Simple Toys: How to Make Yarn Dolls

by Merissa on November 21, 2014

in Make Your Own

How to Make Yarn Dolls - Little House Living

How to Make Yarn Dolls

When I was little I loved to make things to play with. My grandpa helped me build a big dollhouse out of some scrap wood, so my sister and I were very much into playing with little dolls. I never had a doll that I bought that lived in the dollhouse, but instead we made cute little dolls from yarn and some from pipe cleaners.

Making Yarn Dolls is a fun project that can be done with boys or girls and doesn't take long to create, but they make a great project for a snowy day. You only need a few supplies (that you probably have laying around the house), and they can be purchased inexpensively. Let's get started!

Supplies for Yarn Dolls

To make yarn dolls you just need some yarn (and any yarn will do, so if you don't have any you can look for the cheapest yarn at the store!), scissors, and some ribbon. The ribbon is optional. 🙂

Arms for Yarn Dolls

Start by creating the arms of the doll. You can do this by wrapping yarn around your fingers, or if someone with little hands is making the doll, you will want to find something thin and at least 4 inches wide (like a piece of cardboard) to wrap the yarn around.  Wrap the yarn at least 20 times to make the arms.

Tying Arms for Yarn Dolls

Cut the arms away from the main skein of yarn and cut 2 small pieces of yarn to tie up the arms with. You can see this in process here. Tie off a small section for the "hand" on each end of the arms.

Finishing Arms for Yarn Dolls

Now cut the loops on each end of the arms to create "hands" for the yarn doll. Set the arms aside for now.

Making Body for Yarn Dolls

Take something larger, either a large piece of cardboard, a thin book, or a dvd case (like I'm using here) and loosely wrap more yarn around it to start forming a body for your doll. Make sure that the body is at least 3 times as long as the arms you've made. Wrap the yarn around this at least 20 to 30 times or more.

Making Head for Yarn Dolls

Carefully remove the yarn doll's body from whatever you used to wrap it around and tie off a section for her head. For a girl doll you will want her head to be a little longer than it looks like it should be so you can add a bun later. For a boy doll you don't need the longer head so just tie off a section that looks like the right shape for a head.

Creating a Dress on Yarn Dolls

Cut the loops on the other end of the body to form the dress.

Inserting Arms on Yarn Dolls

Take the yarn doll's body and part her dress, place the arms in the middle of the body and snugly up against the underneath of the dolls head.

Adding in Arms on Yarn Dolls

Use another small piece of yarn to tie a waist right below the arms to hold them into place on the doll. Now if you are making a girl doll you are already done with her dress, however for a boy doll you will want to slip the "dress" of the yarn in half and tie off legs for pants.

Tying a Bun on a Yarn Doll

To form the bun on the girl doll simply gather up a bit of the loops of yarn in the back of her head and use a small extra piece of yarn to create a little bun. Trim the excess yarn from tying.

Adding a Bow to a Yarn Doll

For a fancy doll you can use the ribbon to tie a pretty bow around her waist or around the bun in her hair.

Finished Yarn Doll

She's all ready to be played with and for your little ones to make a little family to go with her! Try and experiment with different sized bodies and arms to make small and large dolls. We used to create huge families with tiny baby yarn dolls!

For another fun project you can also try making these Corn Husk Dolls!


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5:30 am

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barb Wright November 21, 2014 at 6:23 am

These are adorable! My sister and I used to make these,but often we cut paper dolls out of a catalog. We didn’t ever have much yarn because my mom didn’t knit or crochet. I have two grandsons that will like these,to be sure! They will most likely use camo yarn and make hunter dolls!! They love to create things..which makes grandma very happy!! (their mom DOES knit,so they are lucky!).


2 Kimberly November 21, 2014 at 9:22 am

I had forgotten about these little treasures from my childhood! Thank you for sharing. You made my heart smile!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving,
Kimberly Koehler


3 Elizabeth November 21, 2014 at 5:07 pm

My family has a doll like this that my grandmother made. Thank you for sharing how to make them! 🙂


4 Mary K November 22, 2014 at 12:06 am

I used to make these as a child. I had forgotten about them. I used to make them looping the yarn around a small address book of my mother’s. I know I will have fun making these again with my young girls.


5 Adelina Priddis November 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

I just found this on pinterest, and I’m so glad! My 8 year old is going to make a couple of these for her sisters for Christmas.


6 At The Clothesline November 23, 2014 at 8:46 pm

I had my boys make yarn dolls for the little girls at church one year for Christmas. It was a big hit with the girls and their mom’s. The boys thought it was awkward to make them and give them to the girls, but since mom insisted…..LOL!


7 Julie November 24, 2014 at 2:39 am

I made one of these for my daughter about 16 years ago, she called him Mr Blue (he had legs and was blue) based on the toy of one of the characters on a kids programme called Tots TV. We went to visit her at uni the other week and I discovered not only does she still have him but she took him with her!


8 Ramona November 26, 2014 at 8:41 am

Very cute! I used to make yarn dolls as a little girl. <3


9 Samantha @ Stir the Wonder November 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm

These are so cute! Thanks for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! We hope you stop by again next week!


10 Jill @ Called To A Be A Mom December 3, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Thanks for linking at Pintastic Pintersting Party. This looks like such a fun activity.


11 Kristina and Millie December 4, 2014 at 8:31 pm

These yarn dolls are so adorable! I remember playing with these when young but I had forgotten all about them! Thanks for the fond memories 🙂


12 Denise Best March 2, 2015 at 3:31 pm

I enjoy making these dolls out of crochet thread.


13 Gaia September 10, 2015 at 4:32 pm

it would have been nice to see a boy doll picture as it’s hard to visualize sometimes


14 Natalie Richardson January 26, 2016 at 10:58 am

Can you please make a video? The bun really looks different than what you say! So cute though!!


15 cecilia April 6, 2016 at 8:42 pm

when i was gowing up, use to visit my relative on a ranch in arizona, there mom did not have yarn, but i learned how to make stuff animals out of cotton from the fields and scrape material. Good memories, thank-u i all about forgot about this, and u brought those good memories back


16 Mary whitt April 17, 2016 at 9:33 am

I have been looking for these as can remember making them over 60 yrs ago. Also I used to put a pin on the back to make a broach.


17 Sylvia June 21, 2017 at 11:33 am

This is cute and easy. I work with the youth at my church and this would be a good project to make to attach to gifts for nursing home or someone that is sick. You know I bet you can attach wings to these and make them into angels too. Thank you for sharing this idea.


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