Make Elf Dolls Out of Felt and Beads
A Wonderful Project For Kids
When I was young, my mom came up with a way to make little elf dolls using felt, beads, pipe cleaner, thread, and a little glue. They have star-shaped bodies, scarves and hats wrapped around their heads. My friend and I loved picking out different color felts to create their outfits. I pretended they were a species of tiny people; I called them flinders, monkels, and yiams, and in my imagination they lived in the sea, the mountains, and the forests. They had names like Kiwi, and I would quiz myself to see if I could remember all the names I'd given them. In short, these simple dolls allowed me hours of fun and creativity, both making them and playing with them.
The dolls are simple to make. The materials you'll need can be found at crafts stores. If you think your children can handle a needle and thread, then they can help you make them. It's an enjoyable crafts project and a nice way to spend time together.
- felt, various colors
- beads (about 2 cm in diameter for the heads; 1 cm for hands/feet)
- pipe cleaners
- fabric glue
- needle and thread
Step 1: Make a Pattern
If you want to make more than one elf doll, it will be easier if you make a pattern on some sturdy paper. Use the picture as a guide, and cut out the body and hat patterns. Sizes may vary, but the doll's body should be about 3 in. tall and 2 1/2 in. wide.
Tip: The measurements on the patterns are approximate. To make the hat the right size, wrap the felt around the bead that you will use as the head and measure the circumference.
Step 2: Make the Pipe Cleaner Frame
Use pipe cleaners to make the frame, or "skeleton" of the doll. First, make a cross with two pipe cleaners. Wrap one around the other with the ends sticking out as arms. Do the same thing for the legs, and trim the "tailbone" at the bottom. It's okay to leave the arms, legs, and neck long. You can trim them at the end after gluing on the beads.
Tip: If you want the dolls to be pliable and poseable, consider using copper wire for the frame. Use a long bead for the body underneath the felt, and wrap the wire around the head, hands, and feet beads to hold them in place.
Step 3: Sew the Felt Body Around the Frame
Fold the felt body in half along the dotted line in the pattern. Make sure the pipe cleaner neck sticks through the hole in the felt. Position the arms and legs so they come out of the sleeves and pants legs.
Using thread, preferably in the same color as the felt, use a basic in-and-out stitch around the body, going from the arm to leg on both sides, and stitching in the gap between the legs. Stitch right up to the pipe cleaners so the arms and legs will stay in place. Knot the thread when you finish sewing the body.
Step 4: Glue on the Head, Hands, and Feet
Apply some glue to the pipe cleaners sticking out of the felt body. Slide on the beads for the head, hands, and feet, and wait for them to dry into place. Trim the excess pipe cleaners with scissors.
Tip: Some beads have faces painted on them. You can either leave the faces plain, or draw them in with markers.
Step 5: Add the Hat
Take the hat you cut out from the pattern, and roll it so the edges of the triangle meet, so it looks like a witch's hat. Use the same stitch as before, starting at the base of the hat and working your way up to the tip.
Apply some glue around the doll's head and slide the hat down so it covers about half of the face. Let it dry.
Step 6: Make the Scarf
Cut a long, narrow strip of fabric for the scarf. Wrap it around the doll's neck, and use fabric glue to keep it in place.
Tip: You can use the same color scarf as the hat, or mix the colors up however you like!