No doubt about it, there’s a certain mystique about Waldorf dolls, and with good reason. Every Waldorf doll is individually made by hand. That fact alone sets them apart from the mass of commercially produced toys. These irresistible dolls achieve their distinctive appearance by means of a unique construction method, and their uncommonly huggable feel is the result of only all natural materials.
But don’t be fooled! Uncommon though they are, they deserve to be far less rare. There’s no good reason why the pleasure of making Waldorf dolls should be reserved for only a handful of highly skilled artisans.
If you’ve ever wanted to try making a Waldorf doll, but hesitated, maybe one of these Waldorf doll making myths is holding you back:
Myth Number 1: The materials are too hard to find.
This may have been true twenty years ago, before the internet became a ubiquitous presence, but it’s certainly not true now!
Waldorf dolls are indeed fussy about what goes into them. Only all natural materials may be used, like 100% cotton fabrics and soft sheep’s wool stuffing. These are not commonly available at fabric shops or crafts outlets, but there are numerous online merchants who have them in many color choices, along with all sorts of useful tools and notions for the doll maker. In Australia and the U.S. there are domestic sources. Elsewhere, supplies may need to be shipped, but they are certainly not hard to find. Type “Waldorf doll supplies” into your favorite search engine to get an extensive list of vendors.
Myth Number 2: The materials are too expensive.
I’ll admit, there’s at least a kernel of truth in this one. Compared to polyester fiberfill, carded wool batting does seem quite costly. On the other hand, if you’ve worked with the poly fluff, then worked with wool, I think you’ll agree that the difference in quality is far greater than the difference in price.
A one-pound package of wool batting will make a large doll, or several smaller ones. If you are making a small doll, you might consider purchasing material with a friend and sharing the cost. The cotton interlock fabric that makes the best doll skin is sold in generous widths. A ½-yard cut will definitely make several dolls, so is good for sharing.
You may also be able to recycle some materials as a thrifty alternative. A cotton tee-shirt that has been washed to a wonderful softness can be dyed and used for doll skin. Worn-out clothing often yields pieces of fabric in good condition. These can make fabulous doll clothes. Yarn unraveled from an old wool sweater makes some of the very best curly doll hair.
Myth Number 3: Waldorf Dolls are too difficult to make.
Utter nonsense! Waldorf-style dolls are among the very easiest of all dolls to make! Their body shapes are quite simple, with mitten-shaped hands (no finicky little fingers to turn) and minimal articulation of the limbs. The distinctively-shaped Waldorf head is achieved by tying two strings around a ball of wool. Presto! An adorable child’s head appears as if by magic.
That marvelous wool stuffing will seem worth every penny when you see how smoothly it fills out a shape. No lumpy limbs! Plus, you can pull it all out and re-stuff with the same wool, and it’s good as new.
So what are you waiting for? That special child in your life deserves an extraordinary doll, hand made with love by you.