Friday, May 29, 2015

Painting Reborn Baby Dolls - Stage 2 - Adding first layer of blushing

Most instruction have the flesh paint applied first, but with this doll I am adding a first layer of  light blushing.  This will be under the flesh tone.  I also add the veining prior to adding the flesh.  This seems more natural to me.  I vein with the Secrist Authentic Reborn cream paints. The veining color is pre-mixed and no thinner is required, giving better control. On larger dolls like this one (31-inch Tibby),  I only add veins at temples, wrist and ankles. They are applied with a very thin bristle brush and blotted to fading.  You only want a vague resemblance of a vein to show.
The blush I use is Bountiful Baby pre-mixed Warm Blush and just a touch of their premixed Lip and Nail Blush. The Warm Blush has a lot of brown in it making the color look a lot like dried blood, so I have found for a more alive look I add just a little touch of the Lip & Nail Blush to add more red to the skin.
 This paint mixture is thinned to a very thin consistency, so thin you can see through it. There are various ways to apply- sea sponge, foam wedge sponge, mushroom sponge to name a few. With this one I used the sea sponge. To get the best effect you swirl  a small mop brush in the prepared blush mix and paint a surface of the sea sponge (this is the same technique I use for the other sponges also). Blot the sponge lightly around the head and limbs at random. You will see splotching of the paint, if it is too dark- thin your paint: if it is too light - add more paint to the mixture. The thinner will flow over the vinyl and also give a blushing glow to the skin. I always start on the back of the head to get the right effect and color before going to the face. Let the parts dry completely for several hours. After drying completely bake in a 265 F degree oven for 8 minutes. I use a NuWave oven and set the power setting to # 7 for 8 minutes. The color of the blush will be lighter after baking.  This is a picture of a wet just blushed head. looking closely you can see the veining and the blushing. I will add the Flesh tone next- watch for my next blog.

Comments are always welcome!  Visit our Gramma's Precious Babies website to view our baby dolls.   

Friday, April 24, 2015

Painting Reborn Baby Dolls - Adding the bluing, veining and deep shading.

My second stage in painting reborn dolls is to add the bluing, veining and deep shading. The paint I use for this is the Secrist Authentic Reborn cream paints. The colors are premixed and no thinner is required with these paints, giving better control for this painting stage application.

I use Eyelid Tint Purple and Eyelid Tint Blue and lay them out as shown on a glass pallet and mix the two colors together as I go according to what part of the doll is being painted.

The eyes are especially important for realism. First I apply very lightly with a #4 brush Eyelid Purple on the inside edge of the eye socket, around the tear ducks and on the lower corner of the outer part of the eye. I smooth it out so it gently fades away from the edges. On the closed eyed newborn babies I apply the purple tent along the upper lid near the crease covering the full length of the eye.
Now I have found it is not necessary to bake at this point so I go on to the next step.

My next step is to with the same brush apply a very light coat of  blue just below the brow bone, and around the eye in the corner near the nose and down into the circle indention. I have to be very careful not to add to much, for the blue stains and is very hard to remove if it is too heavy. At this point I mix a little of the purple with a very small part of blue and cover over the area again. I add a mixture of purple and blue on each side of the nose, in the nose and the sides of the mouth down to the chin. I also add the mix of purple and blue inside the ear to give depth. 
Veins are then added to the temple area with a very thin bristle brush and a few in the forehead area, for babies that are not going to be wigged I add a few on the head.  The veins should be very light and blotted and feathered just after painting on. Also on open mouth babies I use the bluing and purple for inside the mouth to give depth.

My next step is shading of the feet and hands, and adding veins to them. The picture shows a finished dolls foot and hand, but if you look closely you can see the shading in the arch of the foot that extends up to the ankle.  I use a mix of purple and blue and spread at random and up along the center of the foot and under the toes. I also shade behind the ankle and the top of the foot between the toes.  Adding the bluing and purple to the hand palm, in deep folds and in between fingers adds depth.  Each doll is painted little different due to the sculpt design and sometimes the same design differently.
( In these pictures the camera has picked up the red so the red you see shows up more intense than they actually are. In my opinion subtle is the answer.)

Next comes behind the knees and elbows. I use the bluing mixture bluer in the middle and more purple to the edges. Later in the painting process will come more blushing in this area. Picture shows a almost finished part so you can see the over all end effect.  Now these are pictures of one of the larger babies. It represents a 18 month old. It would be painted slightly different than a preemie or newborn. The newborn will have a higher level of blue and more veins and the preemie would have a even higher level of blue especially around the fingers and feet.

Let the parts dry for a few hours then it is time to bake them at 265 degrees for 8 minutes. I use a NuWave Oven and love it! 
Many artist next step is the flesh coat, but I prefer to use a light coat of over all blushing and texture first.  I take into consideration that the veins, and blushing color of our body comes from beneath the skin not on top. So our next session with be on the first blush.

The doll shown in these pictures is Tibby a Bountiful Baby sculpt by Donna RuBert.  It represents a 18 month old baby. Our standard weight for this doll is 8 pounds, but could be weighted more if desired. She or He is one of our most popular reborn dolls.

Painting Reborn Baby Dolls- Washing as first step

Your first step prior to painting is to wash you vinyl parts.  I use Ivory Liquid and warm water and gently wipe them down being careful not to get water on the inside of the vinyl.  This will remove any oils or dirt on the vinyl that may inhibit your ability to give the parts a good layer of paint. On the Lee Middleton doll kits I also pre-heat at 265 degrees them for 5 minutes to draw out any oil left in the vinyl, then after they cool wash them.  The Lee Middleton reborn babies vinyl is similar to the texture of silicone and oily. After washing your doll parts lay them out to dry completely. Don't forget if your doll has open eye sockets dry them out as well.
After they are dry the next step is adding the bluing for deep shading. That is for next time.
Comments are always welcome!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ovens used for - baking your Reborn Babies- to set the heat-set paints.

In between each layer (application) of paint the parts should be baked. There are exceptions, (such as touch-ups or creases, nails etc.,) to this rule that we will explore later during one of our painting sessions. Finding the right oven for this was a real challenge for me. I found many suggestion on Reborn Doll forums. It is advised against using your oven that you use for cooking family food. The vinyl gives off fumes and could contaminate your oven. Before I heard that I had used my oven, but found it did not hold temperature at 265 degrees F which is the desired baking temperature.

Convection ovens are recommenced by many. I found that most of them were too small. The oven needs to
be a large one, with the inside at least 16 inches wide and  12  inches high to accommodate the dolls parts. Although many people seemed to have success with their convection holding temperature, I did not!  I would preheat to 265 degrees F, but when the vinyl parts were inserted - the oven would cool down at least 100 degrees. I suspect it was the air blowing over the cool vinyl bring the temperature down. You are suppose to bake for 8 min., in this oven it took 4 minutes to come back up to 265. So I started to preheating to 365 to try to compensate, that did hold the temperature better, but also scorched by towel I had under the vinyl part to keep them from having contact with the medal tray. Parts in contact with hot medal will destroy the vinyl.  One day  the towel started to smoke and almost caught on fire.  So you need to be very careful with a convection oven even if it holds temperature. Never leave it during baking!!

Then I heard about the NuWave Infrared oven.  I have found it works really well, with
some manipulation. I guess nothing is perfect.  This oven blows a constant heat at the set temperature, So it is instant heat, you do not need to preheat (although I do just slightly). The only problem is the timer is digital and setting 6 is for 255 degrees and 7 is for 275, with no in between.  I use the setting 7 when I place the parts in and when my oven thermometer reaches 265,  which means the air temperature in the oven has now reached 265.  this takes about 5 minutes. At this time I turn the oven off and let the parts sit in the oven for another 3 minutes. This usually works well.
 Although one time the holding temperature dropped to fast and I decided to restart and must have put in the wrong setting and before I knew it I had melted the dolls face.  And this was my last bake on the doll.  Boy was I up set, so lesson learned not only don't text when you drive- don't text while you are baking dolls either. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Painting your Reborn with different types of Heat Set paints

Many different mediums may be used to paint your doll. The three that I use are all heat set paints. Heat set paints requires each layer of paint to be baked at 265 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes to cure the paint on to the vinyl before going to the next layer. Some dolls could have as many as 8 or 9 layer or as few as 3 or 4 layers.  The paints I use are Authentic Reborn pre-mixed colors by Secrist Doll Co.; Genesis custom pre-mixed paints by Bountiful Baby; and Genesis heat set colors that need to be mixed to create the proper color.
Authentic Reborn pre-mixed are heat set paints and come in pre-mixed complexions of Peaches and Cream, Strawberry, Vintage Rose.   They require no thinning with Mineral Spirits and are designed to be transparent creams.  These are very good paints for beginners taking the guess work out of how much thinner to use. The Paint is spread as a very thin layer on glass pallet and the flesh and blush is applied with various sponges.  For veins and creases a brush is used. These paints were designed for the Secrist vinyl doll parts, which is a darker Peach color.  This is the only paint I used when I first started adding additional enhancements to Secrist Apple Valley Dolls that are pre-painted at their factory in Michigan. This paint is easy to use, but the flesh tones do not give the best flesh effect in my opinion. But I feel the two colors in the picture to the left:, eye lid purple and vein blue work best around the eyes and to give dept in the shadows, so I use these on all the dolls.

Bountiful Baby pre-mixed paints are heat set paints that shades of Genesis paints have been blended to achieve the color tones that BB feels best suits Bountiful Baby vinyl. Mixes include flesh, blush, a darker blush also used for lips and nails, and creases.  These paints do need to be mixed with an odorless thinner such as Turpenoid. Each paint application  is thinned to various degrees of thinness depending on the layer and effect you are to achieve. ( I will have more about layers and thinning in an up coming blog on Painting).  This is the medium I use most often for the Bountiful Parts and for the Lee Middleton doll parts. Although I do also use the Authentic Reborn paints around the eyes and their cream blush as my last blush on the Bountiful and Middleton dolls. The BB blush is actually a blood color and dries slightly brownish like real blood does. In my opinion that leaves the baby looking too brown so I add the last layer of blush from the AR blush to give a rosier complexion and brighten, making the baby look more alive.

Genesis heat set paints come in standard colors that you mix together to create the shade and the effect you want to achieve. That mixed base is then thinned with an orderless paint thinner. I use Odorless Turpenoid that I get from my local art supply store. Mixing the colors and knowing how much thinner to use becomes a challenge but with practice it can be mastered.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

On the road to Reborn Baby Dolls

My Love for baby dolls that really resemble children started with the Lee Middleton Dolls in 2009. They captured my heart as their little personalities were shown in each ASC sculpt. I became a successful retailer offering the full line of Lee Middleton dolls.   My first introduction to Reborn babies was when Lee Middleton came out with their first kits to reborn.  I was fascinated by the idea of painting my own baby. But before starting, Lee Middleton Dolls sold out to Madam Alexander Dolls and my business went in a different direction. In 2012 Madam Alexander Doll sold out to  KLL Dolls (Kahn Kucas) and they changed the whole concept of the Middleton Dolls then basically dropping the line.  At that point I started putting together my own dolls offering custom orders using the Apple Valley Dolls. AVDolls offer pre-painted (air brushed) vinyl doll parts for making your own dolls. They come in many different expressions. AVD  owned by Secrist Doll company that specializes in providing soft vinyl Baby sculpts for reborn artist along with their own painting supplies.  Secrist paints are pre-mixed and pre-thinned, no guess work.  Wonderful for beginners. Starting with these and began adding more detail to the AVDolls and painting some of the un painted ones. Their paints I found  easy to work with and instead of baking the vinyl parts,  Instead of baking I used a heating tool.  Purchased very good quality wigs from Monique and provided some very cute dolls.
 Then I found Bountiful Babies and fell in love with the realism of their sculpts. They do a wonderful job of providing pictures of the finished dolls, reborn to perfection by reborn artist.  Bountiful Baby  has their own brand of paints which are also pre-mixed Genesis  heat set paints and they also sell the standard Genesis Paint for mixing your own shades.  Thinner is required for both. These are a little harder to work with because you need to thin to the right consistency.
  By now I'm hooked, buying glass beads for weighting instead of poly pellets, premium poly fill for stuffing, investing in oven for baking (3 to be exact until I found the best one), spending hours viewing how too videos, Practicing, Practicing, and Practicing- now comes the art of rooting hair- harder than painting.  Oh, forgot to mention before Lee Middleton closed their doors I bought up lots of their reborn kits and tucked them away in storage.  Smart move on my part. Thank you God for the insight.
My next post will be on the differences in painting with Secrist Reborn Paints and Bountiful Reborn Paints.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fell in Love with Reborn Babies

The first time I saw a picture of a beautiful reborn baby I fell in love  .........The artist sculpts can be just amazing, as they have those unique qualities of real babies. The qualities that make you want to hold one and cuddle.  I knew I could not sculpt a baby, but I asked myself "could I paint one"? So I set on a venture of watching videos and decided, "yes I could".  If you have the same desire you could probably paint reborn babies too.  But I will say it takes a self-critical eye and lots of practice to get the right technique. Truthfully I'm still working on mine and probably always will be.  The videos out there are good, but I have found leave a lot untold for they give the basics or one point of view.  In this blog I hope to take you on my journey and share tid-bits of what I have learned. Since I started over 2 years ago, I will start this section - back tracking until I bring you up to date with my progress.
I hope you will join me for I hope to add a new entry at least weekly. Would be happy to answer and questions you might have, and of course suggestions.