West Yorkshire woman creates unbelievably life-like baby dolls for collectors and grieving mothers

These pictures show a woman who makes realistic baby dolls for up to £5,000 each - with customers including mothers who have lost a child.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 4:45 pm

The unbelievably life-like dolls are sculpted from clay and then poured into silicone before details are added using specialist paint.

Each one is handmade to client specifications and can be fully customised right down to hair colour and skin tone.

Ellie Habibi, in her 20s, a professional doll maker from West Yorkshire builds each one from scratch.

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One of the incredible like-like dolls created by professional doll maker Ellie Habibi.

She has amassed thousands of followers on social media with her lifelike creations.

Most are bought by collectors - but some by grieving mums or older parents with an empty nest.

Ellie said: “I buy the pieces as a blank kit - like a blank canvas - and then I ask clients what skin tone, hair colour, style they want.

“I then begin painting them, they require many, many thin layers to build it up. Under tones, mottling, veining, etc etc!

“They are sculpted using clay, then moulded and poured into silicone. The paint we use is also silicone based and is really quite difficult to get the hang of.

“You cannot go wrong or make any mistakes, if you do its a done deal and a huge loss.

''The paint isn’t very forgiving, so I am extremely careful to not make mistakes.

''The paint has to be a perfect thickness otherwise it won't stick or won't look right.

“The finished product is the most satisfying aspect of working on a piece.

''They take so long to make sometimes it can get boring, but knowing how great they will look finished, is so satisfying.;;

Ellie's clientele is diverse from collectors to mothers who have lost a child.

"I tend to sell mainly to art enthusiasts. I would say 80 per cent of the buyers are literally just people who love babies and art, and these dolls are a combination of the two so it's perfect.

"About five per cent are elderly ladies who say they are suffering from an empty nest as their children grow and go on to have their lives.

''The other 15 per cent I would say are angel mothers, so those who have suffered a loss during pregnancy or after.

"Occasionally they are also used in shows and movies.

“My cheapest is £2,250 and the most expensive is £5,000.

“I have always loved babies and decided to make them back in 2014. It's been an incredible journey. I have helped make so many people happy.

“One lady took one of my dolls I donated to her to every one of her chemotherapy’s until she unfortunately passed away."

Although Ellie has mainly received positive feedback online, some people struggle to understand the dolls' purpose.

She said: “It's scary and nerve wracking. Some people can be very judgemental and don't understand that these dolls have many purposes.

“We also end up getting requested to donate these or give them for free, which is so frustrating as they cost thousands.

“But also, it's exciting. I want more people to know about the existence of these dolls and how therapeutic and great they can be.”