Step 13: Weighting the Doll Parts

Having completed the painting and curing of the individual doll parts (as well as adding on the eye lashes and hair), it is time to weight the doll before you can sew it all back together. To do this, you will need a mean to control the mass with precision. There are two ways to achieve that for life size dolls: with either glass or plastic pellets. Obviously, glass beads cost more but they provide a more realistic weight than plastic pellets which tend to take up more space and be cheaper. You can decide on any type; however, whatever your choice, do get both small and large beads. Smaller beads are excellent for the head, but for the limbs and the body, you will need the bigger ones.

Weighting the Head

How to Make Life Size Dolls Step 13 For the head, place it upside down on a bowl with some cotton wool underneath to protect the fragile vinyl. Next, shove some cotton wool filling inside from the neck opening, so as to create the base for your beads. Then, with a stocking that is made from finely woven fabric (to ensure that the pore size is small enough to avoid the beads from passing through), tie a knot on one side and add in your weighing material of choice from the open end until you feel the weight is exactly as you want it to be. Tie the other end to lock all the beads inside. Also, do not forget to take the weight of the vinyl head into consideration. Then, slowly push the filled stocking into the head and position it at the center. Take some more cotton wool that you will push into the sides of the stocking and on top, so that the stocking does keep its place at the center. Finally, when you’re done, close the neck using some more cotton wool.

Weighing Down the Limbs and Body

For the limbs, more so than for the head, you will have to be extremely accurate with the weight. Remember that the limbs weigh in about half of what you used for the head. So, take another stocking and prepare it as you did for the head. Then, add in large glass beads or plastic pellets. When you use those big glass beads, you occupy twice the volume as smaller ones while only adding half the weight. This is why you should use those large beads for the limbs, so that the weight is evenly spread.
For the body, you will have to make 3 different stockings filled with small beads as the body is the part of the baby that weighs the most. Now, one of the stockings goes in the middle of the body with cotton wool all around it. For the other two, place them along the same axis, one closer to the neck and the other towards the hips.
Now that all the stockings are in place, you should check the weight of all the parts and decide whether you need to add more weight to some part or remove a little from another.

The Belly Plate

Many reborn artists like giving their final life size dolls a belly plate before finishing them off. This serves two purposes; first, it ensures that the torso retains its actual shape, second it adds in some natural weight. You can purchase such belly plates on the Internet quite easily, depending on the size of the baby you are using and the body you are using. However, beware that when using belly plates, you should first insert the plate inside the body before adding in the cotton wool filling and the stockings with beads. This will allow the belly plate to naturally give shape to the baby doll.