How to Make Paper Dolls

By: the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Japanese Paper Doll

Fit the construction paper clothing onto the poster board shape.
Fit the construction paper clothingonto the poster board shape.

Learn how to make a Japanese Paper Doll for Hina Matsuri (March 3), a Japanese holiday. In Japan, this day is devoted to Japanese paper dolls that wear traditional kimonos.

How to Make a Japanese Paper Doll

What You'll Need:

  • Poster board
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Construction Paper
  • Markers or Colored Pencils
  • Tape

1. From poster board, cut out a rectangle that measures 7-1/2 inches tall. At a short end of the rectangle, cut out a round head shape. Trim below the head to make sloping shoulders. (This should look like a large, round-headed clothespin.)


2. For the kimono, cut out a 6-inch square from colored construction paper. For the sash, cut out a 6-3/8 inch rectangle from black paper. Cut out a wig from the black paper. In the center of the wig, cut a horizontal slit that is wide enough to fit over the doll's head. Fit the wig onto the doll's head.

3. With markers or pencils, draw a face on the doll. Fold down the top 3/8 inch of the kimono to make a collar. Color the collar with a marker or pencil. Lay the kimono flat so the folded collar is face down.

4. Center the body on top of the kimono. Fold a top corner of the kimono down over the doll's shoulder. Working on the same side of the kimono, fold the paper vertically to cover the doll's body. Use the same method to fold the opposite side of the kimono. Wrap the sash around the doll from front to back, and tape the ends together in the back.

Make dolls for your friends or to decorate your table for a special March 3 tea party! You don't have to be in Japan to celebrate dolls!

A Paper Doll Chain is a great way to decorate for a party, or just for fun. Find out how to make one on the next page.

Want to learn more paper crafts that are great for kids? See: