Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I figured out what to do with my doll shards.

I decided to try my hand at cotton spun ornaments.  I started with little doll shards like this one:
I bought the shards from a lady who had ordered them in bulk on ebay.  They had been buried in the mud of Thuringia, Germany, behind old doll factories for many, many years.  Most of them are from the turn of the century. Some of them had Thuringian dirt in them - very romantic.  Thuringian dirt.

First, I painted the heads and put some finish on them so that they wouldn't chip.
Then I made wire armatures for the bodies.  Next, I wrapped the armatures with cotton roving, which I got on ebay.   Here's what it looked like at this stage:

I need to work on making the cotton more even.  Oh well.  This was my first attempt.  I'm also going to try different sources for cotton roving, to see if they vary in quality and texture.  After the wrapping, I painted the cotton with thinned acrylic craft paint.  I've also read that you can dye the cotton.  That would probably be very pretty.  Then I glued on the heads with tacky glue and decorated the painted cotton bodies with little bits of fabric, wool roving, crepe paper, buttons, and lace.  Then I sprayed them with glitter spray to make them festive.   They range in size from 2" - 5".  Here are my Thuringian shards, transformed into little holiday children:

If you want to give cotton spun ornaments a try, but you have no idea how to start, Martha Stewart has a couple of tutorials that helped me:
Cotton spun Easter bunny
Lucy's ornaments

Also, do image searches for cotton spun ornaments and you'll come up with plenty of photos of adorable ornaments.

I haven't ordered anything from this website yet, but it looks like they have LOTS of spun ornament supplies: Blumchen and Company

Happy Holidays!


  1. These are just wonderful!
    Elaine, you never cease to amaze me with your abundant talents :-)

  2. They are very qute! The little blue fluffy jacket, is wool rowing? It's adorable.

  3. Very cute! You have a LOT of patience, Elaine. Makin' feather trees an' all. I'm impressed!

  4. Elaine, what a wonderfully creative endeavor. I love the story that accompanies them. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...(but wait till next winter, please!) They are all precious!!!

  5. Thanks, guys! I'm making another one right now. I can't stop. If I keep going until Christmas, I'll be able to decorate the White House Christmas tree with them.

  6. GREAT WORK! I loved the Thuringian dirt, very romantinc, indeed :)

  7. they are wonderful, and what great Christmas decorations, not just for trees, but everywhere.

  8. They are utterly magical. I especially love the face painting, and of course the outfits are wonderful. Well done.