By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog “Coffee Pot People”.
Paper dolls are a perennial favorite. I remember happy hours spent playing with them as a child, back when McCall’s Magazine printed a Betsy McCall doll and an outfit or two in every issue. They were fun, but cutting them out was sometimes a trial–I was hard pressed to remember the tabs that held the clothes on were part of the garment, and time after time snipped them right off. Bother!
Here’s a paper doll with no tabs at all, pocket-sized, and with an infinitely expandable wardrobe, because it works in reverse!
As you can see, I used a picture cut from an old magazine, chosen because it was a doll and the size I wanted–the size of a playing card, 2.5″ X 3.5″. You might decide to use a fashion picture of a child or adult, either modern or vintage. (Another option is to use a photo of a child you know, for a personalized, and very special doll.) One of the things I love about my little doll is the ruffle of petticoat below the hem, which gives her new dresses a little extra detail.
Cut your doll person out. If the background around it is clean, you can just cut a rectangle of the desired size. If not, cut the doll itself out, and glue it down to a new background. It the background you choose is heavy paper or cardstock, all the better.
Now what you’re going to do is very carefully cut the clothing away from the doll, leaving an open “window” where it used to be. If you’re good with an X-acto knife, use that. If you’re like me, and aren’t, look for a line where you can cut into the figure without it’s showing. (I cut along the underside of my doll’s left arm.) If you’ve cut through the edge of your picture, turn it over now, and tape the cut edges together.
You now have a paper doll that has arms, legs, a head, but no body or clothing, and you’re ready to design her/his wardrobe.
Take your doll and lay her atop the various papers you’ve chosen, looking for pleasing placement of details. Be experimental! Scrapbooking papers work well. A map and sheet music also made into darling little dresses for mine. Try the Sunday funnies, foreign language books, even paper money, which would turn it into a darling and original money gift holder.
This is where it gets really easy: you aren’t going to cut out the clothing, per se. You’re going to cut your dress into a square or rectangle the exact same size and shape as your entire picture. If you like, you can make the garment piece a bit taller than the dol piece, so that you have a “handle” to grip.
Mark the corners for placement, and either turn the doll over and draw around the edges, or use a same-size card as a template.
To play with the doll, slip it into it’s plasic sleeve, and slip the printed rectangles in behind.