To seal or not to seal

When I started I sealed, I sealed twice. I had a special sponge, I made my secret sealing goo (tinted matte varnish), I cranked up the nuwave a little so I wouldn’t get any dusty crusty stuff and marveled at what a good job I did.

(I use GHSP)

Then I tried to strip a baby.

I stopped sealing.

That paint was not going anywhere.

I was guessing anyone who bought the doll wouldn’t be giving it a bath in solvents.

I prep vinyl (a couple different ways depending on the baby and what skin tone I am going for). If I do this I really don’t feel like I need to seal that baby up.

I get if you are using powders or acrylic you need to protect that paint and make sure it is set and sealed but what about GHSP? Am I missing something?

I do always put varnish on nail beds and lips, and I texture hair with medium but the whole body?

Weigh in.


I wonder if it depends on temperature and how many times it’s been baked. I have had paint rub off in the process of painting and I have had others that seemed fine when rooting hair and nothing smudged. I have noticed babies that are handled more can get shiny or oily faster when not sealed.

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Technically, Genesis heat set paint doesn’t need to be sealed if it’s been baked correctly. I had never heard of sealing until about 8 or 9 years ago when some buyers started mentioning their babies had gotten shiny over time. So, I started sealing and I now seal every baby for my own peace of mind, knowing that although I would prefer they be viewed as works of art, in most cases they are actually changed and held and carried and loved on soooooo…yeah…sealing feels like I’ve added that little extra bit of safety, knowing that I’ve done all I can to protect my work.

I use a combination of matte and satin varnish, mixed to a buttery consistency, applied with a sponge wedge, pounced off with a sponge wedge. Bake 3x, cooling in between bakes; my babies are not rough, but they do have some texture.

Not saying what I do is the right way or the only way, it’s just my way.


I always seal. I hate the feeling of the doll without varnish. That’s the only reason I do it. I would never buy an unsealed doll, or a doll with air dry varnish because of the texture. However I am in the minority here, most people hate the texture.


I wonder if priming does the same thing? So far no shiny babies for me but…you never know.

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I am no expert, but it seems to me that priming before painting is a good way to perhaps help the paint adhere in what might be tough spots like toes, but varnishing after all work is completed acts as a seal to keep the doll from getting shiny over time from being handled.

That’s what I tell myself, anyway :wink:


You should know mam, you have been doing this well for a long time, maybe I need to revisit my varnish.

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I do the same as Karen mixture of matte and satin and seal all my babies. I don’t think a customer is going to try and strip a baby and it keeps the paint colors and no shine. :footprints::baby::baby:

I’ve found, through my keepers, that the ones who aren’t varnished become shiny after a couple months of outfit changes, and paint fades from the toes & fingertips much earlier than the sealed babies.

I have one baby who had his clothing changed every single morning and evening (!!!) for several months and was brought outside many times - and quite loved on - and he’s just a touch shiny. He was sealed as soon as I was done painting him. I have another baby who was not sealed when made, and after her first month of being mostly on display, she was starting to get a sort of sheen about her. After a few outfit changes, downright shiny. I varnish all to be safe now!! I think it also depends on how the kit looks when it arrives, honestly. My particularly shiny babies all arrived as shiny, oily kits, although I thoroughly bathed, scrubbed and rinsed them.

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I love the texture too. To me, it feels like skin.

I use air dry paints and varnish my babies twice. Once with Golden polymer varnish w/UVLS for fade protection and a final seal with soft touch varnish for a soft baby skin feel. I don’t like the rough feel of the texture. Real babies have silky soft, smooth skin.

I varnish mine with a mixture of mostly Matte, some satin and maybe a touch of thinner also I tint the varnish if I feel the need. I don’t like the feel of non varnished dolls. But that’s just my preference :slight_smile:

Interesting conversation. I seal mine because tutorials say you are supposed to do that. Like others are saying, I figure it adds an extra layer of protection. I’ve tried many different sealers including mixing matte with satin. They all came out shiny. I hate shiny babies so now I use strait matte mixed with a little thinner and usually a touch of burnt umber. My babies are rough but I really like the over all look so that’s what I’m sticking to.

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I seal to cut the shine caused by the reborning process and baking. I noticed details stand out much better without a slight glare on the vinyl. Also, I’ve had layers of completely well set GHSPs come off toe tips when dropped onto the kitchen floor. I believe the varnish not only provides a layer of glare protection but that is also helps keep the paint in place longer.

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My first reborn isn’t sealed. She was painted with ghsp. She’s been changed and handled carefully by me, but quite often over the years. Her fingers and toes are returning to the bare vinyl color.
I now paint with acrylics, which I do seal even though it’s hard to strip once it’s cured. Just makes me feel safer that I tried what I can to make sure the paint stays put.

Karen… you convinced me!


YAY!! It’s an extra step worth taking; protect your beautiful work :heart_eyes:

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Your babies are beautiful !!! and I absolutely adore your hair

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Man, @Gabriell, you have really nailed the combi. They all look great!

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