This is a tutorial for making your own custom ribbon dolls, which are my own original design. Do not use these instructions to make ribbon dolls to sell because that wouldn't be very nice of you, and please, if you're sharing this tutorial across the internet, be kind enough to link back to me and give me credit.
Ribbon dolls are wooden dolls with ribbon hair that are fun for whirling, twirling, party favors, birthday presents, wee dancers, and more. They're fairly simple to make but do require a lot of various materials and steps, which I am outlining below for those of you who've asked me to share my design.
To make ribbon dolls, you will need: paint (I have a big pack of acrylic)
a paper plate or paint tray for your paint
water for rinsing your brush
a cloth to wipe up any messes
You will also need a hotglue gun,
ribbon in various lengths and colors, small wooden dowells (aprox 7/38" size)
(or you can go fancy, like these)
wooden beads, a few Q-tips,
toothpicks if you have them,
All of these supplies can be purchased at Michales or another local craft store as well as Etsy, and are relatively inexpensive.
Step one: Make sure your dowels fit inside your wooden beads.
Step three: paint your doll heads (the round wooden beads) with their hairdos. I usually use a
spare dowel to hold the bead while I work on the features. If you're doing a brown face, you want to paint that first and let it dry before doing the hair. Paint all the dolls' hair at once and set them aside to dry a few minutes before proceeding to their faces.
Step four: after all the dolls' hair paint has dried, you will begin painting their faces. This is the trickiest part because you'll want to use a light hand and is the part that makes them 'come alive.' I start with the eyes- get a tiny bit of paint on a toothpick, make two tiny dots (or curved eyes if you prefer) in the color of my choice on the doll face, and then add cheeks with a Q-tip, and with the other end of the toothpic, a smile.
Use a variety of whimsical colors, or represent your child's features. It's up to you!
Step Five: Plug in your hot glue gun to pre-heat, and cut your lengths of ribbon while the faces dry. I started making ribbon dolls originally with very looooong ribbons, but as I've made them more I have realized that shorter ribbons are just as much fun for kids and tangle up less. It's up to you which you prefer.
I can say shorter ribbons are also much less expensive. I prefer satin ribbon, but again, it is ultimately up to you. You can usually get about three ribbons in one doll, so group your selection and slip it into the top of the doll head (it will be coming out of his or her hair). If you want to embelish the doll at all with bowties or buttons on their "body" (the dowel), you'll add them now as well. When you've gotten the ribbons poked through the tops of the doll heads, you will fill the rest of the bead hole with hot glue and then insert the dowel rod and let them cool, as demonstrated above.
Step Six: Repeat until all dolls have ribbons and dowels!
That's it! You're done!
Again, this is my original design and I am happy to share it with my readers for personal use. Please do not make and sell ribbon dolls. If you know someone who wants to purchase them, feel free to point them to my personal Etsy shop to order or to this tutorial to make their own.