You might have never made a doll before, but if you’d like to give it a try, there’s no easier dolls to make than the ones you create by starting with small clothing. Use doll clothes to make small dolls or little kids’ clothing to make larger versions. Make boy dolls or girl dolls for your own collection or for a child, and you’ll be so impressed with your own handiwork, you’ll definitely want to make another and another!
It’s really easy to make a doll from a pair of pants and a shirt. The pants should be ankle-length, the shirt long-sleeve. You’ll find it helpful to make life-size dolls if you use a baby sleeper to begin. Hot glue the sleeves shut then stuff the sleeper with cotton batting. If you want the doll to stand slide a wooden dowel into each leg of the sleeper. Pull a pair of pants on over the sleeper. Now slide the sleeper into a long-sleeve shirt. Tuck the shirt in and glue the waistband of the pants to it or just leave the shirt hanging out. However, it’s best if you glue even an untucked shirt so that no one can peek under the hem and see the sleeper.
To make a doll that pouts in a corner simply glue the cuffs of the shirt closed. Slide a pair of socks or small shoes onto the doll and glue them on with hot glue. Make a head from a knee-hi stocking by cutting it to size and stuffing it. Work with the stuffing until you can create a nice head shape for the doll. Tie a knot in the knee-hi to keep the stuffing in then glue the “neck” of the stocking to the neckline of the shirt. Now glue the cuffs of the shirt to the face to cover it. Finish by gluing on a “Gilligan” hat which hangs low and covers the back of the “neck.”
Although the pouting doll doesn’t need a face, because the hands cover the face and the doll faces a corner, there are other dolls you can make which do have faces. Make heads from knee-hi’s and use buttons for eyes, a pom-pom for a nose and a piece of yarn for a mouth. Or, use colored pantyhose, like brown or white, then make the head from those. You can use markers to draw a face on this type of doll. Faces can also be made by using a needle and thread to create the features. Another way to create a face for a doll is to purchase fabric which sports faces. For example, check a fabric store and you’ll find material with images of cartoon children and more. Cut one face image from the cloth and glue or stitch it to the head of the doll. Other choices for facial features include peel-n-stick eyes from a craft store or even lip-shaped felt pieces for the mouth.
The pouting baby also doesn’t have hands but you can make hands for a doll by stuffing baby mittens and gluing them to the cuff of the long sleeve shirt. If you’re not using a sleeper to contain the stuffing add the hands first and then stuff the shirt. Make a different type of hand by using a child’s tube socks. Stuff them and glue them in place or stitch fingers into the socks. Draw three lines on the sock to make three fingers and a thumb. Making four fingers creates an awkward look for some dolls. Stitch down these lines and then stuff the sock to make hands for the new doll. Make hands, arms, feet and legs for small dolls by cutting fingers from old gloves.
Make feet for a doll by simply gluing on baby’s shoes, booties or small socks. The shoes don’t have to be stuffed but the booties or socks do. Stuff them and glue them to the ankle area of the pants. Easily add hair to your doll when you use a hat to conceal the top area of the head. Create braids from yarn or just glue yarn lengths all over the head. The lengths can be short for a boy or long for a girl. Instead of yarn you can use doll hair from a craft store or even African-American braiding hair from a dollar-theme store. The hat helps conceal the glued area and gives the doll a more finished appearance. A different way to add the hair is to glue it to a purchased hat. Glue it to the underside of the hat, in the back and/or in the bangs area, then glue the hat to the doll.
It’s a lot of fun to make your own dolls and you’ll find it really simple to do when you start with small clothing choices. The finished dolls are so impressive you can give them as gifts or add them to an existing collection! Or, start a new collection by creating boy and girl dolls, ones that sit and ones that lie on a bed, and more. You might not realize it but you’re a doll maker now!