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Spirit Dolls

Updated on June 12, 2015

My Beaded Spirit Doll

Spirit dolls are used in various forms throughout the world. They go by many names: spirit dolls, worry dolls, healing dolls etc. I made this one while I was recovering from hip replacement surgery. I had been an independent, self reliant person for so many years that I found needing to be waited on demoralizing and depressing in spite of the loving care provided by my grown children. The bright primary colors are not what I'm usually drawn to, but I needed them to lift my spirits.

I found as I worked that just the touch of beads of various finishes and sizes was soothing and calming. The swirling design of this beadwork produced a tactile sense of well being as the reflex points at the fingertips were gently massaged and stimulated, producing mental and physical healing. The quartz crystal crown and fringe tips as well as the black beads were used to dispel negative energy.

Spirit Dolls of Different Shapes

The doll in the introduction is a fairy doll. See the wings? This one is a goddess doll. She is the first one I ever made. One of my friends was going through a very trying time and I made this one for her. I didn't try to draw a design before I started adding the beads, I just let the beads lead me. I kept my friend and all her various troubles in my mind as I stitched. I didn't even lay out a color scheme. I let the beads lead there too.

Make Your Own Spirit Doll

Your spirit doll can be used for decoration, inspiration, or as an aid to healing and calming. Make a small doll, about 4 inches tall to carry with you.

Making your Spirit Doll

Unfortunately, none of the websites I used for inspiration while making my beaded spirit dolls are available now, so I will share what I know with you.

You'll need

Close woven fabric - If you want to make a solid bead pattern on the doll, use a solid color. You can use a print and just embellish the design in the print with beads if you prefer.

A paper pattern for your doll - the one I used is no longer available, but you can try this one or draw one of your own.


Fiber fill


Beading thread


Cut out a paper pattern for the doll

Place 2 pieces of fabric right sides facing and draw the doll pattern onto the fabric.

Pin the pieces of fabric securely and stitch around the outline of the doll, leaving a 1 inch opening to stuff the doll.

Cut the doll out 1/4 inch from the stitching. Clip corners and notch outward curves. Turn the doll right side out. Note: When making a 4 inch doll it is much easier to sew the doll first, then cut it out.

Stuff the doll as you wish. You can stuff it lightly for a flatter doll, or stuff it tightly for a more rounded doll.

Turn the edges of the opening under and blind stitch or whip stitch it together.

You're now ready to embellish the doll as you wish.

Tips: You can glue on a polymer clay face, paint on a face, or use a large flat bead or button for a face if you wish. Do this before you start beading.

Stuff the head and arms then make a row of tiny stitches between them and the body for a more sculptured effect. If you're making a solid beaded pattern over the doll, this might alter a design you may have drawn.

Gina Hopkins has a wonderful video tutorial for bead embroidery on YouTube. You can also go to and type bead embroidery into the search bar for many more tutorials

Comments about Spirit Dolls Welcome

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    • Beaddoodler profile image

      Jennie Hennesay 3 years ago from Lubbock TX

      lbrummer Thanks for reading. There are so many ways to make these dolls they can be adapted to any medium you're comfortable using. Just be sure they have a variety of textures. Their tactile influence is almost unbelievable.

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 3 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      Very nice tutorial for making spirit dolls. I've never tried this craft. Interesting.

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 3 years ago from USA

      I have a friend although its been awhile since I talked to her, but I think she made some of these art/craft cultural Spirit dolls. Thanks for reminding me of that and this is a very interesting art, that I hope continues on.

    • profile image

      Bartukas 5 years ago

      Interesting lens about spirit dolls thank you

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I don't do beading because my eyesight doesn't really allow it, but I do very much love the dolls you have made. I have made some spirit dolls from polymer clay. Great lens.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      I think these are lovely! Nice work. I'd live to see more.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Your spirit dolls are lovely and the calming & healing stories around them are marvelous. I do a lot of crochet and find it to be a very soothing and meditative craft. Next time you create a spirit doll, perhaps you could take pictures of each step and write about each step, and share a tutorial with us.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      these are lovely I wish I had the patience to do one. I also want to sprinkle a little angel dust.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      Really beautifully done. Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      These are wonderful, and you are incredibly talented!