So what Sponge should I use?

There are quite a wide variety of sponges available to choose from... All shapes and sizes... So what is the difference and which works the best?  With 10 years experience in reborning, I have found my favorites - let me try and explain...

The Two main Types

Believe me when I tell you, that I have used, tried and tested every sponge under the sun on my dolls.... From cosmetic wedges, bath sponges, kitchen sponges... been there - done that - got the T-Shirt lol

Two Different Sponges - Coarse and FineBut there are two sponges that remains my most favorite when it comes to pouncing my basic layers and for sealing.... Later I will do an article on mottling sponges:o)

These two sponges are both cosmetic wedges but there is a distinct difference between the two..... When you look closely, you will see that the sponge on the right has a coarser texture with bigger "holes" than the dense, fine textured sponge on the left....



The Coarse Sponge

The coarse sponge, is my sponge of choice to do all my paint layers with ~ like my flesh colors and washes.  This sponge has the coarser texture and gives a more even coverage as it's a much softer sponge and leaves literally no "sponge marks" on the vinyl.  There is nothing I hate more than seeing a doll with a bunch of squares on it from the sponge that was used.  It is 100% Latex Free and a Synthetic Sponge that is hypoallergenic and totally biodegradable - which is always a good thing:o)

You will also see that this sponge tends to swell up and expand as you use it... I love this:o)))

The Fine Sponge

The fine sponge is 100% Latex Free and made from 100% Pure Cotton - who doesn't love cotton? hehe  This sponge has a dense look and feel to it.  You will feel it is not as soft and "spongy" as the Coarse Sponge.  I find this sponge to be perfect for my finishing layer of varnish for sealing my dolls.  I also use this sponge to seal my hair patterns for my rooted and painted hair.  Many collectors do not like the feel of a very coarse texture on their dolls, which makes these sponges perfect for your varnishes.  I also find this sponge to be stronger and no bits will break off and get stuck in your varnish, which will happen with the coarse sponge.

In this Image you can see the difference in the two sponges once they have been used.

The coarse sponge on the left will swell out, while the fine, dense sponge on the right keeps its shape.


What else is the REAL difference between these Sponges?

Now this is a very interesting question...

On my quest to find the sponges that worked best for me, I have come to another very important realization..  Except for the difference already mentioned, I also found that these two sponges handle the paint in two totally different ways... I found that the coarse sponge is much better at "releasing" the paint onto the vinyl, which gives you a more intense color than the fine, dense sponge.  I found that the dense sponge literally retains all the pigment of the paint within the sponge and just release a very small amount of paint and more odorless thinner onto the vinyl.  So you will be painting many many maaannnnyyy layers before you actually start to see a difference in color on your doll kit; or you will have to have a much more pigmented mixture of paint to actually "see" more of it on your kit with this sponge.  In the image below I am demonstrating with a deep red paint, which was painted with a brush on both sponges and pressed on a paper towel....

Can you see the difference in the paint's intensity?  I brushed the exact same amount of paint on each sponge.

The coarse sponge released more paint and when looking at the sponge, you can see way less paint was retained in the sponge.

The fine, dense sponge retained more of the pigment and only released a small amount of color on the towel

I am demonstrating on a kit to show you the difference in the release of the paint between the two sponges.

This picture was taken under daylight lamps, and does not really show the intensity difference, but feel free to do the test on a doll part and you will be amazed at the difference it makes.

The other main difference is definitely the way it applies your final varnish layer to your doll.  I find that the coarse sponge gives you too much of a texture that does not look authentic at all.  And if you use matt varnish, this will make the end result even worse.  Matt varnish is extremely gritty and does not feel good to the touch at all.  With the fine, dense sponge, you will get a much finer texture and the excess product is removed with this sponge, just giving you a very nice thin and finely textured finish on your baby...

On the left is the coarse sponge and on the right is the fine, dense sponge.  You can see the difference in the texture it gives your doll.


I hope you found this article helpful:o)  Feel free to leave your comments and ask questions below.


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