Make a Voodoo Doll
Despite its name, the voodoo doll is not actually historically linked to voodoo practices. Rather, it traces its origins to magic practitioners in Europe. You can use voodoo dolls to cast both good and bad spells, or you can use them as spooky decorations. While you can always buy one, making your own is much better. Not only is it cheaper and more fun, but you get to design the doll the way you want.
Method 1 of 2:Making a Felt Voodoo Doll
1. Create your template on a sheet of paper, then cut it out
Create your template on a sheet of paper, then cut it out. Find a simple, person-shaped template online or draw one yourself. The template doesn’t need to be realistic or proportionate to a real person. Also, it can be as big or tiny as you want it to be. Most voodoo dolls are small enough to fit in your hand, however.
If you don’t know how to draw, use a gingerbread man cookie cutter as a stencil, but make the head bigger and more round.
2. Secure the template to two sheets of felt with sewing pins
Secure the template to two sheets of felt with sewing pins. Keep the pins inside the template. If they stick outside the edge of the template, they will get in the way of cutting. If your template is small enough, you can use a single sheet of felt. Fold the felt in half to make two “sheets,” then pin the template.
You can use any color of felt you want, from natural, skin tones to green, red, or even blue.
3. Cut the felt, using the template as a guide, then remove the pins
Cut the felt, using the template as a guide, then remove the pins. Because of the way you will be sewing this voodoo doll, you do not need to add any seam allowances. Once you have the felt cut out, remove the pins. Set the template aside; you won’t need it anymore.
4. Sew a button onto one of the felt pieces for the right eye
Sew a button onto one of the felt pieces for the right eye. Choose one of the felt pieces to be the front; set the other one aside. Thread a needle with black embroidery floss, then use it to sew a white button onto the right side of the head. Finish sewing on the back of the felt, but don’t cut the floss yet.
For a fancier voodoo doll, cut a circle out of black felt that’s slightly bigger than the button. Place it under the button before you sew it on.
5. Stitch an X for the left eye
Stitch an X for the left eye. Keeping your needle threaded with the same embroidery floss, stitch an X shape onto the left side of the head to make the second eye. It can be the same size as the first eye, or slightly larger/smaller. Finish the X on the back of the felt. Don’t cut the floss yet.
You can also sew another button instead. It can look the same as the first one, or it can be different.
6. Stitch a horizontal line for the base of the mouth
Stitch a horizontal line for the base of the mouth. The mouth should extend from eye to eye, and sit at the bottom of the head. Bring the needle up through the back of the felt, so that it comes out below the left eye. Pull it over towards the right eye, and push it back down through the felt. Don’t cut the floss yet.
Keep the thread loose so that you don’t wrinkle the felt.
7. Add 4 to 5 vertical lines to make the mouth look sewn shut
Add 4 to 5 vertical lines to make the mouth look sewn shut. Work your way from the right side of the mouth to the left. Each line should cross straight through the horizontal line. Start and finish just inside the horizontal line, and space them as evenly as you can. At this point, you can knot and cut the floss.
8. Sew a red felt heart onto the left side of the felt
Sew a red felt heart onto the left side of the felt. Cut a small heart out of red felt first. Position it onto the left side of the felt, where a real heart would be. Thread your needle with more black embroidery floss and knot it. Starting from the back, stitch the heart onto the felt. Finish on the back of the felt. Knot and snip the floss off.
Use a straight stitch for a cleaner look. Pass the needle up and down through the heart, as close to the edge as you can.
Use perpendicular stitches for a rustic look. Pass the needle up through the heart, then down through the felt next to it, up through the heart, then down through the felt…
9. Sew the two felt pieces together, wrong sides facing in
Sew the two felt pieces together, wrong sides facing in. Thread the needle with more black embroidery floss and knot it. Push the needle up through the left armpit. Wrap it around the edge, towards the back of the doll. Bring the needle up through the felt again, a little above the first stitch. Work your way around the doll, finishing at the left hip. Leave a gap in the side and don’t cut the floss.
For a fancier doll, try a blanket stitch instead.
You won’t be turning this project inside-out, so make sure that the piece with all of the designs is on the outside.
10. Stuff the doll
Stuff the doll. You can use a small amount of polyester stuffing, which you can find in fabric stores and arts and craft stores. You can also use cotton balls instead, but you might want to pull them apart first to make them fluffier.
Use the end of a pen or pencil to help fill out the arms and lefts of the doll.
For a more authentic voodoo doll, use Spanish moss.
11. Finish sewing the doll
Finish sewing the doll. Once you have the doll stuffed to your liking, finish sewing it shut using the same technique as before. When you reach the left armpit again, knot the floss, then snip the rest off. Your doll is now complete!
Method 2 of 2:Making a String Voodoo Doll
1. Fold a pipe cleaner in half, then spread it open to make the neck
Fold a pipe cleaner in half, then spread it open to make the neck. Fold a 12-inch (30.48-centimeter) pipe cleaner in half. Measure down 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) from the fold, then spread the two halves apart. Make sure they are at 90 degrees to the 1-inch (2.54-centimeter) neck.
2. Bend each half to make 1½ -inch (3.81-centimeter) long arms
Bend each half to make 1½ -inch (3.81-centimeter) long arms. Measure 1½ inches (3.81 centimeters) along the left “arm.” Bend it back towards the neck, then bend the rest down. Repeat this step for the other arm.
When you are done, you should have a 1-inch (2.54-centimeter) vertical neck, and two 1½-inch (3.81-centimeter) horizontal arms. The rest of the pipe cleaner should be pointing downwards, vertically.
3. Create the legs 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) down from the arms
Create the legs 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) down from the arms. Measure 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) from the arms. Bend the pipe cleaner apart to make an upside-down V. Fold the excess pipe cleaner back to the V to make a set of 1½-inch (3.81-centimeter) legs. Your stick figure should have:
1 inch (2.54-centimeter) vertical neck
1½-inch (3.81-centimeter) horizontal arms
2-inch (5.08-centimeter) vertical torso
1½-inch (3.81-centimeter) diagonal legs
4. Stick a small, wood bead onto the neck
Stick a small, wood bead onto the neck. Choose a 1-inch (2.54-centimeter) wooden bead. Place a drop of glue into the hole, then slide it all the way onto the neck.
You can also use a 1-inch (2.54-centimeter), foam ball instead. Make the hole first, fill it with glue, then poke it onto the neck.
You can use a slightly bigger bead, but keep in mind that it will become larger once you start wrapping it.
5. Wrap yarn around the wood bead until it is completely covered
Wrap yarn around the wood bead until it is completely covered. Glue the end of the yarn to the bead. Wrap it vertically, horizontally, and diagonally until it is completely covered. Change directions often. Secure the end of the yarn with another drop of glue.
If the head looks too small, keep wrapping it. The more you wrap it, the larger it will become.
You can use any color of yarn you want. Keep in mind that you will be wrapping the doll again with embroidery floss to give it color.
6. Wrap the yarn around the legs and torso
Wrap the yarn around the legs and torso. Begin wrapping down the left leg, then back up to the hips. Continue wrapping down the right leg, and back up again. Work your way towards the arms. When you finish wrapping the arms, go back over the torso again a few times to thicken it up.
For a nearer finish, wrap the yarn around the looped parts of the hands and feet first, then wrap the rest of the arm and leg.
If you used bare wire, you may have to wrap your doll a few times, otherwise it will end up too thin.
7. Add color and clothes with embroidery floss
Add color and clothes with embroidery floss. You can leave your doll as is, or you can wrap it all over again with colored embroidery floss. This will give your doll more thickness, shape, and color. Wrap it using the same method as for the yarn. Consider using different colors for the head and body. You can make it even fancier by giving it a wrapped “shirt” and “pants.”
For a hint of design, cross the embroidery floss over the left shoulder down to the right armpit, then over the right shoulder and down to the left armpit. Do this a few times to make an X shape.
8. Add details with beads, buttons or more floss
Add details with beads, buttons or more floss. Use beads or buttons for the eyes, and black embroidery floss for the mouth. You can even add other details from craft felt, such as beards or belts. If you want to give your doll hair, cut a few strands of embroidery floss, tie them in the middle, then glue them to the top of the doll’s head.