doll final

Making paper dolls is a timeless craft. I remember cutting them out of my grandmother’s old magazines when I was a child and playing with them for hours. This craft is a spin on the classic craft of paper doll making. The twist is that the inside of the clothing on the paper doll is cut out so that you can change the doll’s outfits by slipping different-colored or patterned artwork behind the cutout. The possibilities are endless with this!


  • thin cardboard (we used cereal box cardboard) or poster board paper
  • a fine-tip marker
  • a glue stick
  • a picture of your child (we used an extra school picture)
  • colorful card stock paper, patterned craft paper, etc. (for outfit changes)


  1. dollsCut out the head of the child in the photograph, cutting around the chin.

  2. Glue the head onto your cardboard/poster paper. Older children can draw the shape of a body attached to the head; younger children can have their parents help with this. The most important part of drawing the body is a simple design for the shirt and skirt or shorts, as you will be cutting that portion out.

  3. Cut out the inside of the shirt, following the lines as neatly as possible. Repeat for the inside of the skirt or shorts too. TIP: To get the cutout started with your scissors, you can press down in the center of your drawing, puncturing the tip of your scissors through. Cut from that point toward the edge and then around.

That's it! Slip colorful paper, patterned paper, even artworks behind your paper doll to experiment with different clothing combinations

Caroline Gravino Urdaneta, a PBS Parents resident crafter, is a designer of creative family projects, tinkering painter and mother of four children. She writes about project ideas for the whole family and how to encourage creativity in kids on the popular blog, Salsa Pie.

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