Introduction: Halloween Poppet Prop

Picture of Halloween Poppet Prop

Greetings All!  I shall begin this instructable with a disclaimer:

This is a prop and/or decor.  This is for some creepy Halloween fun.  I am not a practitioner of any kind of poppet / voodoo doll magic.  The only persons harmed as a result of this instructable were, well, the poppets.  I do not endorse any practice around poppets.  I know little about poppet magic and cannot answer any questions about the practice.   Thanks for your understanding.

So, with that out of the way, this Instructable will show you how to make a small poppet (which means 'doll) for your Halloween costume or party.  Poppets in the creepy Halloween sense are usually associated with "voodoo dolls".  ...And maybe Arthur Miller's The Crucible
Depending on your crafting supply, this project costs between $0 and $10.  Depending on the size of your doll, it will probably take about half an hour per doll. 

This is super easy, so even if you've never picked up a needle and thread, I know you can make this craft!

For this project, you will need:

  • scrap of fabric
  • pen
  • fabric scissors
  • embroidery floss
  • needle
  • stuffing (this can be polyfill, which is pictured, or you can stuff it with scraps of fabric or straw, which out be 'period appropriate'. 
  • flame, pins, etc for cursing your doll

Also--sorry about some of the picture quality.  I took my camera out for a day of sun flares and I think I ruined it's closeup focus ability. 

Step 1: Draw & Cut Out

Picture of Draw & Cut Out

1.  Begin by drawing a little human figure on your fabric, ginger-bread-man style.  If you want, you can print a template from google images, or use a cookie cutter.  I like to go freestyle, as it looks best a little wonky. 

2.  Double up your fabric and cut both sides out together.  Don't worry if it's not perfect.
  Also, don't worry about cutting inside your pen line.  You can sew it to the inside later. 

Step 2: Sew Eyes & Heart

Picture of Sew Eyes & Heart

3.  Now, thread a needle with your choice of embroidery floss color.  Embroidery floss comes with six strands of thread together.  I usually separate my cut piece into either two or three strand bunches, in this case, three.  You don't have to separate your strands, but I recommend it for ease of sewing.  Don't forget to tie a knot in one end of your thread. 

4.  Sew 'X' s for eyes & heart.  You can be as fancy with your embroidery as you like, but I'm going for a 'primitive' look with my poppet, so as simplistic and irregular as I can is my goal.  For my first poppet, I actually stitched the whole heart shape.  My second has only an 'X' for a heart. 

*If you've never embroidered before, this is just like a regular running stitch.  Just don't pull to hard because it's not on an embroidery hoop.  If you feel totally sketchy about this, you can always just draw them on with your pen. 

Step 3: Sew Front to Back

Picture of Sew Front to Back

5.  Start sewing the front to the back.   Match up your pieces if they're wonky.  Start stitching.  Use a straight stitch or go over the edges, or both!  I used both to really accentuate that 'unstable' feeling in my poppets.   

*Don't leave an opening for stuffing; we'll do that next.  Just stitch all the way around. 

Step 4: Add Stuffing.

Picture of Add Stuffing.

6.  Flip your poppet over and cut a slit down the back.  Be careful not to cut through both layers here.  You just want the back opened up.

7.  Start stuffing.  Use a pen or other long skinny object to shove stuffing into the arms & legs, if need be.  Don't bother getting is super stuffy like your average stuffed animal--we just want enough pouf to add dimension. 

8.  Stitch up the back.  Using your best haphazard stitches, close up the back.  leave a little stuffing sticking out for effect. 

9.  Fringe the edges.  Now that your doll is finished, you may want to take a moment to fray those outer edges.  Pick apart some of the cloth fibers for a nice 'well loved' ragged kind of appearance. 

Step 5: Maim.

Picture of Maim.
10.  Using pins, scissors, awls, and flame (lighter/candle), maim your doll.  Be super careful if you decide to light parts of it on fire.  Burn at your own risk.  Best to do it near the sink where it can be easily quelled.  Or outside with a water bucket if you're afraid of fumes.  I also cut a little slit on my poppet tummy and pulled a tiny bit of stuffing out.  I left straight pins in a few places to. 

11.  Display, use as unusual party invites, fill with candy?, stick 'em in a tub of water and go 'poppet bobbing'...   Mine are on the breakfast table.  (to housemates--*you're welcome*)   

Happy Haunting!


dodidie (author)2014-02-24

Thank you so much! I needed an instructable for the play I have in school... I'm a creepy person who's associated with the "other side" in the play... Anyway thanks! (Don't worry I'm not like that in real life... I like happy things! Not scary...)

Sounds exciting! Glad it was helpful. What play is it?

midsummermuse (author)2011-06-24

Cute idea, well explained and definitely gives a creepy voodoo doll vibe. Just hope you weren't thinking of anyone specific when you were "maiming" them. ;-)

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