All Dolled Up . . . Dolls on Mission

Finished dolls

The Dolls on Mission (DOM) feature was such a hit with groups all around the country! Here is all you need to know to start and finish this unique mission project.

Build-A-Doll Workshops
Helpful Tips
MORE: Salvation Necklaces
MORE: Backstory of Dolls on Mission

Finished Product Photos:

Build-A-Doll Workshops

In just seven simple steps, your group can be well on its way to changing lives . . . yes, through dolls!
Station 1: Cut out face and body patterns.
Station 2: Stitch bodies together with sewing machine.
Station 3: Press doll and turn to right side.
Station 4: Stuff doll with filler. Hand-sew closing.
Station 5: Using yarn, make hair. Attach with glue gun.
Station 6: Paint faces on doll.
Station 7: Finish up! Add bandana for boy doll, ribbons for girl doll.

Bonus step: Make salvation necklaces!

What to do with the Dolls?
• Ask a missionary your church knows if she could use the dolls in a ministry in her country. She’ll know the best way to send the dolls.

• Planning an overseas missions trip? Ask the receiving missionaries if they could use this type of ministry.

• Share dolls with homeless shelters, women’s shelters.

• Provide dolls for children living in poverty situations like migrant camps.

• Supply dolls for local rescue squads for children in traumatic situations.

• Take the un-stuffed, sewn dolls to a nearby prison (obtain permission beforehand) for the prisoners to stuff and make the salvation bracelets. What a way for the prisoners to learn about Jesus in the process!

• Make dolls for North American missionaries. Send a request for a listing of missionaries who will receive and distribute the dolls by contacting the NAMB Promotion Team at 1-800-749-7479, ext. 6291, or



So, are you ready to make dolls for missions? Here’s how, step-by-step!
1. Cut two face patterns. 

2. Cut two body patterns.

3. Having right sides together, stitch each face pattern to each body pattern along neckline using l/4 inch seam allowance.

4. Having right sides together, stitch around entire body, using 1/4-inch seam allowance;
Double stitch in the crotch area, then clip to that point. Leave a small opening on the outside area of one leg for stuffing with filler.

5. Press doll, then turn the doll to the right side.

6. Stuff dolls tightly with filler.

7. Close the opening by hand stitching.

8. Use yarn to make braids. Sew or use glue gun to doll’s head.

9. Using stencil, paint the doll’s face. On one side of the face, the doll is awake. On the other side of the face, the doll is asleep.

10. Add bandana for boy dolls. Tack by hand stitching or use a glue gun.

11. Tie ribbons around the neck and braids of girl dolls.


Helpful Tips . . . whew!

• 1 1/8 yard of 45 inch fabric will make at least 9 doll fronts or backs.
• 1/3 yard (12 inches) will make faces for 7 dolls.
• 30 – 36 inches of yarn is a good length for braids for a girl doll. 21 strands will make a nice braid.
• A hot glue gun works well when attaching the hair, especially when making many dolls. And, the hair is secure on the doll’s head.
• The sleeping face on the doll can represent a person before accepting Jesus. The Awake face on the doll can show how Jesus opens our eyes. “I once was blind, but now I see.”
• Coordinate fabrics for a doll’s front and back body. Use a fabric color for the doll’s face that will be similar to the child that will receive the doll.
• When making salvation necklaces – use twine, ribbon, or elastic. The elastic can slip off the doll’s neck easily, so the child receiving the doll can use as a bracelet also.
• If you do not want to make necklaces, they may be painted on the doll’s body.
• When making hair and costume, you can come up with creative ideas for each ethnic group. You can Google for images of ethnic rag dolls, or there are books on ethnic costumes. Your local library may be able to help you find something. You should find out if there is anything that a group, race or nationality might find offensive.
• To stuff the doll a piece of board similar in size to a ruler works well. If you have many people stuffing dolls, an inexpensive way would be to go to a store with a lumber department to find a board the correct size. Then cut the board in 8 to 10 inch lengths. Even a wooden spoon handle will work well.
• When making the dolls, pray for the children that will get that doll.



Use the four patterns below to begin. Click on the title of the pattern to download a pdf file of the pattern to your computer. Use the printing instructions to print your pattern.

Two-part Doll Body

Full Doll Body

Doll Head


Special Printing Instructions

Two-part Doll Body.pdf is for printout on Letter Size (8 1/2 X 11) sheets. Two parts must be cut out and taped together to form the pattern. 

Full Doll Body.pdf is for printout on Legal Size (8 1/2 X 14) sheets. The entire pattern is together on this larger sheet. 


Dolls on Mission Salvation Necklaces

Each doll made can help tell the gospel story with his or her own salvation necklace. Here is how the colorful necklace on each doll can help you share the gospel.

Black Bead: The black bead represents our sin. Our sin separates us from God. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Red Bead: The red bead represents Christ’s blood. You see, Jesus loved us so much that He made a way we could find forgiveness for our sins and no longer be separated from Him. God sent Jesus to the earth in the form of a man, and He was willing to die on a cross and shed His blood so that the punishment for our sins would be paid in full. The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8 “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

White Bead: The white bead represents what Jesus does with our sin: He washes it white as snow! You see when Jesus Christ died on that cross something very wonderful happened. Through Jesus Christ, God made a way for us to find forgiveness from our sin. When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts and forgive us from our sins, the Bible tells us there are a few things we must do. The first is found in Acts 3:19, when we are told to “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out . . . "

Blue Bead: The blue bead represents Christ’s resurrection, when the stone was rolled away from the tomb and the sky turned from gray to blue. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 tells us that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” That’s the good news that this necklace has to share: That Jesus is no longer in the grave . . . He is ALIVE. And He wants to have a personal relationship with you!

Green Bead: The green bead represents life . . . the new life we can find in Jesus Christ. When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts to forgive us for our sin and to be our Savior, He changes us on the inside and gives us a new life! There is only one way we can find this new life as Jesus tells us in John 14:6 when He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Romans 10:9-10 tells us how we can have this new life. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” It’s that simple. It’s a free gift that God has given to all people. And it’s a gift that is available to you today!

Yellow Bead: The yellow (golden) bead represents heaven. When we received Jesus into our hearts He promises us that we will spend all of eternity with Him in heaven. Jesus tells us in John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Salvation Prayer 
Would you like to receive the forgiveness that comes through asking Jesus Christ into your heart to be your Savior? Would you like to spend all of eternity in heaven with Him when you die and leave earth? You can, by asking Jesus into your heart today. If you would like to pray to ask Jesus into your life—tell someone! Tell your parents, your grandparents, or your pastor. They can tell you more about Jesus and help you to pray the prayer below:

Father God,
I realize I have sinned against You. And because of my sin, I have been separated from You. But I believe in my heart today that Jesus died on the cross for me and He shed His blood so that the punishment of all of my sin would be paid in full. I confess with my mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead. I ask Jesus to come into my heart right now, that I might find forgiveness and never be separated from You again. Thank you for the promise that I spend all of eternity with You in heaven. I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. 


Back-story of Dolls on Mission

Many children would declare a mall is not a mall without a Build-A-Bear Workshop®. One church embraced the Build-A-Bear concept and began a doll ministry with it. Their story goes like this:

"This is like Build-A-Bear!” exclaimed an excited young girl as she began tracing a pattern for a doll. Her mom, a friend, and she sat at the first of many stations they would visit before the evening was over. She carefully traced the pattern onto the fabrics she had chosen. After tracing her pattern, she cut along the lines, carefully following each curve. At the second station, she got help sewing the fabric together and ironing it before she moved on to the next station where she stuffed the doll.

While having the final stitches added to her doll, her friend and she ate some tasty soup and sandwiches. The two girls chatted about the kids half a world away who would receive these handmade dolls. After supper, she moved on to the next station to paint her doll’s face, which took an extra few minutes because she was careful to follow the stencils correctly so her doll would be beautiful. Next, she glued black braids on her doll’s head and tied them with pretty, white bows. She waited as her mom added the final touches to her boy doll: a mop of black yarn for hair and a cheerful blue bandana to complement the fabric’s tractor print.

Finally, they made a necklace of bright colors that represented the plan of salvation. She thought it was so cool the missionaries would be able to share God’s love with a black bead representing sin, a red bead representing Christ’s blood, a white bead representing purity, a blue bead representing the resurrection of Jesus, a green bead representing new life, and a yellow bead representing heaven. At each station, a sign reminded her to pray for the child in a distant country who would eventually receive the doll she was making. Although her mom never knew, she prayed as she traced, cut, stuffed, painted, and decorated. When she finished her doll, she gently placed it in a box before leaving. She envisioned a little girl playing with the doll she had made, and her heart was full of love for the people of a faraway country and for the friends she had made that evening.

This is just one doll of hundreds that has been made by the hands of Berea First Baptist members over the last ten years. The “Dolls on Mission” ministry at Berea First Baptist began at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in Asheville, North Carolina, when a missionary asked, “Does anyone know what this is?” She held up what looked like a hat adorned with corn husks and a feather. “This is what the little girls in Mali play with for baby dolls.” Burdened by the image of the makeshift doll, members from the church designed and made about 100 dolls and sent them to Mali through missionaries.


The Rest of the Story . . .
Years later, at a June missions meeting, a guest missionary speaker said, “I guess none of your know where Mali is?” The missionary was surprised to learn not only did the members know where Mali was located, but they had made the very dolls she had passed out years before to the little girls in her village. The group made even more dolls for Mali and mailed them that December. In January, they received a thankful email from the missionaries in Mali who reported they had been praying for toys for girls since that previous summer, when the missionary had spoken to their group. Sometime before Christmas, the box of dolls had arrived.

The ministry has now grown to a churchwide missions project in which people of all ages, male and female, make dolls to send on missions trips sponsored by the church to a variety of countries. The project has extended beyond First Baptist Berea. Members have shared the doll pattern with other churches that have also made dolls and sent them on missions trips. Residents at a retirement community have joined the project. As the ministry has expanded, the dolls have gone through several makeovers. While the original dolls were all brown-skinned girls, participants now make girl dolls named Grace and boy dolls named Timothy. The dolls’ fabric, hair, and faces even reflect the culture to which they are destined to go.

As she sewed some fabric together, one of the founding doll-makers whispered, “I know God gave me the gift of sewing, but the fact He could use a few sewing skills to tell children all over the world about Jesus blows me away.” These doll-makers have thrown themselves into the work of the Master, and they are confident that a little sewing, a little painting, and a little stuffing will not be a waste of time or effort; rather, they will be a blessing to children all over the world as a concrete example of God’s love for them and their families.

—Jan Bishop

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