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Kachina Doll CraftDwellings of Native AmericansToday's featured page: Anatomy Activities

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Kachina Doll Craft
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Kachina (pronounced kah-CHEE-nah) dolls are traditional, hand-carved wooden dolls made by Hopi Indians of the southwestern US. Each Kachina doll represents a spirit in life. Some typical spirits represented by the Hopi in Kachina dolls include: the chief, the corn maiden, the ceremonial dancer, the singer, the ogre, the buffalo, the badger, the crow, the hawk, clouds,the sun, and the rainbow.

You can design your Kachina doll to represent anything you'd like. You can make it from a toilet paper tube, paint, fabric, felt, feathers, beads, and other items found around the house.

Supplies needed:
  • A toilet paper or other cardboard tube
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Hot glue (and paper glue if you're using construction paper for the clothing)
  • A styrofoam ball or a ping-pong ball (or other object for the doll's head, like clay or a small box)
  • Tempera paint, acrylic paint and/or markers
  • Brushes
  • Scraps of construction paper, felt and/or fabric
  • Yarn
  • Feathers, beads, buttons, shells, ribbons, and other decorative objects
  • Thick cardboard, cut from a sturdy box (for the doll's base)
Make two slits opposite each other in a toilet paper tube - they should go about a third of the way up the tube.

Make two short cuts at the ends of each slit you just made, cutting a "T" shape on each side of the roll (the flaps under the "T"s will be the legs of the doll).

Curve each of the two flaps you just made into small cylinders - these will be the doll's legs. Make sure that the edges meet exactly. Use tape to secure each cylinder (doll's leg).
Using hot glue, attach a styrofoam ball or a ping-pong ball to the top of the tube (this will be the doll's head). You can use other objects for the head, like modelling clay or a small box.

If the ball is a bit too small for the tube, make a series of cuts along the top of the cardboard tube, forming flaps. Then fold the flaps into the tube. Glue the ball to the flaps. Let the glue cool and set.

First, think of the theme that your doll will represent. Then you can decorate and dress your doll.

Paint the head and let it dry. Then draw in the facial features using markers or paint. To make hair, glue on bits of yarn or felt scraps (or something else!).

Cover the body and legs with pieces of construction paper, felt and/or fabric. Glue them to the doll (hot glue works well with felt and fabric - tape or glue is better for construction paper).

Decorate the figure by gluing on feathers, beads, buttons, shells, ribbons, and/or other decorative objects.

Make a base (oval, circular, rectangular or another shape) for your doll out of thick cardboard.

Think of your doll's theme when making its base. If your doll represented water, you could design a base that looked like a pool of water; if your doll represented the sun, the base could look like a sunburst.

Using hot glue, attach the Kachina doll to its base.

Decorate the base using paint, paper, beads, or anything else that fits into the theme of your Kachina doll.

You now have your own Kachina doll.

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