Make a Life Jacket for Your Doll

Thursday, June 27, 2013
What's camping without a day at the beach!

Remember those great chairs Jen showed us how to create using the foam kneeling pads from the dollar store? This morning, my girls had a pink plastic insert to a small storage box laying out near our dolls, who were riding horses to their camp-site, when I was inspired.  I thought the plastic tub looked like it would make a perfect little raft- which would be a great activity for our dolls to do on this hot summer afternoon! But, in thinking of boating and being out on the lake, I knew that every girl should always wear her first!  So, I began to wonder how could we make one for our dolls?!?!?!  Then I remembered those cute chairs I made following Jen's directions a while back, and knew that I needed to immediately get to the dollar store and see what they had in stock! 

Kirsten and Caroline(JLY)relaxing in their beach chairs, while Marie Grace reminds Kit to take her throw-able life preserver on the boat too!  Kit and Julie are ready to paddle now that they are wearing their vests!
Lucky ME!!!! Our dollar depot had 2 kinds of pads in an array of colors!  I decided to go with the 'vintage' orange life vest worn around your neck with the white ties, and picked up 2 red pieces to make 2 more lounge chairs for camping! I had a yellow piece of the chair foam at home as well.


This foam pad was 6 x 14", I held it up to the doll to guess how much to cut off.  I did not measure, but it was about 5 inches. 

Here you can see that using an exacto knife, I was able to cut easily.  I would recommend placing a ruler on the foam and cutting multiple times over the same spot until you cut all the way through the pad. 

Next I cut a slit up the bottom, as seen above.

Then I enlarged the neck opening slightly.

The foam is very soft, and I used a dull pencil to press holes into the foam.  At first I thought I might glue the white shoe lace on, but then I wondered if hot glue would melt the foam and I didn't want to risk it.  I also wanted it to be easy to get on and off, and be adjustable. Also, the foam was slightly too wide for the doll, but I didn't want to try trimming it down by 3/4" it needed as the cutting left the exposed inside edges a little rough.  Perhaps a new, sharp blade would also work better.

I had some left over foam from cutting off the bottoms, so I decided to make them into boat seat cushions for in the canoe, the kind with handles that can be thrown.

I was feeling quite ambitious today!  After being pretty happy with the orange life preserver, I decided to try to make a vest using a piece of slightly larger yellow foam that I already had at home.  You can see from the above image that this vest pretty much went together the same way the orange one did, except that this one didn't have a handle, allowing me to create the neck opening in the middle of the vest.  After creating the opening and slit, I trimmed the back off to make it even when on the doll.

I began with just one red shoe lace.  This foam was even worse to cut, perhaps my knife may have been getting dull.  This foam was also much softer to handle and when I tied the shoelace around it, it left dents in the foam.  If it seems to get too beat-up, I figured that some cute duct tape covering the whole thing would be cute too!


I placed the holes in the back even with the width of the dolls body.  Then wrapped it around the front to tie it, because the foam was too wide, and I wanted the vest to wrap around the dolls body.

I decided once the vest was on that it needed a second shoelace to hold it on snuggly. 

BOATING ADVENTURE: featuring Kirsten, Marie Grace, Kit, Julie and Caroline

"Hey girls, don't forget your throw-able life vest if your going out on the lake!" Marie Grace says to Kit and Julie.  The girls, with their new summer boating safety gear, are ready to hit the water!

Kit and Julie took the raft far out on to the lake, with no worries about the raft tipping over, after all they had their life vests on! When suddenly, "Paddle on the left Julie, we are starting to spin!" shouts Kit!

"Phew, that was close. Good job Julie! You're an expert on the water!" says Kit once they have gained control of the raft.

"It was nothing," Says Julie, a little embarrassed, "It took team work! You're the one who knew what needed to be done!"

The two friends shared secrets while out on the raft! What they said, is just between them!

"So long girls don't go out too far!" shouted their friends from shore.  Kit and Julie would remember this summer adventure for the rest of their lives!  They are BFF's to the end!

Be sure to leave a comment on which vest you like the look of best! Vintage orange or the modern yellow ski vest!


  1. Now that is creative!! Awesome work Amanda - I absolutely love it. We may need to make some for our dolls.

  2. very nice, love the idea to keep all the dolls safe!

  3. This is so cute! I love it! Very creative!

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  5. Great idea! Those look really easy to make. And I like both of them!

  6. How cute! I love that idea! They look so easy to make! and i love both of their colors!

  7. this is so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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