Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Minpins- A Pipecleaner Doll Tutorial

The girls and I finished reading The Minpins, by Roahld Dahl. It was, by far, our favorite read-aloud book to date. Long enough that it took a week to read (about 15 minutes a day) but short enough that it only took about a week to read! Gorgeous pictures, a thrilling story (with lots of thrill, and thankfully zero damage done- an important detail for kids), and a wonderfully sweet and tidy ending. Common to other Dahl books, the child is the hero and a gallant rule-breaker while the mother is largely absent from the story and rather close-minded and overly-cautious when present. However, the story is well-written and this is my only quibble. (Not everything can be so heavy handed as stories like...say...Goldilocks and the Three Bears, whose heroine in certain versions breaks into the home, destroys their property, and is then eaten as supposedly just and proper punishment.)

In the story, Little Billy climbs a tree and discovers a race of tiny tree-dwelling people with sticky boots for climbing and heads the size of peas, who call themselves the Minpins. The girls and I sat down with a package of pipe cleaners today to make a few Minpins for ourself- these are very simple! I hope to revisit this story, or similar ones, when my girls are a bit older and more dextrous to make things like clothespin dolls and such.

To make one doll, you'll need one pipe cleaner.

1) Cut the pipe cleaner in half, and set one half aside.
2) From step one, cut the remaining piece in half, and set half aside again. You should now have a 1/4 piece of a pipe cleaner for the scrap pile, and a 1/4 piece and a 1/2 piece for working with.
3) Pick up the larger piece and bend in half without creasing, and bend a loop in the center- this is the head. Bend the tail ends out at 90 degrees to make the feet.
4) Pick up the smaller piece and bend in half to form a "v"- slide it onto the first piece just below the head, and cross the ends a few times, wrapping them around the neck, to secure to the body- there's your arms!

You can cut small clothes out, tiny flower to glue to the heads, tiny circles to draw faces on and glue on the heads, etc. These minpins currently reside in a small paper house Ernie made at school a few months ago, but I'm hoping to find a suitable tree branch in the yard for them to live in while they visit us.

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Aunt LoLo said...


And that is all there is to say about that.

Elizabeth said...


Oh, this brings me back to when I use to play with pipe cleaners and loved them for all they could do (or I could do with them!).