ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Kachina Doll Craft Project

Updated on March 31, 2016
Jaynie2000 profile image

Jaynie has delighted in creating awesome craft projects with her 2 daughters. She loves to find innovative ideas and make them her own.


History of the Kachina Doll

To the Hopi people, Kachinas are spirits of deities, of elements from the natural world or of deceased ancestors of the Hopi themselves. They are represented by hand-carved dolls, the earliest of which was made around 1850. According to Hopi legend, each year the Kachinas come down into the Hopi villages from their home on Humphrey’s Peak to bring rain for the upcoming harvest and to offer each child in the village a gift. The Hopi plan celebrations for the Kachina including ceremonial dancing and presentation of the dolls from father to daughter.

The dolls are made by fathers in the village in the days preceding the ceremony. They are not only meant as ornate gifts, but also to teach each daughter about the significance of their particular Kachina spirit. They are hung on the wall of each home for study by the child after the ceremony. Each doll is hand carved, painted and decorated. The intricate detailing has evolved since the first doll was carved in the 1800s. There are four distinct styles of Kachina doll, representing four stages of human development. Two are for infants, with one being specifically made for infant girls, one for toddlers, and one for girls ages two and older. The latter is the most detailed, with mature physical features.

The Hopi are very particular about their Kachinas and can spot an imposter immediately. Each genuine doll features a proper representation of body proportions and attention to detail. The hands of each doll include separated fingers, never closed fists. Only one piece of wood is used in carving the dolls. Those that include glued or nailed on appendages are not the genuine article. The most ornate, detailed dolls range in price from $1000 - $10,000, though there are dolls available for several hundred dollars.

When making a Kachina, even the colors used are significant. Each color represents a direction. For example, red represents south or southeast; blue or green represents west or southwest; white is east or northeast; yellow is north or northwest and black represents the underworld, known by the Hopi as Nadir. If all colors are used, it represents heaven.

Now that you know a bit about the Kachina, it might be fun to get out your scraps of material, beads, ribbons and other decorating accessories and help your kids to make their own. Part of the fun of the project is teaching the kids about the Kachina’s significance, so be sure to talk about the meaning of the colors and about how the fathers give the dolls as gifts to their daughters.

Making Your Kachina

You will need the following supplies, most of which you likely already have at home:

  • Empty toilet paper rolls
  • Scraps of material
  • Paint and brushes
  • Beads
  • Feathers
  • Hot glue
  • Yarn
  • Other accessories per preference

You can make your Kachina as a representation of a spirit of your choosing. Perhaps that would be a family pet, your favorite animal, a grandparent or other significant person in your life.

There is no right or wrong way to make or decorate your Kachina, so be creative. See how ornate you can make it. I am including pictures of actual Kachinas and of children’s handcrafted Kachinas for your reference.


Rate this Hub

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Kachina Dolls

© 2013 Jaynie2000


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Jaynie2000 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks. The real ones would be challenging for me, as I couldn't carve wood without cutting my fingers off! But the others were fun to do with my kids.

    • peachpurple profile image


      7 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      awesome photos! Never heard of these dolls. Maybe will find the step by step to make one someday. Voted up


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)