How to Make a Kokeshi Doll

Kokeshi are Japanese dolls, originally from northern Japan. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. One characteristic of kokeshi Dolls is their lack of arms or legs.  So, with that being said…. today I’m going to show you how to make a Kokeshi Doll.  It will be a lot of fun…. almost as much fun as it will be showing to people the Kokeshi Doll you made yourself.  So, grab the materials needed and let’s get started.

Check out our other Doll Making Crafts.

Laura from Dacian Moon Handmade will show you how to make a kokeshi doll step-by-step.


Materials Needed

– 1 cylinder wooden bead – I use a cork – this will be the body
– 1 round wooden bead – I use a walnut – this will be the head (she would be prettier if you’ll use a wooden ball in place of the walnut)
– a piece of paper with flowers
– a piece of white paper
– a piece of red paper (or a ribbon)
– craft glue
– paints (red and black)
– paintbrush


Step 1

Cut the paper with flowers a little bit (with 1 or 2 mm) shorter then the cylinder.

Apply a layer of glue on the back of this paper…

… and roll it around the cylinder.



Step 2

Take the white paper and cut it the same length as the first one, but shorter. Apply a layer of glue on it…

… and place it in the middle of the paper with flowers …

… like this.


Step 3

Apply a layer of glue on the red paper / ribbon too …

… and place it on the middle…

… like this.


Step 4

Now is the time to make the head.

Take the walnut / ball and, using the black paint, make her hair and eyes. Remember that her face should be made of simple, thin lines. Let it dry.


Step 5

Apply a layer of glue on the bottom of the head…

… and place it on top of the body.


Step 6

You can add blush and a mouth… and your doll is ready!

Isn’t this Kokeshi Doll just adorable?  Imagine how cute she would look sitting on your dresser.  How did your Kokeshi Doll turn out?  Let me know in the comments below.  And, make sure to take a picture of your Kokeshi Doll and post that in the comment as well… I’d love to see it.

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