No Frills Handkerchief Doll

1.

Step One: Take any square or rectangular piece of cloth. Paper napkins and paper towels work, as do bandanas, cloth napkins, old fashioned handkerchieves.
Roll the left and right outside edges in toward the center, sort of like a double scroll.

2.
Step Two- fold in half backwards, so that both sides show the ‘scroll’ fold (i.e. if you turn your handkerchief over it will still look like the above picture).

3.

Step Three (here you can see that one of the smaller Progeny has used my linen napkins for paint clean up): Begin unrolling the ‘scrolls’ that face you- unroll them carefully (you don’t want to unroll the back half) – the picture above isn’t quite finished yet.

4.


Step four- bring the unfolded hem up to the top edge of the folded handkercheif, bring the unfolded corners around to the back and tie in a knot. This step requires a bit of tweaking, as usually it first looks like one of the dolls arms is up over her head and one is dangling uselessly limp at her side, but if you fiddle with the knot a bit, pull at the ‘head’ and arms of the dolly you’ll get it in reasonable shape.

She’s not a fancy dolly, but there are many things to like about her:
1. She can be made in a moment with things you usually have on hand or can find.
2. The process of making her is itself a distraction for fractious kidlets.
3. She’s quiet- she makes no noise if dropped, flung, or banged on a restaurant table or a church pew.
4. Teaching the kidlets how to make her is also entertaining for them.
5. A handkerchief takes up almost no space in your purse and it doesn’t weigh anything.
6. If you make her with a napkin or paper towel you can draw faces on her.
7. Fold and knot her arms the other way and he’s wearing long pants.

Other Dolls:

A prettier but more involved version is online here (some sewing required)

These rolled/folded paper dolls are unusual and look like a lot of fun.

This hanky doll uses cotton balls, ribbons, and lace in addition to the handkerchief.

Here’s another way to fold a hanky baby, but I couldn’t tweak it to my satisfaction.

Tweaking them a little more than I did here dramatically improves their appearance. These can be fancier and you can use them in different ways.

I used a vintage handkerchief belonging to my great-grandmother to make an angel doll for our Christmas tree.

I’ve used one to decorate a rustic grapevine wreath.

I think it would be cute to give a ‘hanky doll kit’ to a child for Christmas. In googling information for these dolls, I’ve learned that people sell them for a ridiculous amount of money when you could easily make your own for a few cents. You could print out instructions and maybe add some trimming accessories and put these with a hanky or two in a Christmas stocking.

These also could be sweet party favors and crafts for a little girl’s birthday or tea party.

Pillowcase dolls are very similar in design. All our older girls have made their own pillowcase doll. They added ribbons and trim around the edges and cross stitched on a stamped pattern along the bottom. These were fancier and obviously took more time, but it was a fun way to practice several skills.

For more ideas, google Handkerchief doll, fold, knot, roll and see what you find!

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3 Comments

  1. B. Durbin
    Posted November 4, 2006 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I once had a bandana that was printed with all sorts of things you could fold it into. I wonder what happened to it.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted November 5, 2006 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    My MIL made these for favours for the little girls who were attending our wedding- they were a hit, and we had no whiny little voices asking, “Is it over *yet*???”

  3. April
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    An older woman in a church we used to attend, made my daughter one. She called it a church doll or pew doll. They are quite to play with. Love it. She decorated our doll with hair and lace.
    It was very heartwarming gift.

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