just what is a reborn baby doll, anyway?
Let’s take a closer look at what makes a doll a reborn baby doll, and why so many people want to own one – or more.
What a Reborn Isn’t
First of all, a reborn baby doll is NOT simply a realistic-looking doll. There are many beautiful and very realistic-looking dolls on the market that are not real reborn dolls.
Ashton Drake baby dolls are one good example of respectably realistic-looking dolls that haven’t been reborned. Berenguer dolls are also popular for reborning, but again, are not “reborns” out of the package, even though they may include detailing and even, in some cases, anatomically correct body parts.
Reborn Baby Dolls and “Reborning”: the Definition
Generally, “reborned” (or “reborn”) means a doll has been altered artistically. Usually, the alterations are to give the doll a much more real appearance, but some reborns look considerably less realistic than life. Zombie, vampire/Gothic, alien, animal (such as baby chimps or puppies) and fairy reborns are examples.
In fact, technically, any doll can be reborned – vintage vinyl-bodied dolls, cloth dolls, even fashion dolls such as Barbies, Monster High, or Bratz.
However, the vast majority of reborn doll collectors are looking for a doll that could, at least at a glance, be mistaken for a real baby (and sometimes, they actually are!). Because of this desire on the part of buyers, reborn baby doll artists take great pains and many hours of intensive and creative work taking blank doll kits, or sometimes, factory-shelf dolls, from plastic to fantastic.
What Reborn Dolls are Made Of
The most common plastic material for a lifelike reborn doll is vinyl. Silicone is a newer medium, but it’s rarer – and much more expensive. Vinyl doll kits created specifically for reborning, like those at Bountiful Baby, are generally a very soft vinyl that actually “squishes” when you squeeze the body part. They also have a uniquely silky, almost velvety feel as compared to typical plastic toy store dolls.
Who Buys Reborn Dolls, and Why?
People love reborn dolls because it simply feels good to hold a baby in one’s arms. In fact, scientists link a release of oxytocin, a “feel-good” chemical in the human body, to holding and hugging an infant or a small child. Some professionals even believe holding and cuddling reborn dolls – or any doll that has a realistic feel – might be healing to the body and/or mind, as witnessed by this interesting study with Alzheimer’s patients.
Another reason reborn dolls are popular is that they allow for role playing. This phenomenon isn’t much different from the explosion of sims and other online or game worlds where the player “becomes” the character, and acts appropriately to that character. Some reborn doll owners cuddle their dolls, most dress them and change their outfits, and a few actually take them out in carriages or in baby carriers for a stroll at the mall or a day in the park.
Yet others simply appreciate the art work that goes into crafting a good reborn doll. People collect all kinds of things. Reborn dolls are just another option of items to collect for their own empiric value – they look sweet and are fun to own.
The Mass Appeal of the One-of-a-Kind Reborn Doll
Whatever their appeal, reborn dolls have exploded onto the collector’s scene as a fascinating, fun and rewarding hobby. Some people have five, ten or even more reborns; others have just one very special doll. Whatever one’s preference, reborn dolls are appreciated the world over, and the phenomenon only appears to be growing