Poppets 101: How To Make A Poppet Doll & Cast An Effective Spell

Poppets witchcraft | how to make a poppet and cast spells
Voodoo doll with pins stuck into it

I’ll admit that I used to be pretty scared of using poppets in my craft. Poppets get a bad rap on TV – they always have dark associations and often result in out-of-control outcomes.

Eventually, I decided to make a poppet for my brother. He was struggling big time (teenage angst) and I had a feeling he needed some generic self-love. I got a doll from a local store in Salem, sewed some hair onto it, consecrated it, and put a pink pin through his heart. Things didn’t turn around overnight, but he did start to work on self-love pretty quickly. Whether or not my little poppet had anything to do with it, I considered it a success.

I later realized the power of poppets. I’ve cast some pretty successful spells using poppets. I think because you put so much time into making the doll, you really generate a lot of energy. I’ve cursed, I’ve blessed, I’ve healed physical ailments, and I’ve even changed the mind of a difficult boss. If you can dream it, a poppet spell can do it.

But using poppets can feel daunting. Where do you start? Today I’m going over poppets from A-Z in the simplest way possible. Hopefully, you’ll feel 100% confident working with poppets by the end of this blog post!

How Does Poppet Witchcraft Work?

A poppet is a figurine or doll representing someone (usually a person, but sometimes an animal or place). It’s a smaller version of a person that’s made to look like them.

Poppet magic operates on the principles of sympathetic magic, a concept first coined by anthropologist Sir James George Frazer in his seminal work, “The Golden Bough.” Sympathetic magic is based on the idea that like produces like and that objects or actions can be magically linked to produce a desired outcome.

Sympathetic magic works based on two principles:

Law of Similarity: Things that look alike, or are alike, are believed to have a connection. So, when you make a poppet doll that looks like a person and do things to it, like adding their hair or clothes, it’s thought to affect the person similarly.

Law of Contagion: This says that things that were once connected continue to influence each other. So, when you work with a poppet, it’s like you’re working with a mini version of the person. What you do to the poppet is thought to affect the person too, even if they’re far away. Once you connect the two, you can influence the poppet and therefore influence the person.

Basically, you’re creating a mini version of a real person, and then casting spells on the mini version. Whatever you do to the mini version will, in theory, also be done to the real person.

How To Make A Poppet: Base Layer

Poppet witchcraft | How to make a poppet

You can either make or buy a poppet. I’ve had plenty of success with both. BUT…if you buy a poppet, then you’ll still need to add personal touches to it so that the poppet is correctly linked to the target.

If you’re wondering just how to make a poppet, here are some options:

Sewn Poppets:

For those who enjoy crafting with fabric and sewing, sewn poppets are a popular choice. To create a sewn poppet, start by cutting out two identical shapes from your chosen fabric. Sew the edges together, leaving a small opening for stuffing. Once sewn, turn the fabric inside out, stuff it with your chosen material, and then sew it shut. Personalize your poppet with decorations and personal items to enhance its connection to your intention.

Wax Poppets:

Wax poppets offer a unique and versatile alternative to fabric-based poppets. To make a wax poppet, melt your preferred color of wax and pour it into a poppet-shaped mold. As the wax cools and solidifies, you can carve or inscribe symbols, names, or intentions directly onto the surface. Once the wax poppet is complete, you can further personalize it by anointing it with oils or adding herbs and other magical ingredients.

Other Materials:

Poppets can also be made from a variety of other materials, depending on your preferences and what you have available. Some practitioners create poppets out of clay or dough, molding them into the desired shape before inscribing them with symbols or embedding magical items.

Others use natural materials such as twigs, roots, or even fruits and vegetables to fashion poppets that are biodegradable and closely connected to the earth. I’ve tried making corn doll poppets before – it’s a lot of fun and is pretty easy for those of us who aren’t super craft.

You can even use bread dough and watch your poppet come to life. Obviously, this works best for a quick spell, and won’t work when you need to return to the poppet day after day.

Purchasing Poppets:

I purchase my poppets on Etsy. There are all different kinds, from sewn to wax, clay, corn, etc., so you can choose a poppet that feels right. The upside is that you don’t have to craft, but the downside is that you’ll need to pay a bit more and wait 1-2 weeks to start your spell. 

I keep these beeswax dolls in bulk so I can quickly cast a spell, as well as these sewn dolls. They’re both pretty generic, so I typically add lots of details onto the base poppet to create my mini version.

How To Make A Poppet: The Taglock

Now you have your base poppet…what next?

The MOST important part of learning how to make a poppet doll is the taglocks. Without it, your poppet is just a random doll. You need to the poppet to truly become the person for your spells to work.

Firstly, you want to add details that make the poppet doll look and feel like your target. Rope hair, eye color, specific markings, clothing…anything and everything can make a difference.

Next, you need to connect your poppet to the target. My favorite way to do this is to cut a hole in the poppets chest and stuff either a photograph of the target or a piece of paper with the target’s full name on it. You can also use fingernails, hair, or bodily fluids of the target (which is ideal!) but those are often hard to obtain.

Lastly, I find it always works to TELL the poppet doll who they are. Tell them about the person and be very clear that the poppet is now that person – there is no difference between the two.

Casting Spells On Your Poppet

Once the poppet doll is activated, you can actually do something to it. Here are different ways to affect the poppet:

Pins: This is the most traditional method of casting spells on your poppet. Simply put a pin in the area you’d like to target. For example, you can use a pin in the heart, planning to stimulate the heart to create love, to cause heartbreak, to create physical heart issues, etc. Your intention matters because any placement can be positive or negative. 

Anointing Oils: Boost your poppet’s power with oils matching your intention. Rub a small amount onto the poppet doll to infuse it with the oil’s properties. Lavender calms, rose attracts love, and peppermint energizes, etc. This is my favorite technique for an ongoing healing spell, since I can add more oils once a week. It also works well for cursing spells – you can choose nasty substances to rub on the poppet.

Incantations and Affirmations: Speak spells aloud while focusing on the poppet. Craft your own or use traditional ones. Repeat them, visualizing your desired outcome manifesting. This verbal reinforcement strengthens your intentions. You can even simply tell the poppet what’s happening to it, day after day, and let the outcome manifest. This is a good way to change someone’s inner mental state, because what the poppet thinks/feels, the person also does.

Visualization and Meditation: Visualize success with your poppet. Close your eyes and imagine your desired outcome as if it’s happening. Meditate while holding the poppet, focusing on your intention. The nice thing about this method is that it can be repeated as needed. You’re basically sending the energy of the visualization into the poppet doll for it to manifest.

Poppet Altar: Create a sacred space for your poppet. Designate a special area or altar where you can place your poppet during spellwork. Surround it with candles, crystals, or other items that resonate with your intention. This dedicated space enhances the connection between you and your poppet, amplifying its magical energy. You’ll keep the poppet on the altar, returning to check in on the poppet and add energy or items as needed, until the outcome has manifested.

These are just the most popular ways to cast spells with poppets, but the sky is the limit. Some witches use ribbon, others bury the poppets in soil. I’ve heard of poppets being drowned, or put in the sun for vitality. If another idea pops into your head, then follow your intuition. There is no wrong way when it comes to sympathetic magic.

What Types of Spells to Cast With Poppets

You can cast literally any spell you can dream of with a poppet. Here are some of the most common poppet witchcraft spells.

Healing Spells: Mental, emotional, or physical healing

Love Spells: Find a partner spells, obsession spells, breakup spells, etc.

Protection Spells: Cast for physical or spiritual protection (or both)

Banishing Spells: To physically remove or banish a person from a place or from your energy field

Prosperity Spells: Fill the poppet doll with herbs or items associated with wealth and success, and focus on manifesting financial abundance 

Communication Spells: Improve communication in relationships, or mental clarity in oneself

Binding Spells: Use poppets for binding spells to restrain or limit someone’s harmful actions

Other types of spells include confidence spells, friendship spells, cleansings, and of course, the classic curses/hexes/jinxes

There are plenty of poppet witchcraft spells I probably haven’t listed. If your spell involves you or another person, then it can be done using a poppet.

How to Dispose of a Poppet Doll

Once you’ve completed your magical work with a poppet doll, it’s essential to dispose of it respectfully and ethically. Here are some methods for properly disposing of a poppet:

Burying: One common method is to bury the poppet in the earth. Choose a location away from your home and any areas frequented by people or animals. As you bury the poppet, thank it for its assistance and visualize releasing the energy of the spell into the earth, where it can be recycled and transformed. Make sure to only bury the poppet if it’s made of naturally biodegradable materials.

Dismantling: Another option is to dismantle the poppet. Carefully take it apart, separating the materials used in its construction. You can then dispose of the components in different ways, such as burning them, scattering them in a natural area, or recycling them.

Cleansing: Some practitioners prefer to cleanse the poppet of any remaining energy before disposal. You can do this by using sage or other cleansing herbs, passing it through the smoke of incense, or holding it under running water while visualizing any residual energy being washed away.

Thanksgiving Ritual: Perform a simple ritual to express gratitude for the assistance provided by the poppet. Light candles, say prayers, or meditate on the positive outcomes of your spellwork. This can help close the energetic connection between you and the poppet in a respectful and reverent manner. I typically do this when I’ve worked with a poppet for positive healing and had good outcomes.

But WHEN should you actually dispose of the poppet?

If the spell achieves its goal or no longer serves its purpose, it’s time to dispose of the poppet. Signs of completion include seeing desired changes or feeling an energetic shift. If the poppet’s energy feels depleted or if you’re ready to move on, disposal may be beneficial. However, some practitioners keep poppets indefinitely for sentimental or ongoing spellwork purposes. Like, perhaps you’ll want to do another spell with the same person in the future. In that case, you’ve already made a poppet to represent them, so it makes sense to hold onto it.

If the spell is still ongoing, you can periodically cleanse and recharge the poppet, or can keep it in a safe place until the spell is very obviously complete.

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FAQs About Working With Poppets:

Here are some of the top FAQs I get about working with poppets in witchcraft.

Are poppets only for Voodoo practitioners?

While poppets are commonly associated with certain branches of folk magic, including Hoodoo and Voodoo, they are not exclusive to these traditions. Poppet magic has been practiced in various forms by cultures around the world for centuries, under different names and within different magical systems. It’s a versatile and adaptable practice that can be incorporated into many different spiritual and magical traditions.

What cultures have used poppets/dolls in magic?

The use of poppet dolls or effigies for magical and ritual purposes can be traced back to ancient civilizations, including Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In European folklore, poppets were often associated with sympathetic magic and were used for both benevolent and malevolent purposes. Records of poppet use can be found throughout history in just about every culture.

Do I need special skills or experience to work with poppets?

No special skills or experience are required to work with poppets. Poppet magic can be practiced by witches of all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners. It’s all about setting intentions, working with energy, and truly believing that your doll is the target person.

How do I personalize a poppet for my intention?

You can personalize a poppet by incorporating items or symbols that represent your intention, such as hair, clothing, photographs, or written intentions. These personalizations help strengthen the connection between the poppet and the target of the spell. The more person you can get the better!

How do I activate a poppet for spellwork?

Activating a poppet involves infusing it with your energy and intention to align it with the purpose of your spell. This can be done through consecration rituals, visualization, or simply focusing your thoughts and intentions on the poppet while holding it in your hands.

Can I use the same poppet doll for multiple spells?

While some practitioners dedicate a poppet to a specific intention or spell, others may choose to cleanse and repurpose the poppet for different spells as needed. If you decide to reuse a poppet, be sure to cleanse it thoroughly to remove any residual energy from previous workings.

Can I use poppets for self-care and personal development?

Absolutely! Poppet witchcraft can be a powerful tool for self-care, healing, and personal growth. You can create poppets to represent aspects of yourself that you want to nurture, heal, or empower. Working with these personalized poppets can help you gain self-awareness, self-love, and resilience on your spiritual journey. I have my own personalized poppet doll that I keep in a special place and use routinely for self-care.

Can I work with multiple poppets at once?

Yes, you can work with multiple poppets simultaneously if you have multiple intentions or goals you wish to manifest. However, you’ll want to make sure that you dedicate enough focus, individually, to each poppet doll, or your energy will be scattered and ineffective.