Clothespin Dolls




How to create a doll out of a clothespin--easy and fun.


Step 1: Supplies

A round clothespin/doll pin (available at craft stores like Michaels)
Scraps of cotton fabric and felt
yarn or felt for hair
embroidery floss
ball point pen
school glue or tacky glue
needle and thread (optional)

Once your supplies are gathered, use a small drill bit to drill a hole through the pin just below the neck (as shown). This is for the arms.

Step 2: Draw Face and Insert Arms

You want to draw the face first thing so if you mess up you can turn the doll over and use the other side. Be sure to use a ball point pen. Sharpies and ink pens run in the wood grain.

For the arms, center an approximately 4 inch long piece of pipecleaner in the doll and bend the arms forward. Fold back a bit at the ends to cover the sharp point and make hands. Bend at elbow into desired position.

Step 3: Put on the Skirt

You have two options, a straight skirt or a gathered skirt.

For a straight skirt, use pinking shears to trim a rectangle of fabric to desired length and run a bead of glue along the top edge. Wrap around clothespin just below arms.

For a gathered skirt, use a needle and thread to make a running stitch along the top edge of the skirt. Gather along thread and then glue as above.

Step 4: Put on the Top

For a simple solution, you can wrap a bit of ribbon, ricrac or felt around the shoulders criss crossing at the front and glue in place.

For a more detailed top, cut fabric to appropriate height and cut a small "x" at the approximate location of the arms then put on the shirt and glue in place. Felt makes a nice jacket and the front edges can be folded back to make a lapel. Or you can wrap with fabric.

For younger children, you may want to skip the arms and have a very rustic, armless doll.

Once the shirt is on, you can still add a sash--see photo.

Step 5: Attach Hair

Felt and yarn work equally well for hair.

For felt, cut a piece of felt the shape shown below. Pinking shears make a nice bottom edge.

For yarn, take about 1 yard of narrow yarn and loop back and forth several times as shown.

Smear the top, back and sides of the "head" of the doll with glue.

For felt, press felt in place and smush it to the head as much as possible on all sides.

For yarn, arrange yarn in a single layer and press in place so loops are off to each side of head.

Once glue is dry, for felt, use embroidery floss to tie yarn into a ponytail or trim yarn to a bob hairstyle.

For yarn, trim loops and braid on each side. Tie off ends of braids and trim ends.

Step 6: All Done!

That's it. There are endless variations with these simple dolls but hopefully this gives you some ideas to get started. Have fun!




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    18 Discussions


    2 years ago

    OMG! I remember making this with the kids at our Local Boys and Girls Club back in 1990's! It was so much fun. They had a ball making their own dolls and clothes and characters. Thanks for bringing this memory back! We didn't have a drill so we just wrapped the pipecleaner around the body and glued it for the arms. If I did it again, now i have a drill to make it easier.


    5 years ago on Step 6

    These are great! It would be easy to make as many dolls as one has clothes pins and imagination. I plan to try using seed beads and micro beads to make hair, too, just to have greater variety. This will be a fun activity with the grandkids!


    5 years ago

    So cute


    7 years ago on Step 6

    This was a fantastic show and tell. I love the dolls. Gave me lots of ideas. Thanks for taking the time to post the directions so clearly.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    These clothespin dolls are cute and a lot of fun to make. I've been making clothespin dolls since I was twelve. I used to sell them in the local mall until I was too old to escape the radar of the local mall cops and was kicked out. The biggest problems I faced when making the dolls were finding all the material under one roof. I had to go to four stores before I found everything I needed. Also, painting the face proved to be difficult. I used felt markers but the ink bled into the wood and distorted the face. I figured out that if I painted the head with flesh colored paint first, the ink didn’t bleed. Some people prefer to paint the face on. Still, it is not a simple task. There is a website that sells kits to make clothespin dolls and clothespin ornaments: The kits have all the material needed to make the dolls. The face is printed on transfer sheets. You simply cut and rub. It makes a perfect face every time. Pretty cool!

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic! I'm going to try to make some of these for my kids! :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks so much for posting these. We are working on a Davy Crockett project and were making clothespin dolls of him and people he interacted with. They are not as great as yours. But, they did turn out pretty good for a first grade project. I will try to attach a picture of Davy.

    Crockett, Veterans Day. Baylor Symphony 036.JPG
    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! thanks so much for the feedback--glad it was helpful and your Davy looks great. Love the coonskin cap ;)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Very cute! I might just have to make some when I come across some clothes pins!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks so much for this! My kids and I are into these lately and we love all the "how to" info we can get.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Glad you like them! If you have trouble making small things, paint on the hair, leave off the arms and just roll some fabric around the clothespin for a very simple dress. Then they're ready to go out on the town!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I always have trouble making really small clothing so every clothespin doll I make end up naked.