Discover more ways to create dolls that look just like real babies! This article focuses on painting hands and feet for Bi-Racial, Latino, African, African-American or other baby of color.
In addition to the tips below, be sure to check out:
Step 1: Base and Seal
The first step is essentially to do whatever you would normally do to prep your doll kit for reborning.
For some folks this may be a sealant layer. For others it may be a satin varnish layer.
For me, it is a creamy Flesh 08 Caucasian skin tone layer - even though the goal is a biracial doll. The palms and soles are a creamy color and this is my first step toward achieving that tone.
Use a dry brush to buff excess paint out of the creases. Bake or dry paint fully.
Step 2: Mottle and Vein
The next step (several steps, actually) again are not unique to reborn dolls of color. If you normally mottle your Caucasian dolls, you will probably like seeing the mottling on your bi-racial doll too. If you like to paint veins on your Caucasian dolls, you'll certainly want to do that at this stage too.
For more details on how I do those steps, check out these posts on Mottling and Veining.
Step 3: Add Complexion Layers
At last, we've reached The Nitty Gritty! The content below is also covered in the YouTube video above.
If you're a heavy-handed mottler, you may want to add a few more Flesh 08 layers to neutralize that color a bit. If you're happy with your mottling and veining, you can now add the first complexion layer. (Wondering which complexion color to use? Check out this post on Bountiful Baby Premixes.)
Let's start on the fingers. The complexion color goes about halfway down the side of each finger, so we want to apply the paint up to just above that halfway point.
Take a small shader brush and dip it in your complexion color. Dab a little of the excess moisture onto a paper towel and draw a straight line from the edge of the nail bed to the base of the finger. Repeat this process for each finger - including attached fingers.
Pay attention to the posing of the hand to make sure you're positioning your outline properly. Checking the internet for reference photos is always helpful when you're unsure. I also drew you a worksheet you can print and reference! Click Here to download.
Continue tracing this outline along the sides of the hand and the edge of the wrist.
From there, finish painting the piece and blot away excess paint as you normally would.
Be careful not to disturb the outline you just painted.
Now you're ready to blend that boundary line where the complexion layer meets the palm.
Use a dry, long bristle, very soft mop or shader brush to gently feather the edge of the complexion color. Be careful not to create too large of a gradient. There is a clear line where the complexion ends and the palm begins, but it is a soft line.
Once you're satisfied with this complexion layer, go ahead and cure the paint.
Repeat the same process for the feet. Refer to the video above or the worksheet for more information on where to paint the feet.
Continue to add subsequent complexion layers in the same manner - avoiding the palms and soles, blending the transition to a smooth finish. You don't need to add any of your complexion color to the palm and sole area.
So, what about the Palms and Soles?
If the baby is relatively fair-skinned, I usually leave the palms and soles with the Flesh 08 color that I started with. Then I add my blushing and creasing like I normally would.
If the baby is dark complexioned, you can still get away with leaving the Flesh 08, but it may be better to tint the palms and soles with a peachy-yellow color. Cutie Pie Productions has a great recipe for that color in her book.
WIP & Finished Dolls
I hope there were enough helpful tidbits in there to get you started. Let's keep the conversation going! Leave me a question or comment!
Hi! I am Kim. I've been creating dolls all my life. I started stuffing cotton balls into my mom's pantyhose when I was a little girl. Now I hand-craft dolls that look and feel like real babies.