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
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
- 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.