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Thursday, 15 August 2013

I've collected dolls - made out of paper!

Well, hello there!

I'll admit it - I'm a bit old(er).
In the days when I was a kid there was no "dress up games" online.. but, oh that did not stop us from spending countless hours dressing up - our doll, of course.


I got my first paper doll when I was about five. Since then I've drawn a LOT of dolls. OK, it was mostly done like this:
Step one: take the doll you like (it could be from a magazine, a book.. or someone else's doll)
Step two: find the brightest window  - meaning: you have a direct sunlight on your face.
Step three: place the doll you like on the glass.
Step four: place a plain white paper over the doll.
Step fire: draw the lines of the doll.. with neater the lines, come better results
Step six: place your freshly copied paper on you desk and fill in the details.
Step seven: for durability, glue your paper on the card-stock and let dry completely.
Step eight: cut out your doll making sure your following the lines, precision is the key.
Step nine: draw her clothes
...Step ten: PLAY. 

Tillie the Toiler Fashion Parade doll from 1940

Miss Fury

Tillie the Toiler from July of 1950. 

Brief history of paper dolls 
(taken from The Original Paper Doll Artists Guild's web site)

First manufactured paper doll: Little Fanny, produced by S&J Fuller, London, in 1810. First American manufactured paper doll: The History and Adventures of Little Henry, published by J. Belcher of Boston in 1812. In the 1820s, boxed paper doll sets were popularly produced in Europe and exported to America for lucky children.
First celebrity paper doll: A doll portraying the renowned ballerina Marie Taglioni, published in the 1830s. In 1840, a boxed set was done of another ballerina, Fanny Elssler, as well as of Queen Victoria.

Yes, boys can have fun, too.

In France in the mid-1700s, "pantins" were all the rage in high society and royal courts. This jointed jumping-jack figure, a cross between puppet and paper doll, was made to satirize nobility. (Pantin is the French word for a Dancing-Jack Puppet.) Other cultures have had special forms of paper art, including China (Hua Yang), Japan (Kirigami), Poland (Wycinanki), and Germany and Switzerland (Scherenschnitte). Many more have enjoyed folk art pictorial representations in cut paper, but these also do not have garments to fit the forms.
In November 1859, Godey's Lady's Book was the first known magazine to print a paper doll in black and white followed by a page of costumes for children to color. This was the only paper doll Godey's ever published, but it set the trend that many women's magazines followed in years to come.

Golden age of paper dolls 

The 1930s through the 1950s can perhaps claim the title "Golden Age of Paper Dolls," as their popularity during those years has never been equaled. During the Great Depression, paper toys could be afforded by all. Despite the product shortages of World War II, paper dolls were still manufactured, though on lesser-quality papers. Parents of the 1950s revered the image of little girls lovingly playing with paper dolls, just as their mothers and grandmothers had before them

Tillie the Toiler from June 1932

Jane Arden - loving the suit!

Tillie the Toileter from 1941.

Tillie the Toileter from 1940

World War II Women by Larry Bassin

Celebrity paper dolls 

Celebrities and movie stars were very popular with all the major publishers. It was much simpler to portray stars in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, when rights were generally not secured.

Rita Hayworth.. we love you!

Rosemary Clooney paper doll

Why don't you try out the steps 1 to 10 from the beginning of this post? Here: 

By the way, Jantzen swimwear is still manufacturing swimsuits.


It's just a flat paper object, I know. but it has such enormous appeal that it will provide a lifetime of pleasure!

♥ Pinky Honey


  1. Vintage paper dolls really are a special world of art and loveliness unto themselves. I don't have any myself, but I'd swoop down on them in a heartbeat if I found some for a reasonable price in person. I loved playing with paper dolls as a child, too. My first memory of them, when I was maybe four or five years old was being given a book of them featuring a woman (not sure if she was a famous character or not - my memory of it is a bit hazy) with an array of princess and winter themed clothing. I've tried searching for it with those (admittedly very vague) keywords as an adult a few times, but haven't found it. Who knows if one even could!

    Thank you very much for your great comment on my car show outfit post. You're so perceptive, my dear! I actually tried to intentionally limit the number of shots with guys staring at me in the background, because they were so prolific and I wanted clear shots for the most part that put the emphasis on the cars and little ol' me. It's a good thing that my husband isn't the jealous type, because I got quite a few cat calls, comments and whistles from plenty of the men (especially those in the 50-65 year old age bracket) that day (with Tony right there beside me to boot!).

    ♥ Jessica

    1. I believe that paper dolls are the first step of clothing design and understanding style. This is how grls learn to express themselves. I'm glad you liked it, dear.
      On accout of auto-show:
      Some people don't know how to show their appreciation and aproval of one's alltogheter style, so the only thing in their limited manner os to give "the eyebrow", "the wink" or to show their liking by a rude "whistle".
      Somehow I learned to understand it - if they could do it in a more curteous way, I'm sure they would.

      But, you did look wonderful that day; Jessica!