Two weeks ago this video of adorable baby avatars was posted on Instagram and the Internet went nuts. The video alone garnered 2.5 million views! Most people thought these lifelike dolls were super cute, but some people thought they were “creepy as hell.”
The little blue babies look like they are blissfully asleep, dreaming of taming the wild Toruk.
2. Made In Spain
The dolls are created by the Spanish company Babyclon. They are just really obsessed with making babies (not in that normal sense of that phrase). The company is composed of a team of artists and technicians who specialize in silicone sculpting.
Christina Iglesias is the woman behind Babyclon. Her background is in special effects for films, which remains her true passion. But a friend of hers brought up the idea of silicone babies. Christina told Vice Spain that she thought it was weird at first, but the demand was so high she realized she could really make a profit with these little guys.
The avatar babies cost about $2,650 a pop. One of the standard molds go for about $1,300. Babyclon also makes robotic models that move and “breathe.” These are the most expensive models and they go for about $3,650. Lifelike eyes that are modeled at the factory cost an additional $160. If you don’t opt for this, Babyclon purchases less realistic eyes from a third party.
5. How To Make A Baby
Not just any silicone goes into making these babies. Babyclon uses platinum cured silicone – the same stuff plastic surgeons use. The first, and most difficult step, is making a sculpture from hard plasticine (molding putty). They then use the sculpture to make a mold consisting of fiberglass and aluminum. It lasts for about 100 copies before another sculpture needs to be made.
All the dolls' hair is made from mohair, which has a similar texture to human hair. Customers can then ask the artists to paint specific details such as freckles, birthmarks and moles. Many times a customer will provide a picture of their own children as infants to use as a reference.
The dolls last about 30 years.
6. The Babies Come In All Shapes And Sizes
There are about 13 different models of babies. The majority of them are “born” girls, but can be turned into boys at the customer’s request. The babies come with different skin tones, hair and eye color and humanoid types. Besides avatar babies, Babyclon also makes mermaid babies that come with a removable tail and fairy babies like the horned Maleficent. They are all named after different cities which reflect their ethnicity. For example, Havana is a darker-skinned doll.
7. You Can Order A Baby That Will Drink And Pee
For just a small extra fee ($320), you can order a baby that will drink and pee. The artists created a special mechanism inside the doll which allows them to ingest water and then release it. Makes you wonder what color an avatar’s pee is.
Despite all the similarities to reborn dolls, Iglesias insists that Babyclon dolls are different. Reborn dolls are often times purchased by women who are looking to replace an actual child. In some cases these women were never able to get pregnant, or even worse, they purchased the reborn dolls to help get over the death of a child.
"Silicone babies are not reborn babies, because they are not being born again. Ours is simply a doll that is made to be collected. We are not a uterus, we are a factory," Iglesias told Vice.
Iglesias and her team consider themselves artists. They want to make their babies as realistic as possible to demonstrate the extent of their artistic ability, not to fill a void for the a female consumer.
"In Spain, collecting these dolls is regarded as a rather strange hobby. However, in other countries there are people who recognize their value as works of art," Iglesias said.
Babyclon wants to see their work compared to that of hyperrealist work of artist Ron Mueck (pictured above), not to something you buy at a toy store. A lot of work goes into each doll, and the price tag shows that. These Babyclon dolls are mostly purchased by collectors and many of them are meant to be displayed in a glass cabinet.
10. Learn how to Make Your Own Silicone Baby
Impressed with Babyclon’s work? Well, you can learn how to do it for yourself! The company provides courses every year on the process of making silicone baby dolls. The courses are taught around the world, and are all based on Iglesias’ technique. But the spaces are limited and only accept about 10 students/country. The fee for a two day course is $650. The student will learn about everything from color theory to painting fantasy dolls like the avatar and other mythical creature babies.