Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Doll Crafts: A Kids Guide to Making Simple Dolls

My younger sister and I spent hours as kids making dolls of all kinds from clothespins, empty thread spools, socks, and other materials and then building them homes from abandoned shoe boxes. We'd make beds and chairs and cut out windows covering them with plastic and decorating the home with Mom's scraps of fabric. The homes were never going to win prizes, we didn't have money for fancy doll houses or dolls, but it didn't stop our interest in creating them. I often think it stimulated our creativity because we had to make everything.

I was intrigued when I saw Doll Crafts: A Kid's Guide to Making Simple Dolls, Clothing, Accessories, and Houses listed as a new offering at the library. These kids craft books can be hit or miss. This one didn't disappoint. It had a wide range of options for kids interested in simple quick to make projects so they can play now and those who want to explore the crafting side of doll making a little more and learn some new skills. Just a note these projects are geared for children, it is not a book for adult doll makers. However, it did surprise and intrigue me the types of skills they introduced for hair and clothes creation.

The book begins with an introduction explaining the tools and terms used in the book. If you have experience with sewing most will be familiar to you, however I always find it a good idea to make sure the author and I use the same language when discussing crafts.

The book begins with a recipe for Gingerbread dolls or what most of us call cookies. I guess this is a childhood experience most kids shouldn't miss. I'm not sure I'd have included it in a doll making book, but I wasn't the author. From their we move on to a chapter on paper dolls and I must confess this took me back to my childhood with things I had almost forgotten. First we have directions for a paper doll chain, then the author moves on to making and dressing paper dolls. From there we move on to using brass brads (she tells you to check the office supply store to find them) to make dancing paper dolls. I had forgotten about making these in school. Filling out the paper doll section is a selfie paper doll and a gymnast that almost moves us into the area of puppetry.

The next section is one very beloved from my childhood, clothespin dolls. This section only merited a page before she moved on to spoon dolls and handkerchief dolls.

The next large section is folk dolls and she begins with the corn husk doll. She also includes directions for an apple and radish head dolls. I've seen apple dolls, but never the directions for making one, not that I've looked. I'd never actually heard of a radish doll.

My older sisters made yarn dolls and I still have a couple of Christmas ornaments they made as children that hang on my Christmas tree. Directions are provided for making them in the next section of the folk dolls. There are directions for a worry, healing, string, and stick doll in this section as well. The section includes a Voodoo doll although I think for kids I might have left that one out.

Following the folk dolls we move on to soft dolls beginning with a pocket gnome. We move from there to sock dolls and then felt dolls.

The next large section covers making doll clothes and ranges from simple to more complicated projects.

At the end we have a few pages dedicated to housing. I would have liked to have seen more here, but that could be a personal bias because I spent so many hours building my own as a child.

Overall I think this is a pretty amazing book. I'd have loved to have had access to it as a child because this isn't one of those books where you need tons of unavailable products to make the first project. Some like the clothespins are now more craft items than they were when I was a child, but the items used to decorate them are things that can be recycled from other projects, recycled clothing, etc.


  1. That sounds so cute! I mostly remember making and "dressing" paper dolls. Though my sister and I were quite fortunate to have a family member make a beautiful wooden doll house and my grandmother loved dolls so she happily housed it in her basement for our entire childhood and often bought furniture and accessories for it wherever she traveled. Thanks for sharing with us at Love to Learn. Pinned.

  2. Taking part in wordless Wednesday so I'm stop by to say Hi.
    One of my older cousin made her daughter a shoe box full of doll clothes.
    If you fine the time stop by for a cup of coffee

  3. I love these doll houses and making books too! cheers, kidcandoodle

  4. Making dolls is such a great activity for all kids. One of my favorite memories is my mom and I making tiny paper dolls to go on a flat paper house she drew for me. Thank you for sharing on the Love to Learn hop!

  5. We had to make many of our own things growing up, too. And like you, I think it fosters creativity. When we hand kids everything, they often get bored with it quickly.

  6. This is something that my daughter and I can enjoy. Dolls are cute indeed