Sunday, February 27, 2011

Santos Doll - Humility and Grace

I've often admired the Santos dolls seen in magazines and recent catalogs.  They look so peaceful and prayerful, while emitting a sense of humility and simplicity.  I love that they have been used in centuries past for in-home altars.  Original Santos dolls are expensive and hard to find, but reproductions are becoming more common recently.  I found a lovely Santos cage doll at HomeGoods for $9.99 to my delight!  Her original green color didn't suit me, so I transformed her with items I had on hand.  Here is the result:

First, I painted her with some Benjamin Moore 'Feather Gray' paint I had leftover from another project.  I simply used painters tape to mask off her neck and hands while painting. 
Next, I gathered some cheesecloth for her skirt.  I wanted to use a nice ribbon with some pattern to gather the skirt.  Although I was saving this printed ribbon (from PetiteMichelleLouise) for gift wrapping, I knew it would be perfect for this project. 
I had some coffee-stained round paper doilies in my stash.  I cut out the middle circle in one, then used the border to wrap around her skirt as added detail on her waist.

Next, I used the border of another doily to make a crown atop her head.  I glued tiny silver stars around the rim of her crown.  The stars were from a bag of 'fun-fetti' from the party section of the drugstore.
I  cut out angel wings from pages of a vintage German/English dictionary, then glittered the edges.

My husband was chuckling at how much fun I was having dressing my 'doll', and my young daugher was very curious about her.  If my Santos gets cold (it is a bit drafty in this old house), she wears a shawl fashioned from one of my crochet project remnants.
Here are her three 'looks':

Angel Wings


Winter Warmth
And close-up:

Considering she represents a humble Santo ('Saint'), I think she prefers her unadorned look.  I just couldn't help ornamenting her lovely grace.
She's come a long way from this ('before' pic), so I'll be sharing her at My Romantic Home's Show and Tell Friday:

You can visit to read a history of these dolls, and to view amazing reproductions & crowns.  Also, if you want to see an amazing adornment of one of those dolls, visit Rosemary at  Her muse is gorgeous! 
Next time you're at a discount store, be open to the idea of taking something home and making it your own.  You'll be glad you did!


Unknown said...

...oh Susan!!!
She is just glorious!!
I adore her "new dress" and soft gray/blue color!
~ and her paper doily skirt fluff and crown!!
well done dear one!! I will have to be on the lookout at home goods as one can never have too many Santos and that price is a song!!

biggest xo's,

Donna said...

Wow, your Santos is really beautiful! I just love how you took something that was mass produced, and made it totally your own. I love the glittered wings look the best:)

Unknown said...

oh susan...she is so lovely! it is hard to believe that, first of all, you found a santos cage doll for 9.99 and then...the transformation! soooooo stunning. i especially love how you used the paper doily to fashion a skirt and crown. and that petite shawl is so perfect for those cold winter days! wow..i am so inspired by her and you! TFS!

Unknown said...

P.S. i am honored that you would use my hand stamped ribbon on her!

Lisa ~Suburban Retreat~ said...

Hi Susan ... I just about fell out of my chair here at work, looking at your post! I can't believe what you've done with your Santos doll! AMAZING! I purchased both of mine recently at HomeSense (Canadian version of HomeGoods) and they were the only 2 in the store. The lady at the checkout asked what their purpose was and I said "just decorative". I have a pair of larger reproductions I found in the Fall last year and had some ideas for dressing them but what you've done is incredible! I'm not so 'crafty' but your post has certainly inspired me!

Anne Marie said...

you did a beautiful job transforming friend Jenn hand crafts these type of art dolls - all by hand - and I have come to a real appreciation for their 'souls' behind the doll

anne marie
(p.s. rosemary is quite the talent!)

Finding Home said...

Ooh, she is so pretty and you painted her so precisely I never would have known! Love the angel wings the best, so pretty! Glad you had so much fun dressing her. Have a great night, Laura

Anonymous said...

She turned out absolutely gorgeous! I may have to drive to HomeGoods, 30 miles away! I can guaranty mine won't be as lovely as yours!

Sommer said...

Susan this is BEAUTIFUL! I'll be honest, I've never liked these dolls until I saw how you dressed her up! Now I'm over the moon lol. I would be delighted if you would share this at my VIP party today as well.

Fabulous work!


Tammy @ Type A said...

i want one so bad! i heart Santos dolls. I found you at My Romantic Home, I have a party on Wednesday and would love it you would participate. Thanks Tammy

awal.ny said...

I have been wanting one of these for so long. I must say the change of color is just perfect. I like the other additions you made too.

citicasita said...

I love what you did with the Santos doll! I had seen them some time ago at Homegoods but didn't buy one. I've been looking online and yes, they are quite pricey. Of course when I went back to HG they were all gone. I'm still looking.

Thanks for sharing.
Diddie @

Junkchiccottage said...

Susan Ohhhhh how beautiful you made this beautiful Santos Angel. Wow what a wonderful transformation. So pretty. Amazing job.

Junkchiccottage said...

PS if you ever decide to make these and sell them on your etsy site let me know. I will be the first to buy one of these beautiful angels. Gorgeous.

Bij Sandra Thuis said...

Hi ,
I'm commenting all the way from the Netherlands!
Was Googling for a DIY to make a crown for a Santos, and stumbled apon your blog.
What a good idea to use a doilie ! Maybe with some extra strength from papier mache, I can do that myself.
You doll looks wonderful. I can't believe that she cost so little! I've purchased mine recently for a little bit more, but not much!
So I'm also deighted so own one....
Best regards,

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