Thursday 7 October 2021

A Halloween Paper Doll To Cut Out And Colour


Did you play with paper dolls as a child?

When I was a little girl we received three catalogues from each to two stores - Eatons and Sears - every year. They were great sources of entertainment.  We'd page through them looking at everything from clothing, to toys, to hardware, and even build-it-yourself house kits. The possibilities for flights of the imagination were endless. When new catalogues arrived and the previous issues could be retired, my mom would turn them over to us kids and, with scissors and glue, we transformed pictures cut from the catalogues into collages, greeting cards, and paper dolls.

To make a paper doll from a catalogue photo, we'd cut the figure out and paste it to a piece of light cardboard cut from a cereal box or something similar then trim around the edges of the pasted figure. If there were no catalogue pictures available, we'd draw our own figures. I remember these quite vividly, with their horseshoe shaped armpits, perfectly round heads, and faces always smiling widely despite the fact that the poor things must have been dreadfully uncomfortable, standing as they were with their feet turned outward at right angles to their shins. 

Once the dolls were made, we could go about the business of designing a wardrobe for them. Each outfit began the same way; by tracing around the outside of our cardboard mounted figure and then, using the outline we'd traced as a guide for shape and size, drawing clothing. Once the clothing was drawn and coloured, we'd draw tabs on the outer edges that could be folded to hold the outfits in place on the paper doll and carefully cut the whole thing out. 

Finally, we'd fashion a stand for the doll buy cutting two slots at the bottom of the cardboard and then cutting a long strip of cardboard narrow enough to fit in the slots. The cardboard would be folded at the center and then each arm fed into one of the slots to create a v-shaped base.  Once all that was done, the dolls could be dressed and the make believe would begin.

Because paper dolls were easy to make and we always had the materials with which to construct them on hand, the doll population boomed.  We made up elaborate stories around them, with large, complicated casts of characters. They provided us hours and hours of happy play on rainy days, or in the evenings after our allotted half hour of TV had been enjoyed, and made lots of happy memories.

Because I have such good memories of my childhood paper dolls, I thought it might be fun to design one now, to colour and cut out for Halloween. I'm hoping it will provide more happy hours of play, either to the kids in your life or to you, yourself.  After all, we're never too old to indulge a flight of the imagination, right?

You can find a printable pdf for my Halloween paper doll at this link from now until November 1.  Print it, colour it, and cut out the pieces.  Construct it as described above.

If you care to share pictures of your finished dolls, I'll love to see them.  Have fun!

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