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Hello!  First off, I admit I’m a novice when it comes to using air dry paints on reborn dolls.  After I painted some experimental dolls and fiddled around with blending colors for almost a year, I turned my friend, Debbie Henshaw of “They Never Grow Up Nursery”  loose on them, as she is my “go to”  expert on reborning with air dry type paints.  In fact, she has a great new tutorial DVD (using LDC airdry paints).  http://www.theynevergrowupnursery.com/reborning-dvd-course.html

So, Debbie helped me develop these paints and the results can be seen on her blog:   http://theynevergrowupnursery.blogspot.com/2012/11/art-and-magic-water-borne-air-dry.html

Since this is a new venture for me here at HunnyBuns, I’m open to hearing how any of them might be improved.   My expertise lies with Genesis ® Heatset Paints.  I am now writing a new book about using WaterBorne © paints, so look for it soon in my store and on eBay.

In addition to my Pre-Blended Dollmaker’s Colors and/or the BASIC Paint Colors, you’ll want some Liquitex Ultra Matte Gel, which I sell.

VERY IMPORTANT!  I learned from Angie Jones of Lil’ Dumplins Nursery that Folk Art Glass and Tile Medium (which I stock) is a good product to use as a matte finish either under or on top of the paintshttp://lildumplinsnursery.blogspot.com/2012/10/testing-folkart-glass-and-tile-medium.html

YOU MUST, MUST MUST!!!! PREP THE VINYL OR BAKED POLYMER CLAY BEFORE PAINTING!  Got that?  Critical first step...do not skip it.  Without a proper prep coat on bare, clean vinyl, failure is likely.

I've compared prepping bare vinyl with Genesis Matte Varnish, and another with Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium and a third with Clear Liquid Gesso.  I prefer the Folk Art or the Clear Gesso prep to the Genesis Matte because the Matte creates slightly more texture on the bare vinyl (can feel a tiny bit sandpapery) and the WaterBorne paints "grab" that surface very quickly and are difficult to get off if you make a mistake.   I sell all three of these products.

On a positive note, the Genesis Matte KEPT multiple layers of WaterBorne paint from getting any shine, which is good.  The Folk Art prepped doll did begin to show shininess once I began rooting.  But!  Glass & Tile Medium will also do a great job of removing excess shine when used as a final top coat.  Just sponge it on very lightly with a smooth cosmetic sponge (do not pounce!!) anywhere you want it to look less shiny. 


  • You can use any type of dish or well palette for these paints
  • Purified or distilled water to thin
  • Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium or Liquitex Clear Gesso - both sold in my store, and included in any full set of WB paints.
  • Acrylic Retarding Fluid is a good idea to slow down evaporation of the paint ON the doll as well as in the palette.
  • Ultra Matte Gel (sold in 2 sizes on my website) is GREAT to mix in small amounts with your final WaterBorne layers to create a softer, velvety finish.
  • Sponges:  cosmetic wedges and natural sea sponges or cellulose sponges torn into small pieces about 2 inches across.  The new honeycomb sponges are awesome!  Demonstrated on Debbie Henshaw's painting DVD, and I carry them now too.
  • “Art & Magic Water Borne © Paints”sold by the set or individual jars.

First, the Good News :-)

  • You can work on your kit without trips to the oven. Generally, the layers dry within a few minutes and you may proceed.  (Debbie adds:  "I made it a habit NOT to put layer upon layer at the same moment.")  As with Genesis painting, apply one small area of paint at a time and try not to over-paint it immediately in order not to muddy up your color layers. 
  • It takes 24-48 hours for your kit to fully cure or dry.  Rooting can take place after this time.  On humid days, you may find that your kit needs a little more time. The use of a heatgun, set on low, can help.
  • You don’t have to turn your oven on!

Then the “Bad News”  -_-

  • You’ll need brushes not used for Genesis Heatset Paints (or any type of oil paint) in the past – or make sure you have washed yours very thoroughly with dishwashing detergent so that no synthetic oil residue remains in the brush.
  • I've had issues with various containers leaking and paint drying out after use.  I strongly recommend you add a drop or two of water before re-capping your paints.  After you get the amount of paint you need to use, re-cap each jar quickly.
  • Since these are AIR DRY paints, you won't be able to leave them on your palette, but will have to store the leftover thinned paints in airtight jars.  You can purchase several sizes of jars from HunnyBuns Reborn Supply.  I also carry a neat new palette that has 12 little jars with snap tops on it.  Seems custom-made for these paints.

 If you’ve been using Genesis ® Heatset Paints you will find that mixing the colors is quite similar.  Application is also similar.  I use the same types of brushes for the WaterBorne colors as I do Genesis. 

 The biggest difference?  Instead of using Odorless Mineral Spirits to thin the paints, now you’ll use water and whatever various acrylic mediums you desire.  And of course -  not baking.  Woo hoo!!  You just got your kitchen back.

For experienced artists who prefer to blend their own palette, I offer Basic Colors, both individually and as a set.  For those who appreciate having Pre-Blended colors, I offer those as well.  The range matches some of the original Genesis ® colors or my own Pre Blended Art & Magic GENESIS colors.  Even if you buy the Pre-Blended Colors, I suggest you get the BASIC colors – at the very least, Basic Red, Yellow Ochre and Basic Black – to tweak the Pre-Blended Colors.   You can download a Color Comparison chart here.


1.  To get a fast and easy Crease color, or Lip Shading color, you can add a tiny bit of Basic Black to the WB Blush/Lip Color.  In the same way you can add a touch of Basic Black to the Flesh colors to darken them further.

2.  To get a Medium Flesh tone, you can mix the Light and Dark Flesh together.

3.  To get a nice Neutral brown for eyebrows, mix a tiny bit of Basic Blue in with Basic Brown until you get the shade you like.  Many browns turn reddish when thinned down and painted on vinyl doll kits.

4.  To get a good starting flesh tone wash (like Debbie shows on her DVD) you can mix the Basic Red with a touch of Basic Brown and Basic Black and thin it down into a wash. 


  • The Intermediate Purple wash was developed to go with the Precious Little Baby Dust DVDs.  Basically you use a really thinned down, barely visible pinkish-purple wash in between flesh layers and blush layers. Use it just once and see the difference it makes.
  • I apply all colors with a torn cosmetic sponge, honeycomb sponge or a brush, just like I do with my Genesis paints.
  •  I thin WaterBorne paints with distilled water to about the same consistency as I do Genesis.  In other words, usually VERY thin and transparent.
  • Art & Magic Water Borne ©” Acrylic Lip and Nail Shine is intended to be used straight from the jar with no additional medium needed.  It has a soft glossy shine already.
  • The color correcting mint green, blue undertone and purple wash all should be well  diluted with pure water into a thin, transparent wash of color.  There's another intermediate wash color called Creamy Yellow.  If you follow TNGUN's techniques, you may want a jar of it (sold separately).
  • These paints dry fast, so if you need to wipe them off or rework any layer, I have found if you work quickly with a wet brush, sponge or swab, it will come off.  After it sits for a little while it seems to be permanent.
  • If you really mess up, Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner (nontoxic, biodegradable, no fumes) will remove all layers of WB paint down to bare vinyl.  I sell WN Brush cleaner.
  • These paints have been developed from a line of French vinyl paints specifically designed to dry to a matte finish.  That said, we found that on our dolls after a few layers, a little shine develops.  This is where a dab of the Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium will help, if you find areas of your doll too shiny for your liking. OR you can add small amounts of Ultra Matte Gel to your final layers of paint (just blend it in by the brushful to your color, right on the palette).
  • No final sealant is needed.  But if it makes you feel better, the Folk Art Glass and Paint Medium has been recommended as a prep coat (for bare vinyl) AND as a matte, velvety finish.
  • About adding painting mediums such as retarding fluid, etc:  Keep in mind that I’m adding several spreading, adhesion and retarding mediums to all my paint batches, so go easy when you add more.

That’s all for now.  I can’t wait to get your honest feedback!   Email me at hunnybuns@roadrunner.com or hunnybunmama@gmail

 Thanks,  Stephanie
(last updated June 2014)

Sign the Guest Book

Name: Alicia Driscoll
Date: 08/02/2015
Message: Hi this is Alicia I collection babies

Name: tracey
Date: 02/01/2015
Message: Im looking for reborn kits

Name: becky ahrens
Date: 01/26/2015
Message: Hi, Stephanie Just recieved my air dry paints and cant wait to use them...Very fast shipping Thanks

Name: lizzy
Date: 12/24/2014
Message: Just looking. T Y

Name: Jeanette
Date: 07/28/2014
Message: I am fairly new at this and found your tutorial very helpful. I have completed a reborn with the genesis paints but wanted to do air dry b/c of the oven and baking of vinyl issues. Thanks so much.

Name: Linda Lochrie
Date: 07/01/2014
Message: I am interested in learning how to make reborn dolls.

Name: tambra
Date: 06/03/2014
Message: Thank you so much for the fast shipping! love the items.. :)

Name: Melissa
Date: 01/29/2014
Message: Wow... MANY thanks for the Art & Magic line of paints and MANY thanks to Debbie Henshaw for the tutorial in using them! My FIRST reborn turned out so wonderful!!!! These paints are AMAZING!!!!! Won't use anything else :)

Name: shonda bryant
Date: 01/18/2014
Message: Good info

Name: pauline pearson
Date: 12/27/2013
Message: want to look at your doll kits

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HunnyBuns Dolls & Reborn Supply, LLC
Dayton, OH
Email: hunnybuns@roadrunner.com