Making babies is all in a week’s work for Fiona

A MOTHER is making babies to order at the rate of one a week. But although these newborn babies look and feel just like the real thing, they are made of vinyl and sand and are the new craze among baby and doll lovers. The craze which began in the Stat

A MOTHER is making babies to order at the rate of one a week.

But although these newborn babies look and feel just like the real thing, they are made of vinyl and sand and are the new craze among baby and doll lovers.

The craze which began in the States is taking off over here, with more and more people in the UK buying and selling the so-called Reborn dolls on the internet.

The super-realistic dolls began as a grass-roots movement by modellers disassembling and reassembling traditional dolls - hence the reborn moniker - and now some even have battery-operated breathing mechanisms and heartbeats.


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Today they are the hottest thing in the world of arts and crafts and a multi-million pound industry on eBay.

"Reborn artist" Fiona Armstrong, 45, from Blackhorse Lane in Hitchin is one of the people satisfying the demand for life-like babies. She began making the newborn baby dolls last year and now makes one a week from home under the name Dot's Reborn Angels.

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Having four children of her own, two daughters and two sons, two of whom are in sixth form and two at university, she said: "You think I would have had enough of babies, but I still love them."

Explaining how she started, Fiona said: "I saw them for sale on the internet and did lots of looking into it. I'm a crafty type of person so I enjoy making things. I made some for people I know and then began selling them on the internet.

"It takes about a week in my spare time to make one, over 20 hours, and they sell for about £250.

"You buy them in kit form and people ask for this colour hair or skin tone. You paint them with oil paints and you have to cook them in the oven so the paint sinks in, which the children always find funny, and the hair is pinned on one hair at a time. Then I send them off with outfits. There's a huge variation possible."

"You would easily mistake them for a real baby until you noticed they weren't moving or breathing that is. Some people do make portraits but I think that's a bit distasteful.

"It comes from America and there's huge interest over there. It has been in the UK for about five years. It's a bit of an underground world.

"Collectors will pay huge amounts for certain ones. There was one on the internet recently that sold for £8,500. Prices can go up if people really want a particular one and are bidding on it."

When asked who buys the fake babies, Fiona said: "It really varies - all sorts of people buy them, from young girls who want a baby, to people of my mother's generation who dress them up in old fashioned clothing and put them in retro prams. But I find guys tend not to like them - they find them a bit creepy or don't see the point.

"There was a Channel Four programme recently that portrayed it as weird city, but I think there are a lot of people who collect things. People have always collected dolls and it's mostly collectors who have moved from porcelain dolls to these very life-like ones.

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