Whether you're a professional artist or just a collector, one of your primary objectives with the hobby should be to make your reborn look as realistic as possible. After all, that's what separates reborns from traditional toy dolls. When dolls are made to look like actual babies, they are no longer considered children's' toy dolls, but instead they are reborns. The lifelike appearance is uncanny and oftentimes fools unsuspecting bystanders into thinking it's a real baby.
Before we start, it's important to note that anyone can make their reborn dolls look more realistic, regardless of his or her "artistic" level. Even if you've never attempted to make a reborn, there are certain things you can do to make yours look more realistic. Besides, part of the fun and enjoyment that comes from owning reborns is modifying them, so have fun with your reborn and don't be afraid of trying new things. Just remember to always handle them with care and never use harsh or abrasive chemicals on them; otherwise you run the risk of damaging your reborn, and even minor damage can be costly or even impossible to repair.
#1 - Blushing The Cheeks
Many beginners overlook the importance of blushing their reborn dolls' cheeks. If you take a look at most toy dolls, you'll almost never see their cheeks blushed, so why should you do it to a reborn? The answer to this question is simple - it makes them look more realistic. If you've experienced parenthood before, chances are you've seen first-hand how rosy-red the cheeks are on newborn babies. During the first year of their life, practically every baby will have pinkish-red cheeks that are simply adorable.
There are a couple different ways to blush the cheeks of a reborn, but the easiest is to simply remove the old factory paint using either nail polish remover or a product called "Goof Off." Once the old paint is gone and you're left with a clean slate, choose the blushing colors you wish to use. Don't just just a typical red or pink, but instead mix some together so it forms a rose color that's going to naturally compliment your reborn doll's skin tone. If you have the extra time and supplies, it's not a bad idea to go ahead and create a few different color tones, as this will give your reborn a greater depth in detail.
Now it's time to get your hands dirty. With your reborn and blushing colors laid out in front of you, dip the surface of a cosmetic sponge into the paint and gently blot it over your reborn's cheeks. To achieve a realistic layered effect, start with the darker colors and work your way up to the lighter ones. Once you're done, place your reborn in a safe area and allow at least 24 hours for it to dry.
#2 - Dressing Up Your Reborn In Baby Clothes
If you feel blushing is too much work or if you're afraid of messing up your reborn, you can always give them a more realistic looking appearance simply by dressing them up in baby clothes. Most reborns come with at least one outfit of clothes, but you should consider purchasing more for them. If you have a boy reborn, perhaps something like a cute baby blue onesie would work well on them. On the other hand, a pink tutu or some other "girly" outfit would likely work best on a girl reborn.
Ultimately, this is a decision that only you can make, but you should think long and hard about what clothes you dress your reborn up in. Cheap, low-quality clothes will make them look more like a toy and less like a reborn, which is the opposite of what you want to happen. Try to use some of the higher-end baby clothes on the market to achieve a realistic look that's sure to draw compliments from others.
#3 - Pacifiers and Other Accessories
It's easy to forget about pacifiers and other accessories once you've dressed up and styled your reborn. In order to make your reborn look more realistic, however, you should always add some accessories to them. There are numerous accessories available that don't cost a lot of money but add a great deal of realism to your doll.
So, what types of accessories can you use on a reborn? Obviously, one of the most commonly used is a pacifier, as babies tend to use these for the first few months of their life. Adding anything that "real" babies have to your reborn is typically a good idea. When using a pacifier on your reborn, you have one of two different options - you can either use an adhesive to make it permanantly stay on their mouth, or you can place a small magnet on both the pacifier and behind your reborn's mouth. Typically, the latter option is the best choice because it gives you the ability to remove and replace their pacifier with new ones.
Of course there are plenty of other accessories you can use on a reborn to make them look more realistic, such as the following:
- Baby blankets
- Knitted or crochet caps
Just doing the 3 easy methods listed above is sure to make your reborn look more realistic. If you're really feeling adventurous, you can always take a shot at some of the more advanced techniques like mottling, brows and shading. Modifying these areas on a reborn will drastically affect their appearance, but you need to know what you're doing. Start with these simple tasks listed above and then move on to some of the more in-depth modifications if you still want more out of your reborn.