There are two things unique to the sprig that I will quickly touch on:
- The Sprig doll is a one piece doll, meaning very little handstitching is required, making it a great first time doll
- The sprig has no nose. This may seem odd, but with small dolls, it is actually more endearing to have the illusion of the nose, allowing the face to be more expressive.
I am going to use the traditional doll head tutorial photos to save time (homeschooling 7 young kids keeps me crazy busy, so any time saver is a life saver for me!) however note that the dimensions will be different (I will post what dimensions you are to follow!)
So to get started you need to begin rolling a strip of wool that is about 1-2″ wide. You will be rolling it to be about the size of a large marble. I aim for approximately 4″ circumference.
Once you have a general ball shape that, begin wrapping it with cotton string, leaving a tail available to tie off the string at the end.
Once you have wrapped the ball in all directions, tie the end of the string to the tail that you had left out.
This is your core. I cannot stress enough how firm this needs to be. Make sure it is rock hard! This is what gives the strength to your head! If it doesn’t feel firm, untie it and start fresh. Ideally it will be 3.5-4″ around.
Step 2: wrapping the core.
This step requires more wool, as you will wrap the core you just made in more wool to form your doll’s head! Your final head should measure approximately 7-7.5″. So you will want to start by wrapping the core firmly with wool, like you did with the core, until it measures approximately 6.5″ around. I literally sit on the floor to make my heads, pushing all of my body weight onto the head as I roll it to be sure I am getting a firm head. Make sure to be wrapping in all directions to give it a nice round shape!
Once you have a firm ball measuring 6″ you will want to place layers of wool over the head, gathering it at the neck. Place layers over your ball, gathering it at the bottom of the head, until your head measures approximately 8″ in circumference. I realize that 8″ is larger than you want it to be, however once you place your gauze or sock over it, it will reduce to the perfect size!
Once you have the right size of head, tie around the neck you formed with a piece of cotton string.
Step 3: Covering your head
The next thing you will need is either a piece of heavy cotton tubing (measuring about 8″), a doubled layer of cotton gauze, or a small white cotton sock. I buy my cotton tubing (along with all my other doll making supplies) here, from my friend Natalie over at Bear Dance Crafts. If you have tubing, you will want to sew across the top and turn it inside out to form a sock like covering. If you have a small white sock, just leave it as is!
Gently, pull your sock or your tubing over the head you created and re-tie your neck line. Measure your head again and make sure it measures somewhere around 7.5″ in circumference now.
Step 4: Tying the head
You will now need more of your craft string or in a pinch you can use unflavored dental floss for this part. You will start by tying a length of string across the center of the head, forming your eyeline. Tie this quite tight (I go around the head twice before I tie), so it forms an indent.
The next tie will be done vertically, forming a chin and cheeks.
Your ties should be tight and knotted well. At this point, you can clip the string from the vertical tie, but leave the string from the eyeline (the horizontal tie) long.
Now you will need a needle and thread to sew your ties in place. Thread a needle, so that the thread is doubled, and sew an “X” on both sides of the head where the two ties cross to keep them in place.
Now, you will need to carefully pull the back of the eyeline down, so that it is at the neckline. Doing this will make a smooth round back of the head. Go slow, as this is not easy, and you may want to use a chopstick or an unsharpened pencil to aid you!
Once you are done this step, it is probably a good time to measure your head again, as the tying should have reduced its circumference to somewhere between 7-7.5″. This is a perfect size.
You are now done forming your head! Remember, the most endearing part of the sprig is that it has no nose <3 I will teach you how to form the illusion of a nose once we get to finishing the face!
The next step of our tutorial will be covering the head and attaching it to the body! Head on over to part 5!