Di's hand-crafted 'reborn babies' filling a sales niche

Di McGavigan with one of her realistic reborn dolls. Photo: Adam Hourigan
Di McGavigan with one of her realistic reborn dolls. Photo: Adam Hourigan

THEY may look exactly like real- life babies, but don't be fooled, these beautiful dolls have been crafted by the loving hands of South Grafton's Di McGavigan.

Known as reborns, each one takes about 50 hours to create - thankfully far less than the 6500 hours it takes to make a real one.

Ms McGavigan said the moment she first laid eyes on one seven years ago she was captivated.

"My sister turned up on my doorstep with a baby in a shawl - I asked her who's baby have you got?" said Ms McGavigan

"I saw this little thing and thought, oh my God this is beautiful - just like a real baby."

Occasionally Ms McGavigan enjoys taking one or two of her "babies" with her while she runs errands and says sometimes when people see them and realise they are dolls, they get startled, but everyone is curious.

"I know some people say it's freaky but I think they are beautiful," she said.

After spending months researching and talking to other doll makers through online forums, Di purchased a kit and began making her own.

Finally she decided to enter a competition and began sculpting them from clay and recently created three original babies of her own, from which she makes her own kits.

Although Di kept the first one, she prefers to sell them, with many of her babies having found new homes all around the world.

"I've got to a point now I'm established, I can make them and sell them as a source of income when I retire," she said.

"I know it can be very expensive for some people; they are an heirloom doll, but for many, once they have one they want another one.

"I know some people have a massive collection."

Like the lady in Western Australian who ordered a sleeping baby and returned soon after for a toddler, and another lady in Perth who now has 40 of Di's dolls in her collection.

A handful of babies have also found homes locally, with the South Grafton Newsagent now displaying a selection.

Di also sells them from her home, Cottage Lane, where she works part-time as a hairdresser.

She estimates she has made about 300 dolls over the years, mostly in her spare time.

Each one is individually crafted with incredible attention to detail.

"I like to imagine them opening the box," she said. "I try to make it a special experience."

She said sometimes the cost and time it took to make her reborns could leave her out of pocket, but she loved the art and couldn't imagine giving it up.

"It's an expensive hobby, but a very rewarding one," she said.

Fast facts

  •  Each doll is carefully hand painted with real-life skin tones, blemishes, veins, even little scratches.
  •  Each hair is micro rooted, one at a time, using mohair
  •  Each reborn doll has its own tiny fingernails and toenails.
  •  The dolls are then assembled and weighted, including a floppy head, fully poseable limbs, and a soft cuddly body.
  •  Finally they are dressed and swaddled in a bunny rug, before being lovingly wrapped in tissue paper, packaged and shipped ready to meet their new owners, complete with a birth certificate and dummy.

Topics:  south grafton

Election corflute thief caught red-handed

CCTV image of a man believed to have removed Jayne Henry's sign at Cabarita.

Police called after political signs stolen

'No more scaremongering' in Kingscliff election race

Dot Holdom with her posters at home.

Candidate accuses rival of scaremongering over high-rise buildings

Police apologise after blunder blames innocent man

WRONG: Footage incorrectly posted by police of Mr Little.

Police apologise after incorrectly identifying man in fraud case

Local Partners

Mariah Carey and James Packer discussing relationship

Mariah Carey and James Packer are discussing how to work things out

January Jones: Take time away from your phone

January Jones needs time away from her phone

Mel C won't return to Spice Girls for daughter

MEL C is adamant she won't reunite with the Spice Girls

60's British rock legends to return to Australia

The Troggs will play a string of dates across Australia in November.  Photo Contributed

We all remember 'Wild Thing' and now you can hear it live.

Depp jumps ship from agency of 25 years

Johnny Depp has signed to CAA after 25 years with the United

Orlando Bloom 'buried' Katy Perry in birthday flowers

Orlando Bloom "buried" Katy Perry in flowers for her birthday

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!