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The purpose of my Reborn pages is to give an overview rather than a comprehensive encyclopedia on the Reborn art. I will be adding to the site as I learn about this new craft for myself, so perhaps it will become an encyclopedia someday but at this stage my site is still evolving, which is also true of the Reborn art itself.

SIMPLE OR COMPLICATED? Making a "reborn" doll can be as simple or as complicated as you want. There are artists who do everything imaginable to their doll (and then some) in order to make the baby as realistic as possible. For many people this is a lot more involved and complicated than they want, especially if they have not made a reborn doll before. I think there is a "stepdown" level where people can have fun customizing their Berenguer dolls without going to all the extremes that the artists go to.

CUSTOMIZED ONLY. For example, my Spinach Face doll is pictured above. She's my "experimental" Berenguer and she has good reason to be cranky. She's been poked and prodded and this that-n-the other and just wants to be left alone. But, she is looking GOOD. I have applied blush color, cheek color, eyebrows, freckles a very pretty ginger color wig. Even this much has transformed the doll so you wouldn't recognize her from the original bald Berenguer.

I have not taken her apart and revised her innards. I don't feel like it, at least not yet. This is as far as I want to go for now. She's not a reborn artist doll, but she has been customized some and I think there are a lot of people who would enjoy doing this without going the whole nine yards.

The doll in the photo above has had her face and head blushed but not the body. Can you see the difference? The face has natural, lively color whereas the body is still very pale and plastic looking. I think this photo shows how a little bit of strategic coloring can make a nice difference on the Berenguer dolls.

BEAUTIFUL DOLLS! I love the sculpting and artistry of the Berenguers! They are very beautiful dolls and they are not expensive. Berenguers cost less than doll kits. It is no wonder that they have been "discovered" as the doll of choice for making reborns.

DEFINITION! For the purpose of definition and clarification, it is logical to say that a REBORN doll is one that has been completely disassembled, colored inside for tinting, weighted, stuffed, reassembled with vinyl or cloth body, and finished with the blush, hair, etc. If the doll has not been disassembled then it would most likely be defined as a CUSTOMIZED doll. Whether reborn or customized, I think that doll crafters will enjoy working on their Berenguer babydolls.

REALISM IS KEY! The whole idea behind reborn dolls is REALISM. The woman who first created reborns was intent on making a babydoll that would look and feel incredibly REAL. (Her name is Catherine.) Therefore, it is not correct to call any customized doll a reborn. There is a difference between CUSTOMIZING a doll, and making a REBORN. I sincerely believe that a reborn must achieve a high standard of realism, or it is not a reborn.

The modern Berenguer dolls lend themselves to "reborning" because of the translucent nature of the vinyl and the realistic infant face molds, which I think are more beautiful than face molds from ANY other company, and I have looked at them all. Nothing compares, in my opinion. And, when the dolls are finished using the reborn techniques, the Berenguers are exquisite.

SPARE THE VINTAGE DOLLS! Most vintage dolls don't come close to having the qualities that are necessary for reborning. The vinyl is wrong and the face molds are wrong. Please, be sensible about this... for the sake of vintage doll lovers everywhere.

It is a shame when a lovely old babydoll is cut up and altered to be a "reborn," because it will never qualify for that category. The doll cannot be realistic... and it may lose all value as a vintage collectible if the alterations are permanent.

If we allow the definition of a Reborn to include ANY doll that has been altered in some way, then the word "Reborn" becomes virtually useless. People have been making and customizing dolls for years: just because you put a new wig on it does not mean it's a Reborn doll.

We need to emphasize this definition:

Reborns are a very specific NEW art form,
where modern soft-vinyl dolls
are made to appear like REAL babies.

A fanatic quest for ultimate realism has been the goal of the Reborn Artists from the very beginning. Babydolls that look so real you think they're breathing: THAT is "reborning."

MATERIALS NEEDED! Your reborn doll might cost as little as $30 (for a smaller doll) or as much as $90 for supplies to make a larger reborn Berenguer. It could cost even more if you use expensive materials such as Glass Eyes.

There are many options -- but you don't need to spend a fortune if you don't want to. Here is a list of typical basic supplies that will be needed for making a reborn doll:

  • Berenguer doll: This brand is preferred because of the lovely, soft translucent vinyl and realistic faces.
  • Paint or Dye for coloring: Acrylic paint or dye or oil paint to color and blush the vinyl pieces.
  • Paint Brush: For painting the inside of the vinyl pieces. Some people use hemostats with a piece of cloth.
  • Sand, Gel, Beans, Rice, Kitty Litter: These materials are used to weight the limbs of the dolls.
  • Cloth Body: Can be pre-manufactured or Make-Your-Own.
  • Plastic Pellets: Available at craft stores, these beanies are used to weight the butt of the doll.
  • Polyfill: Stuffing to finish plumping the cloth bodies and fill them up.
  • Plastic Ties: or cord to fasten the head, arms & legs to the cloth body.
  • Glue: Aleene's Tacky Glue, E6000, Liquid Nails, Elmer's All Purpose... something that works with vinyl.
  • Wig or Hair: a partial cap wispy wig for infant dolls. Some people root hair into the doll head using mohair, viscose, human or synthetic hair fibers.
  • Blush: Stencil paints from the craft store are popular. I prefer makeup colors such as red lipliner or artist oil paints.
  • Eyelashes: short wispy lashes in light colors are better. (Don't need the Zsa Zsa look.)
  • Eyes: Some people like to replace the doll eyes for better quality or for other colors.

Copyright (c) 2002, 2012 Cynthia Stevens All Rights Reserved