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Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Reborn Dolls?

Reborn dolls are known for being incredibly life-like. They are made out of either manufactured play vinyl or a vinyl doll kit. There might come a time where you want to create your own Reborn doll, or you need to make some touch-ups to one you already have.

Painting a Reborn doll can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure what paint you are supposed to use. Since the material the doll is made out of is vinyl, there is some leniency on what type of paint you can put on them.

So, can you use acrylic paint on reborn dolls? Yes!There are so many acrylic paints available that are specifically designed for painting on Reborn dolls. Apart from this specially formulated acrylic, you can use any acrylic paint mentioned in this article. Let’s read on!

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Dolls?

When you are painting dolls, acrylic paint is going to be one of the best options available to you. Acrylic paint dries on its own without the need for any heat, and the process happens pretty quickly. This means that the paint has the potential to dry while you are still working on it.

My favorite and top pick is always Arteza Acrylic Paints. They have so many different colors, and the quality is amazing! I usually use Arteza Paints for all my projects.

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In some cases, such as on vinyl, the doll might need some extra preparation before the acrylic paint will adhere properly to the surface. When you are choosing an acrylic paint, make sure you choose one that is known to work with the material your doll is made of.

Another paint that works great on reborn dolls is this Vallejo Skin Color Set. It’s still acrylic paint, but it focuses more on the flesh/skin colors. I highly recommend this set.

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You may need a primer before you apply the acrylic paint, depending on the doll’s material. This Vallejo Doll Surface Primer is recommended before using acrylic paint on the surface. If you take extra steps to prepare the doll for adhesion, acrylic paint will work with any doll you want to paint.

Acrylic paints are great for painting detailed facial features and adding nail color to the dolls. As for adding blush to the dolls, acrylic isn’t recommended and isn’t considered the best option.

Acrylic paint might not be the best option for dolls that are going to be used frequently. They require a primer to stay on properly and a varnish to prevent the paint from rubbing off. Just like buying a doll from the store, acrylic paint will rub off over time with excessive play.

How to Paint a Reborn Doll With Acrylic Paint

The first thing you will need to do is make sure you have all the supplies you need. Purchase a Reborn Doll Kit like this one here. This will be the easiest way to create your first doll. In most cases, the kit should have everything you need to complete the skin and body colors.

If you don’t want to purchase a kit or you don’t want to use the paints that came in the kit, you can purchase acrylic paints for the process. You will also want to purchase dye to develop the skin tone, paintbrushes, and sponges. When you have all the supplies, start by wiping the doll parts down with nail polish remover.

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The nail polish remover will get rid of any factory sealant or color that is already on the doll. This will give you a completely blank state to paint on. Next, you will need to wash all parts of the doll with dish soap and warm water. Make sure you let them dry completely before adding any paint. 

To achieve maximum adhesion, you will want to prime the doll. You can do this with clear acrylic gesso. When the gesso is dry, you will need to develop an undertone for the color of the skin. Use a dye that is light red, purple, or blue. Mix the dye according to the instructions from the manufacturer.

When the dye is ready, apply it to the inside of the doll head, legs, arms, and torso. Applying it to the inside will create a pinkish, light purple, or blue undertone on the skin of the doll. Rinse out the excess dye and dry the parts with a paper towel or lint-free cloth.

Next, you will want to add veins to the doll. You can do this with various colored paints in different reds and blues. Add them to the head, torso, and any other part that a baby would have visible veins. Let this layer completely dry before painting on top of it with flesh-tone paint.

When the veins are completely dry, you can start mixing the flesh-tone paint. Add equal parts of yellow, red, and blue until a brown color forms. Lighten the paint with white paint until you reach the skin color you are trying to make. Using a sponge, apply the flesh-colored paint, covering the entire doll, and using thin layers.

It is recommended to add several thin layers in varying shades and tints to get the most realistic look. Mix lighter and darker skin paints for creases on the skin, knees, and elbows. Don’t forget to add any blemishes, like a birth mark, to create realism.

Create the desired hair color for the doll. For the best results, use varying shades for dimension. Paint small, thin strands of hair on the head of the doll. The best paintbrush for this will be a thin-tipped paintbrush. Don’t forget to paint eyebrows with the same paint.

Next, you will want to add some color to the lips and nails. Stick with a natural-looking color. You want the doll to look real and natural, not like it has make-up on. It is not common that you will see a newborn baby with bright pink lipstick or purple nail polish, so it is best to avoid these colors.

If the doll has open eyes, paint the color of the irises and make sure to add a pupil. If the doll’s eyes are closed, use a thin paintbrush to add eyelashes. After you are finished and all of the paint is completely dry, apply a sealant to protect your work.

How Do You Seal Acrylic Paint on a Reborn Doll?

The vinyl that Reborn dolls are made out of are stained extremely easily. Anything that comes in contact with the doll that has any kind of pigment can leave a stain. Adding a sealant to your doll will provide some extra protection and work as a barrier against stains and scratches.

I highly recommend this Vallejo Sealer. It’s designed to work with all paints, but it’s great if you are using the Vallejo paint set I talked about earlier in the article.

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Adding a sealant to a Reborn doll can also add texture to the skin of the doll. It is recommended to use a matte finish sealant, as this will most closely resemble how skin actually looks. The matte finish will soften any glossy texture on your doll.

Dip a paintbrush into the sealant and gently rub it over the surface of the Reborn doll. Keep the sealant layers as thin as possible. This will help prevent adding too much sealant. After you brush the sealant on, use a make-up sponge to smooth it out. Wait for the sealant to dry then assemble the doll.

Final Thoughts

Painting Reborn dolls can be a great hobby and will turn out amazing with the proper process and supplies. The dolls are made with a vinyl material, so you have plenty of options on what kind of paint to use. One of the best paints, however, is acrylic paint.

Acrylic paint is great to use for the skin tone and fine details of the doll. If you want to add blush to the doll, acrylic might not work that well. The process of painting Reborn dolls is a learning process, and you will get better the more you practice.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your reborn doll turns out great. Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

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