Introduction: Coraline "Mini Me" Doll DIY

Tim Burton's Coraline is a movie beloved and feared by many, including myself (although fortunately, I didn't watch it when I was super young so I wasn't as horrified by it). This is how I made my own "mini-me" doll like the one Coraline has in the movie; unfortunately, I didn't have the right colors of yarn or types of fabrics to make it resemble her or myself. I settled for a similar color palette to some of her outfits in the movie and a slightly more modern look. Hopefully these instructions help someone out and maybe the fact that you make the doll yourself will dissuade you from being scared it's being used to maliciously spy on you by the Beldam. You gotta at least admire her dedication, though.

Have fun bein' spooky!


  • Wire coat hanger
  • Wire cutters
  • Air dry clay
  • Aluminum foil
  • Paper cup (optional)
  • Acrylic paint and paintbrushes
  • Mod Podge (or some similar product)
  • Scissors
  • Yarn
  • Pen/pencil
  • Fabric/old clothes
  • Sewing pins
  • Stuffing
  • Sewing machine (or prepare to do a lot of hand-sewing)

Step 1: Step 1: Making the Wire Frame

(I forgot to take pictures for this part, so I made diagrams instead. My apologies.)

Take a coat hanger and use wire cutters to cut the bottom two corners of the hanger. You should have one piece shaped like a chevron and have the coat hanger hook on top, and one piece that's just a straight piece of wire from the bottom. The hook of the coat hanger is where the doll's head will be. Bend the two legs of the top portion towards each other and twist the wires under the hook until the twisted portion is as long as you want the torso to be, making sure the twist isn't too tight; you'll need to thread the arms through one of the spaces in between the two wires.The remaining untwisted wire will serve as the legs.

Take the extra wire segment you cut off from the hanger earlier and cut it in half. Thread the wire through one of the spaces in the twist. Bend the inserted wire to a little less than a 90 degree angle. This will serve as the doll's arms.

Step 2: Step 2: Making and Painting the Head

Make an aluminum foil ball around the hook of the coat hanger, or crush a paper cup and put that over the hook and cover it in aluminum foil if you want to use less foil. Cover the foil entirely in air-dry clay and round it, forming the head. Use two small balls of clay to make the ear shapes. I made mine fairly large since I wanted the ears to be visible through the hair. Use a toothpick to smooth the area where different pieces come together to prevent them from falling apart when dry.

Mark the spots where you want the eyes to be by making two X's in the head with toothpicks, then flatten two balls of clay into appropriately-sized disks to make the buttons. Trace out the area where the inside of the button will be with a toothpick, then remove the clay inside of it. Smooth out the area using water (and feel free to use water to smooth out any other rough areas as well). Make four dots in the middle of the button for the button holes and roll two pieces of clay into noodle-like pieces for the thread going through them. Lay the "threads" crossed, connecting the dots diagonally, and use a toothpick to push down the ends so it looks like the threads are really going through the holes.

Make a small ball of clay for the nose and use a toothpick to smooth the nose upward and poke holes for nostrils at the bottom. Smooth the inside of the nostrils to the face, and carve whatever facial expression you'd like for the mouth. For the eyebrows, you can either just paint them on later or make two small noodle-like pieces and place them above the button eyes, using a toothpick to shape them by pushing down unwanted areas to create curves or straight lines.

Let the clay dry overnight and then cover the face using Mod Podge so the paint will stay on after painting. Some cracks will likely form in the drying process, so the Mod Podge and water should help with that as well. If there are still cracks, it'll just make the doll creepier. After the Mod Podge is dry, paint the head in whatever colors you'd like with acrylic paint. When the paint is dry, cover the whole thing again in Mod Podge.

Step 3: Step 3: Making the Hair

Paint the area where you will glue the hair the color of the hair if it is significantly different from the skin color. Cut many strands of yarn twice the length you want the final hair to be. Draw the spot where you want the hair part to be as well as rows along which you will glue the hair on the head.

Paint a small area of the head where you will start gluing with Mod Podge and fold the double length yarn in half, twisting the top so it stays folded. Place the folded area over the spot covered in Mod Podge and paint more Mod Podge over the top of the loop. The yarn easily absorbs the glue, so you need to make sure it's really saturated for the yarn to stay on the head. Work your way across the row and then across the other rows, cutting more yarn as needed and letting the Mod Podge dry before you start a new row. When the glue is entirely dry, cut the hair to the length you desire.

Step 4: Step 4: Making the Body

Since the shape of the doll's body is kind of irregular, trace the wire frame onto a plain fabric doubled up (so you'll have two layers), making sure the outline is significantly bigger than you want the body to be in order to leave room for seams. Make sure the "wrong" sides of the fabric are facing out and the "right" sides facing in. Pin the two layers together and cut out the body shape.

Sew the two layers together using a sewing machine or sewing by hand if you prefer, then remove the pins and turn the body right side out.

Step 5: Step 5: Stuffing the Body

Good grief, this step was definitely my least favorite. Get the stuffing and push it into the arms and legs of the body using a pencil or other such instrument. A small crochet hook works well for the particularly tiny areas. Cry at how lumpy it looks. Fit the wire frame into the partially stuffed body, being careful not to tear the fabric with the ends of the wire hanger. Once you've accomplished this semi-Herculean feat, shove more stuffing into the torso area. Add more bits of stuffing where needed and then sew up the neck area (as well as any holes you might have accidentally made when inserting the wire frame) by hand so none of that sneaky stuffing can escape. No leaking organs in this household.

Congrats, you now have a naked noodley doll. My mom said her appendages looked like intestines. Thanks, mom.

Step 6: Step 6: Finishing Touches - Clothes and Skin

Have you ever dreamt of being a fashion designer? Well, now is your chance to satisfy that dream... kinda. It's never been my dream but if it had, well... after this I would have changed my mind. Props to those crafty moms and grandmas (or dads and grandpas... you never know) who incessantly sew or crochet or knit tiny doll clothes for their offspring. I could never.

Pretty much, just make clothes for your doll. Old full-size human clothes you've outgrown or have become unwearable work great for fabric pieces, especially if you're trying to make the doll look like yourself (or if you're doing this in quarantine. Also, fabric is expensive). Making baggier clothes is also good since, at least in my case, the doll was as skinny as an uncooked spaghetti noodle, so some bagginess hides that nicely.

For skirts and pants/shorts, drawstring waists work well as the wire legs are difficult to maneuver and trying to shove the legs into thin openings is not a good time. I also made a shirt (cut open the back when finished and then sew it together when on the doll), jean jacket (out of jean leggings... don't use actual jeans unless you really know what you're doing or you'll probably break your sewing machine and/or fingers. Also, you'll probably need to sew the shirt sleeves onto the doll's arms if they're long-sleeved and your jacket sleeves are tight), and scarf (to hide the exposed wire neck. You can also make a clay neck when you make the head, but I was too far in to go back at this point).

Finally, paint the exposed cloth parts of the body (hands, shoes, etc.). It's okay if it looks messy; it's all part of the a e s t h e t i c.

Step 7: Step 7: All Done!

And you're done! You did it. You made a mini yourself, someone else (be careful about that one... it may be perceived as a wee bit creepy depending on how well you know the person. So like, don't give it to your crush you talked to once in math class), or someone new entirely. Now, place your slightly unnerving creation on a fun place like a bookshelf to scare all your unsuspecting family and friends.

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