How to Make JuJu Dolls
by Mary Ruthven
(Palm Coast, FL.)
How to Make Juju Dolls
This is an unusual Valentine gift I made by a request from a good friend. They are made from scratch by wrapping sticks.
Juju is a sacred object or a positive charm worn or placed in a bag.
Who did you make it for?
A daughter of a friend of mine is expecting a baby on Valentines Day. They will be giving her a baby shower and she wanted a quirky and fun Valentine gift to give to each of her close friends.
What materials did you use?
2 sticks (length depends on how big you want to make them). One will be the body and another, slightly shorter for the arms, muslin (or an old sheet), twine (or strong string), bits of material, bits of trim, dried grasses (optional), feathers, and thread.
How did you make it?
Begin by making a cross with the body and arm stick. Using twine, cross back and forth over the chest, making an "X". Do this several times to secure cross and tie off. This is now the body you will build your doll on.
There are no set rules. Each doll will be unique. The following is the way I made mine...
Tear muslin into long strips and starting at feet, wrap strip tightly, working your way up and making sure to overlap so stick is completely covered. (Tip: If you have used florist tape, you will use the same wrapping technique with the muslin.) At chest, criss cross as you did the twine to get from one arm to the other. Come up the body, cross over chest, wrap down one arm, back to chest, up head, back down to chest, and over to other arm. The thickness is up to you. You can rewrap to make thicker. I left the ends of sticks exposed and wrapped string several times around feet and wrists.
I then wrapped a square of material around bottom for skirt. With another square, I cut a slot in the middle, pulled head through and tied around waist to make a top. I sewed on seed beads for eyes and stitched an "X" for eyes. For some, I laid dried grasses across arms when I made the stick body, leaving tips of grass showing. I also made walking sticks for some. I just used interesting sticks and removed any bark. I then trimmed them with twine and bling. I put glue on tips of feathers and slid them into the wrapped muslin at top.
I actually did a little homework for the ones I made. Every object on them such as stones, coins, etc. have a special meaning. I made a little scroll for each with a list that explains the definition of the objects. Some hold little "juju bags" which contain some of the objects. Each doll comes with a package of colored head pins to stick into it. Each color has a meaning:
WHITE: Positive Energy
Anything else you'd like to share about your project?
These were fun and very interesting to make. Each one has its own personality and you can really personalize them. The "mother-to-be's" best friend works at a marina and loves sea turtles. I made hers using nautical material. I attached sea life objects on hers and found a sea turtle button (at Michaels) and sewed that onto the chest. Her eyes are blue so I used blue beads for the eyes.
Tip: I sewed a jewelry loop to the back of each to hang, if desired. My dolls are about 9" tall. While making these, I tried a smaller version. I made a 4" one into a keychain and also a 6" one. All came out well.
Tip: I wanted my dolls thick enough to stick the pins into so I first wrapped them with strips of batting then proceeded with the wrapping of muslin.
Check out more of Mary's craft ideas on her website www.craftingtales.com.
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