Whether you plan to create a reborn doll from scratch or use one of the many kits available (recommended for first-time doll artists), you'll need glue to finish the job. Doll artists use it to secure magnets, seal rooted mohair, close nostrils, secure accessories, etc. When used correctly, glue will successfully perform all of these tasks and more. However, the wrong type may cause irreversible damage or even ruin an otherwise flawless reborn doll. To prevent your reborning experience from turning into a costly nightmare, you must use the right glue.
Do NOT Use Hot Glue
Hot glue is absolutely horrible to use on reborn dolls. It's messy, clumps up, and doesn't stick well on vinyl surfaces. And even if you successfully use it on your reborn doll without getting it all over the place (which is nearly impossible, BTW), chances are it will fall or peel off in the future. It's incredibly easy to remove once it hardens, making it virtually useless for reborning. There are a countless number of arts and crafts projects which are perfectly suitable for hot glue, but reborning isn't one of them. Leave the hot glue for scrapbooking projects and avoid using it on your dolls.
Do NOT Use Mod Podge
Mod Podge is a brand that DIY crafters know and trust, with the company's first sealer/varnish/adhesive product hitting the market back in 1967. It's kind of a universal sealer, glue and varnish all rolled into one convenient little product. Mod Podge is used to seal paintings, protect jewelry, hold art projects together and more. Although it's technically an adhesive, Mod Podge not strong enough for use on reborn dolls. Using it to attach magnets or other accessories on your reborn doll will end in disaster later down the road. It might hold up just fine for a couple months or even a year, but it will gradually lose its strength and hold. For this reason, we do not recommend Mod Podge on reborn dolls. Note: the original formula Mod Podge isn't waterproof. If you must use this product on your reborn dolls, choose the outdoor type. It costs a little bit more, but unlike the original it's waterproof.
Do NOT Use Super Glue
Why shouldn't you use super glue on a reborn doll? Products containing the "super" adhesive known as cyanoacrylate can severely damage a reborn doll. Although I've personally never used it, I've heard horror stories from other artists who claim super glue melted their doll's eyes, cords, vinyl and acrylic. The strong chemicals found in this product are oftentimes too much for the delicate materials of a reborn doll. In all fairness, I've also heard from doll artists who use super glue on a regular basis without causing any damage. I guess it depends on your doll's materials and where you intend to use the super glue. But with safer, more effective adhesive products available, I wouldn't recommend using it on your dolls.
Glue We Recommend: E6000 Craft Adhesive
The best all-around glue for reborn dolls is a product called E6000 (see image to the left). You can use this stuff to set eyes, seal nostrils, secure mohair, and more. E6000 is the "go to" adhesive for reborn doll artists across the world, but don't take my word for it. Pick up a tube from your local Wal-Mart or craft store and give it a try the next time you reborn a doll. Here are some of the reasons why we recommend E6000:
- Industrial strength adhesive
- Works on practically any surface with the exception of pleather (not sure why you a reborn doll would feature pleather anyways)
- Thick consistency so it doesn't run
- Easy to clean up
- A little bit goes a long ways!
- Flexible hold
What About Aleene's Tacky Glue?
Aleene's All-Purpose Tacky Glue (original formula) is another versatile, high-performance glue that's great to use on reborn dolls. Compared to E6000, it's more runny, which can either be good or bad depending on your particular needs. Placing it on sloped edges, such as your doll's head, may result in it sliding off. To prevent this from happening, keep a paper towel on hand to dab up any excess glue.
When using Aleen's Tacky Glue, place a very small amount on your doll immediately wipe off excess glue if it happens to drip. Aleene's Tacky Glue is non-toxic, inexpensive and creates a strong hold on a variety of surfaces. You can purchase it from Target, Wal-Mart and a variety of arts and crafts stores. It's a great product that will likely prove useful for a number of other projects. Even if you decide to stick with E6000, Aleen's Tacky Glue is a great product to use on plastic, ceramic, wood, wood, vinyl, Styrofoam and other surfaces.
Using the wrong type of glue can seriously damage a reborn doll, resulting in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in damages. This is a costly mistake that your don't want to make, especially when you've invested 20+ hours of hard work into a new doll. In conclusion, avoid hot glue, super glue and Mod Podge on reborn dolls. Instead, stick with either E6000 or Aleene's All-Purpose Tacky Glue. We recommend E6000, but Aleene's is a competitive alternative that's worth trying. Gluing Tips:
- Start with a very minimal amount of glue (I always advise new reborns to follow the less is more approach with glue).
- Clean the surface of your doll before applying glue.
- Keep some paper towels nearby to clean up any excess glue.
- Turn off overhead fans and standing oscillating fans to prevent your glue from blowing.
- Experiment with a small amount of glue on a piece of cardboard or old magazine to see how fast it dries.
What type of glue do you prefer to use on your reborn dolls? Let us know in the comments section below!