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Make a Yarn Voodoo Doll

25 March 2011 74,285 views 27 Comments

by rhonda

The other day I was walking out of the grocery store when I happened to glance up at the gumball machines near the door.  I stopped dead  in my tracks and stared slack-jawed for a moment before grabbing my wallet and madly digging for quarters.  I mean, seriously, who can resist a gumball machine full of voodoo dolls??  I ended up going home with this cute li'l guy in my pocket:

I took a close look at it and thought, "hey, I could make one of these!"  (This is especially true in light of my massive yarn stash that never seems to shrink no matter how many hats I crochet.)  I came up with this version:

Project estimate:

  • Yarn, on hand or $1 and up
  • Buttons, on hand
  • Small foam balls, $1
  • Glue, on hand

Total:  $1 and up

Glue the end of  the yarn to a small foam ball.  (Mine came in a variety pack of sizes that I found at Dollar Tree.)

Wrap yarn around the ball until it is completely covered.  Use a dab of glue to secure the end.

Figure out the length you want your arms/torso/legs pieces to be.   Loop a piece of yarn to that length several times.    (Mine are about 5 inches long.)

Starting at one end, wrap the yarn around the looped lengths tightly until  you reach the other end.   Glue the end of the yarn to secure.  Repeat to make a second piece the same length.

Cut several lengths of yarn and tie them securely around the yarn-wrapped ball.

Lay out the pieces as shown, with the long pieces bent to create the arms and legs and the ends of the yarn wrapped around the head going through what wikll become the torso.

Tie around the armpit area tightly with a long piece of yarn.  Create the torso by wrapping down  toward the feet, then wrap back up to where you started to make a double layer of wrapping.

Make the  last couple of wraps in an "X" shape, passing the yarn between the arm and head.  Glue the end of the yarn in place on the back of the doll  to secure.

To make eyes, find a pair of smal buttons that each have 4 holes.  Use black thread or embroidery floss to make an X on each button.  Glue the buttons to the doll's head.

Voodoo dolls make great gifts for:

  • a friend with a particularly cruel boss at work.
  • anyone going through a nasty divorce.
  • people who have a morbidly offbeat sense of humor.

You can give  the voodoo doll by itself, or you can:

  • place it in a box with a package of straight pins and a lighter to make a complete kit.
  • glue a pin to the back side of its torso to make a wacky brooch.
  • attach a string to the top of its head to turn it into an ornament.

What else could you do with a voodoo doll?

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  • Jen said:

    How strange that this was posted. A friend of mine was given one of these little guys on her birthday and I’ve been trying to hunt them down to get one of my own ever since. I’m going crazy trying to find one that’s just plain white. Maybe I’ll just try making my own!

  • Viva said:

    He he he, LOVE this!
    Fun project with the kids.
    I may “re-brand” them as mummies and make them with my kids next halloween!

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  • Sonia Jane said:

    So cute, love it!
    I’ll be making some with bunny ears and tail.

  • April said:

    you could also go for a reverse voodoo doll. make it to represent someone you love (or yourself!!) & do nice things to it, like give it money & presents. generate some good karma instead of bad :)

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  • Sarah said:

    I like the old SNL sketch about voodoo acupuncture – someone sticks a pin in the right spot on a doll of you, and your arthritis clears up!

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  • Michelle L. said:

    ooh, your doll is cute and cool, and even a little spooky!

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  • Jewels said:

    How cool are these!!??? My daughter has been collecting the gum-ball machine ones for years, and here, they’re $2 a pop! I’d been searching for a tutorial just like this one to make her some special ones, and to try making them with all her little friends at her next Bday party. You rock! Thanks for posting the tute!

  • Amy G. said:

    How much yarn does each one take? And how much time? :) Going to make these for media kits for a Voodoo-themed events

  • rhonda (author) said:

    @Amy – I’d say maybe 10 minutes or less each, they go pretty quickly once you get wrapping. For me, the most tedious thing was waiting for the glue to dry on the ends of each piece. The amount of yarn depends on the size of the doll you’re making and the yarn weight; I used worsted weight and probably went through about 8 or 10 yards total to make mine, which was a few inches tall. (I say *was* because, even though I thought it was safely out of reach, it became a cat toy. I hope that someone somewhere wasn’t mauled by a lion because of it…)

  • Celeste said:

    Instead of using a small foam ball, you can also use aluminum foil crumpled into a tiny ball, then smoothed out. As I have no patience to go out and by my own supplies, I use what I need. This is a very simple project, but if I take my time, this takes about an hour. But sooo worth it! They’re so cute! I’ll be making a ton of these before the year ends.

  • Andrea Graham said:

    Love this! So cute! I also put together a Thai string doll tutorial which uses pipe cleaners and embroidery thread. I’ve done this project a bunch of times and is totally kid friendly. You can see my version here: http://www.the4yablog.com/2010/09/thai-string-dolls-tutorial.html

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  • heyheyheyxx said:

    If I give mine money, and it’s me… Will I get more, and more and more?

  • olivia edmunds said:

    OMG!!! I am only 11 and I am addicted to making these little guys!!! My first one was up in England in A market. A dude that was dressed as A pirate was selling them for £4. (I was a donation for children in third world countries.) I had a love mummy! Since then I have been collecting loads. xxx

  • Ca Pi said:

    I’ve had dolls like this from the string doll gang http://www.kamibashi.com/products/dolls/stringdolls/
    I absolutely love these little dolls. I also have some out of the gum ball machine. I punched in quarters until I got every color in the machine. Thanks for showing how to make them.

  • Claudia Thorn said:

    I never thought of using foam balls… Normally I’d keep wrapping yarn until I got the right shapeXD Lately I’ve been using beads on scrapped notebook wire so the shape of the head and shoulders and what not would be more pronounced. The wire really helps when I make animals with ears and horns and also it enables the dolls to pose. So far I’ve made Jack the Pumpkin King, a rag doll girl, a dog head, some cat thing, a person, and a unicorn head for my friend. I like your doll too =) I never tried poking pins. Is it fun? Oh yea I also got into making dolls because of those cute brainwashing gumball machine dolls.

  • Tzipporah (not real name) said:

    aWW!!! I made one last night took it to bed to seceretly finish it and brought it to school only i need like 10 pins with the little ball on top, 2 black buttons and a red piece of fealt that looks like a heart!!! Then i’m gonnaeither make him a little buddy and later on little kids ???????????????? *so cute face melted, eye’s poped out of there sockets soul was eated by the voodoo doll and spontaniosly combusted (exploded) * ???????????? i love my voo doo angel (okay o think i love it a little to much now ????????)

  • Rachel said:


    I never post, but I had to tell you: last week I saw voodoo dolls in a craft store and thought to myself, “hey, I can make these!” so I googled and found your post. I’ve make 15 so far for friends and family and everyone loves them. Instead of buttons, I use pins for eyes. I use a darning needle to tie off the yarn ends on the head and body. When wrapping the legs, I wrapped back a third of the way and tied off. So, no glue. I embellished each with a necklace, a key, a bird or other trinket. Thanks for so much fun!

  • Kasey said:

    I have tried looking for these everywhere and still can not find them. I was seeing where I could get them or how to make them, so thanks for posting this (: it helps a lot. I just recently got into them

  • Gabrielle said:

    Hey everyone! Your doll are actually really close, they ones i tried first were missing limbs! for everyone that wants to know how to make the ones like you get out of the vending machines look up ShadedinStarelight on YouTube. She has a whole video on how to make them yourself! I’ve already made three 9 inch dolls using her video.

  • PinkZeebs said:

    I am so happy you made this tutorial! I am finishing it up by glueing its head on. I kinda changed up some of it, but for being 12, this is as simple as it gets!! Thanks :D

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  • Miranda said:

    I can remember having the same reaction finding the gumball machine of little voodoo dolls, the one I got is black with white ‘floss’ haphazardly wrapped around, red ‘eyes’ and a heart on his belly. He’s my little buddy. ^.^