Tips for buying a Quality RebornBy Terri Crisp
There are hundreds, even thousands of reborns on ebay. Reborns are available in varying sizes, colors, and even prices....so how do you know what to look for?
Decide on how much you would like to spend. Is this going to be a cherished collectible to pass down for generations? Perhaps for an older child to play with? Although most reborns are not for small children, some can be purchased , and are acceptable for older children that will take care of the doll properly.
Quality. ..No matter what you pay for the reborn, you want to get the most for your money. Read the descriptions carefully.
Some reborners use higher quality materials to ensure that their babies will last for generations. Higher quality items cost the reborn artist more money to make, therefore, they will be priced higher. Although all babies have the same basic components....not all are the same. How do you know what is best? What is the difference between babies? Are certain things worth more money?
BODIES....Doe suede, or flannel type body material is softer than the cotton bodies and generally are more expensive. If you want the baby to have flexibility, a jointed limbed body is preferrable. Some artists use Faux fleece stuffing. This is much softer, and will not clump over time as regular polyfil will. It is also more expensive. Silicone pellets can be used, if encapsulated in the body. They have a "fleshy fat" feel to them. However, make sure the artist did not use them inside the limbs, as the silicone can react to the vinyl.
LIMBS....Although reborns come with various sized limbs...from 1/4 to full length. It is preference is how you wish the baby to feel and look. Full limbs photograph better and you have more clothing options. The 1/4 limbs, while the baby can't wear certain outfits....it sure will have that "cuddle factor". When holding, you will feel more softness of stuffing instead of harder vinyl limbs...so they , in my opinion, feel more realistic. The full limbs generally cost more and require more paint and the reborners time and talent, therefore, some may be more expensive.
HAIR.....While more expensive, micro-rooted hair looks more realistic than a wig. This, to me, is the most important part of the baby. If a wig is chosen, the clear cap, mohair wigs are better. Kid Mohair is that of a goat less than one year old. It is the finest, softest of mohair, as a goats hair thickens and becomes coarser with age. No matter what age the goat is, the microns of their hair shaft is still far more finer than that of a human. Keep in mind, some mohair cost upward of $60.00-$80.00 per ounce to root the baby's head with. Micro rooting is very tedious and takes numerous hours to complete. Make sure the artist mentions that the hair has been sealed with a water proofed glue inside, so you can be able to gently style your baby's hair.
EYES....It is preferrable to replace the original factory eyes from a doll. There are numerous companies that make very realistic eyes for dolls. Glass eyes, are very realistic, and expensive. Eyeco or Real Eyes, are less expensive, but still remain realistic. Eyelashes are generally glued on for the open eyed babies. Most artists will hand root the eyelashes on the sleeping babies.
NOSE.....It really doesn't matter, cost wise or preference about whether the nose is opened. Some artists may drill open the nose, and back it with felt. Some doll kits, now , are made with deep nostrils so they may be shaded and "appear" open and realistic.
NEEDLES.....Many artists mention the gauge needle. The larger the number...the smaller the needle. It is preferable to use a fine, few barb, or no barb needle to get the most realistic rooting. German needles 40g-42 g look so realistic that is is very difficult to see the hole in the head. A 36 gauge, 6 barb needle, if the artist is not very careful, will leave larger holes with alot of hair in each hole, which is referred to as "plugs.
SAND?....What is the issue with sand? While sand is an excellent material for weighting the babies, some countries will not allow foreign sand to come through customs. Since an artist doesn't know who will purchase the baby, by using very fine, glass beads, this allows customers outside the U.S. to buy them without problems. Glass beads can be used inside the limbs, as well as in pouches inside the head and body.
MAGNETS....Most artists place a disclaimer in the auctions regarding magnets. While they are mostly safe, if the baby's pacifier, or the baby is placed, for long periods near a computer , or someone with a pacemaker holds the baby...there may be slight interference. For more information..you can google 'dangers of magnets' and there are numerous articles on them. They are generally, safe, and provide realism to your baby. Most artists, however, are willing to remove the magnets upon request. Be cautious in using putty for the pacifiers, as some putty materials can react with the paint on the lips and vinyl.
PAINTS....The reborn industy has come a long way in just a few short years. While, it used to be common practice to use "purple wash" inside the limbs...it has been found to "bleed" through and cause purple discoloration on the outside of the vinyl called "bruising". While stencil cremes can be used, they sometime will fade or change color with time. The newest paints are called Genesis Heat Set Paints (or GHSP) and are thin, translucent paints that are applied in layers, and baked in the oven and 'heat set', in between each layer. This allows the vinyl to absorb the paints, therefore making them permanent. They will not wash off, rub off, fade or discolor. Painting with GHSP, not only are expensive, but time consuming as each layer has to be baked on, cooled down, painted again, etc for numerous layers. Some artists will paint stork bites, tiny veining, and capillaries on the babies.
CLOTHING.....Although clothing may not be a deciding factor in purchasing a reborn..after all..you can buy more clothing. That is part of the fun of having one!! Does the baby you are considering, have on an expensive , boutique outfit, or Wal Mart clothing? Take into consideration that some outfits various artists put on their reborns, may cost upward of a hundred dollars. Be sure to ask, if unsure what items in the photos, actually come with the baby. Most artists list the items included, but sometimes, blankets and toys are "props" and not included with the baby. If in doubt....ask.
DOLL OR KIT?......Reborns can start off as a painted doll, or a kit. A Berenguer doll can be purchased at Wal Mart for $17.00. This requires removal of factory paint, sanding head, etc. A vinyl doll kit, while ready to paint, can cost around $90.00. Some Ashton Drake dolls can cost around $200.00 before the reborning process takes place.
VINYL OR SILICONE VINYL?.....Vinyl has a harder feel to it and is less expensive than the silicone vinyl. Most of the silicone vinyl dolls/kits have a buttery soft feel to them. What is important to you, as a customer? Are you going to be holding the baby, or will it be behind glass?
AWARDS, GROUPS & GUILDS......Many artists belong to groups which help support each other in the art of reborning. Some groups have members enter photos of their babies, a judging, and they will earn the title of "Baby of the Month" , or "Artist of the Month". Most artists can join the various groups by choice. Guilds are by invitation only and are comprised of "select" reborn artists. A reborn artist doesn't have to be in a group, however, it is an indication of ongoing education in the reborning art field.
In summary, the old saying "you get what you pay for" is sometimes true. Reborning is an expensive art that takes alot of training and talent. It is certainly not a "get rich quick" craft. If you are wanting a quality reborn that is made with the finest materials and can be passed down through generations, expect to pay for it. You are not only paying for the materials the artist uses, you are paying for their time and talent. Some reborn artists are well known and their dolls go for high dollar. Look closely at photos and do not hesitate to ask for more, if that is what it takes for you to make a decision. Artists should provide numerous, clear photos highlighting the baby's features. Some Berenguer dolls can be totally reborn for alot less than a silicone vinyl kit. Keep in mind what you are comparing and which costs more to reborn . Don't expect a $200 dollar doll to be the same in quality and materials as a $600 dollar one.
*All information is the general opinion of the writer.