Got Worries? Make Newspaper Dolls to Catch Them

Got Worries? Make Newspaper Dolls to Catch Them


Whispering your fears to these little dolls made of rolled newspaper might help you sleep better.

By Christy Harmon

There’s a lot to worry about these days. With Covid-19 cases rising, the new darkness of standard time and the election taking place in a few days, everyone could use an extra outlet to release some anxiety. It’s the perfect week to turn your newspaper into a handful of worry dolls.

Worry dolls, or muñecas quitapena, originated in the highlands of Guatemala, and legend has it that if you whisper your worries to these tiny dolls before bed and put them under your pillow, your worries will be gone when you wake up.

They are traditionally made out of wood or wire and decorated with fabric and other materials. It’s easy to make your own version of these humble tiny dolls with a little bit of newspaper and a few things from around the house. Keep them safe in a homemade envelope or a small bag. Who knows, you may even sleep a little more soundly getting all those extra worries out before bed.

What you’ll need:



White glue

Colored markers

Colorful embroidery thread or string

Step 1

Cut about a two-inch wide strip from the newspaper, from the bottom of the page up to the center fold. Cut off one-third of the strip you just made, then cut that horizontally into two long rectangular pieces. You should now have three small pieces of newspaper. This is what you’ll use to make two worry dolls.

Step 2

Using the toothpick, roll the largest piece of paper up tightly around it (but not so tight you can’t pull it out). Put a small amount of glue along the end and finish rolling. Gently take out the toothpick and cut the paper cylinder in half. These will be the two body pieces.

Step 3

Follow the same steps of rolling and gluing the two smaller pieces of newspaper. These will be the arms. You should now have four small newspaper rolls all together.

Step 4

Using the toothpick, make an indentation on both of the larger “body” newspaper rolls one-third of the way from the top. Put a small dot of glue in the indentation and place one of the smaller “arms” on top of the glue, perpendicular to the body and push down gently.

Step 5

Crumple up a tiny piece of scrap newspaper and glue to the top and let it dry. Once set, trim the arms a bit shorter so you have a lowercase “t” shape. You now have the base for two worry dolls.

Step 6

Now it’s time to decorate! Use a marker to color the hair, face, arms and body of each doll. The head and arms should be one color, and the lower body part another color. Make sure to switch up the colors so your dolls are each unique.

Step 7

With your embroidery thread or string, wrap an “x” shape around the arms and body, leaving a tail piece unwrapped. Continue wrapping around the arms and body until the newspaper underneath is covered.

Step 8

Tie the thread in a knot with the tail piece, trim excess thread, and poke the strings under with the toothpick to hide the ends.

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