Thursday, March 18, 2010

REAL weighting tutorial!

Here all this time I thought I had a GOOD weighting tutorial on my blog. I went back to it today to copy it as I prepare for my upcoming class. I was surprised that my "tutorial" was simply and explanation between the weighting of reborns in the past and how we do it today! Duh~ So...I decided just to go ahead and create a REAL weighting tutorial!

TNGUN Weighting and Assembly Tutorial

The first step into weighting and assembling your doll is to make sure that you have all the necessary supplies.

The List:
polyfill stuffing
your finished doll parts
quality doll body
zip ties with the small heads
plastic pellets or "baby fat" pellets
granulated glass beads (not powder fine but the "B" beads
E6000 glue
two sized of forceps
small pier
small scissors
nail clippers
powder free VINYL gloves (Latex gloves will deteriorate as will balloons)
Your favorite way to scent your baby. I use baby socks filled with powder, stitched closed


Please keep in mind that no two reborns are weighted the same. There are a lot of factors in weighting a doll from the size of the vinyl limbs to the overall size of the body and your desired outcome for that particular doll.

A few days before you expect to assemble your doll, weight the limbs with a combination of glass beads and stuffing. The kit I am using is a larger Adrie Stoete kit. Adrie tends to make very chubby, big limbs so it would be a mistake to completely fill this limb with glass beads.

Use a funnel to pour some beads into the foot and up to the calf of the leg. Using forceps, firmly pack in stuffing to just above the knee or so. Top this off with glass beads.

Using E6000 glue, my glue of choice, pour a layer of the glue over the opening to the limb. Set in a safe place to dry. (I always fill all my limbs and then apply the glue when I am sure I like the weight of the limbs)



Repeat the procedure for the arms adjusting the amount of glass beads and stuffing accordingly. The most important point to weighting limbs is that you balance the weight. Do not put all the glass beads in the lower part of the limb and fill the rest with stuffing. Your dolls limbs will just hang down and the doll will not feel real. It's really important to have weight up in the thigh and shoulder.

Set all the part in an undisturbed area to dry. (use the glue in a ventilated area) Periodically check the parts for bubbles in the first 15 minutes of drying time. The limbs will be fully dry in 24 hours but it is a good idea to let them "air out" a day or two longer.




After the limbs are dry and aired out, it's time to weight the body while assembling the doll.
Start with the legs. This doll is a 3/4 limb doll which means that there are hips and shoulders to the cloth body. The technique is the same for both the hip and shoulder on a 3/4 limb doll. Of course this has to change on bodies that have caps for full limbs, for bodies where the limb goes directly into the torso of the body and for 1/4 limbed bodes.

Place a small amount of stuffing in the leg openings. You want this to be firm enough to support the leg but not so full that the doll has hippo hips.




Gently tighten the zip ties around the leg flange. You will leave this loose during the full construction of you doll so that you can make adjustments where needed as you balance her out.


Now it is time to fill the torso of the doll. The arms are done after the torso is filled.
All bodies are different and this body just happens to have a nice gathered tushie.
On a body like this, I use two of my baby powder filled socks and tuck one on each side of the tush. This creates firmness while remaining soft to the pat.


Once again, all babies are filled differently. For this doll, I placed some baby fat pellets in a nylon stocking and dropped it down into the bottom of the doll. I keep my doll sitting upright for this application. Then I dumped in loose baby fat pellets to surround the gaps around the nylon sock.


I place another baby powder filled sock in the belly of the doll and begin to fill in the gaps with small pieces of stuffing.


When I have the bottom filled, I then prepare 1-3 vinyl gloves lightly filled with glass beads. I never, ever place glass beads in a nylon sock. Even double filled, they leak. I use the vinyl gloves as they won't corrode and they move so nice creating a real feeling to the doll.
This is a big doll and her mommy wanted a lot of weight so I used three gloves for her.


Laying the body down on the back, I cup the glove in my hand and lay it along the back of the body with the knot down into the lower part of the doll.


I then take a second glove and do the same thing but laying it towards the front/belly of the doll. I usually do not need to put stuffing in between them but instead take a thin layer and place between the glove and the back and the glove and the belly. Then I fill in under the arm pits...not tightly but just enough to give support. As you can see, I have left a pocket.....

This pocket is for the last glove, which is folded in half and place in the center to front chest of the doll. It's important to use common sense in where to place this. You do not want your doll to fall backwards or forwards. You will adjust this placement after the arms and sometimes after the head is on.


Fill in the top of the body with stuffing~again not packed in there, just enough to be firm while allowing free movement of the doll. Than add your arms in the same manner as you did the legs. LIGHTLY stuff the shoulders....we don't want any football playing babies here!
Lightly tighten the zip ties.


Now for the head. I have a HUGE pet peeve when it comes to reborn dolls. I despise nostrils in the air! LOL This should not be as real babies do not always lay around with their nostrils flung up in the air. I am going to show you how to prevent this from happening.

The formula is simple too! Don't put your weight in the top of the dolls head! Fill the top of the head FIRMLY with stuffing making it more packed in the back of the head while allowing some room into the lower part of the face.


Take another vinyl glove, open it up and place the fingers down into the center FRONT of the head, then wrap the opening around the head flange.


Pour in glass beads.


Use a wood craft stick to help push the beads down into the fingers then add more beads as needed.


Tie a knot in the end of the glove. You can see here how the glove is mostly to the front, in the chin area of the doll. This is very important for proper balance of your doll.
Fill in the empty area's with stuffing. Make sure this is packed well for security but not so stuffed that the dolls eyes bulge out.


Now it is time to place the head on the doll. Lightly tighten the zip tie, pick up the doll and see how she moves. Lay her back down. Does she lay in a realistic way? If not, remove any parts that you need to an make adjustments. Test her again and again until you think that the doll feels real in your arms and looks real when you lie her down. It is not uncommon for me to spend an hour to an hour and a half weighting a doll. If I just cannot get it right, I leave her alone for many hours and test her again later when I am less stressed.


Once the doll passes all tests, tighten all the zip ties, clip with a rounded nail clipper so that the ends are smooth, and if you can, tuck the head of the tie into the body casings.


The finished reborn baby waiting for a cuddle~

Happy Baby Making!

43 comments:

  1. Wow! That is an amazingly detailed tutorial. I've saved it, as I have all of your other ones. The lengths you go to in order to make your dolls "just right" shows your integrity. It's no wonder you are so highly thought of by other reborners!
    Wendy

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  2. Thank you Wendy! Wow, you made my day :) ((((HUGS))))

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  3. What a marvelous tutorial! I posted a question on a forum about my babies head not laying on their chest when on their backs. I was sent to this tutorial & you have addressed many problems I have had with the body filler! Thank you so much...you have made me a better reborner!!
    mjrain11@msn.com

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  4. June M from Oz. Love the tutorial will have to try it with my next lot of reborns. XXXX June ( Sara Zata's Reborn Nursery)

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  5. Thanks for the tutorial, I am not a reborn artist but I just paid out a huge amount of money for a reborn doll imported from America, (I live in the UK) and was very unhappy with her body and weighting and now I can see why! first of all I can see from the pictures that my dolls body is on backwards! which explains why she arches back, he head lols back and her arms and feet the same. She has a huge bulge in the front inbetween her legs and no butt! (Because it is obviously on the front) She has weight in her bum, but the rest of her torso is pure stuffing, you can feel it, but she is adament that she has been reborning for 6 years and that if I tried to make my own I would see how much work goes into them! which of course I understand as I follow blogs and forums etc and know exactly what goes into them! I have spun her head around, (which seems to only have a slight weight in the crown at the back) and this looks alot better as she no longer leans back in an unatural position. unfortunately though her arms and legs are now on the wrong side! I may have to take her apart and buy the kit and try to make her body again myself, so thankyou for the tutorial! x :D

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    1. I seem to be having the same problem. It's almost as it the body was back to front as I always thought the zip ties on the head part goes to the back!! She looks like she has a widows hump and her butt is flat with a paunch belly lol... So I'm gonna have to undo her all and turn her head round! :(

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    2. Oh my goodness! I am horrified to read both of your stories! It is not THAT difficult to tell which way the body goes on! Grrrr! Rant over!
      Ladies, I do hope that you can get your dolls bodies back on the way they are supposed to be!
      Hugs!
      Debbie

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  6. Oh my gracious Anonymous, that is terrible! I am sorry that your baby is not right and hope you can fix her up with the help of this tutorial. Poor backwards baby! If I can help in any way, please let me know.
    Many blessings,
    Debbie

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  7. Wow, I really have learned a lot from this tutorial, and Im off to buy some gloves tommorrow! Thanks so much for generously sharing with us.

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  8. I have not heard of Baby Fat. What is it?

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  9. Baby fat is a pellet that is soft and squishy. It looks like a plastic pellet and can be found at CR Crafts and other places. It is very nice.

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  10. Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial! It is quite different than how I was taught to do it and I'm glad I'm learning a different way. I think it's great how finicky you are about the weight distribution in the dolls, I'm learning to be the same. I did have a few questions, if you wouldn't mind please.

    When filling the limbs you do a layer of glass beads, then stuffing, then another layer of glass beads, correct? But before you add the glue over the top, do you top off the limb with a second layer of stuffing? Or do you just put glue directly on the glass beads?

    Also, I love the idea of using vinyl gloves with the glass beads to evenly distribute the weight in the body. However, I'm worried about the loose baby fat pellets coming into contact with the vinyl gloves, and from what I've heard baby fat pellets + vinyl= disaster. Is this something I should be concerned about inside the body? I'd like to know about your experience with the gloves and the baby fat pellets.

    Again, thank you so much!

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  11. Hello Roxy!
    Thanks for commenting.
    In regard to filling the limbs, each limb is different. Some, on very small babies I fill the entire limb with glass beads and put the glue right over the beads. On larger dolls, I do layer the beads and stuffing, but the position is different from doll to doll. MOST of the time I end up with glass beads at the top so I place the glue right over the beads. Sometimes I top off with stuffing. Whatever it takes to create balance is what I do. :)
    As far as I know, the baby fat pellets that created the problem with contact with vinyl are no longer available so I don't worry about the product that I use. I've taken some dolls of mine apart that I've used the combination in and there was not a problem at all. You can always place the baby fat pellets in nylon stockings if you are really concerned.
    Thanks for stopping by!
    XXOO

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  12. Love this tut. But I have a ?and need a kick in the right direction I have 2a monkeys bindi and binki that I need to weight and have no idea how a baby monkey should be weighted? Any tips or ideas? You'll be my hero... tiffany - angel3rd@yahoo.com

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    1. The kick would simply be to weight them just like a reborn doll. Balance is the key. Weight will allow them to move more realistically and on these smaller sculpts, the more weight the better as small sculpts tend to not move as well and need the weight to help them out. Make sure that it's not stuffed firm; leave room for cuddling and movement. Just add good weight. Steel shot would be great in these!
      Does that make sense?

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    2. thank you for this I am going to weight my next baby this way

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  13. Hi, we just received a doll from eBay and as soon as we took her out of the box her leg fell off. She is also filled with sand and so her body is not proportioned correctly. She has a no return policy, so I guess we are going to fix her ourselves. Where could we get the pellets to fill her up?

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    1. Hi Julie,
      I sure hate to hear stories like this. Would you mind emailing me the seller's ID or auction link so that I can be informed of this seller? I often get asked to give opinions when buyers are considering dolls to buy. tngun05@gmail.com Thanks!
      The best place for one stop shopping in order to fix your personal dolls is Bountiful Baby. I don't think the link will work here but I'll paste it anyway and you can copy and paste it into your browser. This is their weighting and stuffing page:

      http://www.bountifulbaby.com/seaside/index/supplies?_s=bfOgudmvSxPpdVnI&_k=eFpSfgFr&s=311&t=Category+Number&d=false&c=1311

      I hope that helps! Good luck with the new doll :)

      Debbie

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  14. I love this tutorial! I have a question for you, can you weight an all vinyl baby? Would it be the same process or a different technique? I found some amazing older anatomically correct dolls with soft, hollow bodies. They look very close to a real newborn & would make great first dolls to try to reborn.

    -Vanessa

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    1. Thank you Vanessa, I'm glad that you found it to be useful. :)

      Yes, you can weight an all vinyl baby. You can weight the limbs in the normal way but with less glass beads as if you make them too heavy, the weight will pull on the joints of the doll and cause the limbs to come off.
      For the body, simply use the vinyl gloves with glass beads and fiber fill, leaving room for the limbs and head to pop back into the joints. (Heat the vinyl up if you cannot get the joints on and off.

      Does that help?

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    2. Awesome, thanks! I already did all the limbs on the dolls. The vinyl had almost a slight transparency & once I weighted the limbs the color looked more real. Now, to try adding the magnets for pacifiers before I weight the heads. Do you happen to have a tutorial on that? I could only find an unhelpful one on YouTube. Can't wait for the kids

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    3. Sounds like it is going well!
      I don't have a tutorial on the pacifiers except on my complete reborning DVD.
      I'm sorry about that :(

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  15. is there a reason you do not use plugs instead of the glue?

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    1. Yes, because I don't like how stiff they make the top of the leg. I will use them on a soft Ashton Drake or Masterpiece doll to give extra support for the zip tie pressure but otherwise, I just do not use them.

      GREAT question! Thank you for asking :)

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  16. I recently got a doll kit and it is all vinyl. But this one that I got is a real soft vinyl. I have already put her together but the limbs have nothing in them. I done it the way I was told how and most of it is polyfil and a portion of pellets. My question is,should I redo this kit as you showed in this tutorial? It makes more since than how I have done the kits before.Plus would I do the head the same way? I have often found in my dolls in trying to position them,that either the head falls forward or backwards and the arms want to do nothing but stick out.Can you please help me correct this? BTW,I love your tutorials.I will be receiving my first reborn kit.I am excited and scared at the same time..

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    1. Hello Alice,
      When weighting the soft vinyl doll, you can do it the same way making sure though to not pack the stuffing so hard that it distorts the shape of the vinyl.

      YES! If your doll does not feel right, go ahead and re-do it according to the tutorial, making changes where common sense tells you to. Carry the doll around before you full tighten the zip ties to see how the doll moves and feels and make adjustments as needed. :)

      I think you can see clearly how to weight the head so you don't have that head problem and with the arms, just make sure you don't stuff stuffing tightly under the arm pits. The arms need room in the body to fall into place naturally. Does that make sense?

      Thanks for the compliment :) I am so glad they are helpful.

      Congratulations on your first reborn kit!
      It is scary but you will do fine!

      Debbie

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  17. obrigada...obrigada ...Deus lhe pague ! <3

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  18. Hey - I bought a reborn that need. Ore stuffing in her body. What can I do to make her bigger? Thanks!

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  19. I bought a reborn that needs more stuffing the body. How can I fix , please? Thanks!

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  20. Do you mean that you just want her "fatter"?
    If that is the case, you can remove the zip tie around her head by moving the cloth away from the opening and clipping it with a tiny scissor. Hold onto the head while you do that so the head does not fall to the ground.
    Once you remove the head, remove the clipped tie and replace it with a new one and only tighten it enough to give you something to hang onto while you add more stuffing and weight using this tutorial.
    I hope that helps!

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  21. Hi there, I love this tutorial and it will be very helpful in making up the Bindi monkey I bought for my little girl.
    I wonder though if anyone here knows where I can find the baby fat pellets in Australia?

    Thanks

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    1. Thank you! I am glad it helped.
      I do not know where to get them in Australia (but I didn't look either) but if you cannot find them, use the plastic pellets and add more weight with the glass beads :)

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  22. Wonderful tutorial! Thank you so much. I have worked very hard to improve my reborning skills and always felt like the weighting was off with my dolls but didn't know why as I was following directions from another source. Now I see why! Thank you again for sharing your secrets very giving of you!

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    1. My pleasure Kathleen! Thank you for visiting my blog and sharing!
      Happy dolly weighting :)
      Debbie

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  23. Hi Debbie, I am brazilian and I have just read your tutorial, it is wonderfull...I am reading all your blog...congratulations..
    God bless you..

    Nara.

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    1. Thank you Nara! I am so delighted that the tutorial and my blog is helping you along :)
      So sorry to rob all of you time with the blog (giggles!)
      Continue to enjoy and again, thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
      May God bless you and your reborn journey as well <3
      Debbie

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  24. Is there a way to add more stuffing without removing head.

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    1. Hi Heather. Well, you can remove a limb...but something has to come off in order to add more stuffing. Unless you love to sew and want to undo a seam on the body. Ewe. I despise sewing so I'd rule that one right out! It really is not difficult to remove the head and replace the zip tie. You can buy new, thin zip ties from Nonie's Angels Nursery http://www.noniesangelsnursery.com/
      They are much better and thinner than what you can get at the hardware store. Good luck and do let me know if I can offer any help.
      Debbie

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  25. Found the answer to my question further back about weighting and stuffing an all vinyl doll. In your opinion is it worth adding anything into the head as the head cant flop anyway being on a vinyl body. Also found it interesting to read about your method of using vinyl gloves to take the beads, and weighting not to be placed in the bottom of the limbs, so do you add fibre by pushing down into the hands and feet then and build up then add the weighting further up?
    Thanks
    Sue

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    1. Hi Sue,
      Depending on the size of the all vinyl body doll, I think I would still weight the head to maintain balance in the doll.
      I do put either glass beads or poly pellets into the feet and hands of the dolls, in most cases. Each doll is different and requires it's own special weighting techniques. This tutorial is merely a guide to get us started. But yes, when you are putting fiber fill into the lower part of the limbs, use small pieces and push down using a hemostat. Make sure there aren't any gaps or big blobs of fill, but rather make it uniform and firm, making sure not to distort the shape of the vinyl.
      have fun!
      Debbie

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  26. This is my first reborn so not sure of she is supposed to feel this way...I can tell that the glass beads were put into limbs first and then polyfill...are they supposed to feel "crunchy"? I love the vinyl feel but she feels "crunchy". She also has a gathered bottom but the beading feels like it's in the belly and the chest is kind of thin. I'm kind of scared right now to disassemble because I don't want to make things worse. Any tips? Are reborns supposed to feel like this? I've been waiting ages to buy a reborn because I wanted it to be perfect..just want to make sure it's right

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    1. Hi Jessica,
      Congratulations on the purchase of your first reborn!
      There are some beads that you can hear a "crunch" when you press the limbs, but it too depends on how tightly the polyfil is packed in. The placement of the beads and the things inside her body all boil down to balance. Does your baby feel balanced when you pick her up?
      What you feel inside could be loose plastic pellets. Some are very smooth and can't really be felt without great effort through the cloth body but some are jagged and can be felt easier. It is okay to feel them although I like to have them more concealed and not so obvious. I buy the very smooth tiny pellets that are hard to feel.
      A big problem I have with bodies are that the chests are just too thin/skinny. Babies tend to have wide, thick chests, but most bodies are made with thin ones. I almost always have my bodies custom made to allow for a wider, fuller chest and chubbier belly. What does your doll look like dressed? Does she move well and cuddle well? Does her chin tuck nicely into her chest?

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