How to make worry dolls for children

Updated April 25, 2018

Guatemalan worry dolls are one way to keep the dreaded bogeyman at bay. Get children to tell their problems to one of their worry dolls each night, then place it under their pillow. The dolls disappear, taking their worries with them. Worry dolls are made in sets of six. They are usually very small and made from toothpicks or thin twigs. Using peg-style clothespins makes them easier to wrap.

Make a face on the top of each peg using black and pink acrylic paint.

Cut bamboo skewers or thin dowel rods into 7.5 cm (3 inch) lengths to use as arms.

Apply white craft glue to the clothes peg, beginning where the rounded head meets the shoulders and ending at the waist. Wrap the glued area with brightly coloured embroidery floss or yarn, tying the last loop in a knot.

Apply craft glue to each bamboo skewer or rod section from end to end, stopping 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) from one end. Wrap each arm with embroidery floss or yarn, leaving the bare area unwrapped to make hands.

Glue arms to each side of the doll. Wrap over both arms and body beginning at the shoulder of your worry doll, for about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch). Knot the last loop and poke the knot back under the thread layers using the end of a skewer.

Wrap each leg separately if you are making a boy doll. Wrap from waist to feet for girl dolls. Knot the final loop and conceal it as before. Place each doll in a pouch.


If desired, make hair for your girl dolls by braiding several strands of brown, black or yellow yarn. Glue it in place on your doll's head like pigtail braids.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden clothes pegs
  • Black and pink acrylic paint
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Embroidery floss or yarn in bright colours
  • Scissors
  • Shallow basin or jar lid
  • White craft glue
  • Watercolour brush
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About the Author

Jane Smith has provided educational support, served people with multiple challenges, managed up to nine employees and 86 independent contractors at a time, rescued animals, designed and repaired household items and completed a three-year metalworking apprenticeship. Smith's book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in 2008. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.