How to Make a Simple Life Size Doll
Life-size dummies are some of the most commonly-needed props, whether you're making a movie, putting on a play, or just trying to organise a fun office prank.
While a fully realistic doll can cost thousands and dollars and require hundreds of hours of work, a quick, simple life-size doll is something you can put together with a small budget and few special skills or materials. Make yours from common household supplies in a matter of hours, or even minutes.
Stuff two pairs of pantyhose with cotton batting. Squeeze the batting through the pantyhose to help shape it. These two pairs of hose will become the arms and legs, so stuff them as full as you need to to make these parts of your doll the size you want. Fill the waist area of each set of hose, as well. Wrap each pair with a second layer of hose.
Make the doll's head. Stuff the toe end of an extra large pair of pantyhose to form a large, slightly oval ball the size of a human head. Tie the pantyhose off and trim away the rest of the pair. Use the other toe to wrap the head a second time, and tie this as well.
Fill the waist section of the remaining pair of pantyhose with cotton batting. Tie off, then trim away the legs.
Join the pieces. Use a whip stitch (like that used on a baseball) to hand stitch the waist piece between the leg and arm pieces. Tie the head to the top. Alternately, attach the pieces using safety pins.
Dress the doll in clothes. Apply socks and slippers, if you like, but avoid heavy shoes, as the weight of these may misshape the feet. If making a woman doll, dress her in a bra and stuff it with rags.
Place the wig on the doll's head. Tack it in place using a few small stitches spaced out over the head.
Decorate the face, if desired. Glue in place felt shapes to create the facial features (do not attempt to ink or paint the pantyhose face, as these will soak through the layers and shift around in an undesirable fashion). Alternately, use puff paints that will sit on top of the fabric.
- "The Theatre Props Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Theater Properties, Materials and Construction"; Thurston James; 2000