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Church dolls were little more than a man's handkerchief or other fabric square gathered around a ball of cotton placed in the center to represent a head, with two corners knotted to create arms and hands. ... A child's imagination provided any other details (more elaborate dolls might also have had touches of embroidery).


Church dolls are also known as Plantation Dolls. These soft, lacy dolls began being made during the American Revolutionary War. Grandmothers would make the dolls out of a white handkerchief for their granddaughters. Candy would be placed in the handkerchief as the dolls head for children to eat during church services. This is where the name church dolls came from. 

Today, replicas of church dolls are sold out of affinity for the past. They are made from 100% cotton cloths and trimmed to the shape of a skirt. The skirt is usually lined with lace and the head is filled with stuffing. However, the process and materials needed to make a church doll make it an easy craft to do at home. You can take a handkerchief of your dad’s and put a small round object such as a ball in the center of it. Take a rubber band to secure the round object in place and decorate your very own church doll.


1. Piece of Fabric (Best in a square about 20" x 20")

2. Ribbon

3. Marker or Sharpie

4. Poly-fill



Step One: Fold the fabric in half or 1/3 from the top.

Step Two: Draw a face below the fold.

Step Three: Add poly-fill behind the face and tie the ribbon under the poly-fill to make the head.

Step Four: If you did a 1/3 from the top then you can make arms. Tie knots on the top corners of the fabric. 

Step Five: Draw hair on the head or designs on the dress.


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