Felt Paper Dolls

For the nineteenth day in the Gift a Day series, I made felt “paper” dolls. I had not been planning to make any toys at all this year, as we have plenty of toys, but when I saw these I was smitten! This did require a cost for supplies, as I did not have the felt for these. My hope is that this will be a quiet toy for the girls to use during naptime/quiet time. I also like that they don’t take up a lot of space or have lots of tiny pieces.

I made 3 dolls and 12 dresses (4 for each doll). I wanted to make the houses for these as well, but I ran out of time. I hope to still make the doll houses for these for my girls, but it will have to be after Christmas.

After looking all over for the right color felt, I was unable to find skin-colored felt (sourcing the felt is the reason I didn’t post this gift a month ago). I contacted the designer of the dolls, and she told me that she dyed white wool-blend felt (from Joann’s) to make the skin-colored felt for the dolls.

I cut the wool-blend felt into several squares. Following Charla Anne’s suggestion, I boiled a pot of water on the stove and added a small amount of pink and yellow dye to the pot. I tested a small strip of the felt to see if I liked the color. I did, and I dyed a couple of pieces. It was very quick; I dipped them in the water using a pair of tongs and pulled them out straight away. I put them on a towel to dry. After doing that, I decided that I wanted a lighter shade, so I dumped out part of the water and added more  fresh water to the pot, and dyed 2 pieces again. I liked these, but I thought I would like a slightly light color, too, so I dumped water again and added more fresh water, and dyed two more pieces. I used the lightest pieces to make these dolls, but I have plenty to use to make additional dolls or other felt dolls (I am thinking that I will make the other dolls that Charla Anne has with the scraps from these pieces). Only the wool-blend felt can be dyed; polyester felt and 100% wool felt cannot be dyed. After I was done dying the felt, I hung them up on a drying rack to dry. You will need 2 bodies per dolls (a front and a back).

The faces are embroidered on the fronts of the dolls before they are stitched together.

For the dolls’ dresses, I cut the fabric and sewed it on the felt as close to the edges as possible. I put fray check along the edges to stop them from fraying. I added collar, belts, cuffs, buttons, and floral embroidery afterwards.

The clothes stick to the dolls just because they are felt.

Supplies:

felt 
  1 sheet of white for dresses, collars, cuffs and underwear
  1 sheet of white for undershirts. You will only need a small fraction of this.
  1 sheet of brown for hair (or other hair color). You will only need a fraction of this.
  1/4 yard white wool blend fabric for bodies
fabric for dresses
Rit Dye in Lemon yellow and pink
matching thread
pattern (optional; you can draw your own). I did not purchase the pattern, but instead adapted the pattern from this doll from the same blog.
Fray check for edges
embroidery thread
  dark brown for eyes
  pink for mouth
  other colors for flowers, leaves, and buttons on dresses (optional)

Tools:

scissors
sewing needle
hand sewing needle

Time:

It is possible to make one doll and 4 dresses in a day. The total time for a doll and 4 dresses was about 2 1/2 hours, plus some time for drying the dyed fabric.

I made 3 dolls and 12 dresses over several days, grabbing bits of time here and there.

Cost:

The cost of these can vary considerably by what kind of felt you use. Polyester felt can be .20 a sheet. Wool felt is $2.75 to $3 a sheet. There are also wool blend options that are less expensive.

I was able to fit 12 dresses on one sheet of felt. I used 100% wool felt for the hair, bodies, dresses, and collars. I have plenty of brown and white left over for other projects. Since I ordered these online from Etsy, I also paid shipping. I needed to buy 3 sheets of wool felt, plus wool blend fabric for the dolls, but I also have left over felt. I bought the Rit Dye for $1.71 each. You could make the doll dresses and collars from the white wool-blend felt.

The fabric from the dresses cost me nothing, as it came from pieces of fabric from my grandmother’s collection, scraps I already had, a piece from an old dress that belonged to my mother-in-law, and a piece from a thrifted shirt.

I bought the Fray Check from Wawak. You can get it at Walmart or Joann’s as well.
I purchased the wool blend felt and Rit dye from Joann’s with coupons and sales.

I used just a tiny amount of embroidery thread.

Buying the supplies that I did was about $15.00 for 3 dolls and 12 dresses. I have plenty of leftover felt as well as leftover dye.

Giveaway:

This giveaway is now closed.

Would you like to make these dolls with the same dresses? I am giving away the fabric ( as pictured in the photo above) to make the exact same 12 dresses to TWO readers! You will need to supply your own felt, embroidery thread, fray check, etc.. I have cut the fabric in rectangles to make dresses the same size as the ones I made.

If you would like to win, please include the words ENTER ME in your comment in capital letters. I will choose two winners. If you just want to leave a comment but you don’t want to enter the drawing, just comment as usual.

The giveaway ends on Monday, December 31st, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. PST. The winners will have 48 hours to respond, or  I will draw new winners. Make sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you win in your comment.

This drawing is open to readers worldwide.

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58 Comments

  1. From AthanasiaWow, I had something like this back in the early 60’s as a child. But they were made out of shiny vinyl and you peeled them off and layered on the clothes and then peeled them off to change. Like the cling things for windows but thicker and opaque. There even was a fold up carry case just like that. Everything old is new again, I guess. I wonder if the designer had a set of them too. I am not interested in entering. I have plenty of scrap fabric should I want to make this myself.

  2. ENTER ME! How on earth did I miss that this was a give-away the first time around? Those dolls are so cute and I actually have tan felt and white felt in my fabric stash (no idea why – I think it came with material I inherited from an aunt) – this might have to be my daughter’s birthday gift this year! And maybe my 4-yr-old neice’s as wel…..Great ideas Brandy and thanks for hosting the give-away!Lea

  3. ENTER ME please!!! I think my granddaughter will LOVE these adorable dolls. Thanks for all of your Christmas gift ideas. I have dome some, linked some for next year and shared your blog with many as well. You are amazing, Thanks for ALL you do and share. Shelly

  4. I make MANY projects using the cheap felt. Last Christmas I made a bounty of felt food for my kids. What a fun project that was! Then I started sewing little shelf sitter decorations for different holidays that started selling like wild fire around town. People wanted to give my little Santas and Christmas Flamingos as gifts! I’ve since started my Etsy shop which is getting off to a slow start but managed to fund this years Christmas. I hope my love affair with felt never ends! What a blessing it has been in my life! 🙂 I’m linking my felt projects in case anyone is interested in seeing them!http://sweetherseykisses.com/category/crafts/

  5. Did you glue the fabric dresses to the felt or did you machine sew them to it? I understand you you sewed around the edges to keep them from fraying but how did you attach them to the felt, glue or sewing? I have never had my felt fray, so wondered if I could get away without sewing around body. Or is that also for strengthening the body?

  6. I love these dolls, thank you for posting!! I remember playing with the paper dolls when a young girl and how frustrating it was that the cardboard bent / the dress tabs wore down or broke off. Will be making these just after I finish 3 princess play dresses for family members (found the pattern for 75% off :p)

  7. I love your dolls with clothes. I remember playing with them as a child. May I buy patterns to make them myself. They would make wonderful presents for children in my family. Thank you. Sandra

  8. Hi there,
    My daughter Kajari & I love your felt dolls and dresses. We are going to have a go at making them. Thankyou for sharing your lovely idea.
    Joy to you xxx
    Karen and Kajari xxxxx x xxxx ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  9. A suggestion…. Don’t know if it would work, but inserting magnets sandwiched between two pieces of material. You could then use scraps of fabric left over from other projects. Could it work?

  10. does fray check actually keep the ends of the fabric from fraying after continued play? I’ve never heard of it since I don’t do a lot of crafts.

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