With all of Fahtima's beautiful "under-skin" work finally complete, we're now ready to start adding some skin!
Fahtima has a gorgeous golden complexion that I'm using a custom Raw Sienna blend to match. (Flesh 03 is the closest premix to her complexion, but I like to be very precise with my Portraits.) In just the first application of my custom blend, we've already captured most of her rich complexion. Next we will continue to fine tune this complexion and add depth through shading.
I just love how all those mottling layers add realism to the skin!
To complete Fahtima's look of blood flowing under the skin, we finalized the mottling and painted the veins.
Before curing the mottling layer, I always do a thorough inspection to buff away any excessively dark spots, fill in any empty spots and clean all mottling from the finger and toe nails. One the mottling was perfect, we let the paint cure in the oven.
Next, I added the veins. This adds a super-realistic appearance to the skin. I love seeing those faint blue textures in the hands, feet and temple. The veining color also looks beautiful at the corners of the eyes, the thinnest part of the ear lobe and anywhere the baby's skin is most translucent. In addition, I like to vein the scalp which looks lovely under peach fuzz hair.
Click the images below to make them bigger. Check out my Pro Tips on the Tech Specs blog for more details on how to create perfect baby veins like Fahtima's.
The key to reborning a lifelike baby doll is creating the appearance of blood flowing under the skin. We accomplish this through painting tiny blue veins and especially through multiple layers of mottling.
Today, we spent several hours creating unique mottling patterns in beautiful shades of blue, red and even purple and green on Fahtima's skin. Each successive layer is a more complex mixture of colors. I love watching how each color adds more depth and realism to the baby's arms, legs and face!
Check out Fahtima's Mottling Day slideshow and for fun, Wyatt's time-lapse mottling video.
The day I traded my little convection over for the Nuwave Pro Infrared Oven, I thought my days of oven calibration were over. Don't get me wrong: the Nuwave oven is ideal for reborning. Highly recommended. But now I have encountered a new challenge: freezing cold weather.
Weather impacts my ability to turn vinyl dolls into lifelike babies because I use Genesis Heat-Set Paints. Heat set paints are wonderful. They do not cure until you are ready to cure, allowing for intricate layering and blending of effects to create gorgeously realistic baby dolls. BUT the difficulty with heat-set paint is the fact that vinyl releases toxic, noxious fumes when heated. To protect my health, I always cure and cool my dolls outside. This was working great until we reached freezing temperatures here in CT. Suddenly, my wonderful Nuwave oven could not keep up.
So, this evening was dedicated to oven calibration. How quickly does the oven reach the desired temperature? Can it hold that temperature? Does it get too hot to overcompensate for the outdoor temp? (BTW this was a huge issue with my old convection oven.) If the oven gets too hot, you risk melting the vinyl. It was time to experiment and get some answers.
The first test bake was at 60% power - my usual temp. As I suspected, the poor oven could not maintain 250 degrees in extreme cold weather. It took 8 minutes to get to 250 and then it wavered between 250 and 240 for the rest of the cook time. Ideal curing temp for Genesis is 250 - 265 for 8 minutes. My paint would never set under these conditions.
The next available increment on the NuWave is 70% power. Therein lies the graph. The oven reached 250 in only 2 min, and consistently stayed above ideal paint curing temp (the red line). Yet on occasion we'd hit 280 trying to fight the freezing outdoor temp. My paint would certainly cure, but would we damage the vinyl?
Good thing I keep my test parts handy. I popped a test leg in the oven at 70% power to see what would happen. The paint certainly cured, the vinyl was hot and soft, but I did not see any shiny spots or other evidence of melting. Next, I tried Fahtima's arm - since you can always replace an arm. Good paint adhesion and 0% vinyl damage. She held up even better than my test part. That empowered me to confidently cure the rest of the parts.
After an evening of measurements and experiments, my oven is calibrated and Fatima's first layer of paint is done! Just in time too - next week's forecast is even colder...brrrrrr.
Nevertheless, I will be signing up for the next class I see on Miracle Blend Air Dry paints. Until I can move to a warmer climate, it's good to have options. :)
I'm thrilled to start a beautiful Portrait Baby Doll for Baby Fahtima. This doll will be hand-crafted to look just like the real baby.
Fahtima will be based on Rosalie by Linde Scherer. This is my first time working with a doll created in Germany.
Rosalie already looked a lot like the beautiful Miss Fahtima, but I did a little pre-work to increase the resemblance. I modified the eye sockets to accept larger eyes so they better mimic the glamorous round shape of Fahtima's eyes. The rest of the likeness will be achieved through hand-painting.
I really like this doll because all the fingers are separated - which is super cute and creates an even more lifelike baby.
Once I finished inspecting the doll, it was time for Baby's First Bubble Bath. A warm soapy lather in dish detergent helped remove all factory oils, dirt and even oils from my hands. Next, she'll get a cool bath in rubbing alcohol to further remove any impurities. This process ensures that there is nothing on the surface of the vinyl to interfere with the paint.
Once she's all clean, we'll start painting!
Last but not least, today was Picture Day! I must admit, it feels good to finally sit down! This little beauty was captured in over 250 photos. Careful editing and review will create the perfect album to capture #AlliePayton's sweet personality. Here are a few teasers!
After several hours yesterday in the dehydrator, #AlliePayton was all dry this morning and ready for some finishing touches. I finished trimming up her hair and used an air dry paint to darken her eye lashes and eyebrows. Last, I did her weighting. Only the finest materials go into my Custom Doll Babies. And they are very scientifically distributed for lifelike cuddle optimization. :)
Learn more about stuffing and weighting at:
All done! We still have a little more trimming to do, but #AlliePayton finally has a beautiful head full of fine, wispy baby hair. After baby's first shampoo, we are ready to add the finishing touches!
To create natural-looking baby hair, we actually add the hair one to two strands at a time. Which makes rooting one of the slowest and longest steps in creating a lifelike baby doll. Still, we're making great progress around the back of the head...sloowly... LOL #AlliePayton
Believe it or not, the hair isn't finished when the rooting is done. There are some things mohair cannot accomplish for us. One of which is the super fine hair that grows into the baby's face. So, we're rooting the parts that are thickest. But when the rooting is done, we'll go back and paint in those super tiny hairline hairs. In the meantime, #AlliePayton is enjoying a little break from all the rooting
#AlliePayton's rooting is coming along beautifully. Yes, her hair is as soft as it looks. :)
I'm loving it.
Happy New Year! I had a wonderful Christmas vacation visiting family in NC. #AlliePayton got to visit my family too. While relaxing on vacation, we started the fun process of rooting! Now that I'm back home and feeling refreshed, we can start rooting in earnest.
First, we paint out the hair growth pattern from the crown to the hairline. This guides the angle at which we'll root the hair. I like to start with the cowlick on the crown, then gradually work my way back to it from the hairline in strips. I started at the top of the head where the hair is thickest. We'll keep going in this pattern until we gradually make our way around the head.
We use high quality mohair to create a super fine, soft head of baby hair. We're blending 3 colors (Light, Medium and Dark Brown) to create natural highlights and low lights. Check back soon as this lovely lady grows more and more hair!
Reborn Doll Babies
Reborn Doll Artist
Hi! My name is Kim. I am a reborn artist based in NC. I have been creating dolls since I was a child. I discovered the art of life-like baby dolls in 2011 and have been reborning ever since.