How To Paint Your Reborn Doll
Once you've applied the base paint to your reborn and have either heated it in a convection oven (for heat-set paints) or given it time to dry (for air-dry paints), you'll need to paint on several additional layers and begin adding the features and tiny details to create a more realistic-looking appearance.
It should go without saying that painting is one of the most important steps when reborning a doll, as it can either make or break or your doll. When it's done wrong, your otherwise perfect reborn will look more like a child's toy and less like the artistic masterpiece it is. On the other hand, when you paint a doll correctly, it will look realistic enough that most people will mistake it for an actual baby. Taking your reborn doll out in public may generate compliments by strangers saying how cute your baby is, but much to their surprise, it's actually a reborn doll. As you can see, painting is an essential part in the reborning process that shouldn't be overlooked.
Painting - Where To Start
By now, you should already have all of the paint and painting supplies necessary to paint your reborn. If you haven't done so already, pick up a few different shades of flesh-tone reborn doll paint to use. Not only will you need the basic flesh colors, but you should also pick up a couple reds and blues. The red shades will be used for blushing and the blue will be used for creating veins.
Now comes the question of what type of paint to use. Personally, I recommend using Genesis heat-set paint, as it's made specifically for reborning and does the best overall job at creating a high-quality, realistic look that doesn't easily fade or wash off. You can find Genesis paint by visiting the store page on the right-hand side of the page. If you applied a base paint using air-dry paints, however, then you'll probably want to continue using them. Mixing up different paints is a bad idea that could lead to disaster.
In addition to paint, you'll also need some paintbrushes and a pack of cosmetic makeup foam wedges to apply it to your doll. Make sure you have a couple high-quality sets of paintbrushes and several different-sized foam wedges before you get started. You can find these as most Wal-Mart or crafts stores, so make a trip beforehand if you need to. The brushes are really only used for minor details; therefore, it's a good idea to get thin brushes with medium bristle strength.
Now it's time to get to work. Lay out some newspapers or old magazines over a table or area where you're comfortable working. If you're careful, you shouldn't spill any paint, but it's still nice to have a protective barrier over your table to keep things nice and tidy. Next, place some of your preferred flesh-tone paint colors in a paint palette, along with some brushes and an empty glass of water next to it. When you are done using a paintbrush, always place it in the water to keep it clean.
Painting Your Reborn
Your ultimate goal is to make your doll look like it hasn't been painted, but that it's instead an actual baby. This means avoiding using too much paint or unnatural colors on doll, as this creates an artificial look. Instead, focus on blending your colors well and sticking with basic flesh tones and shades that are found in real babies. If you accidentally use too much paint (which is bound to happen), use a clean makeup wedge to dab some of it off. The great thing about using Genesis heat-set paints is that it doesn't harden from exposure to the air. If you are using air-dry paints, however, you may need to add a bit of mineral spirits to the wedge before trying to rub it off.
There's really no one specific way to paint your reborn. Some artists prefer brushing over their dolls to add various shades in certain areas, while others dab the paint on with a foam makeup wedge. If you're new to the hobby, I recommend dabbing a small amount of paint onto your foam makeup wedge and gently applying it to the surface of your reborn. Continue this process until it's thoroughly applied throughout the body with no visible blotches or obvious discoloration anywhere.
You can also use the makeup wedges to paint down in the hard-to-reach areas like under the arms, behind the knee, etc. The key to remember is that your paint needs have a consistent thickness and tone to create a realistic appearance. Try to get into a rhythm by dabbing the cosmetic wedge with the same amount of pressure each time. This will create a smooth, even tone throughout your doll's body.
The trick to painting the arms and legs on a reborn is to line them up next to each other and see if they look alike. If one leg is a slightly different color than the other, you'll need to fix it by applying the correct paint. Trust me, there's nothing worse than finishing your reborn doll only to notice that one of their arms or legs is a different color than the other, so make sure they are the same by placing them side-by-side.
Heating The Paint
If you're using Genesis or some other heat-activated type of paint, you'll need to heat it up in the oven for the paint to set. Basically, this is the same method used when applying your base paint. Just place the painted doll parts in a convection oven and heat them at 260 degrees Fahrenheit for 9-10 minutes. When your timer goes off, remove them promptly to avoid burning or melting your doll.
It's important to note that you must have a special oven dedicated to heating up your reborn doll paint. Using your everyday kitchen oven simply won't work right, and it can create toxic fumes that poison your food (we talk more about the dangers of heating vinyl here). You can purchase small convection ovens for a couple hundred bucks from most appliance stores, which are perfect for heating up reborn doll paint.