DIY Pilgrims & Indians Gourd Dolls, Recycled Halloween Decor for Fall!

We all buy pumpkins and gourds to set out for Halloween and fall decorating. After Halloween many of the plastic and dried gourds are still good but like most decorations, they just sit until after thanksgiving and we throw them away. I thought of a cute craft to do with the kids using plastic and dried gourds that will last you through Thanksgiving.  You can also use these techniques to make Mr and Mrs. Santa and some snowmen too!

I didn’t BUY ANY SUPPLIES for this craft. I used odds and ends from around the shop. I have plenty of craft supplies, so call the store at 413-512-3714 and we can work out a time for you to come by when I’m there. I’m happy to share what I have. ( I don’t make money on craft supplies. If it cost me $2, I’ll charge you the amount I paid. My store should be called, “The Community Craft Depot”!


Bottle Gourd OR plastic gourd

1 8×10 piece of fabric

Permanent markers (Fine tip is easier)

Yarn or wool for hair

Old lace, ric rac, ribbon, feathers, jewelry, etc.

Buttons or wood balls for hands

Flesh colored felt for hands

Acrylic paint for skin color



Paint the gourd the color you want your skin to be. Two thin layers is better than one thick layer. You can spray paint the gourds, just spray lightly and allow to dry completely before spraying the next coat.



Braid the yarn or wool into two or three braid. Glue in a circular pattern on the top of the gourd. Then, take the the next braid and glue it across the head so the braids lay next  to her ear area.  Use a tiny bit of fabric to glue the ends so it looks like leather bands.


Take some doll hair or yarn and glue to the top of the head in a circle pattern for a boy doll, and across from ear to ear in sections for a girl doll. If you want to curl yarn, take the yarn and wind it around a knitting needle, or pencil. Then dip it in BOILING hot water. Let it dry overnight and unwind. The yarn will be curly and ready to use for hair! (For the Indian hair, I used the wool roving I had left over from the wool felted soap segment we did. For the pilgrim hair I used synthetic doll hair because it was cheap and fast. )


You will need a piece of scrap fabric or an 8×10 piece of craft felt. I have sketched out a pattern for you here:


This is the basic pattern I used on all the dolls. I glued on old lace, buttons etc to make the outfits look more realistic. For the Indians I cut fringe on the bottom and used Sharpie pens to decorate the clothes. All the decorations I used were from old broken jewelry or torn fabric and fur coats, etc. I bought nothing! I used felt on the Pilgrims and poly micro suede on the Indians.


Start with two small dots for the nose. This will help you make the eyes even. When you draw on the eyes, start with the pupils. Draw a black circle, as shown in image #1 below. Then draw on the eyelids and eye brows. Add a white dot in the upper top 2 o’clock position to give the doll life, as shown in photo #1 & 4 below.  For a quick and easy mouth, draw a heart, then fill in the sides to give it fullness.

(I would suggest starting with a pencil until you get the right look and then tracing over it with a FINE TIP permanent marker. I used Sharpie markers & nail polish on the dolls I made. The sharpie markers don’t come off so if you make a mistake, you are stuck with it.  Drawing a face can be difficult. Here are some templates to download that might help. You can print them out and use Modge Podge to glue them to your gourd doll, or just use them for reference.)



Here are two patterns I made for you to print out. The cabin is just the right size for a 3-5 inch doll.  These are very simple to make. Print them out on the computer and then glue them to heavy card stock to make them more durable. I found a pattern for a mini mayflower ship too but that isn’t mine so I can’t guarantee it will be the right size. It’s very cute though!

This was a quick and easy project. Each doll took less than an hour start to finish. This is a perfect craft to do with your kids and a great teaching tool. Again, if you need any craft supplies I have TONS at the store. Give me a call and let me know what you need. I’m happy to help you! Now you know what I do with all the unwanted costume jewelry you sell me! Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to buy your wonderfully useful things!

Happy Crafting!

Malena Chipps