Worry Dolls

Ages 3+

Inspired by tiny, handmade Guatemalan worry dolls, we’ll create our own dolls using materials from home.

Fun Fact: Worry Dolls, according to legend, help ease worries and fears. A child tells the doll their worries, places the dolls under their pillow, and wakes up with wisdom to conquer their concerns!


  • For the base of doll, lots of creative options: an old fashioned clothespin, a wooden dowel, a wooden spoon, plastic utensils, a marker, empty travel-sized toiletry bottles, scrunched up tin foil 
  • Scissors
  • Strips of paper (about 1” x 5”)
  • Markers and other coloring materials 
  • Glue
  • Tape 
  • Thread
  • Wire 
  • Yarn
  • Pipe cleaners 
  • Fabric scraps (old t-shirts, etc.)

Choose Your Base + Your Character

  1. The base/body of your doll should be a simple, cylindrical-esque, sturdy material that you don’t mind taping and gluing onto! These dolls aren’t “realistic” so keep that in mind!
  2. Something like a wooden dowel, a clothespin, or small wooden spoon is great since it can have paper and materials wrapped around it!
  3. WHO is your doll? Maybe they have superpowers to keep you safe! Will you make a doll that represents each member of your family? A group of friends? 

Dress Your Doll (Hint: Teacher Teal’s photos are a great reference for this!)

  1. The following materials can be cut into strips: any kind of paper (magazine paper is fun too!), foil, even paper towels! 
  2. Start with your first strip: tape or glue one end down onto your doll’s base and wrap your strip around! Adhere the other end. 
    —>Remember: leave a blank area for the doll’s face! 
  3. This wrapping can be done with multiple strips of many widths: have fun with it!
  4. Wrap yarn or a soft material around as well to give your doll’s clothing some extra security (some materials may be able to be knotted with the help of experienced hands).

Add Details:

  1. Draw a face onto your doll using markers or paint!
  2. Have wire or pipe cleaners? Wrap one piece around the doll’s midsection to create arms! (Toothpicks work too!)
  3. Yarn or thread can but cut up and glued down to create hair


Philly Art Center has been cultivating creative genius in kids and adults since 2004. We inspire every student to create, play, laugh and learn! Learn More.