The Guide to Car Dashboard Dolls

When you purchase a car, it may seem a bit bare, which is why many people take to decorating their dashboards with various accessories. Dashboard dolls are by far the most popular way to decorate dashboards. They add a bit of flair to your vehicle and a pop of color to the interior. 

Other kinds of accessories commonly found are fuzzy dice, which are a popular car mirror accessory.

Due to their unique designs, dashboards dolls are often spotted in most cars. The most popular kind of dashboard doll is the hula girl figure. These dolls wear colorful outfits with springs attached to their legs to make them dance as the car moves. 

These dolls come in various designs and often wear colorful headpieces and sway with the car. Other dolls include bobblehead dolls with a spring attached to their head, which moves adorably. Some drivers also enjoy sticking a movable funko pop onto their car dashboards.

Why Should You Have a Dashboard Accessory?

Many different kinds of accessories are available on the market, and they aren’t just there to look pretty. They often add something extra to your vehicle. Dashboard accessories such as dolls give your car a premium look. They help make your car look beautiful and tie all the sleek colors and designs together. 

If you choose an accessory with a matching or complementary color, it will surely enhance the look of the interior. Accessories also add a personalized look to your car. You can make your time more enjoyable by adding eye-catching accessories that make your dashboard look more attractive. 

Dashboard accessories are also a way for you to show off your personality. If there is a tv show or movie character you really like, you can purchase a figurine and place it on your dashboard. They can also be great conversation starters.

What Is a Hula Girl Dashboard Ornament?

Hawaiian hula dancer doll dancing over the front panel of a car, with blue sky with some clouds on the road.

A Hula girl dashboard doll or ornament is a small figurine of a dancing girl. Usually, you see these girls clad in grass skirts and wearing coconuts as tops. Some also hold musical instruments such as ukuleles and wear flowers around their neck. 

Over the years, the Hula girl has changed its design and how it is made. They were initially made using clay, which was sculpted and painted by hand. Nowadays, you can find spring-wasted plastic Hula girls and even solar-powered ones designed to move on their own all the time. 

The very first Hula girls were made using clay as early as the 1920s. They were made in Hawaii, and tourists would bring them to the mainland as trinkets to remember their visit. Around World War II, an entrepreneur took it upon himself to better these figurines. 

The figurine was divided into two separate pieces, and a spring was attached to the waist. This extra attachment allowed the figure to wiggle, making it look like it was dancing. A big magnet was also connected to the bottom, which meant that you could attach it to the metal dashboards of the time.

After World War II, the Hula girl quickly gained popularity and was brought back to the mainland US. It became a cultural icon and having one adorn your dashboard was considered fashionable. These dolls became a necessity to purchase and bring back if you were going on a trip to Hawaii. 

Over time the Hula girl dashboard ornaments are still widely available and used. They have become a lot more technologically advanced. You can purchase ones that have electric motors or even solar panels. These allow the girl to dance even when the girl is standing still.

History of the Hula Girl Dashboard Doll

Hula girl on car dashboard

In the early 1900s, Hawaii became a popular tourist attraction, and the Hula girl became a symbol of the state of the island. Visitors who came to the island were compelled to purchase one and bring it back home. They were purchased as souvenirs and gifts, and people considered them timeless keepsakes

The earliest known Hula girl dolls are from the 1920s and 1930s. During these years, they were made using bisque or redware, a clay material. They were usually void of any glaze. These dolls were hand painted and adorned in grass skirts. They also wore halter tops or leis that were delicately painted. 

During the 1940s and 1950s, Hawaii’s best-known artists, such as Julene, Delee, and Hakata, created some of the best Hula dolls. These dolls were highly detailed and remain some of the most sought-after Hula dolls.

The dashboard ornament that we know today was created in the 1950s. These were all the rage among American soldiers who visited Hawaii and wanted to take a souvenir back. They became so popular that the Japanese factories began taking advantage of the situation and producing these dolls in bulk.

The Hula Doll could be stuck on a dashboard, and the springs fitted between the bottom and the top half made it so that the doll could wiggle her hips as the car moved. There were various different versions available. One included the girl with her hands in the air as she held a ukulele. 

Initially, the dashboard of Hula Dolls had a hole at the bottom. Through this hole, you could insert a magnet into the doll. This magnet allowed you to stick it onto a metal dashboard. 

Nowadays, the magnet has been removed because dashboards are no longer made of metal. Thus, these dolls have double-sided tape on the bottom, which securely secures them to the dashboard. 

At first, this car accessory was common among California surfers, but slowly it became a part of American pop culture. 

How to Adhere a Dashboard Doll

Not all dolls come with a way to attach them to the dashboard, which is why you may need to get creative. First, wipe your dashboard clean with water. Ensure that all dust and other small particles are entirely removed. 

Next, while the area dries, prepare your doll. At the base of the doll, attach the double-sided tape. Ensure that the tape is strong and can hold onto the doll’s weight and keep it in its place. 

You need to make sure that the bottom is as uniform as possible. Then, attach the doll to the dashboard and hold it there for at least 30 seconds. Once you let go, the doll should stay in place and not move. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Car Dashboard Dolls

Advantages Disadvantages
They add a pop of color to your car’s interior It may fall off if the double sided tape is not strong enough.
You can personalize your vehicle
It can be given as a present or keepsake


  • What does a Hula Girl on a dashboard mean?

Hula girls are the most common kind of car dashboard doll. They represent Hawaiian dance and are often bought as souvenirs and gifts from Hawaii. It has also become a part of American culture.

  • What kinds of car dashboard dolls are there?

Car dashboard dolls are usually designed to sway with the movement of your car. Therefore, they have springs. These springs are often placed in different areas to make the doll make certain movements. Some dolls have a spring in the center to make it seem like they are dancing. Bobblehead dolls have the spring attached to their heads to make it seem like they are bobbing. 

  • Can you make figurines into car dashboard dolls?

Yes, as long as the figurine is not too heavy, you can use double-sided tape to fix it to your dashboard as a DIY dashboard doll.


Car dashboard dolls are a fun addition to your car and can add a pop of color and personality to your vehicle. There are a variety of dashboard dolls available on the market. Still, the most popular ones are Hula girl dolls originating from Hawaii. 

These dolls, alongside bobbleheads, are the most common kind. However, suppose you want something more unique. In that case, you can create your own doll by attaching double-sided tape to the bottom of a figurine.