Here is a overview of what each baby in my nursery goes through to become a quality artist heirloom.
Each baby starts out as either an ordinary vinyl playdoll, or as a vinyl kit designed for reborning.
Baby is then given his or her first bath to cleanse her of all factory residue. If it was a ordinary playdoll, all factory paint is removed to bring it to the level of a blank vinyl kit.
Here is a picture of one blank kit head:
Baby is then painted with many, many layers of Genesis Heat Set Paint. These paints are permanent and will never fade or peel. I give each baby a different complexion depending on the intended age of baby and the baby's personality. This is a very time intensive part of the process, as I want to ensure that no detail is overlooked. Every little wrinkle, fat roll, fingernail, etc. gets special attention. I even put little veins on them, which some say is one of the most realistic parts. Then their little fingernails and toenails are glossed for realism, and their lips and eyes are given a wet look.
Here is a picture of a painted baby before the gloss or hair.
Another painted baby without gloss or hair:
A unfinished baby with some painted hair as well (but no rooted hair yet):
Once their painting is completed, I begin their hair. I root each baby's hair, so that it looks like it is literally growing out of their scalp. I use the very best mohair available, and use a very thin needle to get only 1-3 hairs in every follicle.
I like to give my babies full hairlines, as I think that it more realistic (nobody just has a little patch of hair at the top, even if the sides are just barely visible). The rooting takes a very long time, but I have chosen to do this rather than wigs, as the finished effect of micro-rooted hair is amazing.
When their rooting is completed, I seal the hair from the inside so that it can be gently brushed and moistened. It is trimmed to fit each baby's special personality.
A sample of my rooting (you can see lots more on the custom rooting page):
I root the eyelashes on both closed and open eyed babies. I find this to be the most realistic possible.
Closeup of one babies eyes:(open):
And a sleeping baby:
I give each baby a new cloth body. These bodies are jointed for greater poseability. Some of the babies have 1/4 limbs, which means that more of the limb is cloth than vinyl. This makes the babies more cuddly and poseable, but it does limit their clothing choices a bit. Other babies have 3/4 limbs, which means that most of the limb is vinyl with only the very top being cloth. This makes the babies somewhat less cuddly (they're still very cuddly, though), but it increases the clothing options. The new body are made out of cotton, flanel, or doe suede.
Here is a sample picture of a baby with 3/4 limbs:
Each baby is weighted to give them a realistic weight. I use polypellets, glass pellets, and fluffy fiberfill to make them as cuddly as possible. I never use sand, as I want my babies to be able to travel anywhere around the world, which is not be possible with sand. The babies usually weigh around 2-3 pounds for a preemie, and 3-6 pounds for a full term infant. They will feel heavier than they are, however, as dead weight feels heavier than live weight. So for example, a 4 pound baby will actually feel like a 6-7 pound baby. Their head are made to be floppy like real infants, so will need to be supported when held.
Once all parts are weighted, the vinyl parts are securely attached to the cloth body. I make it so that the limbs and head can be gently rotated for poseability. I sign each baby with my nursery name, artist's name (mine), baby's name, the kit name they were created from, and their own special ID#.
The reborn process is completed! Baby is named and measured, then made availble to be adopted to a new mommy. Baby is no longer a childs toy, but a heirloom artist keepsake for mature mommies. Each baby is truly a One of a Kind, and will never be exactly reproduced again. For this reason, the details, mediums, techniques, and materials are not exactly the same on each baby. This page is only a general overview on what I do to each baby.