Waldorf dolls are soft handmade dolls made with natural materials. Traditionally, they have minimal facial features to promote imaginative play in children.
Waldorf dolls hold a special place in my heart. I’ve made dozens over the years for my own children, and for my friend’s children, too!
I also offer plenty of free patterns and tutorials on my blog so you can learn how to make your very own Waldorf dolls, too!
But what exactly is a Waldorf doll?
Let’s dive in a little deeper and talk about what exactly a Waldorf doll is!
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What is a Waldorf doll?
Waldorf dolls are handmade dolls. They have soft but firm bodies.
Waldorf dolls have firm, round, sculpted heads. This differs in a traditional rag doll, which usually has a more flat head that is stuffed the same way as the rest of the doll is stuffed.
Traditionally, Waldorf dolls are made with minimal facial features.
The minimal facial features help promote imaginative play in children.
With minimal facial features, the doll doesn’t have one facial expression.
Instead, children can picture that their doll is experiencing a wide variety of emotions.
There are different levels of facial features in Waldorf dolls. Some dolls do not have eyes or a mouth. Others have just eyes. Some dolls have eyes, a mouth, freckles, and everything in between!
What are Waldorf dolls made of?
Waldorf dolls are made of natural materials.
The skin of the doll is made from 100% cotton interlock fabric, which is a thick, stretchy material.
The inside of the doll is filled with wool.
Vegan Waldorf dolls are filled with cotton.
Wool is excellent at absorbing and holding heat, which gives the doll a warm and lifelike feel.
Wool also has more weight to it than its plastic fiberfill counterpart, giving the doll a lifelike weight.
Sometimes, additional weight is given to the doll through tiny glass pellets, sand, or other natural materials.
If the Waldorf doll has hair, the hair is a natural fiber as well. Usually, it is a type of wool — whether shorn from sheep, goats, or even rabbits!
The inside of a Waldorf doll’s head starts with a very firm ball of wool that is then sculpted to resemble a human head.
Where do Waldorf dolls come from?
Waldorf dolls are called “Waldorf” dolls because they are often used and are approved of in Waldorf Education.
Rudolf Steiner, the creator of Waldorf Education, described how to make simplistic handmade dolls for children from materials such as napkins or handkerchiefs in the early 1900’s.
Of course, most of the Waldorf dolls one sees today look vastly different than a simple doll quickly made from a napkin.
Most modern Waldorf dolls have countless hours put into each one, and quite a bit of money is poured into each one as well!
High end Waldorf dolls regularly sell for hundreds of dolls on Etsy, and well known doll makers sell out in seconds from updating their shops with new dolls!
Please note: if it is your first time purchasing a Waldorf doll, please stick to reputable sellers on Etsy that have plenty of good reviews. There has been a recent surge of spam websites that offer “closeout deals” for Waldorf dolls at prices that seem too good to be true — and they are too good to be true. Beware!
While those pricey dolls are beautiful and well worth the money for how much time and love is poured into each one, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Even the patterns and instructions for making these dolls at home can be upwards of $70!
Pricey dolls do not fit in every family’s budget.
Remember that from their humble beginnings, Waldorf dolls were made by parents, with simple materials they already had at home.
In my experience, a doll is even more treasured when it was made by a loved one, just for them!
You also have the option of making a doll without a kit…
I love making Waldorf dolls accessible to every family! I offer plenty of free patterns and tutorials to help you gift your little one with a special doll made just for them! I even have a pattern for a Waldorf doll that uses a wool dryer ball and an old sock to make!
Wherever you choose to obtain your doll, Waldorf dolls are a special kind of doll. Your Waldorf doll is sure to be passed down for generations!