Worry Dolls

Guatemalan Worry Dolls

Long ago, there was a Mayan princess named Ixmucane (icks-moo-ca-neigh). Her father, the Sun God, granted her a very special gift- the ability to take away any problem a human could experience.

Though this tale has faded into legend, the people of Guatemala have kept it alive through worry dolls, little handmade dolls crafted in her honor. They are given to children, who tell the dolls all of their sorrows, worries, and fears. After this, the children go to sleep with the dolls under their pillows. When they wake in the morning, their worries are gone- taken away by the dolls in the night, just like the magic of Princess Ixmucane.

These little dolls have found use in homes, schools, hospitals, and counseling offices, and are especially popular with tourists visiting Guatemala. Even if a doll’s magic dwindles (after all, everyone has their off days), they’re still there to listen and offer a very real sense of relief- an important thing to have, no matter what you’re facing.

Below, we’ve got a an activity that will allow you to make your own without use of needles or pins- perfect for little hands.


  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Felt (any color)
  • Assorted fabric (Any color)
  • Yarn or string
  • Markers (optional)

Step 1: Cut out your pieces

Use the pattern available at the end of this activity to cut out the pieces for your worry doll. If you’re feeling extra creative, you can always try designing your own pattern!

Step 2: Glue the body together

To give your worry doll some extra stability, glue the two identical pieces together. Trim off any extra fabric and set aside to dry.

Step 3: Give it some personality

Once the glue has dried, give your worry doll a face. Are they happy? Mad? Do they look like someone you know?

You can glue on some extra fabric, or just draw on a face with markers.

Step 4: Clothing

Gather the skirt material under the arms, and tie it tight with some string. Your worry doll is ready to listen!

While you’re creating your worry doll (or making it a friend…or two…or three…), here’s some questions you can ask your little artist:

How do you think the worry dolls take your worries away? Where do they go?
Do you know who to talk to if the worries don’t go away? (Parents/relatives/friends/teachers)
Why is it important to listen to someone’s worries? Can we take them away ourselves, just like Princess Ixmucane?

If you make a worry doll, or try using one to help your worries, let us know how it goes by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Happy crafting!

Print out the Activity!