Making Fabric Dolls
Kindergartners and First Graders
Several years ago, Robert D. San Souci was the guest author at our school. He brought many of his books; one of which was a picture book titled ZIGZAG, a story about a doll maker who created Zigzag and placed him on the shelf for the night. After the doll maker left, Zigzag was bullied and pushed off the shelf by the other dolls. Zigzag ultimately ended up outside in the trash bin and had to climb his way out. The book does have a happy ending, as three mice found him a nice home with a happy little girl, and his zigzagged mouth turned into a happy smile.
The beginning of the story reveals that ZIGZAG was made from scraps of fabrics. I thought what a great art lesson this would be! And, I just happened to have a large box full of donated fabrics in my classroom. Since then, creating Zigzag dolls has become an annual lesson.
The first step is to read the book in class. Since it’s a picture book, it doesn’t take much time. If you want to make it a multi-disciplined lesson, you can discuss how the other dolls bullied Zigzag. You can also reinforce the kindness of the new found friends, the mice, and the happy ending. The children love to hear the story and talk about it.
This lesson will take no more than two classes. Some will finish their dolls during the first class period (45 minutes) but most will not.
The charm of these Zigzag dolls is allowing the children to actually create their own. Allow them to choose the fabrics---allow them to do their own cutting---allow them to glue their fabrics where they want. Most will not be in the center of the paper and some will have legs, tails and hats hanging off the edges, but that’s what makes it their own. It looks like a six year old created it! A young child is just learning how to do these things—let it show—they cannot cut a perfectly straight edge or circle, yet.
The Inexpensive Supplies:
ZIGZAG BY Robert D. San Souci. Publisher, August House Little Folk. ISBN 0-87483-764-2 $16.95
12” x 18” white paper, poster board or whatever you have
Assortment of donated fabrics (magazines, wallpaper, wrapping papers all can be used, if you haven’t any fabric)
Liquid glue and or glue sticks
Markers/crayons or anything that can be used for drawing on the fabric
The Easy Directions:
1. Prepare the fabric before class. Have an arrangement of fabrics already cut into usable sizes. The largest I’ve used is approximately 8” x 11”
2. At the beginning of the class, read and discuss the story
3. Review shapes you’ve taught them. Have the students draw shapes for their dolls onto the fabrics. Encourage different fabrics for different parts of the doll.
4. Have the students glue the shapes onto the paper
5. Remember the eyes, hair, ears and whatever they need.