Poppet Construction – How to Make Your Own Magical Doll
A poppet can be as simple or as elaborate as you like — it all depends on how much time and effort you want to put into it. You can construct one out of just about any material — cloth, clay, wood, wax. Use your imagination! In some magical traditions, it’s believed that the more work you put into it, and the more complex it is, the stronger your link will be to your goal. Because a poppet is a device for sympathetic magic, all of its components will be symbols of what it is you hope to achieve.
You can do your poppet-making as part of the working itself, or it can be made ahead of time so you can use the poppet later on. Which method you choose is really up to you.
Remember, your poppet represents a person, so figure out before you begin who it symbolizes. Is it you? A friend who’s asked you for help? An un-named lover you want to bring into your life? A gossip you want to shut up? The possibilities are endless, but just like in any spell working, you’ll need to set a goal before you begin. It keeps you from having to deal with “do-overs” later. These instructions are for a basic poppet construction, using fabric. Feel free to modify your design as you need to.
Selecting Your Fabric
There are no real rules when it comes to choosing your material, but it’s not a bad idea to select fabric based on your goal. If you’re doing a money spell, use a piece of green or gold cloth. If you’re looking at healing, perhaps something in a soft blue or silver would be best. Check out fabric stores around the holidays, and you can find all kinds of neat patterns.
Valentine’s Day designs are perfect for matters of the heart, and there are plenty of prints with dollar signs, coins, stars and moons, and other fun designs.
Another option is to use fabric that links the poppet to the person it represents. Doing a healing spell for a friend? Ask the person for an old t-shirt. If you’re trying to draw love into your life, consider using a scrap from that sexy lingerie you wore last night. If you just can’t find the right material, use a plain muslin or white felt. Here are a few ideas for designs and colors for poppet magic.
- Animals: Brown or green fabrics, patterns with cats or dogs, anything pet-related
- Banishing: Black fabric, designs such as swords or wands, dragons or fire
- Creativity: Orange or yellow fabric, prints of suns or other fire symbols
- Healing: Silver, white or blue, with designs of clouds or other air symbols
- Love: Pink or red material, designs like hearts, roses or other flowers, Cupids
- Money: Silver, gold or green fabric, or designs of dollar bills or coins, cups or earthy symbols
- Protection: Red or white material, with patterns of shields, keys or locks, fences, mistletoe
When it comes to types of fabric, use what’s easiest for you to work with. Cotton prints are easy to sew, but if you’ve never used a needle and thread before, you might want to try something stiffer like felt — it comes in every color you can imagine, and will hold its shape as you sew. If you’re an experienced sewer, use anything you like.
A poppet represents a person, so ideally it should look (sort of) like a person. Give it a head, two arms, two legs, a torso. You can make your own outline or you can use the ultimate poppet pattern — a gingerbread man. If you’re doing a spell for an animal — such as a healing spell for a sick pet — make the poppet shape accordingly. Your poppet doesn’t have to be huge, but it should be big enough that you can stuff it with your ingredients later.
Take two pieces of your fabric, and place them right side together on a flat surface. Place the pattern on top, pin it in place, and cut it out. Leave a little room around the edges for a seam allowance — usually a 3/8″ margin is good. Remove the pattern, and there are your two poppet shapes. Time to start sewing!
If you’ve never sewn anything by hand before, don’t panic. It’s not hard, but it does require some patience. You could always use a sewing machine if you’re pressed for time, but most experienced poppet-makers agree that it’s worth the effort to do it by hand. Pin the two pieces of material with the right sides together, and stitch around the edges. Leave an opening somewhere, wide enough to stick a couple of fingers in. Turn the poppet inside out, and begin stuffing.
Personalize Your Poppet
Fill your poppet with something soft, like polyfill or cotton balls. Old pantyhose work nicely too. Work the stuffing all the way into the nooks and crannies of the arms and legs, and then fill the torso and head.
This is where you’ll place your spell components — herbs, stones, whatever. In some magical traditions, something from the person represented goes inside the poppet. This is alternately referred to as a taglock or a magical link — it can be bits of hair, nail clippings, body fluids, a business card, or even a photograph. Once everything is inside, sew the poppet completely shut.
The more you can customize your poppet, the better. Even if you’ve placed a magical link, or taglock, inside, you’ll want to decorate the outside too. Draw or paint or sew a face onto your doll. Add yard or string for hair. Dress your poppet in something that looks like the person’s clothing. Copy any tattoos, scars, or distinguishing features onto the poppet as well. Add magical or astrological symbols if you like. While you’re doing this, tell the poppet who it represents. You can say something along the lines of, “I have made you, and you are Jane Jones.”
Your poppet can be used for any number of things — love, money, protection, healing, to get a job. Anything you can imagine, you can make a poppet to bring it about. Simply figure out your goal and the means to achieve it. The only limits on poppet construction are your own creativity and imagination.