Types of Reborn Dolls and Their Material

I get a lot of questions about the difference between a silicone reborn and a vinyl reborn, and a cuddle baby vs. a regular reborn baby.  In this blog I'm going to show you all the differences, and talk about their price points too.

What is the difference between a cuddle baby and a reborn?

I thought it best to show you the difference.  Below are two reborn dolls made of vinyl.  The one on the left, is a cuddle baby, and the one on the right is a reborn (a regular one, the most popular to buy).  A cuddle baby has a vinyl (or silicone) head and an entirely cloth body.  The reborn most of us refer to, is made of vinyl, and has a cloth body, but they could also have tummy plates or torsos to make them look more realistic.

What is the difference between a cuddle baby and a reborn doll? Image shows a cuddle baby on the left and a reborn on the right.

What is a tummy plate?

The two reborns below are both wearing tummy plates, aka belly plates.  Belly plates can come gender neutral, or may be anatomically correct. Back plates also exist to give a full torso look.  Some reborn dolls come with tummy plates from the sculptor, other times you can choose to add a belly plate to your custom reborn doll.  As you can see from the photo below, it definitely ads to the realism of a reborn.   

What is a tummy / belly plate? The image shows two reborn dolls wearing belly plates.

What is the difference between a silicone reborn and vinyl reborn doll?

So far, we've talked about how cuddle babies can be made from both vinyl and silicone, and reborn dolls can be vinyl and silicone, so what's the difference? Material.  Silicone and vinyl are two different materials, and while I'm on that note, I want to let you know that there is no such thing as "silicone vinyl" or "silicone touch vinyl".  Those are terms companies use to make you think that their vinyl reborns feel different than other vinyl reborns, but that is just not the case.  Vinyl is vinyl and silicone is silicone. 

To give you a real life example, most dolls that you purchase in a store are made from some kind of vinyl.  If you've ever seen a "Pop-It" fidget toy, that is made of silicone.  If you ever had a Water Baby growing up, the head was made of vinyl, and the body was made of silicone.  

What is the difference between a silicone reborn baby and a vinyl reborn baby? The image is of a Water Baby, a doll from the 1990's with a vinyl head and a silicone body, filled with water, to show the difference.

Vinyl is somewhat flexible, soft to the touch, and doesn't attract any dust or hair: but it is harder than silicone.  Silicone, on the other hand, is extremely flexible, soft/sticky to the touch, and has a tendency to attract all kinds of hairs and lint - just like the nipple on a baby's bottle or pacifier, or like the material teething toys are made of.

Silicone is the most realistic, expensive, soft, flexible, and highly sought after type of reborn on the market.  Vinyl is the most common type of reborn you've seen in ads, or on websites like AliExpress (even though these are counterfeit reborns), Facebook and Instagram.  Some people believe that they can bathe silicone dolls, but that would be a HUGE no, no!

Silicone dolls, unlike our unpainted Water Babies, are reborn using silicone paint, which air dries to the silicone kit, but never becomes part of the silicone; rather, it always remains on top of and separate from the silicone reborn kit.  Therefore, bathing, dressing, friction, using a pacifier, are all activities that could cause the silicone paint to chip off of the silicone doll.  I posted a video on my TikTok account to show you the difference between a vinyl and silicone toy, and how the paint separates from the silicone when the toy is stretched.   

Even though silicone reborns are the most realistic looking, you can still get a vinyl reborn doll with a full torso, which will make it appear more like a full body silicone baby.  There will be cracks where the limbs and head meet the body on a vinyl full torso reborn, in order to allow movement.  With a full body silicone reborn doll, the reborn will be one entity with no crack so seems.  Remember: neither of these reborns should be bathed due to the reborning process.  

What is a full body silicone doll vs a full torso vinyl reborn doll? Both reborns are anatomically correct, but one is silicone and one is vinyl.

Cuddle babies can also be made from both vinyl and silicone.  A vinyl cuddle baby is typically referred to as a "cuddle baby," whereas a silicone cuddle baby is typically referred to as a "silicone cuddle."

What is a cuddle baby? Image shows a vinyl cuddle baby on the left and a silicone cuddle on the right.

What is a partial silicone doll? 

We talked about full body silicone dolls, but not all silicone reborns are full bodied.  You can save money by ordering a partial silicone doll, which has a silicone head and limbs, and a cloth body; just like a regular vinyl reborn doll would have.  We call the vinyl version a "reborn" and we call the silicone version a "partial silicone." From afar, it's hard to tell which is which!

Image shows the difference between a regular vinyl reborn doll and a partial silicone baby, both with cloth bodies.

There are different types of silicones too: some are harder than others.  The softer the silicone, the lower the number on the durometer scale and the more costly the material. The harder the silicone, the higher the number on the durometer scale and the less costly the material. Therefore, if one reborn doll was made of "EcoFlex 20 platinum silicone" and another was made of "EcoFlex 30 platinum silicone", then the 20 would be softer than the 30. 

Here's a diagram I pulled from the Smooth On website.  Shore 00 measures rubbers and gels, and is what we use to refer to silicone reborn softness.  The other two lines you can ignore, but just for your information, Shore A measures rubber molds and plastics, and Shore D measures hard rubbers and plastics.

Image shows shore hardness scales to illustrate the difference between EcoFlex 20 platinum silicone reborn dolls and EcoFlex 30.  The 20 would be softer than the 30.

I've listed every type of reborn in order from MOST expensive to least expensive:

  • Full body silicone (most expensive)
  • Partial silicone baby
  • Silicone cuddle
  • Reborn with full torso/tummy plate/back plate
  • Reborn (the most common)
  • Cuddle Baby (least expensive)

In summary, silicone and vinyl are two separate materials, and silicone is more costly than vinyl.  Cuddle babies and reborns can made from either vinyl or silicone. The less material there is for the artist to reborn, the less costly the reborn art doll. 

    Do you still have questions? Did I make an error in my blog? Do you have something you would like to add as a fellow reborn doll artist or collector? Leave me a comment below and I will write back to you!


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