A reborn doll is a manufactured vinyl doll that has been transformed to resemble a human baby with as much realism as possible. The process of creating a reborn doll is referred to as reborning and the doll artists are referred to as reborners. Reborn dolls are also known as living dolls or unliving dolls.
A typical reborn doll
The hobby of creating reborn baby dolls began around 1990 when doll enthusiasts wanted more realistic dolls. Since then, an industry surrounding reborn dolls has emerged. Reborn dolls are purchased on the internet but are often available at outdoor Craft Markets. Depending on craftsmanship, they vary in price from a hundred or more dollars through to thousands of dollars.
The International Reborn Doll Artists (IRDA) group was formed to educate artists in the art form of reborn doll making. Any artist can join the association, however certain ethical guidelines must be upheld by members.
Reborning involves numerous time consuming steps. The most basic form of the process involves taking a vinyl doll, adding multiple layers of paint, and adding other physical features to the doll. Artists can choose from different brands to best suit what doll they wish to create. Consumers can also buy reborn doll kits that include the doll parts and supplies for creating their own reborn. Making a doll from a kit is called newborning and allows artists to omit some steps in the fabrication process. Many supplies are needed for both external and internal modifications of reborns to make the doll seem more realistic.
Some consumers of reborn dolls use them to replace a child they once lost, or a child that has grown up. Others collect reborns as they would regular dolls. These dolls are usually taken seriously and are cared for like an an infant. Critics debate whether reborn dolls are harmful, or whether these dolls can help in the grieving process. Because of their realistic appearance, reborn dolls have occasionally “rescued” from parked cars after being reported to the police by the general public
The craft of making reborn dolls began in the United States in the early of the 1990s Reborning follows a long tradition of collectors, artists, and manufacturers restoring and enhancing dolls in order to portray more realism. The internet has allowed doll artists and collectors to create an online society focused on reborn dolls. In 2002, the first reborn was offered on eBay This has expanded the reborn market allowing artists to open online stores which function figuratively as nurseries. The niche market for the dolls began with doll collectors who admired the superior lifelike accuracy of the doll. The market quickly reached those who wanted to use the doll as an emotional response, either to mother or for therapeutic purposes. Mass media coverage has helped to develop the phenomenon in other countries. Primarily reborning has grown in the Britain and Australia, but has also reached Canada, the rest of Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Doll manufacturers have also taken advantage of the trend and sell supplies, tools, and accessories catering to reborn followers. This has allowed reborners to invent new techniques causing the dolls to become increasingly realistic over time. Magazines, books, organizations, and conventions dedicated to reborn dolls have also appeared.