want your doll to feel like it weighs 7lbs, it needs to weigh a bit less than that.  

Secondly, where you place the weight plays an important role in the making your doll feel lifelike.  A newborn baby carries 25% of her weight in her head.  That is why you have to support the head when handling an infant or newborn sized reborn doll.  However, toddlers have considerably less of their weight in their head.  In fact, an adult only carries 8% of her total weight in her head.  So, for true lifelike-likeness, the amount of weight you put in each body part should be appropriate for the age and size of your baby doll.  

So how do you know how much weight you need and where? 

Over the years, I've combined medical research with my doll weighting experience to develop an algorithm for weighting my dolls to feel as real as possible.  For the first time in my career, I'm making that algorithm available to other artists in my Real Feel Lifelike Reborn Baby Weight Calculator.  And I've summarized all my math into an easy 10-step process.  Just fill in the yellow boxes and the calculator does the rest! 

The calculator has data for any vinyl doll kit from 10" to 28" in length.  Grab your copy today in my online store! 

Weighting the Arms and Legs

Now that we've established what kind of weighting materials to use and how to distribute them throughout the doll, we're ready to begin the process of weighting, stuffing and assembling Alissa Beth!
The first step is to Determine the Ideal Weight.  In the Real Feel Lifelike Reborn Weight Calculator, you need only select the length of your doll and the calculator will suggest a recommended doll baby weight. But you've not "stuck with" the recommended weight. 
Maybe your customer specified that she wanted a 5lb baby.  No problem, type 80oz into the calculator.  Perhaps you're donating your doll to a nursing home and need the doll to be lighter.  Or maybe you want your doll to be real baby weight.  Just type in your target weight in oz and the calculator does the rest!
Step 2: Weigh the Vinyl Parts.  To figure out how much weight you need to add, we first need to know how much you're starting with.  Weigh each part individually and add that weight to the calculator (or write it down somewhere if you're not using the calculator).  

Step 3: Weigh the Torso. I like to weigh the torso with stuffing in it because the stuffing, as light and fluffy as it is, does add weight.  If you're putting any other goodies in the torso: silicone inserts, belly plates, back plates, breathing mechanism, heart beat, etc... be sure to weigh that too.  We need an accurate assessment of the starting weight before adding any more weighting material.

Step 4: Determine the Real Feel Weight of each part.  If you have the Real Feel Calculator, that output is given to you in percentages and ounces.  If you don't have the calculator and you're weighting a 20" doll, multiply your target weight by each percent given below:      
Step 5: Weight the Legs.  A perfectly floppy baby doll has limbs that are bottom-heavy.  So I always add my weighting material first.  Remember, the polyfil adds weight too, so if the Calculator says you need 4oz of weight, don't pour 4oz of glass beads in the part or it will get too heavy.  
Work the beads down into the toes and ankles.   If your leg is already heavier than Real Feel Ideal, only fill glass beads to the ankle.  

Once you've added your weighting material, fill up the rest of the limb with poly fil. Use a dowel if necessary to pack the polyfil in so that it is flush with the glass beads and prevents them from rattling around inside the limb.  Top the limb off with the compatible plug. Weigh it again to see that you're somehwere in the ballpark of your desired weight.  Being within plus or minus 0.5 oz is totally fine and no reason to re-weight.  
Step 5: Weight the Arms. Weighting the arms is just like weighting the legs. However on a newborn, the vinyl is already heavier than Real Feel Ideal weight.  That's okay!  Just fill your weighting material to the wrist to give the hands some bulk and weight and fill the rest with polyfil.  Make sure you really pack in the polyfil so there are no air pockets or rattling beads.  Weigh the stuffed arms and plugs to make sure they're similar in weight.  +/- 0.5 oz variance is fine.

Weight the Head

Like the limbs, we're going to add our weighting material and pack it into place with polyfil.

Weight the Torso and Assemble the Baby!

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<![CDATA[Reborn with Me! 20: Baby's First Shampoo -How to Wash Mohair]]>Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:19:06 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/babys-first-shampoo-how-to-wash-mohairWelcome back to another episode of Reborn with Me!

With Alissa Beth's glues and tears fully cured and set, we're now ready to clean her up for her trip home!
Baby's First Shampoo removes all our hair plan markings from the scalp, rinses any excess dye out of the mohair, and leaves baby smelling soft and fresh.

There's no one right way to wash mohair, but here are some tips that have worked well for me and kept my babies tangle-free:
  • Hot Water: mohair felts in cold water, so wash in the hottest water your hands can tolerate. My hot tap is tolerable.  But yours may be scalding, so shoot for slightly warmer that bath temperature.
  • Brush Through: it can be very tempting to scrub your hair into a lather, but I get fewer tangles when I cleanse with a soft baby brush.  
  • Leave-in-Conditioner: it's great to follow Baby's First Shampoo with Mohair Conditioner or a similar leave-in-conditioner.  Conditioner adds luster and softness to any brand of mohair for a perfect baby hairdo. Silken Child is also good on mohair, but I dislike the fragrance in it.  Mohair conditioner has the fresh smell of baby powder.  You can grab some at: http://www.bbreborndollsupplies.com/product/5596
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<![CDATA[Where to Buy Reborn Doll Kits]]>Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:31:19 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/where-to-buy-reborn-doll-kitsMy last box opening video raised a lot of great questions about where to buy doll kits.  So, here are my go to suppliers!

I have personally done business with every company on this list.  And I can certify that they sent me a quality product in exchange for my money - or if they didn't, they worked closely with me until the quality product arrived.

Bountiful Baby

Picture
I got my first starter kit from Bountiful Baby and I've been a loyal customer ever since.  BB is great for beginners because the kits are inexpensive ($20-$50) and you can even get defective kits to practice on even cheaper!  

The new Realborn(R) line is an incredible innovation in reborns - doll kits based on 3D prints of real babies!  How cool is that? It's very cool.  That's why my Reborn with Me series is all about reborning a Realborn.

Service is great. Shipping is fast.  BB is a great place to start.  
Based in UT, USA.
​You can buy their products here:
http://www.bountifulbaby.com/
http://www.bbreborndollsupplies.com/
https://macphersoncrafts.com/en/online-store/realborn-kits


Sandie Unger is amazing and has a great selection of doll kits and reborning supplies.  She's very responsive and her shipping and processing is so fast that it will blow your mind.  She once sent me a tracking number before I even got the payment confirmation from PayPal.  I love Sandie! Based in PA, USA. 
Visit her at http://www.dollsbysandie.com

Brenda MacPherson probably has the largest selection of vinyl doll kits.   My favorite feature is the ability to sort the doll kit catalog based on Sculptor or doll size.  This is also where I like to buy my OOAK mohair. 

Even though they are in Canada, prices are in US dollars and shipping is available.  My only complaint is that the website sometimes lets you buy things that are out of stock.  But other than that, they've been great!  

Based in Ontario, Canada.  Visit her store at: ​https://macphersoncrafts.com/en/online-store/reborn-doll-kits _

I buy stuff here too.  Great service. No complaints. :)
Based in FL, USA.  Visit them at: ​http://www.dollssoreal.com/collections/doll-kit_s 

Another great supplier of doll kits and reborning supplies.  No complaints. 
Based in IL, USA
Visit them at: ​http://www.irresistables.com/

Great place for doll kits, reborn supplies and play dolls.  I use Secrist kits for my 18" play dolls
Based in Midland, MI
Visit them at: 
http://www.secristdolls.com/home
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<![CDATA[Reborn with Me! Part 19: Resin for Perfect Baby Tears]]>Tue, 09 Feb 2016 12:52:19 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/reborn-with-me-part-18-resin-for-perfect-baby-tearsbaby tears reborn lelou by evelina wosnjuk
Thanks to months of research and experimentation, I have finally found the solution for perfect baby tears! 

little window brilliant resin for reborn dolls
​I'm excited to share my baby tears process because I'm one of the few (if not the only) reborn artist who uses Jewelers Grade Resin to make my tears and seal the eyes.

Resin is essentially two liquids that when mixed together become a hard, crystal clear plastic-like substance. I use resin because:
  • it creates a permanent, durable and waterproof seal on the eyes
  • it is crystal clear
  • it makes acrylic eyes sparkle like glass!

However, nothing is without caveats.  You may not want to use resin because:
  • it's a process: typically 30-40 minutes from when you mix it to when you can stop messing with it and do something else
  • you have to be precise - if you do not mix the exact ratio of part a to part b, it will not cure properly
  • you always have to mix more of the material than you need.  I resolve this by making jewelry with the rest. But if you're not ready to add cute resin charms to your life, you may want to stick to the "old-fashioned" way of making baby tears.
little windows brilliant resin
A few of my resin pieces...
I tried a few different resins and came to the conclusion that the best resin for reborn dolls is Little Windows Brilliant Resin.  A small set is only $8 and will provide tears for a lot of dolls.

If you choose to shop your own resin, please watch out for:
  • Air Bubbles - air bubbles will ruin your piece. Some resins are more prone to trap air than others.  For example, Ice Resin is very thick and picks up a lot of air when you mix it.  You can still use it for tears, but make sure you pop any and all bubbles that show up in your eyes.
  • Heat - many resins release heat when they cure. Some release enough heat to melt your eyes and the vinyl! Test your resin thoroughly to make sure it remains cool during the curing process
  • Pot-life - some resins cure faster than others.  The shorter your working time, the faster you have to create your tears.  

What About Paper Glaze?

I almost ruined a LeLou using Aileen's Paper Glaze.  Though recommended by most tutorials, paper glaze has a shelf life.  Once it has reached the end of that shelf life, it no longer dries clear.  So I had to scrape an ugly haze out of my doll before deciding I would not bother with paper glaze again.

You can still use paper glaze, just test it on a clear surface first to make sure you're still in the clear-dry phase of the shelf life.  Once it gets old, throw it away!  

Think You Might Try Resin?

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<![CDATA[Reborn with Me! Part 18: Gluing and Sealing]]>Sat, 06 Feb 2016 11:37:04 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/reborn-with-me-part-18-gluing-and-sealingWelcome back to another episode of Reborn with Me!

Now that we have finally finished rooting Alissa Beth we're ready to take care of those final details: the first is gluing
In Part 1, I'll be demonstrating:
- how to use light to set the doll's gaze
- how to seal rooted hair and eyebrows
- an easy way to place and glue magnets

In Part 2, I'll walk you through the somewhat tedious process of gluing eyelashes.
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<![CDATA[Reborn with Me! Part 17: Rooting Lanugo or Baby Peach Fuzz]]>Tue, 02 Feb 2016 11:33:22 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-doll-artist-tips/reborn-with-me-part-17-rooting-lanugo-or-baby-peach-fuzz
Peach fuzz, also called lanugo, is an adorable way to add realism to your reborn baby doll.  Lanugo can be used to create the look of a super fine hairline.  Or you can root lanugo into the forehead and cheeks of your baby doll. 

On a Caucasian baby, blonde mohair creates the perfect peach fuzz look. 
Key Lanugo Rooting Tips:
  • Light color creates the illusion of "fineness." The hair is not actually finer, it just looks that way due to the color.
  • Spacing creates the iillusion of fineness.  Don't root your lanugo hairs too close together.
  • Direction is crucial - make sure you root directionally so your peach fuzz will lay down and look natural
  • Follow your hair pattern so hair rooted into the cheeks and face and flowing in the right direction
  • If the blonde starts to look yellow, trim it up to maintain that "transparent" look.  If you accidentally cut it too short and it won't lay down, add a little hair gel! 
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