Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.

FREE Tutorial: Using Art & Magic WaterBorne © Air Dry Paints UPDATED May 2021


Thank you for buying WaterBorne Paints ©, developed at HunnyBuns Dolls & Reborn Supply by Master Artist Stephanie (Sullivan) Tackett. It’s easy to see that WaterBorne Air Dry Paints are taking the Reborn World by storm! From Beginners to Master Artists, WaterBorne is the most economical and easiest to use of any air dry system! And I am here to help every step of the way.

-Nontoxic, non-fading, flexible colors & mediums created from premium art grade pigments & ingredients.
-Beautifully translucent colors! All products come in several affordable sizes for your convenience and to suit your budget.
-Full support from Master Artist Stephanie S. Tackett (email: Join us on Facebook! Ask to join The Art & Magic of Reborning page.

Debbie Henshaw was a big help in developing these paints. The results can be seen on her blog: www. dry.html Please note that WB paints, mediums, and the techniques have evolved a bit since she wrote her blog about them. Stay up to date on

April Yap and Angie Jones both helped with ongoing research and development which is much appreciated.

FIRST STEP: Wash all doll parts in hot water and dish detergent, & dry thoroughly. You MUST PREP the vinyl (and baked polymer clay sculpts) BEFORE PAINTING! Critical first not skip it. Without a proper prep coat on bare, clean vinyl, the paint may bead up and won’t stick permanently. No amount of “sealing” the paint will work if the paint isn’t sticking to the vinyl in the first place.

Clear Base Primer©: Vinyl is a petroleum product, and WaterBorne © is a water-based product, and oil and water don’t mix, so we must ensure full adhesion of the paint to the surface. WB Clear Base Coat Primer does this.

1. "WaterBorne © Air Dry Paints" - sold by the set or individual open stock bottles in various sizes.

2.  Clear Base Primer:  Apply straight from bottle with a smooth cosmetic sponge. IF it gets too thick over time you can thin slightly with distilled water. It will look a bit shiny as it dries and may feel a little sticky. This is NORMAL. Both will disappear as you add paint layers.

3. Slo Dri: slows down evaporation of the paint ON the doll as well as in the palette. You can add up to 50% of this medium to the paint to increase transparency and work time.

4. Flow Medium: This medium can be used in addition to -or instead of - water to thin the paint without breaking the pigment-binder bond. I highly recommend it!

5. Ultra Matte Gel can be used if you wish, to mix in small amounts with your final WaterBorne layers to create a softer, velvety finish. It makes the paint thicker and easier to control. Ultra Matte Gel is sold separately.

6. Adhesion Additive: this is an optional medium that is useful if you have one of those doll kits that the paint seems not to adhere properly even with Priming. Sold separately.

7. Any type of dish or well palette (plastic is fine)

8. Distilled or purified water

9. Sponges: cosmetic wedges and natural sea sponges or cellulose sponges torn into small pieces about 2 inches across. My honeycomb sponges are awesome!

First, the Good News: No heat needed. Paints dry within a few minutes. (Debbie Henshaw adds: "I made it a habit NOT to put layer upon layer at the same moment.") I allow about 5 minutes between layers. Apply one layer 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 a fully painted doll to dry, depending on humidity. Sealing & rooting can take place after this.

Then the “Bad News”: You’ll need brushes not used for Genesis Heatset Paints (or any type of oil paint) – or make sure you’ve washed yours very thoroughly with dishwashing detergent so that no oil residue remains in the brush.

To avoid paint drying out inside the bottle, after you get the amount of paint you need to use, re-cap quickly. Since these are AIR DRY paints, store leftover thinned paints in airtight jars or simply rinse your palette after each use. You can purchase several sizes of jars from HunnyBuns Reborn Supply.

Other Notes: If you’ve been using Genesis ® Heatset Paints, you’ll find that mixing the colors is similar. I designed the Pre-Blended Doll color range to approximate the colors we are used to in GHSP. Application is similar. For experienced artists who prefer to blend their own palette, I offer and sold individually. Find GHSP to WB transitional color charts at HunnyBuns Reborn Supply.


⦁ Blending Flesh Tones: To get Asian Flesh Color, add a couple drops of Creamy Warm Tint to Light Flesh. Add a touch of Basic Brown or Brown Brow and Hair color to the Dark Flesh to darken further. Brow, Hair & Dk Ethnic Skin Color makes a good dark Ethnic Skin color base.

⦁Medium Flesh tone, mix the Light and Dark Flesh together.

⦁ If you have too-pink vinyl to begin with, a wash of Red Eliminating color (soft mint green) will help. If you over-blush a doll, you can also neutralize the redness with this color. Some use it as an intermediate wash of color to add depth.

⦁ If you get a doll too purple or blue looking, make a thin wash of the Creamy Warm tint and go over the doll with it to cut the purple or blue tint.

⦁ To achieve a very realistic baby-skin mottle, use a thinned down wash of Blush/Lip/Nail color on a honeycomb sponge and dab (pounce) lightly all over.

⦁ Any WaterBorne color can easily be mixed with others to achieve the most creative and natural results. Familiarize yourself with an artist’s color wheel to understand how to mix and blend colors. I have designed a new Reborn Artist's pastel shade color wheel available on www.hunnybunsrebornsupply in the Free Downloads section.

TECHNIQUES: WaterBorne paints are concentrated and intended to be thinned with purified or distilled water, Flow Medium and Slo-Dri as needed. Begin painting the doll after the Clear Base Primer has dried to the touch.

Diluting WB colors: Use as many drops of water/Flow Med./SloDri to each drop of the Flesh colors as you need to achieve a transparent layer of paint. YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY!

Each artist will develop their own dilution technique as they get a feel for using WaterBorne paints. REMEMBER THIS IS ART, NOT CHEMISTRY :)

Blushing: Start with 2 drops of color and dilute to create a translucent wash. Adjust as needed to get light coverage and mottling.

Veins: 1 drop color to 6-8 or more drops of water/Flow Med./Slo-Dri. You want a visible line of color that is not too dark. Adjust as needed.

Undertone color washes and color correction (mint green, creamy yellow wash or purple undertone wash): Several drops of paint to as many drops of water as it takes to get a transparent wash of color. Test it before applying to vinyl.

Nailtip/Milia: use straight from the bottle (also can lighten other colors).

Creases & Capillaries: 1 drop of paint to however many drops of water/Flow Med./SloDri as it takes to get a visible, easily blended line of color, similar to veining.

Brown Brow & Ethnic Skintone: use straight from bottle if painting hair, or dilute to get slightly less-intense color. If using for all over skintone, dilute the color until it gives you the depth of color you need on the vinyl. Test it on an inconspicuous part of the bare vinyl).

Apply all colors with a torn cosmetic sponge, honeycomb sponge or brush depending on the effect you want.

WB paints dry fast, so if you need to wipe them off or rework any layer, work quickly with a wet brush, sponge or swab, it will come off. After it sits for a short while, it becomes permanent. Add WaterBorne Slo-Dri medium to extend the wet time of the paint.

If you really mess up, Winsor Newton Brush Cleaner, (nontoxic, biodegradable, no fumes) will safely remove all layers of WB paint down to bare vinyl. Use a cotton ball or pad for best results.

These paints were developed from a line of high quality art paints (no cheap craft acrylics here!) specifically designed to adhere to vinyl surfaces and dry to a matte finish. That said, some find on certain doll kits, that after a few layers, a little shine can develop. To seal the paint, and provide a more matte finish, use WaterBorne Ultra-Matte Sealer. Ultra Matte Sealer makes a fine base coat, if you run out of primer.

This tutorial can be downloaded and printed out for easy reference.  Join our Facebook Group “The Art & Magic of Reborning” - we'd love to meet you and help you be successful using these paints.

Want more information and step by step guidance? Use coupon code AAM3 at checkout to get a 10% discount on purchase of my book The Art & Magic of Reborning with Air Dry Paints! A Comprehensive Pictorial guide to making reborns with WaterBorne © paints.