As children, many of us had that one sacred object, that inanimate companion that used to provide us a sense of warmth and security. Though at times we did not understand how or why, these toys brought us comfort when we needed them to and made us feel safe when we held them close.
In our own way, we were employing the use of poppet magic, a sort of sympathetic magic that involves the use of dolls (which are usually representative of actual people, protective spirits, or deity). We were imbuing these toys with love energy, similar to the way people would imbue fetishes, muñequitas, corn husk dolls, and other such figures and talismans with magickal energy for ritual workings.
Contrary to the popular characterization of Voodoo as evil or sinister, “voodoo dolls” actually weren’t created with the intent to cause harm to others. In fact, they were originally used as tools of healing. Pins were used as a way to focus energy towards problem areas in the body that a practitioner could then heal directly. Like the toys we used in childhood, these dolls were forces of good.
If you have been following my Instagram, you may have noticed that I have been dabbling in the use of poppets in both my own spellwork and as products for my magick shop. Making these little things is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while as it was one of the first types of magick I was introduced to. However, the view of poppet magick that I was given was a very negative one.
It was only after reading what is now one of my favorite essays in Llewellyn’s 2017 Magical Almanac called “The Magic of Dolls” by Charlie Rainbow Wolf, and after doing a bit of my own research, that I learned that the modern portrayal of Voodoo practices were very much (mis)informed by Hollywood sensationalism and racist motivations. Hopefully, those of you reading this will take some time to do a little of your own research on the topic as it is one of very great interest to me and I think everyone can get something out of it!
Virtually every single aspect of a poppet is customizable and can incorporate some form of magickal correspondence (the material, the color, the type of poppet, the filling, etc.) which makes this the perfect DIY. I have included my very own template for y’all to use either on fabric or as paper poppets themselves! So without further ado, let’s get started!
How To Create A Poppet
- Printer w/paper + ink
- DIY Poppet Template – PDF
- 1 thin marker for light felt // or chalk for dark felt
- 1 Sheet of Felt (at least 10in. x 16in.)
- Embroidery Floss // or any standard thread
- Embroidery needle // or a self-threading needle
- Pearl Head Pins
- A Taglock (i.e. a piece of hair, full name written on a piece of paper, a photo, etc.)
**Optional: Herbs, sigils, crystals, etc.
Step 1: Print your template and cut out the human shape along the black line.
Step 2: Take your cutout and place it on top of your felt. Use your marker to trace around the outside of the shape (do not press too hard or it may bleed through the material).
Step 3: Repeat Steps 1+2 on another section of the felt to create a second piece. Once you have both of the outlines cut the pieces out of the fabric.
Step 4: Put the two pieces together and use your pearl head pins to stick them in place (I usually use ONE pin for each of the arms, legs, upper torso, lower torso, and head).
Step 5: Thread your needle with your embroidery floss and stitch the two pieces together using a Blanket Stitch. I have found it to be much easier if you stitch one side of the figure first (starting from the inside of the leg, up to the crook of the neck), stuff the arm and leg with the fiberfill, and then do the same with the other side. DO NOT STITCH THE HEAD YET.
If you are unfamiliar with the blanket stitch, Lauren Fairweather on Youtube has a very easy-to-follow video on it! It will seem intimidating at first, but trust me, practice a little bit on some scrap fabric and you’ll see how simple it really is.
Step 6: Once you have the body sewn, stuff the lower half of it with the fiberfill (using a thin pen or chopstick to push it into tough corners), and drop in your taglock along with any herbs (or other optional items you wish to include). Fill the poppet with more fiberfill up to the neck.
Step 7: Sew the head mostly shut, leaving a small opening to stuff the rest of the head with the fiberfill. Once you have the head stuffed, sew the head completely closed.
The Magic of Fabrics || https://goo.gl/HIeMWR
Magickal Color Correspondences || https://goo.gl/l3luA1
How to Make a Magical Poppet || https://goo.gl/xdjm5m
Haitian Vodou and Voodoo: Imagined Religion and Popular Culture || https://goo.gl/wDnG1M