Genesis Heat Set paints are a favored medium by artists in the reborn community. They are fairly easy to use, quick to cure and produce a lovely matte finish.
There are growing concerns when using these paints surrounding the possibility that unknown toxins may be leached from vinyl during the heat process and cause liver damage.
*You NEVER heat vinyl in an oven which you cook ANY food for Human consumption
*You use a separate oven in a very well ventilated area… or
*You use a heat gun, outside of the Family home
*You wear a protective mask whilst heating the vinyl, and in the vicinity of where the vinyl has been heated.
*You take every precaution possible not to expose family members to these silent and invisible fumes.
For this reason, I have always recommended that you purchase a separate table top convection oven or an electric turkey roaster to heat set your paints outside. If you have a kiln, I am told this will work as well. When purchasing a convection oven, be sure that you get one with a large interior space so that your vinyl pieces are not sitting close to the top heating elements. This is of particular issue when heat setting the head.
Here are some photos of the oven I use to heat set my Genesis in. I have the oven set up on my screened porch so that I am not breathing any fumes in the house. Since oven temperatures will vary from oven to oven, it is best to buy some test parts and practice heat setting paints and matte varnish in your newly purchased oven until you figure out what setting works best on your oven to heat set the paints properly. You will noticed in the last photo that made a mark in sharpie on my oven at the exact place that the temperature was perfect for heat setting my Genesis paints and varnish so that I could easily find it again.
To those of you who are looking for air dry paints, made specifically for painting reborn dolls, that are permanent, easy to use and cost effective Stephanie Sullivan of Hunnybuns.com has come out with a new system. Here is the link:
It has been tested by Debbie Henshaw of TNGUN and Debbie has made a free tutorial/guide on how to use the paints that can be found at
Debbie says they are just as easy to use as the LDC paints she has been using. These paints are a bit more affordable. There is a starter set of pre-blended colors for $22.99 that Debbie says is enough paints to paint 3-4 dolls. If you prefer to mix your own there is a starter set of basic colors for $20.99. Of course for those of you that are using them for touch ups only they will last even longer.
I have ordered several colors of these myself to try and will be posting a baby in progress on my blog when I used them, which will be sometime after Thanksgiving.
Jo Sonjas artist colors were not designed specifically for the use on vinyl but some prefer to use them to paint vinyl dolls because of their lower costs and gouache (translucent) properties.
In the early days of reborning with air dry acrylics such as Jo Sonjas we found that when using any artist acrylic paint not specifically designed for painting on vinyl there is always the possibility of some fading over time. This can happen as the paint soaks into the vinyl, which is more likely with softer more porous vinyls. It can also be due to using too much water to thin the paint causing the pigment to break down as well as not sealing the paints when done. This was usually the most likely culprit. In these early days we were all painting on bare vinyl, thinning the paints way down with water alone and not sealing the paints when finished. In following my previous reborns I found some faded over time and some did not. We don't really know how porous each vinyl is or how stable the paint pigments will remain on the vinyl when just thinned with water so the solution is to seal the vinyl once you are finished painting and not to use all water to thin the paints.
In the end, I have found that dolls painted with Jo Sonjas are durable if mixed according to my updated mixing tutorial: http://lildumplinsnursery.blogspot.com/2012/10/very-brief-jo-sonjas-mixing-tutorial.html
METHOD #1: Air Dry Sealers - I have tried many brands of air dry sealers and found noe of them to be totally matte. I then discovered a product by FolkArt called Glass and Tile Medium that works wonderfully for both prep sealing slick vinyls and final sealing the paints. To read more on how to use this product visit my blog at: http://lildumplinsnursery.blogspot.com/2012/10/possible-product-for-priming-vinyl.html and continue reading the next 5 posts afterward.
METHOD #2: If you are one of these people who likes texture to your baby's vinyl, you can seal the paints after they have cured with Genesis heat set matte varnish as it produces a totally matte finish and preserves the pigments from fading very well.
Prep Sealing the vinyl:
If you find your vinyl is slick feeling and you wish to use a primer first you can use the FolkArt Glass and Tile Medium as a prep sealer by mixing it in with your first flesh layer of paint or using it alone on the vinyl in a very thin layer and then painting over it after it dries. I prefer mixing it in with first flesh layer myself. You would then follow-up by using the FolkArt Glass and Tile Medium alone as your final sealing layer when done painting.
If you prefer, you can instead use the Genesis Matte Varnish as a primer and then paint on top of that. After you are done you can go back and apply a thin layer of Genesis matte varnish as a final sealer on top of the paints.
Some people prefer to use an air dry prep sealer because they are adverse to heat setting methods.
If you are painting on silicone vinyl you must first prime it with Genesis heat set matte varnish so that the paints will adhere to the silicone vinyl. Air dry sealers are not compatible to silicone vinyls and CAN NOT be used on silicone vinyl.*************************************************
Dolldreams sells air dry painting system called LDC (Little Dreams Collection) Special Reborn Paint. LDC Paint is a high-quality water based acrylic paint produced in Germany. It has been developed especially for painting on vinyl dolls. It is the same paint used for play dolls, hence it is also child safe. Baby's skin is left with a smooth finish.
It should be noted that these paints will be cured enough in 1-2 weeks time to root the baby's hair, dress and sell the doll. However, acrylic paints are not fully cured to the vinyl until about 2 - 4 weeks have passed. Therefore, it is important that your customers be instructed to handle the baby carefully in the first month and not be subjecting it to being bathed/washed so that the internal curing process of the paints can be completed.
I would also like to give full credit to Debbie Henshaw of They Never Grow Up Nursery for her valuable support and information on LDC paints that she has made readily available to me as I learn about these paints. Her free tutorial can be seen on the Doll dreams website at:
Debbie also sells color guides for mixing the paints that can be purchased through her blog site here:
Many of these new softer kits are slick and it is hard to get paint to stick or cure to the vinyl. Hard slick vinyls are sometimes hard to take paint too as well as the softer German vinyls. If you prime the vinyl first paint sticks much better and I find it cures faster and better as well. You can use one of the 2 methods I listed above in the Jo Sonjas section to prime your vinyl.