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How to Fold an Origami Paper Doll

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Even though you can easily go to a toy store and choose from hundreds of different dolls available for purchase, most kids find paper dolls uniquely appealing. Paper dolls are fun because they can be customized to fit whatever design a child has imagined. You can make superhero dolls, dolls that look like a favorite cartoon character, or even dolls that look like members of your child's family. With a few minutes of folding and some creative decorating, it's possible to make a whole collection of new dolls for your child to play with.

This tutorial features an origami paper doll design I created for children to use in their dollhouses. It is fairly easy to fold, although most kids will likely need a bit of adult assistance.

The design of this paper doll is based on the origami jumping frog that is made from a folded index card. The origami paper doll uses an 8 ½ inch x 11 inch sheet of paper. Use plain copy paper for a doll that your child can color or use specialty paper to make a more decorative origami doll. For example, you could use green construction paper to make a trio of origami elves for Christmas or some origami aliens who want to play in a cardboard spaceship.

1. Create the Initial Folds

Origami Paper Doll
© Dana Hinders

Being by folding an 8 ½ inch x 11 inch sheet of paper in half lengthwise. Crease well, then unfold. Fold the left corner over to the right side. Crease well, then unfold. Fold the right corner over to the left side. Crease well, then unfold. Fold the top down to make a horizontal crease that intersects the "X" you have just created. Unfold. When you're finished, your crease pattern should look like the photo to the left. (You do not need to draw the lines on the paper, they are for demonstration purposes only.)

2. Collapse the Paper

Origami Paper Doll
© Dana Hinders

Use the horizontal crease to collapse the paper into a waterbomb base. This will eventually become the head of your origami paper doll.

3. Fold Up the Corners

Origami Paper Doll
© Dana Hinders

Fold the left and right corners up to meet the top tip of the triangle. Then, fold each side back so it is flush with the diamond shape you've created. When you're finished, your project should look like the photo to the left.

4. Make the Body of Your Origami Doll

Origami Paper Doll
© Dana Hinders

Flip your paper over. Fold the left and right sides in so that they meet at the center crease. Crease firmly, then fold each side in once more towards the center crease.

5. Make Arms for Your Origami Doll

Origami Paper Doll
© Dana Hinders

Bring the flaps you created in the step 3 forward to make arms for your doll. Adjust the angle of the folds as needed to achieve the desired look.

6. Make a Stand for Your Origami Paper Doll

Origami Paper Doll
© Dana Hinders

About 1/3 of the way from the bottom of your paper, make a horizontal fold to create a "stand" for your origami paper doll. If you're going to make several dolls, try adjusting the folding distance to make them different heights.

7. Decorate Your Homemade Paper Doll

Origami Paper Doll
© Dana Hinders

Decorate your origami doll as desired. You can draw on a face and clothes using markers, crayons, or colored pencils. In this version of the origami paper doll, I added a cut out circle smiley face for the doll's head. You can easily draw your own face directly on the doll's head if you prefer.

8. A Project Variation

Origami Paper Doll
© Dana Hinders

For a fun variation of this project, fold your paper doll using 8 ½ inch x 11 inch patterned scrapbook paper. Cut a photo to size, then slip it into the opening at the top of the doll. (No tape or glue is necessary.)

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