Magical Gingerbread Poppets

Make a magical gingerbread poppet for yourself or a friend!. Image by PhotoAlto/Michele Constantini/Getty Images

As Yule rolls around, many of us get into crafting mode – and that is as good a time as any to work a little holiday magic. Why not take the holiday tradition of gingerbread men, and turn it into a practical poppet working?

A poppet is essentially a magical doll, designed to represent a person – traditionally, they’re made from cloth or some other sort of fabric. Because we’re not going to eat these, we’ll simply be making them from felt and other craft materials, and stuffing them with magical ingredients.

Then you can give them as gifts, hang them on your holiday tree, or put them around your house.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • Brown felt
  • Fabric scraps in your favorite colors, craft paint, or other embellishments
  • Polyfill or other stuffing material
  • Herbs, small stones, or other magical items for spellwork
  • Needle & thread
  • Ribbon or thread for hanging

For each poppet you’re making, cut out a pair of gingerbread man shapes from the brown felt. You can use a gingerbread man cookie cutter as a guideline, or you can download a gingerbread man shape here and size it to larger or smaller, depending on how big you want to make your poppets.

If you want your stitches to be hidden, make your cutout a little bit larger, so that after you’ve stitched, you can turn your poppet inside out. Personally, I think gingerbread men look kind of pretty with an outside stitch, like the one in the photo, but do what works best for you.

Place the two cutouts together, and begin stitching them around the edges. As you sew, focus on the intent of the poppet. Is it for healing? Prosperity? Perhaps you’re making a pair of them for a couple in love. Think about the magic you want to go into the poppet. Leave an opening on one side of the poppet, and stuff it full of polyfill.

You may want to also add stones and crystals, herbs, or other items that tie into the purpose of your gingerbread poppet. Fill it up, making sure you get stuffing into the extremities, and then stitch the hole closed.

Here are just a few ideas for magical gingerbread poppets that are appropriate for the holiday season:

  • Love poppet: Make a poppet to represent the object of your affection -- remember that in some magical traditions it's frowned upon to make a specific person the target of your working. If you are simply trying to attract love to yourself, but you don’t have a specific person in mind, focus on all the desirable qualities you want to see in a potential lover. Stuff your poppet with small bits of rose quartz, rose petals, parsley and peppermint.
  • Prosperity poppet: The holiday season is a good time to focus on prosperity. Fill the poppet with a bit of cinnamon, orange, or ginger, and maybe even a small coin to get the message across.
  • Healing poppet: When you make this poppet, be sure to indicate what - and whom - you are trying to heal. Focus all of your energy on the ailment in question. Fill with lemon balm, feverfew, ivy, and pine, as well as bits of turquoise and bloodstone.
  • Protection poppet: Create poppets that represent each member of the family, blending herbs and stones into the clay. Use hematite and amethyst, as well as basil, patchouli, and coffee for filling.

Finally, decorate your gingerbread poppet with craft paint, fabric scraps, buttons, or other embellishments. Stitch a loop of ribbon into the head so you can hang him or her on your Yule tree – or give it to a friend!