French Good Luck Charm Dolls – A Way to Make Them in Two Colors of Yarn

image1363Recently, we talked about the French good luck charm dolls called Nénette and Rintintin that are made out of yarn.  In a second post we explained how to make the yarn dolls.  Here we present a 2nd way to make them.

This version of the Nénette and Rintintin dolls won’t have a tuft of hair at the top of the head. They’ll have the string to hang the doll up with instead:


Yarn (including a red or pink piece for the mouth)
5 inch piece of cardboard
3 inch piece of cardboard
Yarn Needle
Black Embroidery Thread & Needle

1.  Wind yarn around a 5 inch piece of cardboard 50 times.


2.  Next get 3 equal length pieces of yarn – about 18 to 24 inches each. Line them up together to make the string.  Put them through the top of the loop of yarn leaving an equal amount of string on either side of the loop.  Then tie one knot with the strings right at the top of the loop. You’ll braid all of them later.


3.  Wind another piece of yarn around a 3 inch piece of cardboard about 20 to 30 times.  This piece of yarn can be a different color if you’d like. 


4.  Then take this yarn off the cardboard: these are the dolls arms; tie a piece of yarn around each “wrist” and cut off the tip to make the hands.


5.  Slip the arms between the “body” yarn (from step 1 above) and the cardboard.  Then take the “body” yarn off the cardboard while holding the “arms” in place.


6.  Tie a piece of yarn above the “arms” – at neck height to form the head.  Then tie another piece of yarn below the arms to form the waist.


7.  You can now braid the strings at the top.  You’ll have two braids – one on each side of the knot you made in step 2.  Tie a little knot into the top of each braid.  Then use the top of the two braids to make a bow.


8.  Cut the bottom of the 5” loop to free the yarn.


9.  To make the boy doll Nénette, separate the bottom “clump” of yarn into two equal parts.  Then tie each of the two “legs” near the bottom with a string of yarn to make each “leg”.


10.  To sew on the mouth use a big yarn needle.  Take red or pink yarn and pass the needle around twice to make the upper and lower lips.

To sew on the eyes, use a regular sewing needle with thick black thread to shape the eyes as shown in the photo below.



11.  To make the girl doll Rintintin, follow all the steps above.  After you’ve made the legs as shown in step 9, cut off the outer pieces of yarn around the perimeter of each leg to make a skirt.  Make sure not to cut the inner yarn – you want the doll to still have “legs”.


I hope you enjoy making French lucky charm dolls!  You’re taking part in a tradition that dates back to WWI.

-Mama Lisa

Many thanks to Monique Palomares who works with me on the French version of Mama Lisa’s World for sharing the photos and instructions for making these good luck yarn dolls.

This article was posted on Saturday, June 16th, 2012 at 3:16 pm and is filed under Arts and Crafts, Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, Dolls, Folk Lore, France, French, Good Luck, Good Luck Charms, Languages, Nenette & Rintintin Yarn Dolls, Superstitions, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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