A reborn baby doll is a work of art created via a kit or a manufactured doll. When using a kit, the doll has to be remodeled by an artist to appear as a human infant.
There is much attention to detail given to the creation of reborn dolls for them to seem realistic. The material used has to have the feel of a baby’s skin; the wrinkles, dimples, rosy cheeks, etc., are all considerations of this process.
Creating a reborn baby doll is known as reborning, while the artists themselves as the reborners. Here we’ll talk about a specific aspect of the doll, the belly plate.
I’ll explain what that is, why you’d use one, and why you may want to think about purchasing a belly plate for your reborn.
What Are Reborn Belly Plates?
In case you’re new to the world of reborns, I’ll explain what belly plates are and why you’d use one. Simply put, a belly plate is a soft piece of vinyl that has very realistic features and details similar to a real infant’s belly.
This piece is shaped and made to fit over the vinyl doll’s body. Once the belly plate has been attached to the doll, it looks much more like a real baby and less like a typical toy doll; this is the artist’s primary goal.
The cool thing about the belly plates is that they come in various shapes, sizes, materials, and styles to suit anyone’s needs or preferences. You can also select a belly plate with a particular skin color or one that may need to be painted to achieve the skin tone you want.
What Are Belly Plates Used For?
There are multiple reasons why you’d use a belly plate, the chief reason being mentioned a few times already, which is to make the reborn doll appear more realistic. However, there are also other advantages to using a belly plate.
Some reborners skip this step to save time, but it’s worth investing in as it’s simple to attach and really sets your reborn apart from others.
Why should you go with the belly plate?
- Separates your newborn from a lesser-quality version
- The soft vinyl material naturally fits most dolls
- The photographs of your reborn doll will look much better because the belly plate covers the cloth that the doll’s body is made from; this cloth would typically stick out without the plate
- Belly plates are relatively inexpensive, ranging from around $20-$30 on average
- It’s a simple process to attach the belly plate (I’ll give step-by-step instructions later)
- You can sell a reborn doll for a higher amount when it has a belly plate
- You can find some belly plates that are also anatomically correct (they can come without a sex as well)
- Belly plates are 100% replaceable should yours ever become damaged or broken
Using a Belly Plate
There are a few options for attachment, but here you’ll find the two most popular methods.
Option #1- Ribbon Method (Easiest)
What you’ll need: ribbon, hole puncher
This method is easiest for beginners and literally only takes a few minutes to execute. Essentially, you’re just tying the belly plate over the original tummy by using a piece of ribbon. Seems simple enough, right?
The only disadvantage to doing it this way is that your belly plate isn’t permanently attached, so you may feel that your reborn baby isn’t quite complete. Nonetheless, this method is simple, and the end result looks great, so it’s still highly recommended for first-timers.
Follow these steps accomplish the attachment:
- Using the hole puncher, poke a small hole about ½ inch from the edge of the belly plate on both sides. (It should only be large enough to accommodate the size of the ribbon)
- Pull one end of the ribbon through the hole and tie a knot.
- Place the belly plate securely onto the reborn’s chest, pull the loose end of the ribbon around the doll’s back, and up through the hole on the other side of the belly plate.
- Tie a knot on this side and cut off any excess ribbon.
- Voilà! Enjoy your new cuddly reborn 🙂
Option #2 – Sewing It In
What you’ll need: X-Acto knife, erasable pen, craft wire, needle
This method of attachment requires you to sew the belly plate into the doll’s body. Before performing this method, you’ll have to take your knife and cut the original stomach out of the reborn doll. You’ll also want to purchase crafting wire instead of fabric thread because it’s much too flimsy to hold these materials together.
Follow these steps to accomplish the attachment:
- Place the new belly plate over the doll’s body and use your erasable pen to outline where you need to cut.
- Once you’ve done this, take your knife and carefully cut out that area that you traced.
- Pull out the front part of the doll’s original belly and toss it.
- Take your belly plate and push it down into the reborn’s chest; it should fit snugly if you traced it correctly beforehand.
- Secure the belly plate by using your wire and running it through both sides of the belly plate while attaching it to your reborn.
- An extra step/recommendation is to also run the wire along the bottom of the belly plate for extra security.
Belly plates usually come in sizes to fit individual dolls. For example, you may purchase a belly plate that fits dolls (boy, girl, or non-sexed), 16-18 in, or maybe 10-12 in for a preemie remodel.
The size of the belly plate will depend on the length of the doll. Be sure to purchase the appropriate length to make sure that it fits your reborn properly.
Another consideration would be to add a backplate if you wanted to achieve the optimal level of realism. The backplate isn’t necessary, but again, it’s soft and resembles a baby’s skin, much like the belly plate.
It can be attached just as easily and will be the last step to making your reborn appear human.
Where Can You Buy Them?
Here are a few suggestions as to where you can purchase belly plates from reputable online retailers and shops:
Once you reach these landing pages, you’ll want to go to the search bar and type in any specific details that you’re looking for. This includes preferences such as skin color, size, boy/girl, etc.
Things to Consider
So before you purchase your belly plate, there are a few things to consider to ensure that you’re getting the best product to suit your needs and your reborn. Here are some final reminders that address everything we’ve covered, a summary of the important stuff, if you will.
Do you really need a belly plate? No, but if you want a reborn baby that you can take beautiful pictures of without apparent signs that it’s not real, or you like the feel of soft cuddles, then absolutely yes.
That being said, make sure you know these specifics upfront:
- Always check to see that the belly plate will fit your specific doll. Usually, it tells you a list of doll sizes that the belly plate is intended for in the advertisement.
- Do you want a belly plate for a girl or boy specifically? Check to see if the belly plate is anatomically correct beforehand.
- Choose a skin complexion/tone that matches the rest of the reborn’s body.
- Don’t forget to see if the belly plate also comes paired with a backplate, which will truly give you a realistic reborn baby doll. If not, you can always purchase one separately; just don’t forget to align it with your doll size.
- Expect to pay more for a higher quality belly plate. The cheaper plates can cost as little as $14, while better quality will cost upwards of $30.