Friday, May 10, 2019

Acorn Wishes

Turkey and chicken bones

Out of necessity, due to lack of funds for purchasing dolls from merchants, or because of the combined skill and expertise of making things by hand, homemade dolls have been made since time immemorial.   Household items, found objects, and repurposed items were often used to create homemade dolls in the past. Said to date back to the Victorian era, turkey and chicken wishbones were often used to make wishbone dolls.  Nuts have often been used to make nut head dolls.  Household rags were used for clothing these dolls.

Acorns were used for the heads of my wishbone dolls

I began saving wishbones and acorns some time ago with the intent of making a few dolls from each, separately.  With extra time on my hands, I decided to combine the two materials (wishbones and acorns) to make what I call Acorn Wish Dolls, a father, a mother, and a baby.

What Was Done

  • Bodies were fashioned with air-dry clay.
  • With the clay bodies still moist, the acorns and wishbones were pressed into the top and bottom of the clay bodies.  Between the legs, from the front to the back of the bodies, a thin strip of clay was attached to keep the wishbones secure.
  • The clay was allowed to dry overnight.  

  • Feet/shoes were made using polymer clay.  The feet/shoes were allowed to dry for 24 hours.

  • Because the top of the chicken wishbone used for the baby projected forward, I knew that standing would be impossible.  Extra clay was added to the bottom of the body for this one to create buttocks for sitting.

  • After the clay dried, the bodies and legs were painted and allowed to dry.

  • Arms were fashioned using a brown pipe cleaner, which was cut the appropriate length for each doll.  Enough length for each was allowed so the ends could be bent inward to create the appearance of hands and to prevent pricking from the cut wire ends.  
  • The pipe-cleaner-arms were hot glued to the back of the bodies.

  • Simple faces were painted on next. 
  • After their shoes were painted, felt was used to hand stitch their clothing.
  • Finally, the top of the acorn (the hair) was painted.  Brown yarn was glued to the back of the mother's head to add length to her hair.  

Dad has black hair.  Black felt was used to make a black shirt and white felt was used for his pants. His shoes are black.

Mom has brown hair with strips of yarn added to the back and sides.  She wears a simple caftan-style black-and-white-patterned felt dress with a felt heart cutout glued to the neckline.

So that her red bottoms could be seen, Mom took this photo lying down.  Show off!

Baby's hair is black like Dad's.  Glue-on clothing is made of white felt and consists of a white bib and a white diaper.  A huge red felt heart decorates the bib.  The feet are painted white with tan soles.

The Acorn Wishes pose for a final picture.
Now that making wishbone and acorn dolls has been marked off my to-do list, I can move on to a couple of other long-overdue doll projects hopefully before my free time diminishes.

For additional information about wishbone dolls, google "wishbone dolls" and "wishbone pen wipers."  The latter type was used to wipe off extra ink from dip or nib pens during the 1800s.  An interesting article about wishbone dolls can be read here.  If you have a copy of the Fall 2015 issue of UFDC's Doll News, the article, "The Peculiar World of Wishbone Dolls" by Gae Ward will be an informative read.


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