The seemingly simple process of making Jhabua dolls involves cutting the body shaped template out of scrap cloth pieces and stuffing it with cotton or more cloth scrap. The heads are molded out of clay or plaster, with the facial details painted on. These are then adorned with traditional attire and accessories.

Raw Materials

Fabric: Usually fabric scrap is used to cover up the doll in vibrant colors, the fabrics are sourced from different sources, and hence the variance printing and dying techniques of different clothes used in this craft gives a unique aesthetic quality to the dolls.
Cotton: It is used as a stuffing for the dolls.
Metal wires: Metal wires constitute the frame of the legs, around these wires the cotton and a cloth wrapping is put.
Clay: It is taken into account to mould the head and face of the doll.
Embellishments: To ornament the doll and make it look more attractive, embellishments such as ribbon, zari, sequins are used.
Paints: Facial features and other details on the body and attire are put through paints; these paints are synthetic, sourced from a nearby town or city.
Gum: It is a natural adhesive, used to join pieces of clothes and different parts of the doll. 



The Jhabua doll making process does not involve any waste; the major raw material itself is a fabric waste. Bits of clothes which result from the cutting of fabric are then used to stuff the doll with cotton.

Tools & Technology

Needle: Needles are used to stitch several body parts of doll by thread.
Thread: By means of thread pieces of clothes are stitched together, the whole fabrication of doll is done through needle and fabric.
Paint brushes: These are used to paint the details on the dolls. 
Pliers for body brame, a hand tool used to bend the metal wire.



The dolls are used as a dowry constituent, when the bride is heading for her husband's place. Other ritualistic importance of these dolls includes the gifts given to the child when he is born or during various rites of passage. 


The parts of the doll's body are outlined onto a piece of fabric. Two layers are cut out with the same outline and these are stitched together along the drawn lines. This is then turned inside out and stuffed with cotton. Metal wires are fixed onto the legs to that they stand sturdily on a wooden base. 

The individual body parts are joined together using strong cotton threads. 'Pakkataanka' is the name for the double knot technique, which is used in the stitching for the robustness of the dolls. The body is then adorned with clothes and jewelry, made to fit.

The face is made using clay and the features are carved out in careful details. This is then fired and covered with a thin layer of cloth. Facial expressions are painted onto this, a task which requires a steady hand and expertise. 
The next and the last step is to fix the legs of the doll onto a wooden base. The protruding ends of the metal wire base are used for the purpose. These are made to go through the base and then hammered from the back after twisting.
Hair and other accessories are stitched onto the dolls. Clothes are made to size separately and then put onto the body. The final details are drawn on using synthetic paints.