Make Your Own Worry Dolls or Toothpick People

Are these cute or what?


Materials Needed

Toothpicks - the kind that are square in the center but round at the ends
Embroidery floss in various colors, including flesh tones
Small bead with a hole that allows it to fit snugly over a toothpick
Scissors - the smaller the better
Tacky glue - the quick-set type is best, or use super glue
Tweezers (optional but helpful)


How to Do It

1. There are several possible ways to arrange toothpicks to make a worry doll; I found this one in an old craft book and it seems to be pretty effective. The photo to the right shows the pieces you will need. The sizes don't have to be perfect. For reference, the piece in the center that will form the head and torso is about 1 1/2" long.

2. Begin assembly by gluing the "legs" to the body, with the pointed tips of the legs at the halfway mark of the body piece. You can use an extra toothpick to apply the glue. If you feel clumsy with such things and think glue might squeeze out, work over waxed paper.

3. The doll in this example is a girl, and she's going to be wearing a skirt. Cut a length of embroidery floss about 18" long. It takes more than you think it will! Dab some glue on the back of the doll, and begin wrapping the string around it starting at the "waist." Add glue on the back as needed, and continue down until the skirt reaches the length you want. If you want pants, just wrap the waist and each leg separately. Let the glue set and trim the ends on the back.

4. Choose a shirt color and wrap each arm. Then glue the arms to the outside of the legs, right at the midpoint of the body. Note that the pointed ends of the arms become the shoulders. They will be covered with more floss, so don't worry if they're not perfectly neat.

5. Let the glue set until the arms are fairly secure. Then glue and wrap with the shirt color, beginning just above the shoulders. To make the shirt go down far enough, you may want to adjust your wrapping so it goes under the arms. Use a toothpick or tweezers to help push the thread up under her armpits.

6. The bead will form the head. Slide it onto the toothpick and glue to secure, leaving a short "neck." Let the glue set and trim any protruding length of wood from the top.

7. Cover the head and neck with glue. Begin at the neck and carefully wrap upwards with your flesh colored floss. It's okay if the top and back of the head are a bit messy.

8. Glue on some floss for hair in the style and length of your choice.


Variations and Tips

• You could smooth the "feet" and "hands" with sandpaper if you want.
• Make some accessories for your dolls. Headbands, scarves and shoes should be pretty easy places to start.
• I prefer faceless dolls, but you can certainly add such details with a felt-tipped pen. You could add buttons, pockets or jewelry the same way.
• A larger version could be made from skewers or pencils and yarn.
• You could wrap the whole body in one color and then glue on bits of fabric for the clothes.
• These would make great embellishments for cards or attachments to gift tags. They could be used as ornaments, on hair accessories, or as jewelry. For a more academic slant, try putting a few in a diorama.

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