Friday, October 20, 2017

What's to love about a Reborn Baby Doll?



After reading numerous articles and posts about reborn baby dolls and whether or not it is acceptable to have one or enjoy one, I found myself asking myself, as the artist what do I think on the matter.  After all I just enjoy making dolls because truly I love to paint.  And I love the challenge of making the doll look as lifelike as possible. I find it fascinating that some people like to enjoy these dolls for more than just collecting.  I can see why, they are fun to hold and dress up.  The reborn baby dolls look like a real baby and before long, I am sure there will be robotics to make them really act real.

Here I am finishing up a doll by attaching all the limbs and head to a body.



Some Reborn baby dolls have cloth bodies and vinyl heads and limbs, some have vinyl bodies with vinyl heads and limbs, and some have body plates which tie on to the cloth bodies of the first type I mentioned.  And to make things more confusing, some are made of Silicone.


Some people like them because they just collect, some like them because they enjoy the idea of babies and even if the babies are not real, they can play with them for a while but without the responsibility of a real baby.  It's like a barbie in a way, you can collect them, buy clothes and accessories for them, dress them up, play with them, show them off, wash them up, style their hair, take them in public and surprise people, hold them, snuggle them, smell them (some of them have scented wafers in them that smell like baby powder), or enjoy it on your shoulder and it seems to fill some strange void that a newborn baby does fill.  I think it fills a longing for a tiny child who depends on you.  But with a Reborn Baby Doll, it's a collectible item and a toy all in one.  What's even better is that at the end of the day no matter what there is no responsibility as there is with a real child.  Unless the user is playing the part of Mommy or Daddy and want to pretend it is real, they can stay up all night feeding, burping it and changing it, but if not, the doll will not require any care as a real baby does, after all, it's technically an artisan made collectible.

Can you see how realistic the paint job is?  Did you know over 60-80 hours can go into creating just one doll.



I have observed a lot of little girls who want them and parents will shell out mass dollars to enjoy their own little pretend baby and I think that is a great thing as a parent of my own children to see these little people practicing for parent hood later on, it can't hurt to help them build their parenting skills.  Heck even my 4 year old grandson wants his own boy doll.

This reborn has just gotten it's body on and was just "reborn"



Let's face it, reborn dolls could fulfill some need or loneliness with children, teenagers and adults and prevent some pregnancies and on the other hands it could make some folks want a baby more.  I also noticed there is a popularity with groups of preteens and teen friends who collect their dolls and go shopping for them, so it brings together people in friendship with a common hobby.




The cost is high because of the cost to create the doll, and the amount of work that goes into the multitude of layers of paint, baking it, rooting hair and gluing in details.  Many folks have to save up to get one of these little cuties.  Because the dolls are pricey, there are some who can't help buying the dolls, spending money they don't have, and putting their families in to financial difficulties.  And other folks who are wealthy enough to buy their dollies full on furnished bedrooms and furnishings, lavish wardrobes and more.  But either way, if the person enjoys the doll as a hobby, a therapy tool, or collectible item, what is so wrong with that?  If the doll helps fill a void in their life and makes them feel happy then I say go for it.  And if it helps a person transition after the loss of a child, there is nothing wrong with the therapeutic value, as long as the person realizes it is just a doll and does not think it is real.  I have seen the look of a couple who got a doll after losing a child, and it meant a lot to them.  But I know they knew it was just a doll.



I personally will continue painting them as long as the painting and crafting of the doll makes me happy and if others enjoy it then it makes it even better.   When I see the result of my painstaking work looking ultimately like a real beautiful baby, that is good enough for me.  But for some reason I am grounded in the reality that it is a doll and only a doll that I can enjoy painting and that it is not really meant to be mine but it will belong to someone who desires it.  I personally love to dress, stylize and hold the doll after I create it, but though it feels sort of like a real baby it is not quite the same.



I really love seeing my craftsmanship in the finished doll.  It makes me feel like I accomplished something and that something is adorable too.  I love watching other artists do their painting and seeing people's reactions to the reborn baby dolls.  I think it's really fun to watch people go nuts over their dolls.  It's really cute and reactions to them are often unexpected!

I would love to hear your opinion so make sure to comment me and let me know how you feel about Reborn Baby Dolls.

Have fun and enjoy your reborn baby dolls!

Kimberly


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Neveah Serenity Showcase

Hi friends and artists,

Neveah Serenity is almost ready to go.  I do have to take care of two minor issues and order a smaller outfit for her but she is stuffed and primped and waiting for her new mommy and daddy.

I created her using the Bountiful Baby "Neveah" doll kit, ash blonde mohair and genesis heat set paints.

Do you want to see her?  Okay!  Here she is!

I am so proud of how she turned out.  I have a couple of items to do before she is completely finished.  I have to order a smaller outfit, as she seems to be preemie sized.


First moments...

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Awww, she is sooo sweet...


Such cute little toes...


Look at all that hair....


She is such a cuddler...


How sweet!  Such pretty little feet.

\

Oh goodness, how can you not be in love...


Mommy, come get me...


Guess who is hungry?



Oh goodness, she is cute!



Peek-a-boo!


Pink little knees.


She likes her binky!


Trying her socks on!


Blue eyes with a flecks of gold in them!


Mama!  Hold me!


She is gonna need preemie to 0 months clothing!


Ready to snuggle her Mommy!


Ash blond hair rooted over hand painted hair.



Well there you have it.  I hope you enjoyed seeing her.  She will be available now!

Neveah Serenity!


Sending love and hugs!

Kimberly Stevens








Favorite Places To Buy Clothes for Reborn Baby Dolls



It occurred to me that I need to put together a list of my favorite places to buy baby clothes for our reborn babies.  Please send me your ideas too so we can all share!   If you sell clothes for reborn dolls let me know so I can share your website!


Carters

Children's Place

Gap Baby

Kohls 

Macy's

Nordstrom

Old Navy

Target

Walmart

I want to come up with a list of each baby and what size they wear, I will work on that!

Happy Reborning!

Love always,

Kimberly

Just having fun!

Feel free to use these graphics to link to me!

Also email me your link at snugglebabiesnursery@gmail.com

if your site is related to the Reborn Baby Doll industry.






Friday, October 13, 2017

Sharing My Ethnic Skin Recipe - Kimberly Stevens Ethnic Skin Tutorial



This is my lovely reborn I am working on whom is a Bountiful Baby kit called "Kaelin".  I named her Shekeia Kaandra.  I am sure you are wondering how I got this beautiful color that I put on my ethnic reborn babies.  I had a hard time figuring it out but, it seems it is looking amazing at this point, much better than I thought.  But luckily I figured it out, so I am going to share it with you.  This particular doll is not creased yet.


Let me tell you the technique for an ethnic baby is somewhat different than doing a Caucasian baby.  The methods really are not the same. I dab on paint  with a wedge for a Caucasian reborn baby and I paint on paint and pounce carefully with a cosmetic sponge with an ethnic baby, wiping the sponge on a paper towel much more than with a Caucasian baby.  So definitely know there are subtle differences in how you apply and pounce the paint and what you use to apply it.  Also there are many more layers involved the darker you want your ethnic baby to be.

So lets get started! 

Stuff you need:

Genesis Heat Set Baby Skin Color Paint (Initial Base Coat)
Genesis Heat Set Burnt Umber (Primary and Most Excellent Skin Color)
Genesis Heat Set Yellow (Yellow Wash in early Skin Color Mix)
Genesis Heat Set Regular or Ethnic Nails and Lips (burgundy color) (Mottling and Skin Color Mix)
Genesis Heat Set Vein Blue (Mottling and Veining)
Genesis Heat Set Eyelid Purple (Mottling)
Glaze or Wash Paintbrush or other Paintbrush that will smooth on paint
Cosmetic Wedges (Plucked of course)
Cosmetic Sponges
Varnish of your choice
Paper Towels
Gloves if you wish
Nuwave Oven (what I have) or other oven of choice (preferably not your home oven)

You could use a bit of mint green in the original base coat if you wish for color correction.

So first I used a base color wash of baby skin color from bountiful baby as you always need a base color, then I put a burnt umber and yellow wash on the doll.  Do not use too much yellow.  You could alternatively add just a yellow wash before starting.  Many darker colored skin tones have a lot of yellow in them.  And I love the beautiful glow it helps create.  You could omit the yellow tone if you were going for a more dark black color but I think it adds a certain real look to the baby doll.

Use a smooth feeling flat ended glaze or wash style paintbrush to paint on the colors then dab off quickly, pounce quickly so the paint gets a nice smooth look.  You need to do it this way for a more intense dark look.  Otherwise the color does not get as dark.

(see how his fingers and palms are lighter)

Remember when doing ethnic colored dolls you might put one or two layers of the skin tone on palms and bottoms of the feet and lips but after that you must not put color on them!  Avoid them after wards so they look natural.



(This is a different doll I am working on and at first I could not get her face to look smooth until I figured out how to use the cosmetic sponges instead of the wedges.  What a difference that made!)

Next I did a layer of lip, nail burgundy color, burnt umber and the blue vein color with burnt umber being the most that I mixed in.  I did this several times.  Maybe even 5 -6 or more layers, baking after about every three layers.  

Then I proceeded with blue mottling layer, red mottling layer, and purple mottling.  Then I did veining with vein blue.

Let me tell you I did the first layers with a cosmetic wedge and that was a mistake as the color was coming out looking dirty.

Also make sure you are dabbing your sponge on a paper towel if the paint is looking dirty.

  It needs to be done with a cosmetic sponge with a nice flat surface on it (More about that below).

(I put her on a plastic tray because she was still too hot to carry from my oven lol.)

After all those layers were baked I did two more layers of  burnt umber mixed with mars black.  Then I baked!  Voila!  Beautiful dark skin.  If I did a few more layers of the burnt umber and mars black I could probably get even darker ethnic skin for those wanting to do Aboriginal, Very Dark Spanish, Hispanic, Indian and Ethiopian like color hues.  

Aboriginal Natives
(not my photo - just borrowed for tutorial purposes)

This  particular baby is more of the traditional color of a biracial African American who might have a other ethnicity mixed in and maybe is a tiny bit lighter than people who live at the equator where skin is much darker.

Australian Native
(borrowed image sorry)

These images help us see there are many different colors of ethnicity from around the world.

African Boy
(What cuteness is this - borrowed image for instructional purposes - he has a bit more yellow in his skin)

African Boy
(borrowed image - Look how beautiful his brown chocolate colored skin is)

(borrowed image for comparison in skin colors - goodness the face she is making is so cute)

Pardon the nudity.  This is a doll painting tutorial so I hope you can skip forward on if you don't want to see it.  I do not show the genitals but I did them slightly lighter than the other skin.









For nipples I used a combination of Flesh 03 and Flesh 02 and I did them early on before last layers and then just went over them with the burnt umber and mars black colors.  So they got a bit darker with each layer of pouncing.


One very important thing to get the even skin tone is that I learned you need to use a cosmetic sponge not a wedge.  Wedges are fine for the mottling and such but the cosmetic sponge allows you to get a nice even layer.  I used a cosmetic sponge that I got cheap at either the dollar store or target.  

I applied the burnt umber mixtures to the sponge and made sure to dab it on a paper towel if it looked dirty on the skin. This helped to create an uber smooth texture over the mottling and veins.  I could not  have gotten that even color with a normal plucked cosmetic wedge.

Keep adding the burnt umber and mars black layers until you get the tone you want.  

When you are done painting the skin tones and baking it, add your details, creasing, blushing and more before doing the varnish.

Don't forget to seal your work when you are done with a varnish of your choice.  I am still trying to figure out the best way to do that as most varnishes leave crusties, however a fine artist recommended just using the genesis heat set satin varnish or dewy baby skin paint and another fine artist recommended just using genesis heat set thinning medium.  Some mix varnish with thinning medium and colors into the mix.  It's really up to you and what you prefer.

I tested both methods and the thinning medium came out pretty good.  I just am not sure if this is enough to protect the reborn baby doll from rubbing, washing and normal use damage.  More to come on that later.

Make sure you finish baking the skin tones and details before varnishing and re-bake.  Some artists recommend re-baking several times at the end.  Do not add eyes, eyelashes, hair or magnets before these steps are done.  Baking ruins most things.  Goodness knows I have ruined acrylic eyes, eyelashes and mohair in the oven during my first doll or two.  But if you have to bake after doing hair make sure to put a damp wash cloth over the hair before doing it and do babysit your doll while baking.  

Be very careful with heat guns too.  I certainly ruined eyelashes with one while trying to just heat lips up and not use the oven.  I have learned not to do any of those steps before the last baking.  Also if you have painted hair, make sure to do that before eyes, eyelashes, rooted hair, rooted lashes or magnets.  Bake the painted hair layer.  Seal the hair layer with varnish and re-bake.

If you are going to put resin on eyes, lips and nails do it after your final bake.  Do not bake after putting resin on.  It might over heat the resin and crack or melt the resin.

Make sure your oven is in a well vented room or outside on the porch or in the garage where plenty of air is and where the vinyl fumes won't affect you or others around you.  I use mine in the bathroom with the fan on and the window open.  But only when I know I won't have kids or toddlers running around it.  I also make sure to unplug and move it to a safe spot when not using my oven. 

Well I hope you enjoyed my technique and I hope it helps you do your own ethnic reborn dolls in a more realistic way as it has helped me.

With Love Always,
 Kimberly

(Don't laugh at my picture, I was up late. lol)


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Eyelashes for Neveah Serenity (and other things)

Neveah is a Bountiful Baby doll kit, she is going to be 19" approximately and she was made by Denise Pratt.  I have put 20mm Pabol Acrylic eyes in her and glued her eye flaps closed as you can see below.

Neveah Serenity got her glossing, eyelashes, bow magnets, pacifier magnets and more.
Magnets inside her head drying.

Excuse her mussy hair right now, it will be styled later.  I realize her hair looks like corn beef and hash right now, but it is mohair, once I spray it with some conditioner and style it, it will look gorgeous!

This magnet is actually two magnets stuck together and glued into her head.  I have magnets on top of her head to hold them in place until they dry.  Then her new mommy can stick bows with metal clips on her head.  She will also have enough hair that you can just clip magnets in or put a tiny pony tail on top.


Here I have glued her eyes shut with her pabol eyes in and then I also glued in a set of magnets for her pacifier.  The original magnets were small and not strong enough so I added a second one and they are drying.  I keep the pacifier on her lips so the magnets will stay in place while they dry.  Her pacifier has no nipple but a magnet which holds it in place on her face and a small piece of soft cloth keeps her lips from getting scratched.




I have used eyelashes for her from Bountiful Baby.  These are brown eyelashes and I glued them in ever so carefully but they were stubborn and I had to make them behave.  I did end up picking out a few balls of sticky glue with a tiny tweezers.



A day ago I mixed resin and shined her lips, nose cavity and eye lids, under her eyes and bit inside her ears.  I also painted the area in the very center inside a bit pink to mimic the tear duct of a human baby.  Early on I did milk spots around her nose and blotted them a minute after applying them to make them muted.  



Naveah Serenity will be finished very soon!  Perhaps even tomorrow I can finish her up and put her body on her.  Yay!  She is so stinking cute!  I can't wait to get her in her onesie!  I am gonna have to go dress shopping for her!  Neveah wears size newborn or 0-3 months clothing and when she is complete I will be dressing her up with a diaper, and full baby wardrobe.