How to Create an Art Doll

If you enjoy sewing and like the idea of working with fabric and a variety of materials to make art, you will find these few instructions easy to get you started. These dolls are for decoration and not meant as a toy. However, they can capture a wide range of expressions for all to admire.


  1. 1
    Have an idea about what you want your doll to look like. Art dolls can run from dramatic, humorous, scary, fairy-like, to the strangely weird. Just let your imagination run free. This doll will be made from fabric, stuffed and designed to your liking. These dolls are often called "spirit" dolls as they capture a mood and are great for special gifts. They can lay flat or hang when done.
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    Create your doll using a paper pattern first. To create a simple "figure" fold a piece of paper in half and draw 1/2 of the figure (like a paper doll). Cut it out and when you open the paper up, it will be symmetrical. You can free hand draw your figure to add a special feature like a tail. Birds and animals are fun to make too.
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    Select a fabric and fold it in half, right sides together.
    • Iron flat if needed
    • Be sure the fabric is larger than the pattern
  4. 4
    Use the pattern to trace around the shape using a pencil line
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    After you remove the pattern, cut the figure shape out carefully leaving a 1/4" allowance for a sewing seam. You may want to use pins to help hold the fabric while cutting.
  6. 6
    Sew the two layers of fabric together by hand or by machine. Leave a 1 opening to turn the right sides back to the outside. The best tools to do this with are a chopstick, paint brush handle or small dowel.
    • Do not use scissors or a lot of force because the seams may tear. The 1 opening is probably best left open at the head area where you will be adding hair and the opening will be hidden.
  7. 7
    Add a face if desired. Many artists create the face first because this will give the doll its personality.
    • You can paint a face on directly or paint the face on a different fabric and test a few out and then sew or glue around the edges. You can also get a clay molded face maker or just design your face with beads or buttons. Consider using wool felt to make faces. You will need strands of wool and a felting needle to do this type of sculptured face.
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    • A funny face can be made by adding buttons and beads which do not match on purpose.
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    Add details and designs. The fabric's print may suggest design ideas to you. Use your instincts to embellish your art doll by adding beads, charms, ribbons, yarn or found objects. Some items may require a hot glue gun.
    • Clothes can be added by sewing or gluing on layers of fabric, or by wrapping cloth around the doll's form.


  • A hot glue gun is optional.
  • Be sure to supervise young children.
  • You can use string, fabric scraps or yarn to tie something on temporarily until it holds if it needs time and you want to move on to something else.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric scissors
  • Pencil
  • Pins
  • Fabric
  • Needle and thread
  • Beads
  • Trimmings, gems, jewels, ribbons etc
  • Glue
  • Fiber stuffing.

Article Info

Categories: Fabric and Clothing Decoration | Sewing Toys and Dolls