Making wired & poseable cloth characters

Learn how to create a wired armature to insert inside your cloth doll. It’s simpler than you think and only requires a few tools and materials available at any larger craft store. This wired doll armature technique not only makes your doll poseable, but you can even create a stop-motion puppet using these techniques to make your own stop-motion movies.

Want to turn your in-the-hoop dolls into wired and poseable characters? Here are the tutorials and tricks you’re looking for.

under construction, dolls with tools

Some of the projects at Ballyhoo Creations really come to life when you put a wire armature inside the doll.  Here are some in-the-hoop characters that you can add a wire armature to make them fully poseable…

Adding wire not only makes them easy to pose, but it also makes them stand on their own.  It’s easier than you might think with some basic tools and supplies listed down below.

Here’s the video showing the step-by-step process to make and insert the armature.  

armature video updated in March 2022 – now includes heels for better standing

Tools Needed

  • wire cutters
  • pliers to bend wire

Materials Needed

Armature Diagram

  • The arm wire on the left is made from thinner wire. Diagram show before the arms wire is twisted.
  • The body & legs on the right are made of thicker wire. Diagram shows after body portion is twisted.
  • Cut both pieces of wire to be three times the toe-to-neck length. In other words: measure the distance from the top of dolls neck to the toe, including the curve at the ankle. Then cut wires that are 3x this measurement. That’s a good rule of thumb for any size doll using any pattern.
polka dot doll wired to stand on her own

this doll is wired –>

You can give your characters extra “character” by adding stuffing between the stabilizer and top fabric. 

I like to give my characters some extra padding on their backside like this gal to the left.  You can also add a chest or a beer belly.  A bit of gluestick can help keep the stuffing in place.

elf doll sitting on embroidery machine

<– This elf is wired in his body and hands so he can pose any way you want.
He’s made in the hoop with these files: medium cloth character basic body, magician face, and add-on hands

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