ABOUT | HOW TO
Welcome to the Wicked & Sweet Dolls Studio! I'm so excited that you are here because this is where the fun begins!! If you found yourself here then chances are you followed one of my magical unicorns or another one of my fantasy creations here. So now that you're here in my magical realm of fantasy legends and lore, I'd like to tell you more about my heirloom fantasy reborn art dolls & kits to best help you on your way to making your very own fantasy heirloom collectable.
Be forewarned though, fantasy and life-like reborn dolls are the next transition in doll industry history in the making and the sky is the limit, along with your imagination when bringing these kinds of dolls to life. Once you start making them you will be hooked because there are no other dolls like them in the world with this much awesome factor for the serious collector- I should know because if they weren't, I wouldn't bother making them. Now without further ado...
Origin of the Wicked & Sweet Dolls ~ The Beginning
Each of my heirloom fantasy reborn kits started out as a block of clay, then I hand sculpt and refine them into their fantasy form. Once baked and cured in my special convection oven, then I lightly wet sand them to the desired smoothness, dry them and then packaged them up to be shipped out to my factory overseas for production. Once at the factory samples of my kits are made and then handed out to my best fantasy prototype artists to be painted in different styles to get an idea of how they look as completed dolls. Then production is given the go ahead once I have given my approval that the dolls are up to my quality standards. This process takes tedious amounts of planning and months of hard work before I am able to deliver these amazing fantasy kits to professional fantasy and DIY artists.
About Wicked & Sweet Dolls Vinyl Doll Kits
All of my collectable vinyl fantasy reborn doll kits produced by the Wicked & Sweet Dolls Studio ARE NOT completed dolls- unless stated otherwise and are blank vinyl reborn doll kits that were made with the alternative fantasy artist in mind. Collectable blank vinyl kits are usually; 1-head, 2-arms, 2-legs & a Certificate of Authenticity ONLY. You must separately source the following items; including a cloth doll body if not included to complete your collectable heirloom fantasy doll kit.
About Prepping your Wicked & Sweet Dolls Vinyl Kit(s)
It is recommended that you fill a clean sink with warm water and soak your vinyl parts in a warm sudsy bath with Dawn dish soap before painting them. I lightly massage the soapy water over the kit parts washing them with my hands and then let them sit for a while. This helps to remove any factory machining oils that may be on your kit. Then I rinse them and let all parts air-dry until completely dry before starting the painting process. Some people even prefer to boil their kits for 2-3 minutes, but I don't feel comfortable making that recommendation because high heat can alter the vinyl if not closely monitored. Others skip this process completely and are fine- and then others will have the doll half painted and realize that the paint is not properly sticking to the vinyl. So moral of this story is just go through the prep work and save yourself lots of time and avoid headaches later. As an added deterrent to avoid having lingering oils on your kit you may in addition to washing your kit use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol and go over your vinyl with it.
About the Paints & Materials Needed for Wicked & Sweet Dolls Fantasy Kits
Unicorn kits and other vinyl fantasy doll kits offered by the Wicked & Sweet Dolls Studio can be painted (DIY) by yourself, or you may choose to hire a professional reborn fantasy artist to paint your kit for you. Reborn dolls are top of the line collector dolls that take lots of time and premium materials to create to a professional level, so keep in mind that it will be costly. Most well done Reborns sell for around $600-$1,200 and up. Lower end Reborns can be found for $250-$300 but you almost always get what you pay for in this doll industry. So back to the paints and materials! If the price points listed above helped you decide whether to hire a professional or made you decide to be a DIY-er great, I am happy to have helped you! Let's move on now as you learn more.
Typically, Genesis Heat Set paints, Special Air-Dry paints or powders found at reborn art supply stores and on eBay are what is used to paint these types of dolls. I personally prefer to use Genesis Heat Set paints (diluted with Mona Lisa odorless paint thinner- or an equivalent thinner) as I feel that this paint has the best longevity for a reborn collectable and it is a process that I feel most comfortable using as well. It is not recommended that you use Acrylics or Oil Based paints found in most craft stores as most vinyl kits leach oils over time and it causes these types of paints to lift or peel. Again, as stated above it is recommended that you properly prep your kit before starting. I have run my own paint experiments with them as well just to see and have never had any success with them either. All painting methods described above are done in singular layers and repeated as necessary until you achieve your desired look. The kit is then sealed with a compatible Genesis, Air Dry or powders paint sealer.
If choosing to use Genesis Heat Set paints it is recommended that you do not bake the vinyl parts in your home oven. I prefer to use a Convection style table top oven with the assistance of a secondary Taylor brand thermometer to bake my layers of paint at the most accurate curing temperature as possible, however many other artists seem to love using a NuWave Oven. It's all personal preference really and finding what method works best for you. (*Note: Genesis Heat Set paints never cure on their own and must be baked for 8 minutes per each layer separately at a 265-degree heat setting for it to cure properly. Once cured the paint is permanent. Painting and painting effects like skin tone "mottling" can be done using a variety of different style brushes, brush types and sponges. Experimentation is how you will decide what you like to use best...and important to learn on your own as many artists in the reborn industry covet many of their techniques.
Doll Hair for Wicked & Sweet Dolls Kits
The next step is to decide on the hair technique, color and hair type that you would like your doll kit to have. You have two choices on the technique; the first is to buy or make a custom wig to fit your doll and then glue it on. The second technique is to root the hair into the vinyl head with a rooting needle and then using glue as a sealer inside of the head to make the hair stay in permanently. Once you have decided it’s time to decide on a color for the hair and then choose the hair type that you wish to go with. Doll hair is as plentiful as it is now in humans, so you have choices based on your preferences and the overall look that you want your doll to have. There is synthetic hair, real human hair and animal "mohair" like angora, Tibetan mohair and alpaca. You may find doll hair here when available but when sold out you can source hair online. After the hair is done your doll kit is all ready for the insertion of its eyes if not painted or "sleeping.".
Doll Eyes, Installation & Techniques for Wicked & Sweet Dolls Kits
Once your kit is completely painted and finished being sealed you need to find some doll eyes that you think that your kit looks best with, unless you purchased a "sleeping" kit. Many of my fantasy kits have their eyes and eye features already sculpted- so if you decided to paint them that's awesome! But if you are a bit adventurous or you have purchased a life-like kit from me- you do also have the option of using a sharp blade of an X-acto knife to carefully cut the vinyl eye out and buying glass or acrylic doll eyes and inserting those and affixing them in with various glues. Most doll listings will state the size eyes the kit can take, but if not stated you may purchase an eye measuring tool to find the proper fit for your dolls eyes to make this process easier for you. Most eyes are measured in millimeters and can be found on various doll websites and on eBay. In some instances, I may offer them for sale as well. Once those eyes are set you're ready to assemble your doll kit!
How to Assemble Wicked & Sweet Dolls Kits
The assembly of a Wicked & Sweet Dolls vinyl kit consists of a doll body, nylon cable ties, ladies’ stockings and the recommended weighting materials of Poly-Fiber and fine glass beads- or plastic pellets put in the stockings. Once the doll is weighted to your liking it is time to attach the vinyl head, arms, legs- or other fantasy appendages to the dolls body with the nylon cable ties. You do this by running the nylon ties through the doll body channel, then when securely tightened to a snug fit- but not too tight your piece will stay in place on the doll body.
Once done your fantasy reborn doll kit is ready to be dressed as you wish and displayed as a fine collectable for generations to come. Light occasional handling is recommended to keep your doll in the best condition possible.... but please be advised that if the kit purchased is to be made into a DIY doll for a younger child that it is best to omit using the glass beads and plastic poly pellets to weight your doll, and refrain from adding any item to your doll that could pose a choking hazard in the kit assembly process. All of the Wicked & Sweet Dolls vinyl doll kits conform to the United States regulations on phthalate free vinyl, but it's still not a good idea to let your animals or "rug rats" gnaw on them. ;)
How to Care For your Wicked & Sweet Dolls Vinyl Fantasy Doll
After you have had your doll completed and on display for a while it will have most likely attracted dust or some light dirt from handling. This is normal and can be remedied by undressing your doll and then using a warm washcloth in lukewarm water to lightly go over the vinyl parts. Let dry and return your doll to its display area. Please note this is for vinyl care only. Other dolls will be available in the future such as fantasy platinum silicones and they require a different set of care instructions.
Please note that photos shown of completed dolls are only shown as a representation of what your blank vinyl kit could look like once painted using the reborning process by a professional fantasy artist or yourself.
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