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Paper Dolls An Art Form From Centuries Ago ~ Still Here Today
I Used To Be Amused For HOURS When I Was A Child, By Playing With Paper Dolls!
I remember flying out here to Las Vegas about a year ago, and on the same flight sitting across the aisle from me were a Mom and her daughter, who looked to be about 7 or 8 years old. Mom kept the young girl busy for most of the four hour flight, with an accordion folder full of activities for her. I remembered thinking what a GREAT idea for a child that age! In the folder were pages to color, puzzles she could do (age appropriate) and my favorite thing they pulled out of that folder to play with that day ... paper dolls!
I really didn't even know they still MAKE paper dolls today, and being a Grandma of two little girls, I was thrilled to find out that they do indeed still make them! I watched the Mom and little girl as they played with princesses and other Disney character dolls, changing outfits and creating little scenarios.
I remember as a little girl (and even when I was older) loving and playing with paper dolls, so imagine my surprise and pleasure when I was surfing the internet recently to find that technology has made paper dolls even more fun today! Did you know there are internet sites where you can get FREE paper dolls and their outfits, simply by clicking on pages and printing them? Many of the creators of these paper dolls, who have so generously shared their talent to make them, ask that you only use them for your own use, NOT to be printed and sold.
All you need to do is find the dolls you want, click on the pages (sometimes they are in the form of PDF files) then print them either onto paper or onto card-stock paper (which is a bit thicker to allow the dolls to stand up better). If you print them on regular printer paper, they can be glued to cardboard for thickness, then cut out.
There are also websites where paper doll books can still be purchased. Imagine the thrill of sharing paper dolls with a small child or grandchild. And the enjoyment of paper dolls doesn't have to be limited to girls either. There are dolls in the shapes of animals as well that are suitable for either girls or boys.
Link To Find Printable Paper Dolls And Paper Doll Books
- Original Purrfect Paper Doll Set by *Cricket*
A page of my original mouse made paper dolls and clothing designed for my grandchildren
Betsy McCall Dolls! For Hours Of Fun...
A Link To A Page To Create A Gingerbread Doll Chain, And A Website To Find Paper Doll Books...
A Little Bit Of History...
I found by researching on the internet that paper dolls in one form or another have been around almost as long as paper has been around! Centuries ago, faces and other objects were applied on to paper and used either for decorative purposes, religious purposes in Asian cultures, used in ceremonies in Asian cultures, or simply were made into doll shapes to be inexpensive children's toys.
In France, in the mid 18th century, paper dolls were made that had limbs on them that were jointed. They were referred to as "pantins" which meant dancing or jumping jack puppets. They actually were somewhat similar to the paper dolls that were found in Western culture in the 1900s.
Finding popularity in the 1920s, paper dolls have evolved over the years to reflect changes in society, as society has evolved over the years. Dolls have been made to resemble famous people, politicians, actors and actresses, as well as people that were common in each era.
The 1950s brought the debut of "Betsy McCall" dolls. She debuted in a magazine known as McCalls Magazine, in April of 1951. Betsy appeared in that issue, along with her little six month old dachshund puppy, named "Nosy." In the following months, other dolls appeared representing her Mother, her Father, various siblings, cousins, friends and pets. All of them became parts of her adventures.
The neat thing was, the doll was featured on a page, along with several outfits, and there was also a story on the page so little girls could be thrilled not only by the dolls and outfits, but by reading the stories as well. These are the paper dolls I remembered the best, from the 1960s when I was growing up. I can remember playing in a home-made playhouse in our backyard with the paper dolls.
One could literally spend hours in the summertime playing and making up stories and scenarios. They inspired creativity not only in making up stories, but creativity in fashion as well! I used to make my own clothes for the paper dolls. Who knows? Maybe I could have gone on to become a fashion designer.... but I didn't. Instead, I grew up to be a starving writer!
Today's Paper Dolls...
Today, paper dolls can still be found either as brand new dolls for little ones to play with, or as collectibles from days gone by available in places like Ebay. I recently found some paper dolls for my granddaughters that were dolls with magnets in their bodies, and the clothing also had magnets inside of the outfits. Making it easier for girls to change outfits, magnets today can replace the folding "tabs" from years ago. This can make it easier for younger girls to change the clothes, eliminating the need for "tabs" that folded over the backs of the dolls.
One particularly high quality brand that I found of the new magnetic dolls is made by "Melissa And Doug." I bet any little girl would LOVE to try outfits on any of these dolls, giving her hours of creative enjoyment.
Melissa And Doug Magnetic Dolls And Clothing...
- Magnetic Dress-up Playsets :: Melissa and Doug
Find magnetic dress-up playsets at the official Melissa and Doug online stores.
Paper Doll Conventions And Parties...
And for something I didn't even know...there are even annual paper doll conventions. It seems paper dolls are big business, and paper doll collecting is an incredibly popular hobby. This year, the annual paper doll convention will be held in Dayton Ohio, August 9-12 of 2012.
In addition, there will be two paper doll parties held. One is a Southeastern Paper Doll Party held in Summerville, SC on March 23rd and 24th. And an Ohio Paper Doll Collector's Party will also be held on May 19th of 2012 in Streetsboro, Ohio.
These are the paper doll parties and conventions for the year 2012, but a simple search of the internet can give you dates and locations of future parties and conventions as well. The internet is a wonderful thing!
With so many terrific options out there today for collectors to fondly remember yesterday, and for the new generation to be introduced to a fun, creative and interesting hobby, just a few clicks on the internet can have one getting into paper dolls. I guess it's true what they say about Grandma's being just "little girls grown big."