Paper Dolls

Paper dolls are figures cut out of paper, with separate clothes, also made of paper, that can be decorated and then attached to the dolls. Historically, they have served both as toys for children and as collectibles for adults, reflecting contemporary fashion and culture.

Description and How to Do It

Creating paper dolls involves drawing or printing a figure on sturdy paper, then designing and cutting out clothing and accessories that can be fitted to the doll. The clothes often have tabs that fold over the edges of the doll to secure them in place. Artists can get creative by illustrating detailed outfits and accessories inspired by historical fashion, fantasy, or modern trends.


  • Creativity and Design: Encourages imaginative design and fashion illustration skills.
  • Fine Motor Skills: Enhances precision through careful cutting and assembly.
  • Cultural Education: Offers insights into historical and cultural clothing styles.
  • Eco-Friendly: Promotes reuse and recycling of paper materials.

Best Age to Start

Children can start enjoying paper dolls as early as 4 or 5 years old, with simpler dolls and clothes. Older children and adults may appreciate more detailed and complex designs that require greater precision.


  • Websites: Free printable paper doll templates and tutorials.
  • Books: “The Paper Dolls” by Julia Donaldson (available on Amazon) for a charming story that includes paper dolls.
  • Craft Stores: For specialty papers and crafting supplies to enhance paper doll creations.

Equipment and Costs

  • Paper: Heavyweight paper or cardstock for the dolls ($5-$10 for a pack).
  • Scissors: Precision scissors for detailed cutting ($10-$20).
  • Coloring Supplies: Markers, colored pencils, or paints for decorating ($10-$50 depending on quality and quantity).
  • Adhesives: Optional, for adding decorative elements ($5-$10).

Starting Tips

  • Begin with simple doll and clothing designs to practice cutting and decorating.
  • Use a template or draw your own designs to personalize your paper dolls.
  • Explore different themes or historical periods for inspiration.

Recommended Practice Frequency

Paper doll projects can be done as desired, with frequency depending on interest and the complexity of the designs.

Requirements/Tasks for Mastery

  • Develop the ability to create detailed and accurately proportioned paper dolls and outfits.
  • Experiment with various artistic techniques to decorate and customize dolls.
  • Share creations online or through exhibitions to inspire others and celebrate the art form.

Notable Paper Doll Creators

  • Tom Tierney, is known for his detailed historical paper dolls.
  • David Wolfe, is a contemporary artist who designs paper dolls of classic movie stars and fashion icons.

Paper Crafting