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How to avoid the dreaded wobbly head when making amigurumi dolls

what a crochet doll looks like with and without neck support

We’ve all been there…that dreaded moment when we realize our beautiful amigurumi doll has a wobbly head. It just won’t stay upright. Horrifying!!!

It can be fixed and prevented though. So I’ve made up a list of good methods to keep doll heads upright. I added the pros and cons of every method too because some can’t be used for every situation. It’s best that you know this because second worst to a wobbly head, is having to open it all up again.

  • Cotton buds
  • Pencil (not sharpened!)
  • Wooden dowel
  • Chopstick
  • Third arm/crochet tube
  • Empty ballpoint pen
  • Pool noodle
  • Wire
  • Hair curler foam roll
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Pipe cleaner

Method one: Cotton Buds

This method is great for small dolls. You can use one or two cotton buds. If the doll has a wider neck and a rather large head, you can even insert more than two cotton buds.


  • easy to wash
  • no sharp ends
  • doesn’t break easily
  • it’s cheap


  • if you have holes in your work, a child could pull the cotton bud out
  • only works for small dolls
  • might bend after a while

Method two: Pencil

This method is good for dolls that are bigger than small. A 20cm/8″ doll is what I consider not small. Obviously you do not want to use a sharpened pencil. That would be a bad idea.


  • cheap
  • doesn’t break easily
  • won’t bend


  • the color of the pencil might ruin the doll when washed
  • the wood of the pencil will stay wet for a while after washing the doll
  • in some climates the pencil might get molded if it gets wet

Method three: Wooden Dowel

Since wooden dowels come in many sizes, they can be used for all doll sizes. You just choose the one that’s closest to the size of the neck of the doll.


  • cheap (depending on the size)
  • doesn’t break easily
  • comes in many sizes
  • doesn’t have sharp ends
  • won’t bend


  • wood stays wet for a while after washing the doll
  • in some climates it might get molded if it gets wet

Method four: Chopsticks

These are great for larger dolls, not small dolls. They come in plastic and wood too.


  • easily available (in many countries)
  • cheap
  • doesn’t break easily
  • no sharp ends
  • won’t bend


  • the wooden ones might get molded in some climates if they get wet
  • the plastic ones do break (but not very easily)
  • some are just too pretty to be hidden in the neck of a doll

Method five: Third Arm / Crochet Tube

This one method is an easy one. You just make a third arm, stuff it really well and insert it into the neck. A crochet tube is pretty much the same as a third arm. For large dolls you can even make it a third leg!


  • you have all necessary materials already since you are making it with the same material as the doll
  • it’s cheap
  • won’t break
  • no sharp ends


  • more work for you
  • can bend = can’t use it if the head is very large or if you want the doll to have a stiff neck
  • will dry too slow in some climates if it gets wet

Method six: Empty Ballpoint Pen

This method is great for those who love to recycle and it saves money!! How great is that?! It’s great for medium sized dolls, not for small dolls.


  • it’s recycled material= less garbage on the planet
  • it’s cheap
  • no sharp end
  • easy to wash


  • can’t be used for small dolls

Method seven: Pool Noodle

These method is great for large dolls. Won’t fit in small dolls obviously.


  • quite easy to find
  • no sharp ends
  • great for dolls with a wide neck


  • not the cheapest option
  • after washing it stays wet a bit longer than I would like

Method eight: Aluminum Wire/ Floral Wire

This method is the one I use the most. It also works great for keeping the arms and legs in the right position. A great example would be my Our Lady of the Assumption. I used wire in the arms to keep them in the right position. Without wire the arms would just fall down again.


  • it’s cheap
  • can be found in crafts stores and also in store that sell building materials
  • you buy it by the meter/yard = you can cut it any size you need
  • keeps the head upright very well
  • shapes arms and legs too
  • can be used to hold the head at a certain angle
  • fits in doll with tiny necks
  • does not rust


  • has sharp ends so you’ll need to bend the ends down
  • would NOT recommend this for a doll that is to be given to a child or elderly person
  • you need cutting pliers to cut the wire

Method nine: Hair Curler Foam Rolls

This one is the preferred method of my sister. She makes mostly medium sized doll and these curler rolls are perfect for that.


  • easy to find
  • reasonably cheap
  • no sharp ends
  • they come in different sizes = good for most doll sizes
  • they’re slightly flexible so the neck of the doll won’t be terribly stiff


  • some online reviews mention that the really cheap ones have a slight odor

Method ten: Popsicle Sticks

This method is great. Do make sure that you wash them really well first. The last thing you want is a bunch of ants attacking your doll because they smell ice cream!


  • very cheap
  • easy to find
  • no sharp ends
  • it’s an excuse to eat ice cream!!!


  • because of it’s shape, it won’t fit in small dolls
  • can break with rough handling
  • wood can get molded in some climates if it stays wet too long

Method eleven: Pipe Cleaners

This method is for small dolls. Would not recommend it for big dolls. You can also use this for keeping arms and legs in shape.


  • easy to find
  • they’re cheap
  • they wash reasonably well


  • the ones that are sold where I live (Indonesia) do not hold their shape well enough (might be different in other countries)
  • they have sharp ends that you’ll need to bend down

What to do when your doll is already finished but has a wobbly head?

Don’t panic! It can be fixed most of the time!!

There’s 4 options:

  • 1= take the head off completely (if it was sewn on). Then you insert whatever you chose from the options mentioned above. And then you sew the head back on.
  • 2= open up the stitching of the neck a little only and insert whatever you chose from the options mentioned above. Then sew the hole closed. This option is not the easiest and can be fiddly and difficult.
  • 3= (do not choose this option if the doll is for a child) insert a piece of wire through the back or head of the doll and push it in place. This option may leave a small hole in the doll.
  • 4= the least pleasant option is to open up the crochet stitches. Then insert whatever you chose from the options mentioned above and the crochet it closed again. Unfortunately this is the only option for dolls that were crocheted in 1 piece. You could chose option 3 but then you can NOT give the doll to a child. The wire would make it unsafe for a child.

If you know of another option to prevent wobbly heads, feel free to let me know in the comments section below. The more options we know of the better!

I hope this post will be of great use to you. Thank you for reading it!

Sofie Julien Versluys
Sofie Julien Versluys

Was born in Belgium but moved to Indonesia as a child. Have been living here ever since. I absolutely LOVE crochet and knitting. I made this blog to help others get to the same level as me. And to make sure people have a place to come to with questions. Even the very beginner questions. Go ahead and ask me!

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