Paper Dolls for your Pre-Teen Daughter

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, my mother got me a paper doll set. A paper doll is a very simple 2 dimensional doll made out of card and it usually comeswith 4 to 5 dresses. Everything was printed on some kind of light card and I spent all day changing my paper doll’s outfits and playing little pretend games. I haven’t seen paper dolls in stores anywhere so I thought why don’t I try to make it. And let me tell you it’s not just easy peasy but also such fun to do!!! The picture above is the doll with the 5 dresses I made for her.

I started out with a piece of white card stock on which I hand-drew the doll outline. After much erasing and redrawing it was finally ready and although I did and still do feel the head is a little big for the body, I went ahead and colored it. My doll was ready.

Then I got to work on the dresses and OMG, it was SO MUCH FUN! I started with a sleek contemporary look first. I took a piece of printer paper and placed my doll underneath. Then I drew out the dress by hand, following the curve of the doll’s body which I could see below my sheet. Then I  using some green pattern paper from the Fresh Floral Stack, some card stock and some ribbon I put the whole look together. What do you think!

My next creation was a pink, poofy princess dress which every girl must have in her collection. The base of the skirt is pink pearl card stock which I covered with lace and some net. The belt is made out of some really pretty roses form Itsy Bitsy and the blouse is white card stock embossed with a pretty floral design. Isn’t it a hit!
Next I tried doing a pant and top duo. Itsy Bitsy has this amazing new range of jute/ burlap sheets which I cut to form the leggings. For the red top I used a felt sheet and the button belt was made out of some of the Itsy Bitsy Fashion Buttons. 
How about this gorgeous evening gown! It’s by far my favorite of the lot. I used purple felt to create that rich luxurious feel and added a trim of pearls around the neckline and the hem for just a little glam. Itsy Bitsy has just launched this amazing range of pearl stickers. You get so many in a pack for just Rs. 50 and in so many colors. It’s really my new favorite thing!
For my final dress I used one of Itsy Bitsy 5″ doilies to create this lacy pearl dress. I didn’t have to do much except cut the shape and add the pearls, the doily was so pretty by itself. As a backing I used a pattern paper from the Fresh Floral Stack. 
When I showed this set to my mother, it got her in a nostalgic mood. She started telling me about her paper doll set that she had when she was a little girl in Calcutta. Her mother got her this fabulous set which came with an album where you could store the doll and dresses. That got me thinking – what a super idea! The dolls and dresses are all pretty much 2 dimensional so why not make a little album to store them! And so I got to work. 
Here is the album. It measures 6″ wide and 12″ long and I bound it using my Cinch and some Cinch binding wire. The embellishments are all some of my favorites form Itsy Bitsy – fabric flowers, a paper flourish and oodles of pearls. 
When you open the book, I added a little pocket to store the doll and for each dress, I created a ribbon ‘rod’ on which I could hang the dresses. I made a little hanger out of flower wire and  hooked it on. To keep it place I added a little ribbon band below. Isn’t it cute!

And if you’re wondering how the dresses stay fixed onto the doll, I had to improvise on the original attachment approach. Traditionally there is just a paper flap that folds behind the doll to keep the dress in place. But my dresses were quite heavy and ornate so a paper hook was not going to do the trick. Instead I glued some flower wire to the back of all the dresses so that when I place the dress on the doll, I just have to bend the wire down to keep the dress in place. 
 This is a great project to do with your daughter during the summer. She will have a blast designing different dresses and decorating them. If you’re not to drawing and cutting a doll shape yourself, not to worry! Just print out the doll picture above as big as you can, stick it on a card and cut the outline. That’s it, you have a paper doll ready for dressing! If you’re still note sure, I can share a video tutorial so leave a comment and let me know.
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  1. OMG OMG Sunehra this is unbelievably cute… Your paper doll is super cute. All those dresses…OMG…the pink princess dress is my favourite… Superb work!!

  2. Oh Wow ..I just love this Idea !!…these paper dolls are incredibly cute and it will be a super hit with all the little girls 🙂 …You have created such superb dress forms for the various looks that its difficult to choose a favorite and an a album to store them is just the icing on the cake !!!..

  3. This is so so so awesome Sunehra, I remember dressing up paper dolls as a child….and you a quite an artist I must say….your doll is so pretty and so are the dresses.

  4. amazing and a breath taking project Sunehra !It left me nostalgic for a moment too…I was recalling the days when I used to cling by my grandma to prepare some fabric dresses for my doll and give her all those freaky designs which a 10 yr old girl can imagine from her fantasy world :). I am sure your pretty daughter would have a wonderful time dressing up the doll.;)

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