Roots & Wings Studio

Jen Staples

Encouraging imagination. Inviting creative and open ended play.

Showing all posts tagged "Handmade Doll"

Dolls are not just for girls!

I know this really wonderful little boy who is going to be so excited to snuggle this new doll, and I can hardly wait to give it to him! I am also so very thrilled that I am making a doll for a little boy, because dolls are not just for girls. Yes! Boys should have dolls too! Have you ever felt your heart melt when you see a loving father adoring and nurturing his baby? His toddler? Even his grown children? Boys grow up (too fast) and some choose to become fathers. My husband had a baby doll when he was little; my son has a doll; and I think it’s beautiful.

Dolls are such a great way for children, girls and boys alike, to play and imitate what mom and dad do; to nuture, imagine, create. Dolls are an open ended toy, and they are very therapeutic for little ones. A child’s work is to play, and a doll is an invaluable tool.





I have watched this happy boy nurture and rock this unfinished baby doll wrapped in a scarf as if it were already complete. Then trusting me to take good care of his baby, he willingly gave it back to me to finish with that smile on his face I so adore.





I'm going to leave it up to sweet Galileo to name his new lovey, I know he'll pick a great name. I have really enjoyed making this custom doll. We still have a bit of work to go. How exciting to see it start to come together!





The smile on a child’s face when I hand them their new doll is what makes this work so worth it. Thanks for reading 😃

Love, Jen

Who will they become?

In the last post I shared about how I make the doll heads. When I start a new doll I often wonder: “Who will they become?" As the pieces start to come together I get a feel for how to shape the eyes, type and color of hair, what clothes to make, what colors to use…I usually don’t know ahead of time unless it has been specifically requested. It’s a really fun creative process for me.



Who will they become? You saw these two in the last post when they were still in their bare wool form.


One of these lovies is a custom doll for a dear friend 😃 The other will be looking for her forever home within the next month. I’m pretty excited to see what unfolds! Thanks for reading.

Curious?

Curious about what my dolls look like underneath and how I make them look like that? Wonder no more….

People often ask me how I make my dolls, and the answer depends on how detailed they are.
The next question I often get asked is what is the going rate to buy a doll like this. We’ll get to that in a minute.

It all starts with wool, rolled firmly into a ball sightly larger than I want the finished head. It must be firm, so the head retains shape.



Then the ball of wool is inserted into cotton gauze, similar to a sock ( in fact the first time I did this it was a sock, I didn’t have all the fancy supplies) and it gets tied firmly around the neck and then down the “muff" or “spine,"which is essential to a sturdy head.



Next the head gets tied at the eye line and chin line with string and sewed in place at the sides to give the face a form (sorry I missed taking a pic of that...). Depending on the look I am going for, I may stop here, like Adeline here, a more traditional and simple Waldorf style doll (standard round face). Or I may add a cute little nose. If I want to make an art doll, with more detailed features, this is where the fun begins…and the hours.

When I make an art doll, the facial features are created using needle felting. If you are not familiar with this technique, it’s actually really cool. Wool is a bit sticky, as in it sticks to itself, and it likes to felt (ever accidentally wash and dry your favorite wool sweater? Or hat, as in my case? Better save that one for your kid’s dolls now!). Needle felting is achieved using special felting needles that have little barbs on them, causing the wool to felt down to itself. So essentially, I repeatedly add wool where I want it and poke away with the needles until I get the shape and hardness that I want. It takes many hours of attention and love to do. When it is finished it is really firm…think softball. It takes more wool and time than you think! For this reason, art dolls take much longer than simpler Waldorf inspired dolls.



Once I am happy with the head/face I have created, I then add the skin colored fabric, which is pulled very tight to show all of the facial features. With a standard round face doll, eyes and mouth are added with embroidery thread (or sometimes just eyes). The same goes for the art dolls, except the thread used on the face is placed specifically to enhance the wool features I added underneath, so it takes a bit more planning and care; where you sculpt with the thread really changes the way the face looks. It’s really an awesome process to see the face emerge. After this the cheeks are blushed with a beeswax crayon, and maybe I add freckles.

So that’s how the doll heads are created. As you can guess, the process has many steps and takes hours to do.


These are two faces ready for skin fabric, one a bit simpler, the other more detailed. It may be hard to imagine what it will look like at this point, but it will be pretty cute I promise :) I can see it.

As for the price, some people are surprised at my answer. When I first discovered Waldorf dolls and Natural Fiber Art Dolls, I fell in love. I wanted to make a doll for my daughter, so I started researching and set to work. I discovered it takes lots of time, love, attention, and skill to make a cloth doll in this way. These dolls are also made with high quality natural materials, no synthetics, and it takes a pound to a pound and a half of wool to stuff one doll of average size! Then add in clothes, hair, etc. It takes me weeks to make an art doll start to finish (part time hours, with homeschooling and all.)

I really, really love doing this. I never imagined I would call myself a doll maker. I appreciate you so much for being here and reading along on my journey. Thank you.

Sweet Adeline

Oh, sweet Adeline…she is so shy but very determined to have her way. On this beautiful sunny morning she dressed herself in her favorite spring dress, but she is so reluctant to let go of that chunky scarf. “It still gets chilly!" she exclaims.



I tried to tell her that it really was warm outside, but she layered it on anyway. It didn’t take long for her to start undressing once we went out for our walk in the sun to see what new plants are popping up.



Then she tried the other side of her dress, because it’s reversible and so much fun! Before long she was completely naked…it seems this is the way with Adeline, she is either completely bundled or refuses to wear clothes at all.





If you catch her singing or dancing, just look from the corner of your eye, or pretend you don’t hear her, for if you pay to much attention she will get quiet and give you that coy smile, then run off and hide or start doing something else.





I have really had so much fun with Adeline, she was a joy to create and create clothes for. She will always be very dear to my heart as the first of my original 8" Peanut pattern. As reluctant as I am, I know that it is time for her to find her forever home.

Adeline is a Waldorf inspired, natural fiber doll. She is made with high quality cotton interlock fabric and stuffed with clean carded wool. Her hair is wild brushable mohair in red brown, eyes are embroidered dark green with cotton embroidery thread, and cheeks are blushed with beeswax crayon.

She comes wearing her favorite reversible spring dress with lace trim along the bottom, as well as that chunky scarf she refuses to pack away with the winter clothes. (Squirrel not included.) She will need up to 2 business days to be lovingly and carefully packed.

Adeline is available in my store RootsWingsStudio Hope to see you there! Thank you for reading!




A new pattern

I’m really excited to introduce a new pattern! I have been wanting to make a smaller doll pattern lately, and I wanted it to be a bit more simple.

This doll has a very simple face, much closer to a Waldorf style doll. Making this doll was really a lot of fun for me, there is something so sweet in her face and simplicity. Don’t get me wrong, I love the needle felted face of the art dolls, but to have a sweet round face so open to interpretation is a refreshing change at the moment. It is also nice to have a new little doll completed in a matter of days instead of weeks, so it keeps me a little more balanced.



I’m so excited to introduce the 8" Peanut! This one has gone through a few names already, and hasn’t quite settled on one yet… She is also waiting not so patiently for her wardrobe to be complete. Please excuse the poor photo quality, I snapped a quick one with my phone, the next ones will be better!

She will be available in my hyena cart shop soon so stay tuned! I will be making a few more of these in the near future to post in my shop as well, maybe some little boys perhaps?

Arden-A Natural Fiber Art Doll ready to play

He is complete!

Arden is a natural fiber art doll ready to play. He loves the outdoors and is ready for spring to arrive. He dreams of playing in the dirt and catching crayfish in the creek. He can be quiet or boisterous, depending on his mood of the day, but is always thoughtful in his actions. His charming smile and freckles will warm the heart- he is so excited to find a forever home.



Arden is made using quality natural materials, with many hours of loving care and attention to detail. His skin is premium quality cotton interlock, and he is stuffed with clean and carded wool. His face is carefully shaped with needle felting, eyes embroidered with brown thread, and cheeks blushed with beeswax crayon. He has cute freckles added along his nose and cheeks with a freckle pen. Arden's fluffy fine hair was knitted with wild brushable mohair.

He comes wearing his outfit seen in the picture, made by me-his green long sleeve shirt, denim pants, hand knitted cowl, and hand knitted boots.


Crafted in my smoke free, pet friendly home studio, Arden is intended for an older child or adult collector and is not suitable for young children.


Arden was made using a Cutest Creations pattern.

To welcome him into your home, visit my shop here: Arden-A Natural Fiber Art Doll







Althea

Hello!

I have a new wool creation to share with you. I have never made two dolls alike, not even from the same pattern. You see, I have been constantly changing my patterns to improve my dolls. It can be challenging to create a pattern that will allow the doll to sit better, or have better proportions for the age the doll is supposed to be, enable posability, etc.

Recently I decided I would like to try a pattern other than my own. I ordered two separate Cutest Creations patterns from Jenn over at the Lali Dolls etsy store. She has some really nice patterns, and I enjoyed creating with them. The first pattern is the 14" Pacifier Doll pattern, and it is from this pattern that I crafted a new doll for my daughter.

Meet Althea!



I omitted the pacifier part and opted for a needle felted face. She is so very cute and cuddly. She is already going to need a bath soon from all the love she is getting!


I am so grateful for all of the wonderful doll makers out there and the amazing dolls they create as well as the knowledge and guidance they share.

Jenn was very kind and gave me permission to sell a couple of dolls made from her Cutest Creations Patterns. I will be making another doll from this pattern, and I also have an up and coming doll made with the 20" Wildflower Doll pattern that will be available in my hyena cart shop soon!

Thank you for reading!

February

This doll is a new pattern I made with the intention to make something simple and sturdy for little ones to play with hat could also be sewn up a little faster than my more intricate and detailed dolls. Years ago when my daughter was a baby, I had made her a toy rabbit named “Bunny Foo Foo.“ She was made from a pair of up-cycled wool socks, and her body was very similar to this doll pattern except I crafted the legs differently.

Meet February.




She is enjoying her walk in the woods despite the sprinkling rain and chill in the air. She knows spring is on the way, and though she is excited, there is something she will miss about the winter.



With rain drops in her hair, she wonders about her new home. She is a positive minded girl, so she believes it will be splendid!

February was lovingly made for a dear friend’s granddaughter, and I am so excited for her to meet her new family members!

Thank you for reading!

A custom doll for a sweet little girl

I was so excited to start my first custom order for such a sweet little girl. Up until this point I had only been making dolls for family members.

My dear friend saw two of the dolls I had made for my children, and exclaimed how she loved them and had been wanting one for her daughter. She asked if I could make her one, and requested purple highlights in her hair and green or blue eyes.


The doll shares the name of the little girl she was made for. I tried and tried to name her something else....but it just seemed fitting, so Patience she is.

She is quiet and thoughtful, and then will take you by surprise with her michevious smile!



Thank you for reading!

A Spring Doll for a New Baby

I was so excited to make this doll for my cousin’s new baby. I know she will not be big enough to play with it for a while, but making it for her was so much fun for me.



Her name is Pip! She is a spunky little girl who loves sunshine and sunflowers. She is made from one of my own patterns, and I am so pleased with how she turned out.



Her full outfit consists of a orange and yellow bonnet, booties with leather ties, and a custom diaper with a felt sunflower.


Thank you for reading!