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Worry Dolls | Recycled Crafts

Worry Dolls

Total Time Needed: 1 Hour

In Guatemala, kids tell their troubles to worry dolls - tiny figures that they tuck under their pillows at night. Take this tradition worldwide with a multicultural collection of clothespin dolls.


  • Craft sticks
  • Glue
  • Straight clothespins
  • Yarn
  • Markers
  • Fabric scraps
  • Wire or metallic pipe cleaners


Worry Dolls - Step 1

1. For each doll's body, first make the doll's arms (a parent's job) by using a craft knife to score the stick 1 1/2 inches from each end and then snapping the ends off against a countertop edge. Smooth jagged edges by rubbing them against a hard, level surface. Position the arms, curved ends down, just below the clothespin head and glue in place

Worry Dolls - Step 2

2. Style worry doll hair simply by drawing on a "do" with a marker or crown your creations with yarn tresses. Cut a bunch of strands that measure twice the desired length, tie them together around the middle, and glue the wig on the doll. Once the glue dries, unravel individual strands for a frizzy look or make ringlets by wrapping wet yarn around a toothpick and allowing the yarn to dry.

3. Fashion garb out of fabric scraps and notions from the sewing basket. Create shirts, slacks and kimonos by wrapping the clothespin with cotton yarn and gluing the ends in place. For robes, kilts, dresses and ponchos, use colorful cloth swatches belted with an embroidery floss sash.

4. Make a wide brimmed hat by cutting an X shape in the center of a small felt circle. To wrap a tall turban, make a thimble-shaped dome out of a pipe cleaner and glue it onto the doll's head. Wind and glue a strip of fabric around it.

5. For jewelry, coil bracelets and necklaces out of craft wire or metallic pipe cleaners. Finally, draw facial features on these tiny confidants with colored markers - the cheerier the better for easing fretful minds.