A Victorian Hankie Doll was a child's toy, made at home from at-hand
materials. A wad of cotton or fabric was wrapped around the bowl of a
long-handled wooden spoon. A fancy hankie was draped over it, and the
ball was tied off to form a head. Opposing corners of the hankie were
tied off to resemble sleeves and hands. Yarn and buttons were added for
the hair and face. A doll born of economy and creativity!
We decided to take the humble hankie doll uptown for Valentine's Day.
The elegant lady we chose to "dress up" was a vintage scrap, so popular
in Victorian scrapbooking. We scavenged in our collection of antique
handkerchiefs and chose a
12-inch square hankie to coordinate with her colors. Then we folded it
a dozen times until it
looked right. We could have glued everything together, but chose to use
double-stick tape to preserve the hankie. We might want to re-dress her
for the summer season!
This Valentine Hankie Doll ornament comes with two FREE
vintage images and the templates for the heart and back support. Of
course, you may need to resize the images to fit your hankie!
Materials for our Valentine Hankie Doll
images and templates (FREE PDF download). Print the women images on
matte photo paper, heavy
presentation paper or white card stock. Print the back support and
heart templates on plain white paper.
Colorful ribbon or cording for hanging, about 16".
Double-stick tape or glue, like Aleene's Tacky Glue (see Tips).
Foam mounting tape or squares.
Scissors or craft knife.
Detail or manicure scissors.
White paper for templates.
Glitter paper. We used AC Cardstock, Raspberry Glitter (see Tips).
Cardstock, chipboard or poster board for back support.
Lace, ribbon, glitter or other embellishment for the heart
backing (optional - see Tips).
Self-healing mat (optional).
out the vintage image of the woman of your choice (we provide two). Use
detail scissors for the outside cuts, and a craft knife on the interior
cuts under her arms.
Cut out the heart template and back support templates. Trace the
heart onto glitter paper, or a decorative cardstock, and cut it out.
Trace the back support template onto heavy cardstock or chipboard and
cut it out.
Iron your handkerchief. Fold the handkerchief into triangular
pleats to resemble a dress. There is no right or wrong - just
experiment with different folds.We did it this way:
the hankie diagonally, offsetting the bottom corners by 1" to
reveal the bottom layer.
the center of the hankie, fold the left corner in, offsetting from the
bottom corner by 2". Fold the right corner in the same way.
the left side in, again offsetting from the bottom corner by 3". Fold
the right side in the same way. You want to end up with a narrow
triangle shape, with several layers of symmetrical folds showing.
it is pretty, you're done! If it is lopsided, start over or try
something different. Every hankie is unique!
double-stick tape (or glue) to the back of the woman's torso. Position
the torso on top of the folded hankie gown, until it lines up at the
waist the way you want it. Press together until adhered. Carefully turn
the doll face down.
double-stick tape (or glue) to one side of the entire back support.
Position the back support behind the doll's head, torso and gown, tape
(glue) side down, and press together until adhered. Depending on the
size of your hankie, you may need to trim off some of the bottom or top
of the back support so it doesn't show from the front.
Position your hankie doll on the heart so the dress hangs free,
and attach the back support to the heart with foam mounting tape, to
give it a little dimension. Before you do, decide if you want to
embellish the heart with special edging.
Attach the ribbon or cording with tape to the back of the heart
with tape or glue.
Your hankie doll is ready for Valentine's Day!
A vintage handkerchief, or hankie, is in the eyes of the
beholder. It may be a lacy Victorian original, or it may be a 1960s
dime-store cheapie. What matters is the size (about 12" x 12"), the
colors (to coordinate with the tops of the women's gowns), and the
edges, which are best scalloped, embroidered, fringed or otherwise
decorative. We had a box of hankies from Martin's grandmother, but we
have seen them at rummage sales, thrift stores, church bazaars and on
eBay, of course.
You'll need to decide if you ever want to use this hankie again.
If you want to preserve it, you will assemble your hankie doll with
double-stick tape. If you want your hankie doll to be permanent, then
assemble it with glue. Aleene's Tacky Glue is good for fabric because
it is less likely to bleed through the hankie than regular white glue.
Glitter paper is a heavy cardstock, yes, covered with glitter. It
comes in every color, but we chose shades of pink and rose, to
coordinate with the women and the hankies. You may decide on something
different, like gold or silver foil paper, handmade paper, paper
doilies, or paper decorated with some technique you've always wanted to
This hankie doll was born to be embellished. We chose to leave
the background hearts rather naked, because we loved the glitter paper.
You may wish to embellish the outline of the heart with lace trim,
cording, ribbon, glitter, barbed wire, or anything you have that is
about 24" long.