Have you ever wished that all your worries and troubles could be eliminated by simply sharing them? For centuries, Guatemalans have been crafting small dolls out of fabric called worry dolls. The idea is that these dolls will listen to all your worries and magically take them away. Sound too good to be true? Read on to find out more about them and how to make worry dolls yourself with our 10 ideas and tutorials.
What Are Worry Dolls?
Worry dolls, or ‘trouble dolls’ are tiny handmade dolls that originated in Guatemala. They are made from small scraps of colorful cloth and pieces of wire and are a physical representation of your worries and fears.
Worry dolls are given to kids to help ward off nightmares. At bedtime, they tell their doll their troubles and heartaches, and ask the doll to take them all away. Then, they place it under their pillow while they sleep, and by the next day, the doll will have magically made all their worries disappear. In the morning, they rub the doll’s tummy to help comfort it after a long night of worrying for them, then place it back into a bag or box.
So how did this fascinating and unique tradition of worry dolls begin? The legend goes that there was once a Mayan princess who asked the Sun god for a gift. She wanted something that would help her solve all her human worries and problems. It’s said that her wish was granted in the form of a worry doll.
It’s also been told that the dolls were created by Estrella, a Guatemalan teacher who gave her students small dolls and told them to tell their dolls all their worries at bedtime. She thought it would be a great way for them to express tough emotions and be able to let them go. The children found the dolls so helpful, that the practice of making and using worry dolls spread across the country.
Regardless of how it all started, the tradition of making and giving these dolls carries on today in Guatemala, with worry dolls being given to children and even sold to tourists. Worry dolls are not just used by children. Adults are also known to rely on their special magic to help eliminate their worries, relieve their stress, and get better sleep.
In fact, these tiny dolls have made their way across the world and are used by many to help let go of their worries, relieve their stress and anxiety, and find some peace. Therapists and counselors sometimes use them to help their clients express and process their worries and fears. They’ve even been heralded for their outstanding contribution to psychiatry and pediatrics, as they have helped children cope with trauma.
These pocket-sized friends can stay by your side for years if they’re well taken care of. Some communities believe that if you need to replace your doll, you should give your old one a proper burial. It’s considered bad luck to give your worry doll to someone else or toss them out in an area that you frequent. However, other Mayan communities pass their dolls down from generation to generation, as a way of sharing and lightning each other’s burden.
5 Materials You’ll Need
You can make and personalize your own worry dolls with just a few simple tools and materials:
- Scraps of cloth – Worry dolls are traditionally made from scraps of brightly colored fabric. You can use any type of fabric you like, but traditional Guatemalan fabrics such as huipil and corte are popular choices.
- Scissors – You will need a pair of strong, sturdy craft scissors on hand to help you cut the fabric into the right size and shape for your dolls.
- Wire – To create the dolls’ bodies, you will need some thin wire, such as floral wire. This wire should be easy to bend and shape.
- Craft glue – You will need to use some craft glue to help hold the fabric in place as you wrap it around the wire.
- Fabric markers – You can use colorful fabric markers or fabric paint to personalize your doll and to create the dolls’ faces and clothing.
How to Make Worry Dolls
- Cut a length of wire: Start by cutting a length of wire to the desired length of your doll. A good size for worry dolls is about 2-3 inches.
- Wrap the wire with fabric: Take a small piece of fabric and wrap it tightly around the wire, using a small amount of glue to hold it in place. Continue wrapping the fabric around the wire until the entire wire is covered.
- Create the doll’s arms and legs: To create the doll’s arms and legs, bend the wire at the appropriate points to create joints. You can use pliers to help you bend the wire if needed.
- Add clothing: Use additional scraps of fabric to create clothing for your doll. You can use glue to attach the clothing to the body.
- Add facial features: Use markers or fabric paint to add facial features to your doll. You can also add additional details such as hair or accessories.
- Repeat: Repeat the process to create as many dolls as you like.
10 Ideas and Tutorials for Beginners
- How to Make Worry Dolls | Erin Sipes
- How to Make a Worry Doll | East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust
- Homemade Worry Dolls for Kids to Make | Happy Hooligans
- 21 Fun Ways to Make Worry Dolls | Kids Activities Blog
- How to Make Guatemalan Worry Dolls | Miss Tori
- How to Make a Worry Doll | wikiHow
- How to Make Worry Dolls with Pegs | Red Ted Art
- Making Worry Dolls | Access Art
- Quick and Easy Worry Doll Craft | Kiddie Matters
- Make Your Own Worry Dolls | My Little Poppies
Worry dolls can be a powerful tool for emotional relief and self-care in children and adults alike. By knowing how to make worry dolls for yourself, you not only have a fun and creative activity, but you can also benefit by having a way to express your worries and fears in a tangible way.
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