How to Make Cloth Doll Heads

Updated February 21, 2017

A Waldorf-style cloth doll head creates a charming and traditional doll, ready for braids and a pinafore. These doll heads are constructed of natural materials and are equally well-suited to dolls for adults or dolls intended for young children. The key to making this kind of cloth doll head is in the materials. Choose natural wool roving, cotton stockinet and cotton knit or velour for your cloth doll head. With only basic sewing skills, you can create a doll that will charm its owner for years to come.

Start by winding wool roving into a firm ball, much like you would a ball of yarn. The size of this ball should be determined by the desired size of your cloth doll head. Make the base for a Waldorf-style doll head for a 16-to-18-inch doll approximately 8- to-9 inches in diameter. A smaller ball can be used as the basis of a smaller doll.

Make a flat mat of wool approximately 6-by-9 inches. Place your firm cloth doll head on this flat piece of wool and wrap the wool around your wool doll head base, leaving the additional length at one end.

Gather and tie off one end of your tubular stockinet with a simple running stitch. Place your wool doll head into the tubular gauze. You can also use the toe end of a pair of pantyhose for this part of your Waldorf-style cloth doll head. Tie at the base of the head with cotton string, leaving the additional wool and gauze hanging down to become your Waldorf doll neck.

Sculpt your doll's face with an eye and chin string, using cotton string. Wrap a length of string around the exact middle of your cloth doll head and pull tightly before tying. This will form an indentation for your doll's eyes. Wrap another string around the head, from the top of the head to just in front of the neck to create a chin for your doll. Using a needle and thread, stitch the crossing of these two strings into place on your cloth doll head. Pull the back of the eye string down to the neck to create a nicely rounded head shape for your cloth doll.

Cut your doll head and body pieces using your pattern and stitch as directed by the pattern. Pull your finished face fabric over your Waldorf doll head. Use small running stitches to close the top of the head if needed and tie the neck off tightly and smoothly with cotton string.

Use glass head pins to mark the position of the eyes and mouth. These should form an equilateral triangle. Embroider small eyes and a tiny mouth on your cloth doll head for a traditional Waldorf doll face.


Wool stuffing is critical for the head shaping. Use a felting needle to create a nose on your Waldorf doll.


Wash your Waldorf style doll carefully in a sink of lukewarm water.

Things You'll Need

  • Wool roving or batting
  • Long doll-making needle
  • Strong cotton thread
  • Cotton tubular gauze or a pair of pantyhose
  • Cotton interlock or velour
  • Embroidery floss
  • Waldorf-style doll pattern
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About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.