What is Reborning?

Reborning is a technique that started is the USA. When I started reborning in the UK it was very much in its infancy. The last few years have seen amazing advances here - now we in Europe have reached the same high standards as in the USA.

The process begins with the basic vinyl or silicone dolls being carefully taken apart and cleaned. All factory finishes, moulded hair lines, existing hair and eyelashes are carefully removed. The original eyes are replaced with top quality acrylic or more lifelike glass eyes. The whole process of colouring the vinyl or silicone is very similar to painting on canvas, as ‘layers’ are carefully built up to produce the perfect skin tones of a real baby. This process demands a great deal of patience and takes several days.

The colouring process has evolved as reborn artists strive to achieve not only the best and most realistic colouring but also to find a process which is so completely durable that a reborn doll will look as fresh and perfect for a lifetime as the day he/she was first completed.

“I have used many different colouring techniques, which have all been very successful in their own way, but was delighted to discover the ‘Genesis’ range of Heat Set Paints’ and find they produce the most amazing skin effects.”

“These paints, if correctly applied, produce the nearest quality to a factory finish that can be achieved at home and once set they are completely fade proof and colourfast. I work many layers to produce the depth of skin tone and colour, and each layer is carefully heat set so that the layers ‘build’. In this way a true’ living skin’ look can be achieved. I also detail the skin with fine baby veins and tiny pores - it really does look JUST like real baby skin.”

“If body plates or limbs are used from different factory dolls, then all of the varying vinyl or silicone vinyl colours are carefully painted so that they all match perfectly for the end result. Many reborn dolls used to be colour washed internally, but now all of my colouring work is achieved from the outside.”

“Finger and toe nails are also carefully detailed using these paints and can never peel or chip as the colouring is completely set into the vinyl and not just forming a layer on top that can rub off. All nails are then sealed with a satin look varnish that closely resembles the slightly delicate sheen of real baby nails.”

“Next comes the hair rooting process which involves the insertion of thousands of hair follicles into the scalp, following the pattern of natural hair growth. I always use the very finest of needles and the best Angora yearling kid mohair which perfectly resembles real baby hair. This mohair is then glued from the inside with coats of waterproof glue so that the baby’s head can be gently washed and brushed just like in real life.”

“At this stage magnets can be inserted in the head if the baby is going to have a magnetised soother (paci). I then root eyelashes for the sleeping babies and glue them from the inside to prevent shedding, or in the case of the open eyed babies, I apply delicate real hair eyelashes. Nostrils are very carefully opened, smoothed and backed with felt to give depth and realism.”

“The baby is then put together using the finest quality cloth body (often Doe Duede) and a variety of fillings to give him/her the perfect balance and weight. I use Elastomer pellets in the cloth body parts which feels just like ‘baby fat’ and makes a baby more cuddly. I now always use glass granules for weighting vinyl parts - never sand, which in some countries Customs could reject when the baby is being imported.

“Finally, the baby has a professional hair trim and is dressed in the perfect outfit chosen to match his/her size and personality. And, a nappy, of course!”

“That, in a nut shell, is the basics of reborning. It is an extremely time consuming process that requires dedication and great patience, but it is one of the most engrossing and rewarding experiences I have ever had! A lot of my inspiration comes from my experiences of bringing up my own three daughters which greatly helps me to create the ultimate look and feel of a real baby.”

“Tinkerbell babies are all unique One-Of-A-Kinds, to be cherished for generations. Aside from the fact that they all have their own Certificate of Authenticity and Birth Certificate, they have their own very special characteristics and I tend to fall in love with each and every one!”

Helen XX