DIY - All About The Homemade American Carnival Doll

diy-all-about-the-carnival-doll


Easter is the most important and brightest in Christian history. However, before it comes, believers must observe the fast, which begins with Shrovetide, which lasts exactly seven days. At this time, pancakes are traditionally eaten, and mass festivities take place in the city squares. All this is accompanied by the fact that winter is leaving, and it calls for a reason to rejoice. The people rejoice with funny songs, dances, music, and various competitions take place, and a scarecrow is burned, which is called the Shrovetide doll.

Talisman Doll Tutorial - Doll tutorial, Tiny dolls, Dolls

This tradition has its roots in ancient times from the Slavs. They believed in symbolism and followed many traditions, many of which have survived to our times. Among them particular importance was given to the existence of traditional dolls carnival (Shrovetide). We learn about their origin and meaning in more detail.

Shrovetide doll symbolism

In general, a carnival doll or homemade carnival is a very symbolic item that has long been considered a powerful carnival charm that protects the family and the hearth. It looks like an ordinary rag or paper doll, made from improvised means by using paper, rags, bast or straw. But every detail of it is a symbol that we will try to learn about in more detail.

The skirt of the folk doll is homemade carnival, always magnificent and long - this is a symbol of the sun. The handles always directed upwards - in the direction of the  sun, a request that its rays warm the earth faster.



Usually, the Shrovetide doll is made on the eve of the carnival holiday, which, by the way, in 2017 fell on the period from February 20 to February 26. Its dimensions are small, about 25 centimeters in height. Previously, such a doll was stored in a special place, it was also called the red corner, then, after the Pancake week, it was put on the windowsill for viewing by the sun. It is the sun that plays a primary role in this holiday. During the winter months, people pretty much miss the warm days and look forward to warming.

In addition, women in difficult moments of life shared their experiences with the doll for a whole year, whispered to her about difficulties and problems, making peculiar conspiracies. And on Shrovetide, they threw her into the fire so that all adversity would pass along with the tongues of flame.

Why is the Shrovetide doll burned

As already mentioned earlier, Shrovetide is an old rite. The meaning is the death of the old and the birth of a new life by sacrificing a straw made effigy doll. Pancake week is a certain invisible line between the leaving winter and the coming spring. It was believed that together with fire, people could free themselves from fear, anger, and all the negative aspects that could accumulate over three long cold months. It is for this reason that unnecessary old things, clothes, and half-eaten pancakes are thrown into the flames, for being cleansed before the beginning of Lent.

It was considered obligatory to throw carnival dolls into the fire, which were made by the craftswomen. This is done after festivities and merry jumping over the fire. Now you can learn how to make such a doll all by yourself at home. Read the section below to find out how.

Making a little American Carnival Doll (talisman doll) - DIY

In order to make a small-sized carnival doll, you will need to complete a number of simple activities and the following materials:



  1. Cut out three equal-sided pieces of white fabric, each side should be 25 cm long;
  2. For a skirt, you will need two squares of the same size, all pre-colored with different hues, so as to make a funny carnival doll;
  3. To make a scarf, it is necessary to cut out a rectangle with sides of 15 cm and 9 cm from a bright red material;
  4. To form the head of the doll, you will need cotton wool or a small piece of syntapon;
  5. In order to connect all the parts together, you will need red threads, as they will be a symbol of life and energy.

Let’s go directly to the creation process:

  1. We put in the first white square, a pre-prepared piece of cotton wool or synthetic winterizer and tie it tightly with a thread. The result should be a triangle;
  2. We bend the edges of the material on the sides inward, the distance that needs to be retreated is about 6-7 centimeters;
  3. The piece of fabric must be folded diagonally in half, thereby connecting the edges that were folded in the previous step. Those ends that are narrower need to be carefully pulled with a thread;
  4. Your task is to combine the head and limbs of the future Shrovetide doll so that outwardly it resembles a woman’s silhouette with a snow-white flared skirt;
  5. You need to attach two pieces of multi-colored fabric that were cut off earlier to the torso at the waist level. They are fastened with the same red threads, making the skirt lush;
  6. We proceed to the final stage, which is attaching a scarf to the doll’s head, now the doll is almost ready.



However, the doll lacks one important detail - the hands. The easiest way to make them is to attach two cut brushes to the body. Now your product is ready.

How to make a big Shrovetide - a scarecrow to burn

If you live in a private sector or have plans to burn a large stuffed animal in the yard with friends, you can make it with your own hands of their improvised means. In order to answer the question of how to make a stuffed animal for Shrovetide, you will need for a master class:

  • Two long wooden sticks
  • Woodworking attachments - nails and hammer
  • Dried grass or straw
  • Thick cardboard and plain paper
  • Sackcloth
  • Fastening tools - tape and twine
  • Fabric outfit - dress for the future carnival doll.

So how to make a stuffed animal for Shrovetide with your own hands? The manufacturing process itself is step-by-step and is carried out in stages:

  1. So that the final product does not resemble a garden scarecrow, you will have to show maximum effort and imagination. The first block, dug into the ground, will serve as the basis and frame for the upcoming stuffed figurine. The second one needs to be slightly trimmed and fixed perpendicularly, it will serve as hands;
  2. To make a head, you need to take a piece of burlap and put paper, grass, or straw, and any highly flammable materials in it. To make the head resemble an ordinary head in shape, you need to tie the bag with scotch tape or ordinary twine. The same should be done with the body.
  3. Now that the draft of the body is ready, it’s time to put on the stuffed animal, tie a scarf around its head and paint on its face so that it looks like the real thing;


  4. It is worth saying that stick-hands are not the best option for a joyous carnival doll. For this reason, sticks are often tied with a multi-colored fabric and decorated with massive bows on an imaginary wrist. Your carnival doll is ready. It will burn spectacularly and make a memorable moment.

Today there are many variations on the theme of making a carnival doll with your own hands. Let’s give an example of the one that is the most popular and is often used for joint creativity with children. It is called paper carnival or homemade carnival. It is a do-it-yourself carnival made of colored paper. A more detailed description can be found in the photo from the master class.

Materials you will need:

  • Multi-colored applique paper or, ideally, papyrus paper;
  • Dense threads for fastening parts;
  • Satin ribbon;
  • Gray toilet paper (the uniqueness of this micron);
  • Paints or multi-colored pencils;
  • Thick cardboard PVA glue

How to make such a carnival doll? DIY

  1. First you need to make a cross of cardboard and thread;
  2. Wrap the structure tightly with toilet paper, gluing each layer with PVA glue;
  3. Make a dress for the doll out of multi-colored paper using the applique method. The easiest way is to glue a few sheets and make a hole for the head and neck;
  4. Dress up an imaginary doll, secure the outfit with threads and satin ribbons;
  5. To make the doll amulet look unusual, make a decorative vest or wrap for it using the same colored paper, but in a different color that differs from the color of the dress;
  6. The final stage is making the face decoration and putting on a headscarf.



As you can see, there is nothing difficult in this option, so you can use this method together with your child, teaching him or her to be creative and involving him or her in the old Russian and Slavic traditions. All you need is a fantasy and a minimum of technology.

What rules should be followed

In order for the made doll to perform the duties assigned to it, you need to adhere to some rules, which are given below:

  • During the manufacture of the doll and the master class, you must not use a knife or scissors and other such sharp or piercing objects. This is based on the fact that the given piece should be 100% positive, without the use of any kind of destruction. Although recently people are increasingly forgetting about this rule, considering it not mandatory;
  • Use only natural materials to keep the doll as close to nature as possible. It can be straw, bark, twigs, slivers, or branches. Now the manufacturing process is difficult to imagine without threads, fabric, and PVA glue, time makes its own adjustments to ancient traditions;
  • If you plan to create a classic ritual doll, rather than a stuffed animal for burning, try to stick to the reference size - no more than 30 cm.
  • As for the choice of the color of the product, the amulet doll should turn out bright. It can be shades of yellow, orange and, of course, red. The color scheme should match the spring mood and send a positive signal into space;
  • It is strictly necessary then and now to use bright red threads to connect the parts of the product, if you need to sew something. The most successful material is woolen threads, they are natural and strong;
  • When choosing decorations for a ritual carnival doll, give preference to flowers and leaves, they can be drawn or cut out. The brighter the signs and drawings are, the more successful the amulet doll will be.



Now you know how to make a carnival doll with your own hands. In conclusion, it is worth saying that a DIY carnival doll is a kind of amulet and a magical item that is endowed with meaning during the manufacturing process. It is important to show maximum imagination and skill so that the doll fulfills its purpose. And at the appointed hour, during the burning of the Maslenitsa effigy, she took into the fire all the hardships and problems that had accumulated in your life.

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