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Overview of Creating Your Own Dohl Towers (Dohl Go Im)

Overview Of Creating Your Own Dohl Towers (Dohl Go Im)
Post Series: Planning a Korean 1st Birthday (Doljanchi)

While Dohl Towers are considered optional for displaying on modern table settings (Dohl Sangs), they are very often used to incorporate a taste of the original Doljanchi tradition.

In its classic form, Dohl Towers would feature either the Korean name of the birthday child or a “Chook Dohl” (translation: Happy First Birthday) text in black letters against a beige background.  Nowadays, creating Dohl Towers with images of animals from the child’s birth year that match the Chinese Zodiac Sign (also referred to as Lunar, or Korean Zodiac) has become a trend.  The increase in the popularity of online marketplaces such as Etsy, has brought forth many skilled handcrafters who showcase alternative Dohl Tower designs that are more modern and colorful.  Choosing between the classic vs. modern look comes purely down to your preferences.


Appearance of a Classic Dohl Tower

Appearance of a Modern Dohl Tower with Colors & Animals
Photo Source: (EventAccessoriesbyMJ @ Etsy)


There are several great DIY Dohl Tower Guides on the web which provide detailed step-by-step instructions, and the basis to creating your own Dohl Tower boils down to your decision of the following three aspects:

  • The base
  • The image
  • The beads

TOWER BASE – For the tower base, using concrete form tubes from hardware stores are sturdier, wider and taller than using a paper towel roll. Concrete form tubes cost about $5 to $8 per tube, and can be cut into 3 or 4 equal parts.  On the other hand, paper towel rolls are easier to obtain and do not need to be cut.  You can ask yourself, “Do I want the tower to be durable for reuse or resale, or is this something I can discard after one use?”


TEXT/IMAGE – The image that goes on the front of the Dohl Tower can be your child’s Korean name, 축돌 (Chook Dohl), and/or an animal character.  Preparing the text template is as simple as downloading free Dohl Tower templates.  Alternatively, if you have Korean font on your computer, you can open up Microsoft Word and type using 궁서체 (GungSuhChe) Font, with font size between 400 to 500, depending on your setup.  If you have access to Photoshop, you can also use the same GungSuhChe font with 350 font size on a 8.5″ x 11″ canvas size (Image Size Resolution: 300ppi – pixels/inch).

(Update 12/1/2017 – You can now create your own template with your child’s name in Korean font without needing to type in Korean.  Check out’s new Dol Tower Template Generator)

If you are looking to create an animal character Dol Tower, you can download the free templates here.  If your child was born between 2/19/2015 and 2/7/2016, Sheep or Goat is their zodiac animal sign.  For children born between 2/8/2016 and 1/28/2017, they are the year of the Monkey.


BEADS – The choice of colors and materials of the beads/pebbles is dependent on your preference and your budget.  A quick online search for detailed DIY Dohl Tower articles will provide instructions, estimated costs, and pros & cons of using beans vs. candy (ex: Mentos, Skittles, Gumballs).

Creating your own Dohl Tower can be daunting and time consuming for first time parents, but with experience comes quickness for making the second, even third tower.  You may also find a little bit of joy in the time spent on a DIY project for your beloved child.

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Suzanne Moat
Suzanne Moat
6 years ago

Is 2016 the year if the Yellow Monkey (happens every 60 years)? My mother is under the impression it is but i can not find it anywhere online.

Doljabi Shop
6 years ago
Reply to  Suzanne Moat

2016 appears to be the year of the Fire (Red) Monkey.

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