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Vintage Paper Dolls for and of Little Girls

Updated on October 3, 2013

Vintage Paper Dolls

Paper dolls are definitely one of those products that bring back a lot of memories for those old enough to remember a day when they were a major part of the play time for most little girls.

When looking for some interesting designs, I found that you don't have to go too far to get some which many would call vintage looks, but many of those offered as free printables entail the actual dolls and the fashion the children of that day wore.

All you have to do is have a printer to download them or print them out for use at any time you want to for immediate use.

Moms wanting to teach or share with their little girls how those from the past dressed will find vintage paper dolls a terrific tool for that purpose, and they are very effective because they are not only interacted with visually but are hands-on as well.

Together that allows for the reinforcement of the subject matter so the children will retain much of what they're learning. It also provides opportunities for ancillary teaching of subjects related to that time period which the dolls could help the children relate to better.

For even more of a practical experience for the little girls, the dolls could be black and white illustrations which would also be able to be colored in for even more exposure to the period fashion of that particular period of time the dolls you're working with represent.

This article will focus on vintage paper dolls that are already colored in, but there is that other option for those who want a more full experience for the little girls in their lives.

Paper Dolls from the Past

This first example of paper dolls from a prior generation reveals immediately the very different designs from earlier days, although some of these aren't too far off from what some of our little girls would wear today.

Much of the difference I'm talking about is more in the color than anything else. These are much more subtle than we see today, and of course the hats are very reflective of the period represented here.

What is also wonderful about paper dolls like this is they can include additional items used from the period, including the rake, bird, watering can and baby stroller. All of those are great props to use to show children what toys and tools from that period looked like.


Vintage Paper Doll Set of Little Miss Muffet

Many of you reading this will immediately recognize nice this very popular fairy tale character. Little Miss Muffet was of course in fact a nursery rhyme character which was probably on the tongue of most children in the mid-20th century.

The rhyme first appeared in print in the early part of the 19th century, with its origins not clear.

That aside, this cute set of paper dolls featuring Little Miss Muffet are very nice looking and represent a wonderful time of history.

If you noticed the image isn't as clear as it could be because it is a photo of an actual image of the real product. You can notice the wear on it if you look at the edges.

Even so, it's very printable and usable as it is. The face will have a little wear to it, but the clothes and hats will more than make up for that small flaw.


Victorian Paper Dolls

One of the fun things about sharing things like these with little girls is you never know what their response to them will be.

Surprisingly, many of them will love the clothes they see on these little girls, including these very nice set of clothing little girls from the Victorian era wore. Again, some of them don't seem that fare gone from clothes we see some girls wearing.

The one holding the flowers could be a little girl from almost any time in modern history. Only the one of the girl holding a bicycle really differentiates strongly from most of what you would see worn by today's little girls. As for the hats, that's a very different story.

If you aren't familiar with old paper dolls, the way this girl is made was very common, with the front and back of her available.


Different Styles of Paper Doll Clothes

In this set of paper doll and clothes, there is more of a variety of outfits shown, with less emphasis on accessories and more on what is worn. The one exception is the hat in the top middle of the image.

One thing I like about this little paper doll is that terrific smile on her face. It's almost like having a little sister you love and want to help her dress up in different outfits to see how she looks.

Even here though you see that while there are a variety of designs and colors, they are still based upon a look from that period that can't be shaken or misunderstood as to what was expected in regard to fashion for little girls.


Paper Doll with Dresses

I don't believe this paper doll is based upon Shirley Temple, but if someone who knew whether or not it was told me it was the case, I would without hesitation believe them, as she sure has the look the tiny little actress from long ago had.

A little girl would really enjoy dressing this paper doll up, as there are a lot of amazing little dresses, along with built-in accessories that don't have to be added because they're already part of the outfit to be put on the little girl.

There is the one holding the doll; another taking a piece of candy from a box; another holding a drawstring container; and one that has her hands in her pockets. Very cute. What's also fantastic is each outfit comes with a matching hat. That would be a lot of fun girls to work and play with.

Just in case you've never worked with paper dolls, what looks like stitches in the hats are actually where you're supposed to cut it so it will fit over the head of the little girl.


Vintage Paper Dolls

Even though computers and digital gadgets dominate the lives of children and adults today, I think if children were given the chance to play with paper dolls, they would find themselves immersed in the activity.

And if your children or grandchildren struggle to leave their gadgets, just tell your little girl they can grab the paper dolls online and download them and/or print them out on a computer. That will draw their interest for sure.

For those that simply love images and art from days gone by, printing these out for yourselves may be something that be very fulfilling. If you can't find paper dolls like these that are real, at least you could get copies of them that you could save, or you could get a couple of them; one for you and one for the children in your life.

Paper dolls are a part of history, and are something we shouldn't allow to just pass into oblivion. Sharing them with little girls and talking about how children from the past dressed is sure to trigger interest, as well as get them wanting to do some dressing up of the little paper dolls themselves.

Who knows, it could just trigger some fond memories for you and that could get you "helping" them dress up the paper dolls as well.


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    • 4wardthinker profile image

      4wardthinker 4 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      Thanks for sharing this forgotten but beloved child's toy. Paper dolls were my favorite play time toy growing up. It gives a child the opportunity to be creative beyond electronic devices. My sister and I have many happy memories creating our own paper dolls and clothes when we needed to expand the wardrobe. It was always something my grandmother used to bring us every time she came to visit. It definitely sparked fond memories!!!