When I was younger, I spent a lot of time making paper dolls. It was a fun way to use my imagination and make something to give away that made people happy. All I needed was blank paper, a window, sunlight, and something to draw with.
First, you need to draw something to dress up. It can be anything. It can be something you draw or that someone else drew. It just needs a torso and limbs. The limbs may be optional. I think you could make it work without them. Actually, a snake paper doll sounds fun. It would need bends in the torso to keep the clothes from sliding off. Maybe next time.
Next, hold it up to a window, put a paper over it, and trace the outline and add the facial features so you know where they are. This is important if you are adding masks or helmets or hats.
Now, as long as you have the outline, you can color and cut out the doll and still make more clothes. Or recreate the doll. Things can happen to ruin paper, and if you’ve gifted the paper doll to someone small, things are likely to happen. It’s nice to be able to say that you can fix it if they get upset.
Using the outline, or the doll, you can make just about any outfit you can imagine. Hold it up to a window, put a paper over it, and start drawing. The outline needs to hug the sides of the torso in a few places so that you can draw tabs there to hold the clothes onto the doll. It works best if there’s at least one tab on either side of the torso. The more tabs, the better.
Shoes and hats can be connected to the outfit or not. With hats, it’s difficult to add more than one tab. So, you can draw the hat with a slit just the size of the head at the brim, leaving room around it so the paper doesn’t tear. Then the hat just slides onto the head of the doll.
Experiment and have fun. If something doesn’t work quite right, try it a different way. Figuring it all out is part of the fun.
If you want to print out the pictures in this post and make the killer whale paper doll with all its clothes, click on each image and then print them.
Please let me know if you make some paper dolls! I’d love to see pictures.