Buying a Reborn Doll

I collect and create reborn dolls.  I often cruise through eBay to find used reborn to either collect as is, or to repair/upgrade them (they’re also USUALLY cheaper)…. and I have found some shady junk inside of those dolls.  And those are the ones that are actually reborns.  Many are just plain old dolls or collectible dolls that are mass produced.  None of those are reborns. They CAN be made INTO reborns- but out of the box factory dolls are not art.  Reborns are an art form.  Those who paint them are reborn artists.

What is a reborn?   A reborn doll is a one of a kind, hand painted collectible doll for adults. They are NOT toys.   It is not a factory made doll. It’s not a doll from Ashton Drake or Paradise Galleries (those are collectible dolls- and many are very sweet).  It is not a “handmade” thing with over 100 available from China.

It takes hours to make a reborn from a blank kit.  The paint is done in layers- starting with the veining, base skin tone, blushing, nails tipped in white, eyebrows and lashes, etc.  Many are indistinguishable from a real baby in photos.

They are then weighted and stuffed.  The weighting is done with fine GLASS BEADS- not aquarium rocks, steel wool, rags, newspaper, pebbles, or anything else besides polyfill stuffing.  I’ve actually pulled those things out of dolls I’ve purchased… and immediately fixed.  I personally do not like poly pellets.  They don’t add enough realistic weight, and take up much more space, without providing any real benefit.

Reborns shouldn’t have eyebrows drawn on by permanent markers.  There should be visible blushing. Every wrinkle should be painted.  Hair can vary.  I personally find human hair to be creepy- but mohair rooted one hair at a time is exquisite when done well.  The limbs should be filled half way with glass beads, and the rest STUFFED with polyfil.   The weight in the body and head is done by filling nylon knee highs with fine glass beads, and putting them in the head (so it needs to be supported and is floppy IF the size of the doll is realistic with that- so no floppy 24 inch and up babies.  Another  weight is put in the butt.  The head should be fully stuffed with polyfil stuffing. You don’t want empty cheeks.   If there is a magnet for the pacifier, it should be placed correctly so that the pacifier fits the face properly.

They are expensive. Just the basic materials cost more than 130.00 just for the very basic doll kit (others cost more), body, stuffing, paint, beads, clothing, magnet for pacifier, etc.   That doesn’t include anything for the time it takes, or the ability to do them.   Solid silicone dolls are much more expensive.   And they weigh a ton.  But some are stunning.   The ‘usual’ reborn is vinyl (not the same as silicone, no matter how many times the Chinese sellers on eBay repeat it).   I typically charge $250-350, depending on the size and cost of materials. That gives me about $100 for my work, which takes many hours over several days.

Here are some of the babies I’ve painted or repaired (repainted or added layers).

This is how they start….

This is the Caleb kit (first one I did).

And this is how he ended up:

“Caleb” kit
14″ long, 2 pounds

Caleb kit

‘Avery’ sculpt
21 inches, and about 6 pounds

‘Taite’ kit
16 inches and about 3 pounds.

This one went to OH this week 🙂

So be picky.  Ask questions.  If your reborn doesn’t look like a real baby- and I mean REAL, then don’t waste your money.  Keep looking.    Forever Babies Reborns on Facebook is my page, and where I will post when I have dolls available (studio is being reorganized at the moment).

2 thoughts on “Buying a Reborn Doll

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize so much work went into making these dolls! Thanks for sharing some of the process. They look very lifelike, much more than any doll I’ve seen at the store.

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