Saturday, February 21, 2015

Let's Talk about Art & Magic WATERBORNE © Paints!


First off, in 2011 I was a total rookie when it came to using air dry paints on reborn dolls.  I researched various types of paints until I found one that is actually a vinyl-based highly pigmented paint.  After I did some experimenting and fiddled around with blending the colors for about a year, I turned to my friend, Debbie Henshaw of “They Never Grow Up Nursery”  since she was my “go to”  expert on reborning with air dry paints.  She helped me develop these paints and the results can be seen on her blog:

I’m always open to hearing how any of them might be improved.   Formulas have been tweaked and colors modified in response to customer feedback since I introduced WaterBorne © paints a couple years ago.  This may result in some slight differences if you don’t order the paints often. 

There are a few very important details you need to know before you begin working with your first doll and WaterBorne paints.    You must PREP THE VINYL OR BAKED POLYMER CLAY BEFORE PAINTING!   Critical first not skip it.  Without a proper prep coat on bare clean vinyl or baked polymer clay, 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 my Clear Base Coat & Surface Prep.  I prefer the Glass & Tile Medium or the Clear Base Coat to the Genesis Matte because the Matte creates slightly more texture on the bare vinyl (it can feel a tiny bit sandpapery) and in addition, 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 so you can try them and see which suits you best.

Basic Supplies Needed:
  • You can use any type of dish or well palette for these paints
  • Distilled water to thin
  • Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium or Clear Base Coat & Surface Prep -  both are sold in my store, and included in any full set of WB paints.
  • Ultra Matte Gel 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.
  • Each jar comes sealed when new.  Keep that seal!  And 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.   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.   
And full instructions and more techniques and tips for using WaterBorne Paints HERE.

Hope this is helpful.  If you have questions or problems, please feel free to  email me at or hunnybunmama@gmail

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