Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How To Make Yarn Dolls *

     Recently in one of my searches for fun homemade crafts to do with my daughter, I discovered a lovely pictures of yarn dolls. My daughter saw them and got so excited, asking me to please, please make her some :o) I looked online and found a lot of instructions for making them. I put together my own instructions with what I found, and I'm sharing it with you below.

Messy yarn dolls with hair

Picture from Google search
     To start with, you need any color of yarn, you can use different colors for different parts if you like, scissors, a piece of cardboard or a book. I used yarn that was a mixture of colors. The length of cardboard or book will the the length of your girl doll. With the boy doll you need something about 2 inches longer, because when you braid his legs you loose length. Here are some size guidelines: Large 16 1/2 inches, Medium 9 inches, Small 7 inches. Now for the yarn, I had no idea what kind of yarn to get. I ended up getting something thinner than usual so I had to wrap it a lot more times. I wrapped mine 100 times, and our dolls were good sized, but a little thin. With a thicker yarn you can wrap less or more, some instructions suggest wrapping it 200 times. This is up to you to decide how thick you want your dolls.

Thick doll
Picture from Google search
     You start by taking putting the cut side of the yarn at the top of your board/book. Wrap around it, so it is tucked under the pieces of yarn you are wrapping. Wrap the board as many times as you want for the thickness/thinness you want in your dolls. Once you are finished wrapping, cut the string and tuck it under the pieces you've wrapped, just like you did with the beginning piece. Cut another piece of yarn, about 10 inches long, and slide the piece under one side you have wrapped. Then pull the two ends together to tie a knot at the top of the board/book, holding all of the wrapped yarn. This will be the top bow for the girl doll, or you can make a loop to hang your dolls on, or just tie it off and cut it for the boy doll.

Put your string under the yarn to tie it off at the top
Picture from aokcorral.com
     Carefully slip the yard off of the board/book. Cut another piece of yarn 10 inches long. This second piece will be used to make the head of the doll. You can make your doll's head any size, most are usually 1-2 inches. You can make a head two ways: Just take the string, put it 1 inch below the tie on top, and tie it off to make the head. Or you can make a small ball of yarn to go in the middle of the area you are making for the head to give it more thickness and firmness. Once you've tied this knot, make it into another bow for the girl doll, or tie it off and cut it for the boy doll.

Remove yarn from board and tie at neck to give doll a head

Pictures from littleaustinite.com
       Next you will make the arms. You can make your doll's arms the same length as your doll or a little shorter. You want to wrap the board/book half the times you did for the body. This time tie the yarn off about 1 inch from the edge of the board. Cut about a half way from where you tied and the edge of the board. Remove the tied yarn. Divide the yarn into 3 sections and braid it to the bottom, tying it off about a 1/2 inch from the bottom. Now, if you want longer strands at the end, you can do so. Just tie the yarn on the board/book 1 inch above the edge, then cut at the edge, not above it, and when you are finished braiding it tie the end 1 inch from the bottom. The nice thing about these dolls is you can vary them however suits you!

Take the cut piece and braid it
Picture from aokcorral.com

     Once you have finished the braid and tied the end off, find the middle and tie it off 1/2 inch from the middle on each side. Then cut the braid in the middle, between the two ties. Now you have 2 sets of arms - one for each doll. I feel this is a better way to do it because it saves you yarn and time, you only have to braid arms once. Now open up your doll in the middle of the yarn loops under her neck tie. Put the arms in that opening and close the yarn over them. Lift the doll's arms up so you can tie under the arms tight enough so the arms don't come out. Take another 10 inch piece of yarn, and tie it as close under the body with the arms as you can. For the girl doll make another bow, for the boy doll tie it and cut it close. 

Split the yarn loop in the middle and  slide the arms in
Picture from aokcorral.com

     Next cut the loops at the bottom of the doll's body. If this is a girl doll - you're done! She's adorable and ready to be loved and played with. :o) If you think her arms might not stay in well, you can always sew them to the back of her yarn body a little, same with the boy doll. Now, if you are making a boy doll you aren't done yet. You need to split the bottom part of the body you just cut, into 2 equal sections. Braid each section, making 2 braided legs. Tie off the legs 1/2 inch from the bottom. Now - you're done! You have successfully made a boy girl and a girl doll! :o)

My finished girl doll :o)
     Do not worry if your dolls aren't perfect! Mine sure weren't! But my daughter didn't care one bit, she took them and happily played with them. These make wonderful gifts, and I feel they mean so much more because they were handmade. I feel anything you make has more value because you put your time, energy and love into something for another person. :o)

My finished girl and boy dolls! :o)

     You can make varieties of these dolls, making a girl doll with braided legs if you'd like, adding yarn hair, adding embellishments to the body, etc. These are created by you so add to them what you like!
Finished thick dolls
Picture from aokcorral.com
 And with the girl doll, there is a part where you cut the braided piece for the arms. I cut the piece in half and tied off both ends to that I could use the other piece for the boy's arms. This was much easier for me. I made our girl doll first and my daughter was beyond thrilled! :o) She absolutely adored her. When I made the boy doll, she spent the evening playing with the both of them continually. She truly enjoyed the dolls and still does!