<![CDATA[Custom Doll Baby - Reborn Baby Blog]]>Thu, 18 Jan 2018 19:32:38 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Welcome to the Shopper's Guide!]]>Thu, 31 Dec 2020 15:35:46 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-baby-blog/welcome-to-the-shoppers-guide
Image ID: 4777806 Copyright Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com http://www.dreamstime.com/monkeybusinessimages_info
Image ID: 4777806 Copyright Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com http://www.dreamstime.com/monkeybusinessimages_info
In this magical world of dolls that look like babies, we find ourselves constantly shopping online. Online shopping is already scary enough - you have to find a trust-worthy seller who can deliver the exact product you see in the picture exactly the way it looks in the picture.

However, if you are having your doll custom-made, you're purchasing a high-end item sight-unseen!  The doll you've requested doesn't even exist at the time of purchase.  

But fear not! The CustomDollBaby.com Shopper's Guide* is here to equip you with news and information to make doll shopping more fun and less stress.  Check out these great articles:

Custom Doll Baby Seal
*The Shopper's Guide is written by CustomDollBaby.com, but is intended to represent the art doll / reborn doll community in general. CustomDollBaby.com-specific information is highlighted with the baby feet CDB seal. 

<![CDATA[Belly Plates & Back Plates for Reborn Dolls]]>Thu, 18 Feb 2016 19:13:59 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-baby-blog/belly-plates-back-plates-for-reborn-dollsRealborn asher awake reborn doll with belly plate
Belly Plates and Back Plates are a great way to add realism to your lifelike baby doll.  However, shopping for plates can be very confusing.  
  • Are the plates always attached to the doll?
  • Do these plates create a full vinyl torso?
  • What are they exactly?
We'll answer these questions and more in this segment: "Belly & Back Plates: What They are and Are Not"

Belly Plates and Back Plates are flat vinyl sheets sculpted to look like the torso of a real baby.  These sheets fit over a cloth body doll to create the appearance of baby skin in the torso area.  Belly & Back Plates can be sewn to the cloth body for convenience, or left detached for display purposes only. 
Unpainted Anatomically Correct Belly Plate by Adrie Stoete

Belly Plate Shopping Tips

  1. Compatibility - when shopping for a belly plate and/or back plate, make sure that the plates are compatible with your doll.  Plates come in different sizes like doll kits.  A compatible plate will fit well over the cloth body and land all of the doll's anatomy proportionally in the right place.  
  2. Painting - ideally, your belly and back plates will be painted at the same time as the rest of your doll so the parts look like they go together.  I often see stand-alone painted belly plates for sale online. This is not the recommended way to purchase plates as you cannot guarantee that they will match the complexion of your doll.
  3.  Material - plates should be the same material as the head, arms and legs of your doll.  Vinyl dolls should have vinyl plates.  For an even better match, use plates of the same manufacturer: Bountiful Baby plates with Bountiful Baby dolls and Real Effect plates with Real Effect dolls.  

Types of Belly Plates

Tummy Plate, by Tasha Edenholm
SWEET PEA Belly Plate, by Laura Lee Eagles
Anatomically Correct Belly Plate - by Adrie Stoete
MEDIUM Belly Plate, by Marissa May
Two main types of belly plates are the Generic Belly Plates and the Gendered Belly Plates.
  • Generic Belly Plates lack genitals.  Some generic plates include the chest, some are the belly alone.  The bottom of the plate may be smooth or triangular.   
  • Gendered Belly Plates cover the entire front of the torso, include the chest and male or female genitals.  These plates may also come with a compatible back plate. 
donna rubert anatomically correct belly plate for reborn doll
Donna RuBert Anatomically Correct Belly & Back Plate

Posing & Photography

It is important to keep in mind that adding a belly plate and back plate to your doll does not convert a cloth body doll to a full vinyl torso.  Full vinyl dolls do not have any cloth and come with a 1 piece torso to which the head, arms and legs attach directly.  Cloth body dolls are softer and more "floppy" than full-vinyl dolls.  But even with the belly plate, careful posing is needed to ensure that no cloth is showing when you pose or photograph your doll.  


Please keep in mind that doll kits are sculpted by individual sculptors. So we don't really have a concept of interchangeable parts.  Some doll kits have compatible belly and back plates - preferably sculpted by the same person who created the rest of the doll kit.  Some simply do not.  An artist can do her best to mix-and-match parts to create the look that you want, but for best results, only use belly and back plates that are compatible with your doll kit.
<![CDATA[Lifelike Reborn Baby Doll Hair Options]]>Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:30:42 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-baby-blog/reborn-doll-hair-optionsLike individual children and babies, lifelike doll babies are unique.  A wide variety of hair color and texture options from a multitude of sources enables reborn artists to create dolls as special as the children they represent.  
lifelike baby doll kitten by donna rubert reborn doll micro-rooting
Lifelike Toddler Doll: Kitten by Donna RuBert, Reborn by CustomDollBaby.com

The CustomDollBaby.com Difference
The content of this article is written from the perspective of CustomDollBaby.com and applies to the specific product offerings at CustomDollBaby.com.  However, general insights about hair types and textures are relevant to all doll collectors and shoppers.    

hair texture sampler by custom doll baby
It's difficult to find the perfect hair texture by looking at pictures online.  

Now I'm pleased to offer my Hair Texture Sampler to customers placing a Custom Order or commissioning a Portrait Doll with wavy or curly textured hair.   

How to Get a Hair Texture Sampler

If you've already placed an order and indicated that you need a sampler, I will forward the Hair Texture Sampler to you upon receipt of your First Installment.  

If you're still deciding or you're not a CustomDollBaby.com customer, you can purchase the Hair Sampler for $15.00 in my Online Store.  If you later decide to purchase a doll from me, I'll subtract that $15.00 from your First Installment.
Buy Now!

How to Use My Hair Sampler

The Hair Sampler gives you the opportunity to handle the hair in person. So, really handle it! Touch it, brush it, wet it. Try to get an idea of how this will feel covering the head of your doll.  If we're trying to match your child's hair, peel the sample off the page and see if you can blend it into your child's hair.  If the only thing that's off is the color, we have a good match. If you have questions about a particular sample, shoot me a note or reference the additional info below.

What Options Are in the Sampler?


mohair texture sampler for reborn dolls
Mohair comes from angora goats.  It is highly recommended for infant reborn dolls due to its fine texture. The diameter of mohair follicles is significantly smaller than that of human hair follicles. 

I work with a variety of mohair dealers to offer the highest quality hair to my customers.

The Mohair Texture Sampler contains eight samples from different sources.  Some of this hair is mass-produced while some is delicately processed by hand in small batches and made to order.  Here is an overview of each one.  (Scroll waaay down to view Human Hair options).

Ruby Red Mohair color options
Typical Mohair Color Options - Ruby Red Shown

MH 1: Ruby Red Straight

This is one of my go-to textures at CustomDollBaby.com.  The colors are rich and consistent within and across batches.  They are color fast and do not stain my dolls.  The hair is smooth and soft.  Quality is reliable. You simply can't go wrong with this stuff.
Max Length: 5 in
Comes in all colors listed above.
Where to get it: Bountiful Baby, Andrea Hunter, or MacPherson, just to name a few. 

MH2: Ruby Red Curve

Ruby Red Mohair Curve
Same as above on color and quality. Notice that the curl is only at the end of the hair. This isn't going to make a curly-haired doll.  When rooted properly, the dolls hair will curve in a certain direction.   So if you're new to rooting, but you want to use this product to give your baby locks with a bend, make sure you don't root it from the middle and chop off your curl.Max Length: 5 in
Comes in all colors listed above.
Where to get it: Bountiful BabyAndrea Hunter, or MacPherson, just to name a few. 

MH3 & MH4: OOAK Mohair

MH3 and MH4 are two different batches of the same stuff on the Hair Sampler.  This hair is made in small batches, so color and texture varies a little from one batch to the other.    Both are provided for comparison.  At the time of this writing, I am rooting this hair for the first time. Its a lot curlier on the doll than it is in the bunch!  It is extremely fine and luxuriously soft. Definitely a keeper for my Masterpiece Collection dolls!  
Texture: Natural Wavy - Curly
Max Length: 5 in
Color Options: Sunshine Blonde, Born Blonde, Fawn, Brown, Light Brown, Ash Brown, Reddish Brown, Medium Brown, Dark Brown, Chocolate Brown, Black
Where to get it: MacPherson Arts and Crafts

MH5: Custom Mohair from eBay 

Custom Order ebay mohair
This hair is really, really long and really, really soft. Its gorgeous and I have a lot of it.  Please give me a reason to use it! LOL
Shoot me an e-mail if you would like to buy some.  I won't post the seller's e-mail here so she doesn't start getting spam. Max Length: 10.5" Color Options: Custom Ordered

MH6: A-Plus Custom Mohair

This hair is more wavy than curly, but you can get it to form spirals.  It is also extremely fine, so it takes a long time to root.  Max Length: 5 in
Color Options: Custom Ordered
Find some at Etsy.com

MH7: Sophia's Heritage Collection

This is the only mohair I've seen that is actually processed into spiral curls. But as you can see, the curl diameter shrinks at either end of the hair, so I always find myself trying to grab those big puffy curls in the middle.  Then because I'm rooting from the middle, it is difficult to achieve cuticle-aligned rooting.  
Also, you have to use rods or straws to revive those perfect spirals once its on the doll.  Aside from that, I've got no complaints.  
Max Length: 4.5 in
Color Options: As Pictured: Light Blonde, Honey Blonde, Dark Blonde, Light Brown, Dark Brown, Black
Find some at Dolls by Sandie.

MH8: Curly Yearling Mohair

naturally curly yearling mohair
I purchased this from a different eBay seller a long time ago. It arrived wadded up as shown, and I haven't found an opportunity to root it to any doll.  

But it perfectly rounds out my sampler as mohair in a very natural state.  The texture is natural, so do expect perfect spiral curls.  The color is also inconsistent, providing natural highlights and low-lights. And it smells a little like goat. :)  It would probably look great on a fantasy/fairy doll. Max Length: 5 in
Color Options: Chesnut Brown

Human Hair

Human hair generally comes from people.  It is sometimes blended with synthetic fibers to reduce cost.  Gray hairs show up on occasion.  But I'm very diligent about sifting all those things out as I'm rooting.

European Caucasian Weaving

Though omitted from the Hair Sampler in order to focus on textured hair, I wanted to highlight the straight hair I use on my toddlers. BNG brand offers 100% European human hair that is unidirectional (root it from the middle, root it from the end, all good). Its high quality, very smooth and available in a variety of colors and lengths.  The hair is wefted, enabling me to create my beautifully innovative half wigs for my Premium toddlers.  Added bonus - it comes in lengths up to 18" long! You thinking what I'm thinking? Rapunzel doll!  Available at the Black & Gold website.

HH1 Virgin Brazilian 5A

Virgin brazilian hair 5a
I'm still learning my way around the Virgin Brazilian market. But it is my understanding that 5A is the highest quality (purity?) and most expensive you can get.  What I have is very loosely curled and really only at the tips.  So it's mohair equivalent is the Ruby Red Curve in terms of texture.

Since it is not processed, the Virgin hair only comes in black.  It can be dyed, but I would only go to a professional colorist and have this done before the hair is rooted to the doll.  Even then, I'd be a little weary of color bleed or fading.   I found this on Amazon.com.  

HH2 Saga Bounce Curl

Since this hair has been processed, I can get it in any of the typical colors listed above.  But I'm limited to 8" in length.  This hair curls up when wet, can be flat ironed straight and holds curling rod or curling iron curls with perfection.  I really like the versatility this hair offers.  Shown above in one of my innovative half wigs.
Find it in your local beauty supply store - not Sally's, the one on the "other side" of town.  You can also order online, but I recommend being able to touch it before you buy it. Not everything that says 100% human hair on the package is actually 100% human hair.  

HH3 Milky Way Spiral Curl

This is by far my most popular toddler hair, possibly because Zachary wears it so well.  This hair is a little limited in length and color.  At least last time I was in the store, I could only get up to 8" with a few selections of dark blonde and brown.  It curls up beautifully when wet and makes gorgeous spirals when set with rods (I like to use Flexi-Rods).  It has a tendency to get dry, but a little olive oil or shea butter cream keeps it happy and moisturized.  I can see myself rooting a lot of this in the future.  You'll find it in the same hair store as Saga products.

HH4 Virgin Brazilian Tight Curl

Yep, I make wigs for dolls and for people.  Like HH1, this is virgin hair and only comes in dark brown and black.  Its smooth and soft and has a tight curl pattern.  Because it is so curly, it's perfect for an African-American or Biracial toddler doll.  Can't you just picture those precious little Afro puffs?
I also found this at my local hair store - actually, my grandmother's local hair store.  Planning to grab more next time I visit. 

Beautiful Secrets Hair HH5 - HH8

The rest of the human hair sampler comes from Beautiful Secrets.  Unlike the Virgin Brazilian hair that allegedly has not been processed at all, this is Asian hair that has been steam permed to mimic African American hair textures.  It is not as soft as unprocessed hair.  I haven't tried it on a doll yet, but if you really need that kinky, coily texture - even curlier than mohair - this is probably a good place to start.  
Color again is limited to black and brown, but you can get lengths up to 30" stretched(!!) (18" curled) if you're willing to pay for it.  This stuff is not cheap in any length. Which is why you should really try it before you buy it.  (In full disclosure, Beautiful Secrets also has a hair sampler which is a subset of my hair sampler for the same price. But you get more of the length and the weft - if that is somehow helpful. )

Also, as someone who used to work in marketing would like to know, who signed off on the decision to name the products "Kinky Girl" and "Very Kinky Girl??" Seriously? How did that get through legal? But I digress...

Where to buy it: BeautifulSecretsGair.com

Congratulations! You made it to the bottom of the page.  And I did too. Wheeew!

Quick Q&A 

What is the difference between Indian, Brazilian, Puruvian and Remy hair?
  • Country of origin? Honestly, I don't know.  I've been exploring Brazilian because they seem to offer tighter curl options.  A cosmetologist or hair sales representative would be better informed.  I also recommend getting your hands on the hair and seeing which feels softest to you.

How do I know if a brand is really 100% Human Hair?
  • The price is usually a good indication.  Anyone can slap 100% human on the label, but in the $40 or less range, you're almost guaranteed a synthetic blend.  Some synthetic fibers are high quality and work well.  Some you'll want to fish out.  Your hair store reps know which brands are legit.

Do you have questions or hair advice? Leave a Comment!

<![CDATA[Lifelike Baby Doll Paint Sealing]]>Thu, 23 Apr 2015 21:53:47 GMThttp://customdollbaby.com/reborn-baby-blog/lifelike-baby-doll-paint-sealingI put a purple shirt on my baby and now his fingers have turned purple! 
- Anonymous Facebook User
It's sad but true - vinyl loves to take on color from other objects - especially purples and blues.  I recently had to set aside a doll kit I was creating for myself because he had gotten marked up by the blue handles on my paint brushes!

Even Bountiful Baby warns customers against vinyl stains caused by ink:
We have had problems in the past with kits being stained by ink, and we have learned how to avoid these problems. We would like to share our information with our customers... 
- Bountiful Baby
reborn baby doll matte varnish skin texturing genesis heat set paintSkin-Textured Knee Before Curing
To lower the risk of your doll baby absorbing pigment from what she or he touches, an artist will seal the painting.

Sealing is the process of adding a clear varnish over all vinyl parts to protect the painting from being scratched or stained.  Popular heat-set varnishes used for this purpose are Genesis Matte Varnish and Genesis Satin Varnish.

These varnishes can also be used to create a "skin texture" on the doll.

Reborn doll matte skin texturing samantha by donna rubert
Skin Textured Reborn Doll Samantha by Donna RuBert Artist: Kim Yerino, CustomDollBaby.com
Sounds great.  So what's the downside?

Varnishes, whether they are air dry or heat-set, can change the texture and feel of the vinyl.  Prior to a varnish being added, most doll vinyl is soft and smooth like skin.  With a varnish, skin textured or not, the doll may feel harder and at times rough.  A poorly applied varnish will even become white and flaky when disturbed.  An air-dry varnish, like Matte Polyurethane, can sometimes leave a glossy sheen on the doll (unintuitive, I know) which distracts from her life-likeness.

However, if you want to enjoy your doll with reduced staining concerns, ask your artist to seal the doll when she's done painting.

Not feeling the varnishes? Ask your artist to leave it off and be sure to follow our Baby Care tips to ensure your baby remains stain free.

Why CustomDollBaby.com reborn dolls are special
The CustomDollBaby.com Difference
Skin Texturing and Matte Sealant are options offered in our Design-A-Baby Application!  In fact, I'll seal your doll for stain protection at no additional charge!  I also carefully dilute and buff the varnish so the doll's skin remains soft.