I’ve been a reborn Doll Artist for 10 years and I want to share my experience for new artists who have asked me where the best quality of supplies are. I will demonstrate through videos and pictures below about what to look for and what is poor quality supplies.
When I started painting my first art dolls they were made of polymer clay and I purchased Genesis Heat Set Paint off of eBay. For making reborn dolls, I purchased my first set of GHSP from Bountiful Baby and I never had a problem and the paints and they baked beautifully. I actually still have them and they STILL work perfectly on my clay dolls.
Fast forward to 2-3 years ago and I started buying paints from MacPherson Arts and Crafts to paint my reborn dolls because I wanted to support a Canadian store. Little did I know that buying off brand paints through them would almost completely ruin my dolls. I purchased GHSP from MacPherson Arts & Crafts as they claimed the paint colours and mediums were mixed onsite and put into smaller jars. I never thought twice about buying from them because the staff was knowledgeable. The below video was filmed back in Feb-March 2019 showing how the paint was cracking and not sticking to the vinyl. I sent this to my best friend and fellow artist asking what I should do as I was creating dolls for the doll show. I didn’t understand why my doll was cracking and the paint wasn’t sticking to the vinyl. I’ve made MANY dolls over the years with a base paint of Flesh 08 and I never had this weird anomaly happen. After going through my painting steps backwards with my friend, like a couple of sleuths on FaceTime lol, she also had the same issue with one of her dolls. We both compared our dolls and couldn’t figure out what was going on. We deduced it down to our base colour of Flesh 08 off brand from MacPherson’s. See below:
I demonstrate here (with a much needed manicure so don’t come for me ✋🏼 lol ) that the paint is chunky and no matter how much I tried to mix it, it would not get to the consistency that I’m used to working with. FYI I used up all my on brand Genesis Heat Set Paint in Flesh 08 so I figured they would be the same ☹️ sadly not!
Here are some pictures of the beautiful Tobiah by Laura Lee Eagles that I couldn’t save for the show.
Since there is a warning that heating the vinyl is not recommended I figured I was simply out about $200CDN for my kit. I posted a picture on my personal Facebook page of the old paint and tagged my friend thanking her for spending hours with me trying different mediums and mixes to save it. I spent more time fixing the dolls that were fixable. I will make a video and post on how to save your reborn doll and do a comparison on what the consistency of Genesis Heat Set Paint should be.
To keep it real, I was offered a new Tobiah kit however I was to return the ruined kit first. I also received a private message saying it looked bad for the “MacP” store. I wasn’t sure if anyone else experienced a problem and had to return their ruined kits first before they got a replacement. I bit the bullet and chose to keep my kit and try to save it or use it as a booboo kit to try some techniques.
To explain, every artist has their own style of painting but the first base coat is the most important. It’s the “glue” that keeps all your details and layers in tact. GHSP is an oil paint so they should not dry out or be chunky at all. I have left my on brand GHSP paints out and with a quick stir with a brush they are the perfect consistency and I have never had a problem.
People can be nasty when they are faced with the truth about their products but as an artist of over 10 years it’s important that I give a factual no nonsense truth to new artists that I have introduced to reborn doll making to. Your tools and supplies should always be top quality because these dolls take many hours and days to make. When you are halfway through your painting and then notice paint cracking away from the vinyl, it is such a devastating and defeating moment because no matter how many layers you try to use it may not ever stick. I would never want any artist to go through this. It is also such a victorious feeling when your experience and techniques are applied and you can save your doll’s paint.
I also talked with a couple of very professional and seasoned artists and they suggested how I should store my kits. I now store them in air tight plastic bins to keep the oils in the vinyl. It makes sense that vinyl could change its composition over time in an overly dry place like a former morgue, yikes! 😳 I will do more research on this and see if this could’ve been a factor in my Tobiah kit.
To my new artist friends, that asked for tips. I recommend that you only use on brand Genesis Heat Set Paint to prevent this from happening. I also recommend that you support your favourite sculptors and purchase kits directly from them. They do such an amazing job and you will be put on newsletters and such letting you know when their next new kits will be coming out. I have started doing this and it is so great because you get to deal with the sculptor on a more direct level.
I will be tossing these out 😩 and be replacing them all with on brand GHSP paints ONLY possibly from the great Bountiful Baby as they haven’t let me down. I’ve come full circle with my supplies too! Lol it’s always great to start fresh armed with knowledge and experience and I will NEVER go off the path for cheaper low quality supplies ever again!
As requested, I will do some demos and supply comparisons. Keep creating, stay strong and put that passion into those beautiful baby dolls!
Much love ❤️