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.