Homemade Paper Dolls

Homemade Paper Dolls with fabric scraps, buttons and ribbons…

The hooligans and I have been working on an ongoing project for the past week or so.  We’ve been making a set of homemade paper dolls, using scraps and ribbons from my fabric bin.

homemade paper dolls

Making paper dolls is a great way to explore textiles with your child:

I don’t know about you, but I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to fabric and buttons and crafty odds and ends, and the hooligans love them too.  Rummaging through a bin of fabric scraps is such a wonderful sensory experience for kids.  There are so many textures to explore: satin, flannel, tweed, felt, cotton, fleece etc.  I’m a quilter, and most of the quilts I’ve made have been for babies and children, so many of the fabrics I have are bright, colourful, kid-friendly patterns, so they are a delight for children to look at and pour over.

Sifting through a pile of buttons is also a great sensory activity.  There are so many colours and styles to look at, and the feel of the buttons, and the sound that they make as they rattle together is wonderful.  You wouldn’t believe how many adults I’ve heard from who say that one of their fondest childhood memories is playing with their mother’s or grandmother’s button collection.

Homemade Paper Doll supplies:

buttons, ribbon, fabric scraps and wool for making homemade paper dolls


Where can I get white cardboard?

Many of our craft projects start out on a piece of cardboard.  Cereal boxes are perfect for most of what we do.  However, there are times when we need to start out with a piece of white cardboard.  Some food packaging is white on the inside, so I always keep those boxes, but here’s where I get large pieces of white cardboard:  I have a friend who works for a food packaging company (they make cake boxes, cereal boxes, and such).  She brings me the cast off ends of their large rolls of board.  Sometimes these are large sheets, and sometimes, they’re narrow strips a couple of feet long.  Either way, they’re perfect for all of the crafting we do.

IMG_5163 homemade cardboard "paper" dolls

How to make your paper dolls:

I began by drawing a very basic paper doll on a sheet of white paper.  I more or less used a “gingerbread man” shape.

Then I folded the piece in half, right down the middle of the drawing, and cut it out, using one side of the drawing as a guide, so the cut-out would be perfectly symmetrical.

I traced that shape on to my white cardboard, and cut it out.  Voila!  A Paper Doll!  Ok, so technically it’s a cardboard doll, but you know what I mean.

How to make hair for a homemade paper doll:

To make the hair for our paper dolls, I looped a long length of yarn several times, knotted it in the middle, and cut through the looped ends. You can add a ribbon to cover the knot in the hair if you want to.

2 homemade paper dolls

 Decorating our paper dolls:

For the clothes for our paper dolls, the hooligans picked the fabrics and ribbons that they liked, and I roughly cut the pieces to fit the dolls, and they glued them in place.  Don’t worry about being too exact here, you can trim them to fit later.

They dressed their dolls with skirts, tops, leggings, belts, buttons and shoes (which we cut from craft foam pieces).

To finish, we used googly eyes, pink craft foam circles and markers to make the dolls’ faces.

paper dolls made from cardboard and fabric scraps

Aren’t they just the sweetest?

Looking for more easy and inexpensive toy ideas?  Check out our

Cardboard Construction Set

Easy, Indoor Hopscotch

Flat People

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  1. Barb Wiggins says

    My grand daughter Hannah and I are working on a card board doll house. We were making toilet roll people but I think we will change to these. I bought a couple sheets of poster board and will pick up a couple packages of fat squares to get a variety of fabrics. Thanks for the ideas!! She and I have so much fun!! She loves all the painting techniques we learned from you!

    • happyhooligans says

      Your granddaughter is so lucky, Barb! I still remember all the special things I did with my Nana when I was young. I was blessed to have her well into my adult years. You’re giving her the gift of many, many lovely memories. I’m so glad we’re helping to be a part of that!

  2. enchantedhomeschoolingmom says

    Making your own craft dolls is a cute way to have fun at craft time. These are so cute too! Thank you for sharing and for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop.

  3. says

    I remember doing this as a kid with my Mom’s fabric scraps and loving it! You’re right that it’s a great way for children to learn about color, texture, and design. I still have fond memories of my fabric scrap paper doll all these many years later.

  4. Karen says

    These are really cute. My daughter is having a doll party and I think we’re going to use these for our invitations. We won’t make them though, we’ll just fill a bag with all the craft supplies the child would need to make it. We’ll write the party information on the back of the blank doll. The child gets the uncompleted craft as an invitation. It will be fun for my daughter to prepare these for her friends. They get a craft to do rather than just a plain invitation.

  5. Gleibys Buchanan says

    Cute craft! However, I was taken a little back by the entire first section of the instructions being devoted to where one can get white cardboard, as if that was an absolute requirement. What’s wrong with brown cardboard? Or any color cardboard?

    • happyhooligans says

      It was just a short paragraph in case anyone wanted to know where we get the cardboard. We make a lot of our crafts with it, and I always have people ask where they can get the cardboard that they see in our posts. Just a handy little tip for folks who do a lot of crafting with their daycare/preschool students or with their own kids when they want to use white instead of brown for their craft.

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