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Faux Real Food Kokeshi Doll Tutorial

Faux Real Food Kokeshi Doll Tutorial

Would you like to make a Kokeshi doll in 1/3 scale? These little dolls fit perfectly in your American girl doll’s hand. 017

Grab your supplies and let’s begin!

You’ll need:

  • An old fashioned clothespin or doll pin
  • A saw
  • Polymer clay in colors of your choice
  • Liquid Polymer (Translucent Liquid Sculpey or Fimo Deco Gel)
  • Polymer clay roller (A Highlighter pen works in a pinch)
  • Exacto knife
  • Straight Blade or Tissue Blade
  • Clay cutters
  • A slim, drinking straw
  • Craft baking sheet or aluminum foil

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not use any items for food after they’ve been used for polymer clay. If you do not have a baking sheet that is designated for crafting, place a layer of foil between your polymer pieces and your baking sheet. 

Begin by cutting the bottom off your clothespin just below the spot where it splits in two. I cut mine just above my thumbnail. Sand the bottom after cutting so you don’t get splinters.  002

001Roll out the color of clay that you want for your doll’s kimono. and trim as shown below. The notches at the top allow the clay to lie smooth at the neckline. 004

Make certain it is wide enough to wrap completely around your clothespin003Decorate the kimono before you put it around the clothespin, it is easier to decorate while flat. I cut out flowers along the hem, and used the same cutter to cut out gold flowers, 007

Then I placed the gold flowers in the holes of the purple piece.008Next, I used a small straw as a cutter and I cut leave shapes out and filled them with green polymer clay, I used my Exacto knife blade to carefully remove the cut pieces from the kimono028 030009Gently pat the gold and green pieces with your finger so they will stick to the purple kimono.

Add a little bit of liquid clay to the clothespin (This helps the polymer clay adhere to the wood) 005Slide your straight blade under the kimono and gently place over the clothespin. 010Push the notched edge in around the neck and smooth out the edges, I use a dotting tool for this, you can use your fingers or a plastic spoon if you don’t have a dotting tool.011 I used the handle to smooth the seams, a pen barrel would work for this too. 012

Cut a strip of gold polymer long enough to go around the doll for a belt. Use the back of your blade to make lines in it. 014 015

Wrap the belt around the doll’s waist and trim any excess polymer. 016 Roll another rectangle of polymer and cut two long triangles for the sleeves018 019Trim the small point off the triangle and attach at the doll’s shoulder022Repeat for the other sleeve023

Smooth the sleeves down in the front024Cut thin green strips and add to the edge of the sleeves025026


Bake your doll for 10 minutes at this point. Pre-baking will keep the Kimono nice while you sculpt the hair.  I’ll show two different hairstyles, we’ll practice on another doll. The first hairstyle uses two balls of black clay, the quarter is there for scale. 032Take the larger ball of polymer and push it over the dolls head, smooth it over the forehead and down the back of the head. Continue working and smoothing until you like the way it looks. 033 034 The “hair” should be short over the face and long in the back. 036 035 037Take the small ball of polymer and gently put it on top to form a bun. 040 041


For the second hairstyle, roll out a flat piece of polymer clay and cut it into a square approximately 33 cm 045The top of clothespins vary in size so check and make sure it fits around the dolls head and is a length you like. 043Place the doll upside down on the square of clay and trim as shown.  This will create the bangs. Trim them if they’re too long.047 049 050Cut the back in this way. 056 057The two long ends will wrap around the back. Place on top of the doll, to check the fit059smooth down the bangs and sides, then wrap the long pieces around the back, trim if they overlap. Remove the hair, put a bit of liquid clay on the head, replace the hair piece and smooth the seams.058060061062

Make a bow for your dolls hair. Note: The photos of bow construction are not to scale, I made the bow much larger so you could see how to make it. Make yours tiny to fit your dolls head.


Roll out gold polymer and cut a rectangle, then trim each corner, also cut a long thin strip063Pinch the center of the rectangle and push in the center to form a bow shape065068Turn over and add the long strip over the pinched area069070Turn the bow over and wrap the strip, cut off excess072 073Add a dab of liquid clay to the back of the bow and place it on your dolls hair. 006Bake again, according to your polymer clay package directions. After the doll cools, paint on eyes and a mouth. The easiest way to paint eyes; dip the tip of a toothpick into black paint and place where you want the eyes. A smile can be drawn on with a pencil or painted with the tip of the toothpick as well.

We had so much fun, we made another one!021Use your imagination to decorate more Kokeshi dolls. Perhaps you’d like a whole collection.


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2 Responses to Faux Real Food Kokeshi Doll Tutorial

  1. Lilly Maiden August 20, 2015 at 4:35 PM #

    This is so adorable! Thank you for sharing the process! I’ve never seen a clothes pin in person but I might have to go see if I can order a set because this is SO cute!

    • August 27, 2015 at 12:40 PM #

      Thank you! I’m so glad you like it. Please post photos if you make one, we’d enjoy seeing it!

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