How to Make Paper Dolls

How to Make Paper Dolls

red and silver free wifi available sign

Kids these days are missing out on a “real” childhood. Though I am only twenty-two years old, I remember the good old days when my cousins and I played outdoors or indoors without technology. Bizarre right? We used to play tag, red-light green-light, hide and seek, house, or some arts and crafts project. Kids now- a-days are so absorbed with possessing the latest technology and rather catch up with friends on Facetime than meet face to face. What catches their eyes are the “We have free Wifi” at restaurants and you can barely grasp their attention in attempts to have a family dinner. There is little appreciation for homemade gifts or board games anymore. Everything is an app and available in the palm of your hands. How can we shift kids’ interests into the simpler things instead of grandiosity of owning every single electronic device? Try something less traveled and creative.

Make your own paper dolls


                                          pencil paper doll cutouts avatar and outfits

Teaching your children how to make paper dolls is a fun project! Whether you’re spending quality time or are having a play date or sleepover, it is a great activity to partake in. Encourage them to make several dolls and give them an identity and background stories. It is inexpensive since you can use paper around the house. You no longer have to spend hundreds on Barbie and friends, Barbie dream house, and Barbie Glam convertibles.  Playing with paper dolls challenges your children to bring out their imaginative side and progresses their motor skills. Studies have shown that making kindergartners and special needs children cut out paper dolls poses as an effective occupational therapy practice.

Barbie vs. Paper dolls

barbie toy proportion comparison to real woman doll
Barbie’s proportions on a real woman

Sure you can buy a paper doll from Barbie, but where is the excitement in that? Paper dolls give kids the ability to create a true representation of what people look like. As parents you can help them see what realistic standards of beauty are instead of being misled by Barbie dolls and the media. Over the years, people have grown angry at Barbie for not creating a doll with practical proportions. Unfortunately, young girls who play with Barbies are inspired by her beauty and try to emulate her as they grow older. A solution to these misconceptions is by encouraging your children to make their own dolls and by making replicas of themselves. Hence, they won’t be spending hours playing with a doll that they have no relation to or idolizing features they may never have.

Convinced yet? Great! Let’s make our own.

What you’ll need:



Crayons, Colored Pencils, or Markers

Card Stock



Step 1:

hands on white paper with male and female paper doll templates

Get a blank piece of paper to draw a person. Or find a sufficient sized figure to trace from a magazine, coloring book, or comic book

Step 2:

hands gluing female template to white cardstock

Paste the doll onto card stock to make it last longer

Step 3:

hands cutting out female doll with scissors

Cut out the shape.

Step 4:

paper woman surrounded by colored pencils

Color the doll and fill in facial features and hair color.

Step 5:

pencil tracing of female paper doll dress on white paper

Retrace on new paper to make clothes.

Step 6:

color in paper clothes with red pen on white paper

Draw the different clothing items: shirts, sweaters, pants, skirts, dresses.

Step 7:

colored drawing of female outfit with paper doll tabs

Draw tabs around the edge of the clothes.

Step 8:       

hands cutting out outfit with scissors

Cut out the clothing pieces.

Step 9:

 completed female paper doll with outfits laying on desk

Decide on an outfit to dress your doll in.

Step 10:

Play pretend!

Author: Alicia Hall

Alicia specializes in Inbound Marketing and business planning.

14 Replies to “How to Make Paper Dolls”

  1. Even better, take your child or grandchild’s photo and photoshop the child’s face onto the paperdoll. What a surprise when they receive paperdolls in their likeness. I did this for my 3 granddaughters a number of years ago. You can find many paperdolls and clothes on the internet to print out

  2. This activity is a great way to help children cultivate their creativity. The remaining card stock could even be used to make a stand for the dolls so the kids can display their artwork

  3. Yes, that is a great way to encourage them to make even more and be proud of what they have created 🙂

  4. I am highly agree with you, Alicia. I was so surprised a 3 year old girl playing with her iPad a few days ago. There are a lot of unhealthy information online, and these maybe will affect them strongly. I missed playing board games with my friends and now they just hang out with their phones. I would like to try this paper doll making activity with my cousins one day. 😀

  5. I know it is crazy. iPads do have educational games for kids but I think there are other ways to get their attention and to teach them. You should definitely try this with your cousins and tell me how it goes!

  6. Sounds like so much fun!! Wish I did this as a little girl! Too bad I have boy cousins instead of girls lol

  7. Thank you so much for this! As my family are sort-of Amish, we are all about modesty which will be easy with these dolls! Gonna go try this with my sister.

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