Dollmaking: Rollng Wool Technique E-Book & Video

[->Lies die deutsche Version hier…]

As promised, I wanted to share some of my long-in-the-making projects this year.
So here goes: in this blog post, I will finally share one of the projects that has been simmering in my studio kitchen for a long time, some years now.

I’ve been working on this special project for quite a while – testing it, changing it, and constantly developing it. And now I have no excuses to postpone it any longer – it is finally time to share the result.

tools stuffing

But before that, I have to tell the story from the beginning – this project resulted from a problem in doll making, for which I was looking to find a better solution.

The Problem

Dollmaking is a great adventure, in which most of us dive headfirst …
So if you decide to devote yourself to the wonderful activity of making dolls, you will inevitably face some hurdles. Especially in the beginning, you will have to find a way to overcome them first. Such as the neat embroidery of the eyes or the sometimes fiddly crocheting of the mohair doll wig.
The smooth and firm stuffing of the doll’s body with wool is also a common difficulty, hard to master for beginners. The first doll created may have unsightly dents (“doll cellulite”), and may also not be stuffed firmly enough, so the doll will soon lose its shape again.

I already knew the basic traditional techniques of dollmaking from my training as a kindergarten teacher and working in a Waldorf kindergarten.
When I started making dolls professionally more than ten years ago, I started by reading a lot of literature about this craft. During my time at university, I learned to approach a topic that I wanted to learn more about by getting a rough overview of this topic through all the literature available. This is the basis for all further action regarding solution finding.

The solution: roll the wool

So first I started by reading Karin Neuschütz’s book “Die Waldorfpuppe”.
And finally, in Freya Jaffke’s book “Fröhliche Puppen selbst gemacht” (2009), I found a technique that explained the stuffing of the dolls’ limbs differently than the traditional one that I had known until then.
This “rolling wool technique” for stuffing dolls’ limbs is described by using a wooden cooking spoon onto which the wool is rolled. So I tried using this method and sure enough, the result was convincing, getting firmly stuffed and smooth doll parts.

"Fröhliche Puppen selbst gemacht" 
Freya Jaffke (2009)
“Fröhliche Puppen selbst gemacht” by 
Freya Jaffke (2009)

The Method

Simply put, this technique involves winding a strand of wool onto a stick and then turning and torquing it specially. So in the end, the wool becomes firmer and thus denser. However, this is achieved not with a felting needle, but only through movement and friction.
Mainly, the wool’s inherent property is adopted: As a result of the movement, the wool hair scales are set up in the uppermost layer, so the fibers are swallowed up by friction. Wool therefore has the peculiarity of felting itself and this is exactly what is made use of for this technique.

Dollmaking stuffing

Since then, I’ve stuffed my dolls with this “wool rolling technique” while wondering why isn’t everybody doing it that way.
But soon I found out this technique was not yet refined because sometimes it would wind itself too loosely around my wooden Spoon handle. I therefore was not entirely satisfied with the result in some cases.

Then one evening as I complained to my husband about my displeasure with this otherwise good method and how it made my daily work more difficult, my tech-savvy better half promised to ponder on my problem to see what solution he may come up putting his wood workshop to use …

The tool: The “RSS”

Fast Forward: A few prototypes later, we found out, that the trick was that the rod had to be square for the wool to find better “hold” on it so it would no longer become loose so easily.
In addition, by then we had tried out quite some stuffing tool versions. While also experimenting with different types of wood for it… and ended up with the best version of this tool for my dollmaking needs:

Roll Stopf Stab

Since then, I have been working with our very own stuffing tool every day, and it became a “game changer”, which made my everyday work quicker and easier while above all getting the best result.
The doll’s arms and legs now were rock solid and smooth looking on the outside.

Soon, the idea began to form that I wanted to share this technique and also our tool with all the others who may be struggling with the same problem I had in the beginning when making dolls.
At that time, back then there were no such tools available. I knew there would also have to be some kind of instructions on how to properly use our “RSS” (roll-stuffing-stick) correctly with the technique.
However, at that time, with two little children at home, I could not take any time off of my few hours of daily work to also write down the instructions on top of all. So I put it off onto my to-do list and only worked on the project whenever the kids napped few slots of free time allowed me to…

A popular technique

A little later, I then discovered that similar tools were already available by now. Even different versions, including the beautifully designed “Wool Wand” by fig & me.
I also found videos explaining the technique briefly.
So I decided to put my plans to publish my tutorial and the tool on hold.
However, I continued to use my technique and the tool for stuffing dolls for my daily dollmaking.

Fresh start

In 2019 during a meet-up in Berlin with some of my dear doll maker colleagues, I couldn’t help bringing my rss tool along to demonstrate and share the rolling wool method with them.
It made me think again, why was it that the others had not picked up the method yet, and only I was using it all this time? Once I explained and showed it to them in person, they understood the benefits and encouraged me to share my approach, too.

dollmaking tools

When soon after that I was about to attend the wonderful “Landpartie für Puppennähverliebte” (by Mariengold & 1000Rehe), so it made sense to offer a mini-workshop on this technique there as well.

So in 2019, I took this as an opportunity to finally sit down and write out my detailed and pictured instructions for the stuffing technique.

Roll Stopf Stab Set

And that is how I then came to write this E-Book on the wool rolling dollmaking technique.

This E-Book is a comprehensive guide to the wool rolling technique. I describe exactly how I stuff the arms and legs of my dolls with this method and my tool, and thus get smooth and very firmly stuffed doll limbs.

The “RSS”

The handmade wooden wool rolling tool should also be available in addition to my E-Book.

The RSS tool is made of soft pine wood. We choose this kind of wood intentionally because it has the advantage of bending before breaking – so the tool will give in a little and bend before maybe breaking, due to the high force exerted on it by the rolling technique. (And yes, all wooden tools can break using this technique. Because at some point in time, the wood gets “exhausted” and gives way. It also can break if used incorrectly.
I recommend practicing the method with (cubic) Chinese chopsticks first to get a feeling for the proper amount and use of strength …also practice the right handling – hence my detailed instructions.)

The RSS is a total of about 13 inches (ca. 33 cm) long, so it is well suited for stuffing the limbs of most 10-inch (ca. 25 cm) – 17-inch (ca. 43 cm) dolls.

Rolling Wool Technique“: Tool & E-Book

Roll Stopf Stab Set Ebook

And finally, today I am going to share this RosaMinze “Dollmaking Technique E-Book” with all of you:
It is a detailed illustrated manual, for which the right tool will be available too.


The E-Book

However, there is also the option of simply purchasing the E-Book as a PDF for immediate download:
These instructions consist of detailed instructions and step-by-step photos as well as the link to the supplementary video, in which I demonstrate the technique again.

Roll Stopf Stab Set Ebook


Along with the PDF, you will get a link to the video in which I demonstrate the technique. You will be able to set the English subtitles and follow along

The Tool

The tool itself, the “RSS” (in the colors natural, pink, or mint) is also available in my shop.

Roll Stopf Stab


The instructions are intended as a suggestion to refine your way of dollmaking and show the method I have tried and practiced working according to this technique. It is to be understood as inspiration, to master up the courage to try new techniques and then, at best, to adapt and improve them for your own needs.
Regardless of which tool you ultimately work with or which method and instructions you use, it is important to always challenge yourself and dare to find something new and come up with the best way of working for your circumstances and needs.

Roll Stopf Stab

So I hope I could inspire you to try this technique.
Perhaps it will ultimately help make your dollmaking easier, just as it did for me.



By the way: Also be sure to check out my dollmaking workshops, in which I of course also teach this technique.


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Dollmaking how to stuffing