Monday, August 8, 2011

Imagination Booster: Creative Paper Dolls!

Last week we made some fun paper doll furniture that was inspired by my creative grandma, and the creative mess is still littering my entire dining room. The kids have LOVED everything about this project--the tutorial can be found here.  Today we finished up a few paper dolls to help fill the spaces we created last week.  

To get started with my grandma's original paper dolls, you will want to start collecting ads that contain large images of people/models, such as Target, Kohl's, etc. from your Sunday paper.  If you really want your kids to have an unlimited supply of doll-people and clothes, I would suggest going to a place that still carries gigantic catalogs, such as JCPenney, and either offer to buy one or ask if they have any old or outdated versions lying around. When I made these dolls as a child, we used the Sears and JCPenney catalog and our options seemed endless.

Next, get started choosing your family and cutting them out! Your kids will have fun choosing, and if they're anything like my daughter, the family will probably end up with about 20 babies and kids.  Once your family is complete, you can try to find shirts, jackets, and even shoes that you can cut out (the kids might need help with this!) with tabs on the side that you can fit over your dolls for a temporary wardrobe change. If you want to make it simpler and more permanent, just let them glue a new outfit on top of the doll. If you want to give a little more permanence to your dolls, just glue them to a piece of card stock or heavy paper and cut the outline again. I did this with several of my daughter's favorites.  She also had a lot of fun choosing purses and plenty of accessories. It is such a simple idea, but it is a fun way to open up their creative minds through imaginary play because the options are almost endless. 

You should be able to find plenty of little outfits!
My daughter loved the "beautiful dresses" that this model was wearing :)

I cut out an outfit on the same page of this little girl and secured it with two small tabs. It was a perfect fit!

To take this a step further, I also decided to put a twist on my grandma's idea by making a doll for each of my kids. I took a picture of them (in retrospect I would have had them hold their arms out a little wider!) and printed it on thick paper.  Of course our printer ran out of ink today, but you get the idea and the kids were THRILLED to see themselves in doll form.  Once they were cut out, I decided to trace their outline and make a few clothes out of the many watercolor works of art we had sitting on the table. I cut out tabs and it was good to go. It worked just like a paper doll dress and even looked surprisingly cute!

To make extra clothes, trace your "doll" onto any kind of paper, give it some tabs, and the wardrobe is endless!
Hopefully this idea will jump start many other creative spins on the homemade paper doll in your own home. Sometimes we might feel like it's hard to compete with the TV and fast-paced toys scattered throughout our home, but this is one project that held the attention of my little girl for a long time, and something I remember doing as a little girl for hours and hours on end!


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