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Styrofoam Japanese Kokeshi Doll

We’ve been thinking about the children of Japan lately and wanted to dedicate today’s craft project to them. We made a cute and simple Kokeshi Doll out of Styrofoam shapes.  

Styrofoam Japanese Kokeshi Doll

Project Time:  45 minutes - 1 hour plus drying time
Skill Level: Easy ages 8+, younger with help

Materials Needed:

  • Styrofoam shapes such as round, cone and/or egg
  • Coating for Styrofoam such as gesso or molding clay
  • Acrylic paint and brushes
  • Craft glue or hot glue with glue gun
  • Pins
  • Felt, fabric, ribbons, foam, stickers for accessories 


  1. You will need a round styrofoam shape for the head and either a cone or egg shape for the body. Kokeshi dolls are known for their oversized round heads and either oval or cone-shaped bodies with no arms or legs.
  2. If using a cone shape, cut the bottom of the cone so that the size is proportional to the head. You can use any size head and body as long as they look proportional.
  3. If using an egg shape for the body, press the bottom of the egg down on a flat surface. Styrofoam easily molds so you will be able to flatten out the base.
  4. When the base is flat, it should stand on its own.
  5. Check the size to see if the head and body are proportional. Note, later you will use a toothpick to attach the head to the body and secure with glue. For now, do not glue the head to the body.
  6. Styrofoam has a porous surface. You’ll want to cover it so you can decorate the face. You can paint with gesso.
  7. Or you can use molding clay such as Crayola Model Magic Molding Clayto cover the foam head. If you are using fabric to cover the body, you only need to cover the head with coating of your choice. If you are planning to paint the base, you will need to cover that surface as well.
  8. Let dry overnight.
  9. Now add the hair. We used the molding clay. You can also use yarn or paint.
  10. After the clay is dry, paint the hair black.
  11. Decorate the face. Paint eyes and add a mouth. We used a tiny heart of self adhesive eva foam, but you can use felt, paint or even beads.
  12. Attach the head to the base. Put a toothpick in the bottom and add a small amount of craft or hot glue, then push the head onto the base. Let dry.
  13. Now you can decorate with whatever materials you have around your house. You can use any scrap fabric, real silk kimono fabric or felt. Accessories can include felt or foam flowers, butterflies, beads, stickers and ribbons.
  14. Wrap the felt or fabric around the body. Secure with hot glue or pins.
  15. Add an Obi Sash with ribbon. Secure with decorative pins.
  16. Add Accessories with glue and pins.
  17. Fix any paint, trim fabric and apply finishing touches until you are satisfied.

CD Note: Donate funds to help the children of Japan.

CD Hot Dish: Enter our Craft Book Give-a-Way Contest.

My Creative Dish

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