Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sealing Air Dry Paints/Sealing vinyl doll kits

There has been a lot of talk lately about the "need" to seal both air dry paints and vinyl kits before painting with air dry paints.  

I want to clarify, and I hope this reaches around the world, that there is NO NEED to seal the two popular air dry paints that I use (LDC and Art and Magic Water Borne air dry paints) nor is there a need to seal the vinyl before painting.

There are several ways that this information could have been misinterpreted.

There are some air dry paints that DO REQUIRE sealing.  One of them, that I know of, is Luminaire air dry paints.  I have never used then and I never will as I have never heard that much good of them.
Those who use Luminaire  should probably seal them as recommended by the manufacturer. 

Years ago, it was noticed that JoSonja's air dry paints were fading.  Artists at the time learned that if they sealed the paints that they would no longer fade.  I do not use JoSonja's and am not sure if they still fade or if the formula has been changed.  

When I began using LDC air dry paints, I desired to use them on an Ashton Drake "silicone/vinyl" doll, as they call them.  We know that silicone and vinyl cannot be mixed but that is what they have been called.  As far as anyone knew, only Genesis Heat Set paints would stick to this super soft, super slick vinyl.

A thought occurred to me to see if I could use the air dry paints AFTER I applied a layer of full strength Genesis Matte Varnish.  I baked it until I knew for sure that it was cured, then painted the doll with the LDC paints.  

I had no shine issues with the doll.  
It is true that acrylic paints can form a shine as you work.  I do not like shine on my dolls.  

I was SO thrilled with the results and that doll won three awards at the 2009 Tiny Treasures Reborn Contest.  She was named doll of the year!  

I loved how the slight texture made the paints pop and I had no shine, so I decided to try it on a regular vinyl kit.  
The results were just as stunning.
Did I NEED to "seal" the vinyl?  No, not at all.  LDC paints, as well as Art and Magic paints, can be used right on the bare vinyl.
I just prefer using the Genesis Matte Varnish (or Satin varnish) first as I love the effect it gives.  

And I have tried the same technique with Folk Art Glass and Tile medium.  This gives a nice finish to the doll as well but is not as matte as the Genesis and sometimes I do end up with a sheen on the doll.  That can be brought back down again by touching up the shiny/sheeny places with the Folk Art when the paint is cure. 

Have I ever "sealed" either of these two air dry paints?  No.  Never.  There is no need to seal them in as they will and do bind to the vinyl for a lasting application.  

Have I ever had any LDC or Art and Magic dolls returned to me?
I have had two LDC painted doll returned for re-blushing.   Both were made around the same time and I was working out of the same pots of blushes.  
Either I had my mixture wrong or there was something wrong with the paint but the blushes faded.  Nothing else on the doll faded at all.  All the veins were present, lips beautiful, nails gorgeous, skin tones intact.  Just the blushes were faded.  I have not had that problem since those two dolls, and of course I threw away those blushes and started fresh.  

My hope is that everyone in the reborn world will know that good quality air dry paints do not need to be sealed, nor does the vinyl need prepped with varnish.  Prepping vinyl is just a preference. 

Spread the word!



  1. Hi I am so confused! I live in the uk and have tried everywhere for an answer even art shops and model shops and everyone tells me a different answer. I am going to start customising my little ponies. They are vinyl. I want to know what paints i can use and if I need to prime first and use sealant and if so what types? Most answers i get online are for America, like I've looked everywhere and the paints you mention in this article aren't available anywhere. What exactly do I need to be looking for? Like for instance I want to use acrylic but was told to get vinyl acrylic however no one has heard of it here. Should i get water based. Please tell me the bare minimum i need? I am on a tight budget and would prefer to work with acrylic since it can be watered down but since the ponies may get a light wash or hair washed i need to know how to waterproof it. Thanks

  2. Well now, that would be confusing! You are talking about the My Little Ponies by name, correct?
    I think the BEST paints to use would be the Baby FX line of air dry paints and they are available in the UK: http://mgdolls.com/magento/
    Scroll down for the dealers listed.
    They are acrylic paints specifically made for vinyl dolls...or...ponies! :) I think the paints and the powders would work very well for you. They are water based paints that use a medium (slow dry) as well as have sealers. I think the best sealer would be the Sure Bond since these ponies may become wet. I don't really know of a "waterproof" product for vinyl but the paints should hold up to a light wash and hair washing as we do the same with vinyl dolls. Start with the introductory set of the paints and the powders. Those two sets will have everything you need to get started. If there are too many colors in the starter set of paints, you can just order the colors you want (there are a LOT of colors!) and add the slow dry and matting agent. Let me know how this goes! I'd love to see the ponies too. I am a horse lover and owner and my daughter grew up with My Little Ponies. XXOO

  3. Yes my little ponies! :-D I love them! They were my favourite toy as a child and thank you so so much for the advice and very useful link. I shall go have a look in a bit :-) good to know they sell something to make them light waterproof. :-) many thanks. I prob won't be starting til next year. But I'll get in contact when I've done one :-)

  4. I just started the reborn process and I was wondering if I should put the matte finish at the end or should I put it at the beginning also I was wondering if I should change up my paint for the complexion I like the Genesis but I want to know there's better paint

    1. Hi Diana! I think that reading through this blog post should answer your questions in full, especially why I have used matte varnish before painting and that it is not needed...just preferred. I now use the discontinued Baby FX paints and paint directly on the vinyl, matting in the end. I have also used some of the new ReBorn FX matte varnish and liked it as well. I greatly prefer air dry paints over Genesis paints...by far :)