Doll Designers and Makers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Doll designers and makers generally need a minimum of a high school diploma or the equivalent. While self-employed doll designers and makers do not necessarily need any specific education achievement, it is highly recommended. Classes in sewing, woodworking, sculpting, sketching, computer design, and art will be helpful.

Postsecondary Education

While there are no hard and fast requirements for doll designers and makers a postsecondary degree is often recommended, especially for those interested in pursuing careers with toy and doll manufacturers. Earning a bachelor’s degree opens valuable opportunities for learning new skills, making contacts, and the possibility of internship opportunities. College majors that will help prepare you for this career include product design, toy design, and fashion design.

No matter what your major, be sure to take classes in child psychology, sociology, anthropology, business, merchandising, and administration. These will be helpful in both rounding out your knowledge and advancing your career.

Many students participate in internships with doll and toy manufacturers and doll makers. A few people train for the field via informal apprenticeships with doll makers and designers. 

Other Education and Training

There are a variety of classes, seminars, and programs offered throughout the country on various forms of doll making and design. Contact local, state, regional, and national craft societies or guilds, as well community colleges, for information on these programs. 

Art and craft associations also offer classes and seminars. For example, the National Institute of American Doll Artists (NIADA) offers conferences as well as an annual three-day doll-making school. Classes are taught by NIADA artists for people of all skill levels in techniques such as sculpting, painting, fabric-figure making, textile design, armature design, costuming, and more. Learn more at http://www.niada.org.

The Doll Artisan Guild offers seminar programs for porcelain doll makers through its School of Dollmaking, whose Web site can be found at http://www.dollsbeautiful.com/-school-of-dollmaking.html.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for doll designers or doll makers.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Experience requirements vary for doll designers and makers depending on their specific employment situation. Self-employed individuals may simply design and create some dolls and go sell them at a craft fair. They need business and marketing skills to succeed. Those seeking jobs at toy or doll manufactures need some experience, whether as an apprentice or assistant doll designer. In many cases, education will be accepted in lieu of experience. A portfolio of designs will be especially helpful. Get experience by arranging an internship while you are still in school. An internship will help you to learn about various design careers and help you to develop your professional network. 

Successful doll designers and makers need to be artistic, creative, imaginative people with the ability to conceptualize the finished product. Individuals should like working with their hands and have good manual dexterity. Doll designers should have a good sense of color, style, and trends. Sewing skills are helpful as are those in sculpting and woodworking. Designers and makers also need good drawing and sketching skills, as well as familiarity with design software. The ability to effectively work both alone and as part of a team is necessary. Communication and interpersonal skills are also essential. 

It is important that those who are interested in creating dolls that will be used as toys like children and understand how they play and develop.