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Paper Dolls: Cut Them Out and Dress Them Up

Updated on December 18, 2016
That Grrl profile image

Laura likes retro, vintage, old things. Choosing to preserve or repurpose is her dilemma - can't change your mind once started.


Paper dolls can be standing fashion dolls with clothes and accessories you hang on the doll by tabs. Paperdolls can also be a chain of cut out dolls, all holding hands. Pretty different, but the same name.

Do you remember the first time you had a book of paper dolls and clothing? My Mother bought me one when I was in the hospital. (I had asthma and would be there for at least a few days every year).

I don't remember what those paperdolls looked like any more but I do remember carefully cutting out the dresses, purses, boots, shoes, lingerie, and hats too. Everything had tabs which were folded down over the back of the doll to keep them on her.

There are two kinds of paperdolls. One is the type which you get in a book with all her own clothes and accessories. Then there are the paper dolls which you cut out from paper in a chain, all joined at the hands. I like making these too. But you almost need a pattern so your dolls don't turn out looking odd. Of course, once you get the hang of it you can make them just by cutting the folded paper.

Collection by Design: A Paper Doll History of Costume 1750–1900
Collection by Design: A Paper Doll History of Costume 1750–1900

Feeling inspired?

Get out your scissors, pens, pencils, erasers and pencil crayons, maybe paint... Create clothes for your paper dolls from long ago fashions. Change them up with modern fashion and then consider space age and far future fashion.

Don't forget to recycle all your cast off fashions. Save a tree, or at least a toothpick.


Use a Printer to Make your Own Paperdoll

You can make your own paperdolls (if you have a computer printer).

Find an image of an old doll, or a fashion doll or even a model posing in a photograph. Save it to your computer. Resize it as you like.

If you find a paperdoll with dresses and accessories to print you won't need to create the dresses and accessories yourself. If you use an image which doesn't come with a wardrobe, style up clothes and accessories and scan them to be printed. Use the way the doll is posed as your guide for drawing her clothes. (They need to fit her, however she is posed).

Print the outfits on regular paper. Print the doll on thicker paper if you have it. Or, glue the doll from regular paper onto a thicker cardboard paper.

Carefully cut out the doll and her wardrobe. Trim the edges. Make sure you leave tabs for the outfit and accessories. The tabs will be folded down to keep them on the doll. Without tabs everything will just slip off.

Add a popsicle stick or a plastic drinking straw, to the back of your paperdoll to give it extra strength for standing and lasting through all her wardrobe changes.

Keep your original images stored on your hard drive or a DVD, so you can replace them as the doll and her wardrobe wear out.

How Do you Spell Paperdoll/ Paper Doll?

I see paperdoll spelled as one compound word or as two words? Which is the right way?

Making Paper Chain Dolls

Creative Paperdolls and Paper Doll Making


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    • RTalloni profile image


      5 years ago from the short journey

      Delightful! I'm looking forward to checking out these links. Thanks for this look at old-fashioned fun. :)


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