How to Make a Worry Doll – 8 Different Ways


Latin American worry dolls

Making your own worry doll is a fun craft for kids of all ages. And once you tell them the Mayan legend behind the dolls, it gets even more interesting.

The dolls were originally created generations ago by indigenous people in Guatemala. The idea was that, when someone had a problem that would keep them up at night, they would tell their worries to one of these dolls.

Then they would put the dolls under their pillow, and the dolls would ​"worry" for them during the night, and they could sleep peacefully and wake up feeling refreshed and worry-free.

If you want to share a version of the legend from a modern Guatemalan standpoint ​with your little crafters, check out this interesting site.

Although there are several ways to make worry dolls, the craft supplies you need are pretty much the same:

Well then, it's time to get started!

How to make Guatemalan worry dolls

One great source for learning how to make a Guatemalan worry doll is this awesome tutorial from Snapguide.

In it, Dayle teaches you how to make a doll using twist ties, small sticks and wooden cocktail forks.

She shows how to add hair with variegated yarn, and she has some very cool ideas about how to dress them. One of her examples is pretty modern, dressed in jeans and tennis shoes!

How to make a worry doll with pipe cleaners - 3 ways

Another option is to make your doll out of pipe cleaners.

Even within this method, there are several different approaches and end results. Here we highlight 3 options for you to choose from. Check out the photos of the finished product and pick the one you like best... or try them all!

For the first approach, check out these easy-to-follow set of instructions.​

You need the following supplies: pipe cleaners, yarn, a wooden or plastic bead (for the head) and scissors.

In 7 quick steps, you will have your very own pipe cleaner worry doll!​

If you like the doll in the photo, check it the link!

Worry doll made from pipe cleaners


Erin, over at MEVM, has another method for making a worry doll with pipe cleaners. 

All you're going to need are the pipe cleaners, embroidery floss or yarn, some glue, and scissors. ​

Check out her short video below for the scoop.​

A third approach to making a worry doll with chenille stems comes from this blog, which documents teaching the craft process to a group of 100 kids! (It's also worth noting that this project was just as interesting for the boys as it was for the girls...)

This method uses strips of fabric to clothe the worry dolls, as opposed to the other methods, which use yarn or floss.

The end result is pretty darn cool, and is definitely worth a try!


How to make a worry doll with toothpicks

Toothpicks are another option for the base of your worry dolls.

There's a great tutorial right here, which will walk you through the process step by step.

Worry dolls made from toothpicks

Image: The Crafty Teacher

For a more elaborate toothpick worry doll, check out this series of 5 video tutorials, which will help you make some pretty unique dolls. 

Toothpick worry dolls

Image: Friendship Bracelets

How to make worry dolls with clothespins

Yet another option, which has a little bit of a different appearance than the other worry dolls, is to use a round wooden clothespin.

This website explains how to make these adorable dolls. Cait also notes how creativity and art are awesome for reducing stress, as her little artists were all giggling and smiling as they were making their dolls.​


Image: My Little Poppies

Alternatively, you can make them with flat wooden clothespins. 

For this method, you're also going to need chenille stems, markers, scissors, yarn and glue.​ If you're a bit lost, check out the video below for the step-by-step process.

Well there you have it: 8 different ways to make a worry doll. This is a fun, affordable and easy craft with a great story behind it. 

And for the ultimate inspiration, check out this video of someone in Antigua Guatemala making worry dolls at the New World Craft Trade Show. He's been making worry dolls for more than 2 decades​!

Happy crafting!

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