Make the most adorable paint stick dolls with paint sticks, fabric scraps and yarn. A fun, easy and addictive craft for kids of all ages!
My daycare kids love making homemade dolls, and they also love crating with yarn and fabric scraps so we combined all three, and made these adorable paint stick dolls one day last week during March break. The hooligans absolutely LOVED the process!
The inspiration for this doll craft came from the craft stick dolls we made recently. Those were a huge hit, but I thought it would be fun to use paint sticks for this next round of dolls.
Paint sticks are bigger than a craft stick (or popsicle stick), so they’re easier for little hands to manipulate, and because they’re wider than a craft stick we were able to use fabric swatches in addition to yarn for decorating them.
Another great similar craft for young crafters is our toilet roll doll craft.
I’d better warn you: making these dolls is addictive. That’s ok though! Working with the yarn is great for strengthening fine-motor skills and co-ordination, and the fabric and yarn colours will give kids a wonderful opportunity to express their creativity.
On this day, I had a group of girls ages 4 to 9, and each and every one of them LOVED this project.
It would be a terrific activity for a birthday party or a sleepover, for craft camp or simply as a rainy day craft for home.
P.S. We used this craft as inspiration to make our Paint Stick Santas at Christmas time. You can check them out here.
How to Make Paint Stick Dolls
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- paint sticks
- fabric scraps
- small buttons
- acrylic craft paint
- markers (we used these Sharpies)
Before starting, I prepped some of the fabric and yarn. Using fabric shears, I cut a bunch of scrap fabric into narrow strips and small squares. I did this part myself because I didn’t want the hooligans handling the super-sharp fabric scissors.
For the doll’s hair, I set out some kids’ scissors. The older hooligans were able to cut the hair for their dolls but the younger hooligans required help.
I also provided the kids with various colours of acrylic craft paint so they could paint their dolls if they wished.
Lastly, I set out a bowl of small, colourful buttons and a bunch of Sharpies for drawing faces on the dolls.
Let the fun begin!
The best thing about this project is that the possibilities are endless when it comes to decorating your doll.
The girls “dressed” their dolls by gluing fabric strips to the front of the craft sticks, and by wrapping yarn around and around their sticks.
I love all the different looks that they came up with!
Some dolls were painted while some dolls were wrapped entirely in yarn, and some dolls wore a combination of fabric, yarn and paint.
I love all how unique each doll is!
One little hooligan struggled with the yarn wrapping process at first. It’s tricky, and requires some real concentration and co-ordination.
I helped her wrap her first doll, and a few minutes later, as she was working on her second, she exclaimed “I’m DOING it!” And she was! She had figured out how to wrap the yarn around her paint stick, and she was doing a bang-up job of it!
The process is so good for developing fine-motor skills and co-ordination.
I love all the different ways they made their dolls’ hair too. Some had a single strand of yarn glued to the top of the doll’s head while some glued several strands of yarn together. Some kids even wrapped their yarn hair around their doll’s heads.
and this one has her hair painted on.
Isn’t her scarf a cute touch?
We drew our doll’s faces with Sharpie markers.
You could try a water-based marker for the face, but the ink *might* bleed into the paint stick. Test your marker first on a spare paint stick or on the back of a doll.
The girls churned out doll after doll after doll, changing up each one, choosing entirely different clothing and hair, making each doll “one-of-a-kind”.
As soon as this little one had two dolls made, she had them strike up a a conversation with each other. So fun!
This is definitely an activity that the hooligans would’ve been content to do all afternoon!
And one that we’ll be doing again, I’m sure!
More fun and Easy Crafts for Kids
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.