Australian Doll Supplies
Paint choices for reborn dolls
Ink or Stencil Paint
Good to play around with for your first attempt on a practice doll. I did not really take to them, but reborning is a very personal thing.
Easy to use and gives a nice result for a simple reborn project. It doesn’t dry quickly, which gives you time to get it right. On the other hand, the slow drying can be a disadvantage if you want a quick result. Also, over time, the oil will gradually be absorbed into the vinyl and you will need to touch up the blushing on the doll with more paint. Not necessarily a problem, as the dolls need cleaning regularly and it is very easy to touch up with the oil paint.
You do need to wear gloves when working with oil paint. The paints can/do have dangerous colouring agents and if you use a turpentine based thinner, you are exposing yourself to very nasty and dangerous fumes. I am particularly badly affect by turpentine products. I substitute eucalyptus oil for turpentine based thinners and have had good results. Once again, some people are badly affected by eucalyptus oil, so it is best to work in a ventilated area. I’ve heard you can also use lavender oil, but I haven’t tried this, as I can’t stand the smell of it.
Acrylic paint is very difficult to get a good result with. I feel it is probably the way to go, but it requires a lot of mastering and I haven’t personally mastered it. I feel it is a lot safer to use, although once again, I think it is wise to wear gloves in case the colourings in the paint have some nasties in them.
I use Jo Sonya’s Warm White acrylic paint for the tips of nails. I find I can get a better result than with the Heat Set paints for the nail tips.
If you want to try reborning with acrylics, I strongly advise you to mix your paints to a very dilute consistency and use a retarder (delays paint drying time) to give you more time to work with the paints, as acrylics dry very quickly. An alternative to a commercial paint retarder, is glycerine from the supermarket. I don’t know what commercial retarders are made from, but glycerine should be safe to work with, for most people.
I really do want to master this medium. European doll reborners seem to favour acrylics and there are some very impressive results coming out of Europe.
Genesis Heat Set Paints
These paints claim to be non-toxic. They give a brilliant result and are quite easy to work with after an initial learning period. The problem is in cooking the doll. Fumes are released in the cooking process from the vinyl doll and doubtless are dangerous. You need an oven in the garage or outside, reserved for cooking dolls.
One needs thinners for Genesis Heat Set Paints. I cannot use turpentine based thinners. I get ill very quickly if I do. I substitute eucalyptus oil, which may not be so good but there is no choice for me. If you use turpentine based thinners – even the ones with the smell removed – you need to work in a well-ventilated area with a fan blowing the fumes away from you (and everyone else) to outside. You also need to work with gloves if you are using turpentine based thinners. These thinners are extremely dangerous to one’s health, both through skin absorption and fume inhalation.
Secrist carry a line of heat set paints, called Authentic Reborn Paints. These paints do not require thinners and do not have odourless thinners in them. They look good, but I haven’t tried them. Check out Secrist’s question and answer page about these paints if you are interested.
I like to use ‘Rose Quartz Gallery Glass’ paint by Plaid, for the lips and nails. You must seal this paint with a matte (which in my experience are not really matte) air dry, water-based varnish. If you don't seal the Gallery Glass paint, it seems to stick to things and pull off.
I use clear‘Papier Glass Finish’ paint by Plaid, for eyes and strengthening the bond of the eyelashes.
Gum Blossom Babies