Guatemala Unit Study: DIY Worry Dolls

One of the most interesting parts of learning about a new country is the myths/legends associated. Each culture has unique stories that are passed along through the generations, which are fascinating to study. Guatemala has “Worry Dolls” – an adorable belief that tiny dolls can be made, confessed worries to, and their owners can sleep without the burden of day to day concerns.

When I visited Guatemala over 20 years ago, I found these little dolls in the local shops, and brought a couple home. I even tried to make them out of toothpicks and embroidery string. Traditional Guatemalan worry dolls are a little wider than the ones I made so many years ago, so I decided to use popsicle sticks as the base.

Materials Needed:

  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Kraft Paper
  • White/Beige/Tan Material Scraps
  • Colorful Material Scraps
  • Needle/Thread
  • Colored Embroidery Thread
  • Polyfill
  • Hairspray

We cut the tops of the popcicle sticks off to about 1.5″ tall and use them as my base. We wrapped a small piece of light colored cotton material around the rounded top and over a small piece of polyfill. We used some light colored string to wrap around the middle and hold our “head” in place.

Next we used a piece of colorful fabric for the shirt or “huipil” as Guatemalan tops are call. I sewed it into place with a little bit of thread.

Next we inserted a bit of twisted craft paper for the arms under the shirt.

We then used a second piece of fabric for the skirt to hold the “arms” in place, and wrapped it with a bit of contrasting embroidery thread as our “belt”

After this step we trimmed the “arms” to match the body size and cut off extra strings and fabric so the “skirt” was even.

My oldest daughter did most of these steps herself, I was so proud to see how quickly she caught on with how to sew and manipulate such small parts with good fine motor skills.

Next we added a small little head covering. You can also use yarn or embroidery thread as hair too.

After we sewed it into place, we used another color of embroidery thread to accent the colors and make it even more secure.

Lastly we sewed on eyes and mouths with small bits of colored thread. They turned out sooo cute!

To keep our little people all nice and complete, I sprayed them all with a layer of hair-spray to kinda seal everything together.

How cute are these?

The world is such an unique and interesting place, full of fascinating people and cultures. It’s so much fun to learn about our planet! 🙂

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