Introduction: Yarn Dolls

About: I play with light

This is a quick way to make little yarn dolls.

I learned to make these in 1st grade from a friend's mom but I was never happy with the arms (or lack of hair) so I am also including a second version.

This is an inexpensive, fun and easy project for little kids to make with very little clean up.

I will add a quick reference PDF for each version. Version 1 requires two loops of yarn. Version 2 has easier hair options.


  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard/Cardstock


  • Ribbon
  • Yarn Needle

Step 1: Prep Cardstock

Cut a piece of cardstock 3.5 x 5.5 in for version 1

Cut a piece of cardstock 3.5 x 9 in for version 2

Step 2: Wrap Yarn for the Body

Wrap the yarn about 25-30 x around the length of the 3.5 x 5.5 in cardstock

Step 3: Remove Yarn

Separate the yarn from the cardstock

Step 4: Form the Head

Use a bit of yarn to tie a knot ~1 inch from the top of the loops

Set aside for now. We need to make the arm loops next

Step 5: Wrap Yarn for the Arms

Wrap the yarn 20 times around the width of the 3.5 x 5.5 in cardstock

Step 6: Remove Yarn

Remove loops of yarn from the cardstock

Step 7: Split the Body

Open up the loops of the body into two equal parts.

Step 8: Wrap Body Around Arms

Place the arm loops between the loops of the body.

Step 9: Form the Waist

Take a small piece of yarn and tie a know around the body just under the arms.

Optional: Use a yarn needle and secure the arms to the body. I have never needed to do this, but you can if you want to.

Step 10: Form the Elbows

Take 2 small pieces of yarn and tie them about ~ 0.5 in from the body to form the elbows of both arms.

Step 11: Form the Wrists

Tie a piece of yarn just under ~ 0.5 in from the elbows to form the wrists

Step 12: Cut the Loops

Cut the loops at the ends of the arms

Oops, I cut the bottom loops too. This is optional for a free-flowing dress or if you want to form legs

Step 13: Trim the Bottom

Sometimes I want a nice clean edge, sometimes I want something a little messy, other times, I don't cut it at all

Step 14: Form the Legs

If you want to give the doll legs, separate the loose yarn below the waist into two equal parts

Step 15: Secure the Legs

Tie a knot about 0.5 inch from the bottom to hold the legs together.

Step 16: Trim the Ends

Trim the bottom of the legs as needed

Step 17: Decorate

Decorate the dolls as you wish or consider making smaller versions using the same method.

Step 18: Version 2

This is my favourite way to make these. The arms are less stiff and hair is built in

Step 19: Wrap Yarn

Take the 3.5 x 9 in cardstock and wrap 20-30 loops of yarn around it

Step 20: Separate the Yarn

Like in the first version, separate the yarn from the cardstock

Step 21: Tie Off the Hair

Take a small piece of yarn and tie it around the loops ~ 5 to 5.5 inches from and bottom. This will be the top of the head.

Step 22: Form the Head

Tie a small piece of yarn ~ 1 in below the last tie. This will shape the head

Step 23: Separate the Arms

Take about 5 loops of yarn from each side of the body to form the arms

Sometimes, the loops get tangles. It will be easier if you cut the loops of yarn at the bottom before separating the arms

Step 24: Form the Arms

Take two pieces of yarn and tie around the arm as close to the body as possible.

This will be the shoulders.

Form the elbows and wrists in the same way as version 1

Step 25: Tie the Waist

Tie a piece of yarn around the waist and you are done.

If the hair is misbehaving, simply spray it with a bit of water, shape it and allow it to air dry

Step 26: Have Fun

    Now that you have the basics down, get creative and decorate or modify you doll.

    • Try different kinds of yarn
      • Bulky thick yarn is my favourite
      • Twine makes creepy little dolls
    • Ghosts are easy: just tie the yarn at the bottom and at the end of the arms. Cut eyes and mouth out of black cardstock
    • Braid the arms and legs
    • I know you can make a better witch. Mine looks like a frog with a hat :)
    • Make some accessories. I made a broom with twine loops to a bamboo skewer and a paper hat ( I would recommend felt, I just didn't have any)
    • Add some ribbon at the waist
    • Make some curly yarn for hair
      • Wrap yarn around thin bamboo skewers (or pencil)
      • Tie it at both ends to prevent it from slipping
      • Soak in water for a minute
      • Remove from water and allow to dry
      • Remove yarn from bamboo
      • Use as hair
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