I’m happy to announce that I have a wonderful team to bring to life an idea I have had ruminating for a year and a half.

Doodle Dolls is a company that takes children’s drawings and brings them to life as physical toys. While this idea isn’t new – IKEA produced a limited edition of drawings-turned-dolls as a charity fundraiser, and now there are a at least one known company (Budsies, who only began operation this year) that you can send your child’s drawing to to replicate as a plushie for around US$100 – the business model is.

Doodle dolls aims to give back to society in 3 ways:

  1. By giving a percentage of the sales of dolls to their child creators. This will be paid into a special account that helps provide for the child and their future. This aspect of the business is to tackle child poverty in NZ. To make sure we are giving the help to the children in need, initiatives to recruit child artists will be held in poorer areas of New Zealand and at low decile schools. As Boston(2014) states, “higher rates of child poverty have now become embedded in the system and show little sign of resolving themselves.” According to Youthline (2015), approximately 50% of NZ’s homeless are under 25 years old.
  2. Training prisoners and possibly the homeless to make the dolls. This will be a part of a reintegration into society program, and will guarantee employment for newly released prisoners: “Research shows that prisoners who find sustainable work after being released are less likely to re-offend.” (Department of Corrections, n.d.).
  3. Using recycled materials, namely from clothing waste. “Textiles account for 4 per cent of all waste sent to New Zealand landfills according to Ministry for the Environment figures.” (MacAndrew, 2016).

Inspiration for this idea was derived from:

IKEA (2015) fundraising “Soft Toys For Education” Campaign for Unicef & Save The Children:



2. Artist Dave Devries turns children’s drawings of monsters into realistic 3D paintings:

monster-engine20[3] images


My wonderful team consists of:

  1. Kylie Clarke: Graphic Design, R&D, Child Recruiter
  2. Katriel Worral: Creepy Doll Maker, Artist, R&D
  3. Sophie McIntyre: Child Psychology, Collaboration Agent, R&D
  4. Me: Founder, Project Manager, Business and Marketing, R&D

We have decided to enter the AUT xChallenge, and may enter the Cross Labs Challenge.

Project Timeline:


Our next 2 weeks will be 100% research. We then will be looking to collaborate with business and marketing students.

The dolls we produce for exhibition will be halloween themed, as assessment is on Halloween, and some team members have a particular interest in horror. For this, we will choose the top 3 scariest or weirdest children’s drawings to turn into a doll prototype.



Boston, J. (2014). Child poverty in New Zealand: why it matters and how it can be reduced. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 46(9), 962-988. doi:10.1080/00131857.2014.931002

Department of Corrections. (n.d.). Employment activities. Retrieved from http://www.corrections.govt.nz/working_with_offenders/prison_sentences/employment_and_support_programmes/employment_activities.html

Devries, D. (2005). Big mouth [Online image]. Retrieved from http://www.themonsterengine.com/artwork

Fitch, K. G. (2017). Happy little girl right here 🙂 So cute! [Online image]. Retrieved from https://www.budsies.com/reviews/

IKEA. (2015). SAGOSKATT bird [Online image]. Retrieved from http://www.boredpanda.com/ikea-turn-kids-drawings-plush-soft-toys-for-education/

MacAndrew, R. (2016). Wellington designer on a mission to tackle textile waste. Retrieved from http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/fashion/83068190/Wellington-designer-on-a-mission-to-tackle-textile-waste

McGee, K. (2013). Manor Primary School. Retrieved from http://www.manor.newham.sch.uk/about.html

Youthline (2015). Youth homelessness ‘needs a closer look.’ Retrieved from https://www.youthline.co.nz/about-us/info-for-media-and-students/press-releases/youth-homelessness-needs-a-closer-look-/