Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Personalised Paper Doll Tutorial

It's no secret that paper dolls are a beautiful thing; there are plenty available, and these days they come in magnetic, sticker and punch-out cardboard form as well as the traditional cut-the-tag version.

I was recently looking at a dolly-book for my 4 year old daughter, but remained unconvinced she'd enjoy the more mature Hollywood-glamour or vintage-charm, so I decided to make my own. Here's how you can make your own (click on the photo to see it enlarged);

What you'll need;

  • A digital photo of your preschooler, printed out in colour and as large as you can fit it on an A4 page (they should be standing in a way that their legs are slightly apart, and their arms away from their body, they should also be wearing shorts and a singlet, that will be concealed under the clothes that you make).
  • A variety of scrapbooking card.
  • Tracing paper.
  • A dark pencil (hard pencils drawn thin, light lines, you want one that is more like charcoal, such as a 2B - I'll post a link on facebook to explain further).
  • Scissors.


Here's how to do it;

  1. Lay a piece of tracing paper over the digital photo printout and trace a tshirt shape larger than the person's top underneath.  (And yes, in the pictures I used a pen, but I quickly learnt this was not the best way to go, and went over to the soft-pencil!)
  2. Turn the tracing paper over, so that it's pencil-side down, and lay it on the back of a patterned page of card.
  3. Re-trace the tshirt shape with a pen, this will transfer the graphite onto back of the card, and importantly, it will mean that the tshirt is the right way around.
  4. If the transferred graphic is light, draw over it with the pen, if it is dark enough to see clearly, leave it as is.
  5. Using the guide lines, cut the tshirt shape out and lay over the photo of the preschooler.  
  6. Repeat the process, drawing skirts, pants, dresses, and so on.


Getting your preschooler to choose which 'fabric' to make each garment is a great way to get them thinking about patterns, shapes, and colours.  Watching the infinite combinations of clothes they can dress themselves in is a joy; they're in charge, it's quick, easy, effortless to keep changing their look.  My daughter Mimi played for ages trying to figure out the best combinations of long and short, green and pink, dressing 'herself' up to get married, go to balls, school, a sleepover, and a day on the boat... her imagination was free, and the more clothes you make the more choices they have... which in the real world is never a great thing...

If you're children are anything like mine, getting dressed is a complicated process which involves watching them pull multiple laundered items out of drawers, sifting, sorting, trying on, then dumping clean in the corner on top of the pile of dirty laundry waiting to be transferred to the tub, leaving you have to play laundry-detective and sniff out the good from the bad... sigh... I promised my family I wouldn't air their dirty laundry on this blog... so back to the paper version...  Go on... grab some scissors and get your children dressed!

1 comment:

Bethany said...

I love this idea!

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