A reborn doll is type of doll replicated to look like a real baby---right down to the eyelashes. Made from a combination of vinyl and polymer clay accessories, the face and bodies can be custom molded so the doll maker can match any skin type or tone. Reborn dolls do raise controversy. Some people who are doll collectors appreciate the intricacy of the dolls, while others find it creepy and bizarre. Reborn dolls can be turned into a hobby or craft or bought from a doll dealer who creates and then resells them.
Gaining a better understanding about reborn dolls is the first step in recognizing the type of people who may want to buy or make one. Many times porcelain or vinyl dolls are used as pattern inspiration for a reborn. Reborn molders such as Ashton Drake, OOAK and Berneguer are manufacturers that sell the body and head necessary to begin a project. People who want replicated dolls of their children are one market for the dolls. These people usually contact a reborn doll maker and send a picture of the child into the crafter. The crafter than transforms an ordinary doll into a lifelike replica of the child---right down to birthmarks and hair color.
There are different types of reborn dolls. Most come in white, dark skinned, Asian and olive skin colors. Various hair and eye colors are also available. Most are made from mohair while more expensive dolls can contain real human hair. There are preemies which are between one and three pounds and only 10 to 12 inches long. Standard-size babies can weigh between four and 10 pounds and be up to 23 inches long. Some babies are custom-made to be larger---some as big as toddlers. Fairy babies are a popular choice with many doll collectors. The fairies often have pointed ears and noses and come with a glittery skin tone.
Many reborns that are custom made from a crafter come with adoption papers, clothing and hospital bands. Some added accessories for the doll are weighted bodies---in which sand is often used to offer a life-like feel. Most dolls come with extreme detail such as milk spots, dimples, umbilical cord stubs, belly buttons and genitalia. A spine or heartbeat can even be added for a truly lifelike look and feel.
As the dolls continue to rise in popularity, many doll lovers around the world are organizing reborn parties. At the party they bring their dolls together and share stories and conversation while they create new dolls. Many parties involve exchanging creative tips on how to make the doll appear more lifelike. For many, it has become more than a hobby it has become a career. Basements, bedrooms and garages have been made into nurseries for the babies. The reborn doll is in high demand. Dolls with the most lifelike qualities such as open eyes and mouth can often times take in a profit of two to four thousand dollars.
There has been a great deal of media controversy surrounding the reborn doll. Many buyers and collectors are chastised and ridiculed for their fascination with reborns. Some people claim it is unhealthy to hang onto a lifelike doll, especially if it replicates a child in the family or a deceased child. Some doll owners treat the doll as if it is real---they will create a room for the baby, carry it around in a stroller, take it places, burp it and rock it. Collectors are criticized for not being able to deal with detachment of their children in a positive or healthy way. Some people claim the dolls are so lifelike they actually look like dead babies because they don't move or talk. There have also been claims of authorities getting involved because the dolls have been found abandoned in a car during hot weather---only to find they were not real. Reborn lovers and collectors alike stand behind their love for the reborn and view it as a hobby and nothing more.