Thursday, July 12, 2007

Paper Dolls

There is a diverting little video on this website about the History of Paper Dolls, perhaps some of our readers would enjoy it:

I have spent many enjoyable hours making my own paper dolls, as well as collecting several old-fashioned looking dolls from Dover Publications in local bookstores. Dover reprints some early 20th century dolls such as Lettie Lane (originally published in the Ladies Home Journal), and has paper dolls to go with favorite books such as Little Women. I found them high quality and enjoyable to use. Though some could claim long ago fashions a bit silly looking, I appreciate a detail here or there, a sleeve or a color combination, or a fabric print.

There is a free doll from the 1918 Ladies Home Journal here: and links to her paper fashions too.

When I was little I had the Gingham Girls paper dolls who came with their own pop-out paper rooms, printed by Western Publishing. My mother also taught me how to make paper furniture and egg-carton furniture and use shoe boxes for houses for my dolls. She found a book with templates for paper doll furniture that we traced and used for years and years. We made match-box dressers and used wrapping paper for wallpaper. This was quite a lot of fun!

Paper dolls are not just fun for the young. When I was doing my paper issues of The Pleasant Times years ago, I had a subscriber in her 80's who was a fan of my own Felicia Fashion, and enjoyed cutting out her wardrobe. I can reprint Felicia here for you, but I'm afraid it has been quite a while since I drew her wardrobe and so she will need a fashion update. I don't have time to do it today, but perhaps some of you can provide her with a pretty dress in the meantime. Here is how it's done: after cutting the doll out, place it under white typing paper, and draw your design around it. That way, the design fits the doll's shape perfectly. Don't forget to include the tabs to connect it to the doll!

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