If you have a skein of yarn and 15 minutes, you can create a yarn doll! This is a great craft to share with young crafters, and soon, everyone will be busy creating a community of yarn dolls! Making the dolls is an “ish” thing. How tall you make your dolls will determine how many times you need to wrap the body. My dolls are 7 1/2″ tall. If you want to make yours larger or smaller, just experiment until you find satisfying proportions.
4 ply yarn
cardboard, book, lids, etc. for your wrapping board
1] Choose a book or lid that is the size of the yarn doll you want to make. You can cut a piece of cardboard to get the exact size you want. Basically, the doll will be as tall as the wrapping board you use.
2] Begin by taping or simply holding and end of the yarn at the bottom of your wrapping board. Begin wrapping the yarn around the board. For my 7 1/2″ doll, I wrapped the yarn around the board 70 times. Note: Do not stretch the yarn while you are wrapping or when you remove the yarn from the board, it will “shrink” as it resumes its unstretched state. DO NOT remove the yarn from the board yet.
3] Cut a piece of yarn around 10″ long. Slide it under the yarn at the top of the board and tie a tight knot. Young children will some help making sure their knots are nice and tight.
4] Carefully slide the yarn loops off the board. The tied section is the top of the head. Cut another piece of yarn 10″ long. Keeping the yarns straight, and the tie at the top, wrap your piece of yarn around the doll’s neck 2 times. This creates the head and neck. I make my head 1 1/2″ long. Again, tightly tie off the thread on the front of the doll. After you have a secure knot, tie a bow. Then, tie the 2 loops of the bow again to prevent it from untying. You now have a bow at the girl’s neck.
5] To make the arms, wrap yarn around the board 35 times in the same manner described above BUT this time, tie off the yarn 1″ from the bottom of the board.
6] Cut the yarn on the front of the board 1/2″ below your tie. The yarn will come off the board. It will not be a series of loops like the body, but rather, it will be a long bundle of yarns.
7] Divide the bundle into three sections and tightly braid. Temporarily, tie off the other end. Basically, you want the arms to be the length of the doll. Measure 7″ from the first tie and place another tie on the braid. Cut through the braid 1/2″ away from this tie. Your arm braid should be ABOUT 7 1/2″.
8] To attach the arms, carefully find the middle of the doll’s body and “open” it up.
9] Insert the arms in so the middle of the arm braid is centered between the loops directly under the head.
10] Lift the arms over the dolls head to get them out of the way, and tightly tie the body directly under the arms using 10″ of yarn. It is very important to tie directly under the arms so the arms are trapped securely, otherwise, the arms could slide out. Tie on the front of the doll. After you have a secure knot, tie a bow. Then, tie the 2 loops of the bow again to prevent it from untying. You now have a bow at the girl’s waist. Note: If you feel like this knot might not hold your arms securely, turn the doll over, and using a yarn needle, tack the back to the arms, making sure you do not go through the front, and tie off. Hide the thread ends in the doll’s body.
11] Cut the loops at the bottom of the doll’s body.
12] There are 2 ways you can finish the top of the doll. If you want to hang the doll from something, leave the yarn on the doll’s head long and tie to create a loop. If the doll is going to be used as a doll, tie a bow. Then, tie the 2 loops of the bow again to prevent it from untying.
1] If you wish to keep the boy and dolls the same size, you will need to wrap the boy’s body on a larger wrapping board. This is because you will be braiding the boy’s legs, which uses more yarn length than the skirt. I found in making the 7 1/2″ dolls, that if I used a board 9″ long, it made the finished boy measure 7 1/2″.
2] Continue making the doll as described through Step 11. Note: Instead of making bows on the boy, after tying secure knots, I simply cut off the extra yarn leaving 1/2″ ends.
3] To make the legs, divide the yarn into 2 equal sections.
4] Braid each section separately, creating 2 legs.
5] Finish with top as described in Step 12 with a loop for hanging or with the 1/2″ ends.
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