Paper dolls are a fun and easy way to express your artistic side. You can use printable templates, or draw them from scratch. Either way, they are a good craft for kids of all ages.
Using a Printable Template
1 The best paper doll for beginners is this one. You can also find free printable downloads on blogs or use the template in the link at the top of the page.
2 Find the perfect printable template. Adjust this template, so that it is the size you want and print out the item on card stock to make it sturdier. Check your printer manual to make sure it can handle heavy duty paper, adjust your settings accordingly before printing.
If your printer can't handle heavier cardstock, print the template on to regular copier paper instead.
Cardstock is a blank canvas for creativity and making your own unique cards.
3 You shouldn’t need to do anything if you already have a black and white template. Otherwise, add color pencils, crayons, or markers to give the doll features. However, permanent details can be added with a little creativity.
Before you cut a doll out, color it carefully so you don't tear the paper. If you color the whole sheet as one piece, it is easier to avoid tearing the doll.
How to draw a doll
1 Sketch the outline of the doll's body, making sure that it is posed in a way that will be easy to dress.
An easy way to start is by sketching some ideas out on scratch paper. Then, once you have the idea how you want the doll to look, try sketching them in thicker paper, such as cardstock.
2 A paper doll is usually 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 cm) tall, and 1 to 2 inches wide (~2.5 to 5.1 cm).
You can either sketch in toes and fingers or just leave the hands and feet as general shapes. Keep the facial features simple with line-based details.
3 Use a black pen to detail your drawing. Write the lines pre-drawn in pencil with a black pen and let the ink dry for one to three minutes. Erase all of the pencil lines with white .
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4 Choose the skin tone, hair color, and eye color for your paper doll. You can use crayons, markers, or paint to color in the doll.
Prepare the color of your doll before you cut it out, so you can avoid damaging it while still on the page.
1 You can create a base for your doll by drawing it around the doll’s ankle and foot. This will improve an otherwise blank space, or add decorations to complete the design.
2 To protect your doll drawing, cover it with a sheet of clear contact paper.
If you don’t have a laminator at home, you can see if you can get one from an office supply store.
Plastic lining underneath the skirt or dress of paper dolls will help them last much longer.
3 Cut a paper doll out using small, precise cuts. Cut close to lines without cutting over them. Keep an eye on smaller areas such as hands or feet. Young children should use safety scissors.
If you cut out fingers and toes by themselves, they will end up being damaged. Instead cut around them creating a general hand or foot shape. A base underneath the decor can also help protect these areas of the cake.
4 The simplest way to create a stand for your doll is to cut a strip of cardstock about 3-5 inches long, depending on the height of the doll. One side should be flat and the other side should be shaped into a curve. Fold the flat side inward 1⁄4 inch so that it forms a tab. Glue or tape this tab onto the back of the dolls so that their feet are propped up.
How to assemble a doll stand
The doll stand is made from cardstock. Printed paper or illustrations drawn on printer paper will not be sturdy enough to stand up.
5 Print and cut out matching clothes that go with your template. Add colors and details if needed, then cut the shape out.
It’s difficult to find printable clothes that match one that you’ve sketched or downloaded from a different source. You generally have to trace the outfit exactly from the original doll.
However, some children prefer adding large pieces of clothing to their dolls.
Stickers, colored pencils, markers, paint, crayons and scrapbooking paper add creativity and character to your doll's costume.
6 Instead of tabs, you should try cutting out the clothing and using something like tacky adhesive to make it stick. Putty, post-it notes on the inside, or any other material will be just enough to work. It’s a lot easier this way because the doll's layer will protect it.
To avoid tearing the the paper for the craft, color beforehand.
Before you get started on your doll, first use some scratch paper to sketch out your ideas. When it's time to outline your doll, use a thicker sheet of paper such as cardstock.
The average paper doll size is 5 inches tall and 2.5 inches wide.
You might want to use a shirt that can easily be covered by another shirt, such as a camisole.
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To remove pencil lines, use a white eraser and wait for 1-3 minutes after drawing and before erasing. Be careful not to press the eraser too hard or else you will end up with holes in the paper and smudges.
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Color your doll before you cut it out to avoid any damage.
To decorate your doll, draw a half circle shape on the bottom of its ankle. You can either leave it white or color it with your favorite coloring materials.
Scribble the name of a child on the bottom of the doll.
Make sure to cut around the legs and the base of your doll, from where it can stand with your feet.
If you don’t have a laminator, you can have this done at an office supply store.
Placing a plastic lining under the paper doll will make it last longer.
Reduce the size of the contact paper so that it fits your drawing, and then attach it to the part with your drawing on both surfaces.
When a general shape is more important, like with a foot or hand, you should make sure to cut around individual fingers and toes. This will help to protect the areas that have been cut out.
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In order for the stand to work, the card stock does not need to torn or cut.
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Use paint, markers and crayons to customize your doll's clothes. Let your creativity take over with color, patterns and embellishments.
Make clothes and design patterns for your doll. Follow the outline of the doll and then cut out the shape to make the clothes. Embellish the clothes with pattern and color to make your own unique design.
Clothing can be attached to the doll's laminate or contact paper coating with materials such as putty, a Post-It note's backs or washi tape. These help provide less tackiness and ensure that the clothes are easier to remove if they aren't used.