- CE Certification EN71
If you want to be a serious doll maker in the UK and the EU then you need to be aware of the CE certification of dolls. I’m not the CE police, but you need to use materials in doll making that are chemically safe for children.
Not all dyes are safe and with children’s tendencies to chew their softies you want to make sure you are using materials that are safe for them to chew.
At the moment only two of my skin tones come with the EN71 certificates (the test that proves they are safe for use in children’s toys). Since the same dyes are used in all the tones I know that all wools will pass the test, but this is a costly process.
If you CE certify your dolls and need the certificate for your files it is currently available simply be emailing me and asking for it.
2. CE Certification Flammability testing
Another of the CE tests for dolls is the flammability test. Wool is naturally a flame-retardant. Click Here for a test I did using an acrylic doll and a doll made from Betty’s doll wool.
3. CE Certification – Washability
Another test for CE certification is whether the doll will stand up to what a doll has to go through and even though wool is naturally a dirt deterrent and odour resistant it will sometimes need a good fling in the washing machine.
Betty’s doll wool is a super-wash wool, meaning it is machine washable.
4. Naturally biodegradable and renewable
There’s a big demand today for natural products and many parents are looking for less plastic and more originality in their children’s toys. Wool is biodegradable, none of it will end up in landfill in thousands of years to come. Perhaps the thought of your hand-made dolls ending up in landfill is something you think will never happen and it’d be nice to think so.
I have a cloth cinderella doll I was given when I was a wee lass. I like to imagine she’ll be around forever because she knows all my childhood tales, secrets and dreams, but let’s be honest, once I’m gone, she’ll be thrown away. Although most of her is made from cotton, some of her clothing is acrylic, which will still be on the landfill heap when my nephews great grandchildren have been long gone.
5. Locally sourced helping small craftspeople and farms
The wool is made from the Cheviot breed of sheep, mostly gathered from smaller farmers, its journey from the farm as a fleece to the sorting centre in Bradford is where it starts its journey. From Bradford it travels about 15 miles to Huddersfield where it is turned into Yarn by a small family run mill, then I drive from my home about 25 miles away in Leeds to pick it up. I use another small family run dye house in Sheffield (about 30 miles away).
All in all, small family run craftspeople are benefitting throughout the whole process. No fat-cats, visas or passports needed in this small and locally sourced yarn.
Then from my little dye kitchen to your front door, which is probably the longest journey it’ll take.
6. Made for doll makers by a doll maker
This isn’t wool made for clothing, every step of the process in making this wool was to make something so I could make the very best dolls I could. It’s the same wool that I used for my final project at university, it’s the same wool I used to make the dolls that go in the Northern Folk exhibition dolls and it’s the same wool that won me first place for wool innovation from the Worshipful Company of Woolmen.
It’s a wool I am passionate about produced for my passion for doll making.
7. Passing on the inspiration
I’m a bit of an enthusiast when it comes to the inspiring nature of dolls and doll makers.
I wholly believe that doll making is almost a spiritual exercise. These dolls become the tools children use to test out their dreams. Where would I be without Cinderella to tell my troubles to? Who would I become if I hadn’t been shown how to make dolls from old cigarette packets as a child? Would I be as good at cutting out if I hadn’t been bought a copy of Bunty with the weekly paper doll?
We are the dream makers, the ones who create the dolls who will be the secret keepers and inspirers of the next generation. Who will our doll owners be inspired to be through the dolls we bring into the world?
Betty’s wool comes in seven skin tones, each named after an inspirational woman of that skin colour because we believe so much in the power of the doll maker. We want the inspiration of the dolls to begin from the very moment you pick up your needles and crochet hook.
8. Raising your standards
Perhaps you’ve been making knitted and crochet toys for a while and you might even be trying to make money from it by opening up a shop online or having a local craft fair.
To be a success you need to be outstanding in what you do and a part of that is using the best materials you can find. Using wool over acrylic raised the level of skill in my own doll making. It’s helped me win awards and ultimately allowed me to do what I want in life, that’s making dolls.
I love talking to people about the dolls I make and I love being able to tell them that the whole doll is made from wool and explain the benefits of using a higher quality product.
9. Gaining customers
We’re in a world where more and more people are asking questions about the making process and the effects materials have on the environment.
Many parents are moving away from the high street plastic and commercial. Dolls that look like their owners are becoming increasingly popular and with seven tones to choose from you can be even better at making that doll to be perfect for each customer.
10. Because you care
Whether you want to be the greatest Etsy doll maker or whether you’re making a doll for your own child, it’s important to consider the effects of your doll making. I keep saying I’m not a yarn snob and if you can only afford acrylic or just don’t believe in using wool that’s fine.
Knowing the process of your materials, knowing the minimal effect on the environment, knowing the benefits to small businesses along the making process are things that entice your customers to come to you. These are all things that modern parents care about and it’s something you should care about.