Not everybody know what reborn baby doll is. When I ask people if they have heard of reborn babies, I receive various reactions: “What? Reborn Babies?”, “How can I baby be reborn?” and when I explain to them what it is and show them some photos, the more I get astonishing responses. Most find it freaky, while others become more curious and learn more about it.
So what is a “reborn baby”? Reborn babies are basically dolls which are made to look and feel like a real human baby. Similar to a regular doll, they are generally made of up vinyl; however, each doll is carefully crafted to become as life-like as possible. The art of making reborn doll requires a number of detailed procedures and starts with disassembling the parts of a doll, removing its factory paint, stuffing each part to make it heavier, and putting back together again. The doll is coated with several layers of paint in different shades to create an authentic human flesh tone; then the hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes, are painstakingly rooted individually to the doll’s head and face for a natural finish. To make it more realistic, some dolls are built with mechanisms to emulate the feel of heart beat. Each doll can cause a hundred to a thousand dollars depending on its workmanship. This art of making reborn doll is called “reborning” while the doll artist is called “reborner”.
The process of making reborn dolls started in early 1990s in the United States, when doll aficionados wanted a more authentic human doll. Slowly it gained popularity and in 2002, the first cheap reborn dolls doll was sold through the internet. Since them, more and more doll enthusiasts, artists and hobbyists are engaging in reborn dolls making it popular in the different parts of the world. In 2005, the International Reborn Doll Artists was founded in Orlando, USA and currently, there are hundreds of reborn forums and guilds found in the internet.
One of the famous reborner is Deborah King, who has been in the business for more than 5 years. She said she had seen the art of making reborn dolls grows and develops and she had enjoyed specializing her skills. She had made and sold reborn dolls to collectors in the different parts of the globe. She had also been invited and interviewed by different tv shows and magazines.
One featured doll collector is Fran Sullivan, she is 62 years old and has never had a baby. She own more than 600 dolls including reborn babies. Depending on her mood, she chooses which doll to take care for the day and she talks to them just like human.
Because of the rising popularity of reborn dolls, BBC America aired a documentary on the subject in October 2008 entitled “My Fake Baby”. The documentary focused on women who spent money, time and effort in rearing life-like dolls.