Reborn dolls – or reborn baby dolls, as they are also known – are currently a hot topic which causes controversy whenever it comes up in conversation or in the Press.
Opinion is divided into two camps. The first group comprises largely women who enjoy the pastime of either collecting or making reborn dolls. At the other end of the spectrum is an element of the general public -often men – who believe that the first group are crazy for wanting to create or cherish these incredibly realistic dolls!
So what exactly are cheap reborn dolls and why do they polarize opinion?
In simple terms, a reborn doll is an extremely life-like vinyl doll which resembles a newborn baby. The heads, limbs and bodies are usually made of high quality vinyl, although some have soft cloth bodies.
The baby doll’s hair is often rooted with mohair, while the limbs, hands and feet have wrinkles, veins, fingernails and toenails, applied using specialist paints and techniques.
Reborn baby dolls range in size from:
- Minis at a mere 6 inches long
- Newborns at 14″ long
- Preemies (short for premature babies) at 15″ to 17″,
- Baby dolls in general which are normally anywhere from 14″ to 20″ in length
- Toddler dolls which are usually 20″ to 22″.
The dolls can be either baby girls or baby boys, although girls are more popular.
The owners of reborn dolls fall into 2 categories:
- Doll collectors who buy reborn dolls produced by doll companies such as Berenguer, Lee Middleton and Ashton Drake. The extremely high level of craftsmanship and top quality materials which go into the making of these collector dolls mean that they do not come cheap. Recommended retail prices range from approximately £100 to £200 ($150 to $300) or even more.
- Hobbyists who start with a basic doll kit consisting of a blank head, limbs and body produced by a specialist doll kit company such as Secrist in the USA. They then spend weeks or even months painstakingly painting, washing and rooting to create a life-like baby doll – some barely indistinguishable from a real baby. This hobby is called reborning and is becoming ever more popular in countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
These dolls are known as OOAK – or One Of A Kind – as each doll created is unique. In the USA, top quality OOAK reborn dolls can command prices up to $1,400 (£950). Some reborners also take on commissions and work to a photograph of an actual baby – in much the same way as an artist who creates a likeness of a person by painting a portrait.
If you’ve ever seen a reborn doll up close, it is easy to understand why reborners and doll collectors become so emotionally attached to them. The best ones really do look like living babies!
In addition, the level of craftsmanship exhibited by the most gifted reborn doll artists is also a thing of wonder. The lifelike expressions and skin colouring, the tiny veins and wrinkles all reflect the skill and artistry of the creator.
For those who think we are crazy, I would ask what is wrong with wanting to collect or create an object of beauty into which a great deal of love and attention has been poured? for those cynics out there I would ask – is your hobby as gentle and caring as reborn dolls?
So go ahead you’re not crazy! Join the growing band of hobbyists and collectors who enjoy reborn dolls.