Thursday, May 8, 2008

Free Printable Paper Dolls

Let's talk paper dolls. Paper dolls are a tradition as old as history itself. Since ancient times, many cultures have made paper representations of people, animals, and dwellings to serve as ritual or ceremonial items. The first paper dolls, as we now know them, were the playthings of 17th century high society. Paper dolls have been used as toys, advertisements, and educational tools for the better part of three centuries. The Original Paper Doll Artists Guild has a lot of great information about the history of paper dolls.


The Internet is teaming with free printable paper dolls. There are countless varieties from vintage styled printable paper dolls to paper dolls inspired by television and movie characters. Because printable paper dolls are so prolific online I'm just going to point out some of the more remarkable sites.


Marilee's Paper Dolls: Each and every wonderful printable paper doll resource one could imagine has been neatly compiled, sorted, organized, and reviewed by Ms. Marilee. If you can't find it on her site... it probably doesn't exist. What a printable paper doll aficionado! This is my favorite site for printable vintage paper dolls.

Tricia Rennea Art: I love all the beautifully hand illustrated dolls Tricia makes. They have delightful chic, modern out fits and smooth lines.

Making Friends Paper Dolls: These printable paper dolls are phenomenal educational tools for autistic children. In fact, my son's speech therapist uses dolls from this site. They are excellent for teaching gender, occupation, parts of the body, pronouns, illustrating social stories, discussing clothing, etc. These printable paper dolls can be used to teach a variety of lessons and will grow with your child as you teach more complex concepts. The best part of these dolls is that they are very much "blank slates" all dolls are gender nuetral until hair and clothing is added which makes them easy to use for special needs children. There are no tabs or slides to fuss with. Just cut and glue. OR for reusable paper dolls consider laminating and adding velcroe dots. This site goes beyond printable paper dolls into fun and engaging learning activities like the "Dress a Friend" game to how to create awesome educational toys like "Travel Friends" to making crafts and scrapbooking with your newly printed friend. I like this site so much as a learning aide that I think it deserves a link in the Links list :)

Edited To Add:

I've shorted a great printable paper doll illustrator. Gail's Dolls are beautifully illustrated, stunning likenesses of the people they represent. At first I passed this site over because it seemed to focus on US pop culture icons and I have limited interest in US pop culture. However, upon closer review, this site does deserve a recommendation. The collection of "Famous Americans" and "British Royalty" are a bit small, but they are wonderfully well done. I hope to see Gail increase her historical, political, and otherwise educational offers in the future. Paper dolls can do so much for making history come alive for young people. Gail also does custom work.

Anita's Paper Dolls: These free printable paper dolls are probably the coolest things in the galaxy. I do believe this paper doll artist peered into the deepest resources of my heart and said "You know, the world really DOES need Are You Being Served paper dolls." And then, just to make sure I was duly content the artist went a step further to make Red Dwarf and Star Trek paper dolls. OH THE JOY!!! These illustrations (color them yourself) are stunning. I'm really impressed by the artist's ability to render the various outfits worn by Mrs. Slocombe and by her inclusion of Mr. Humphrey's tingaling shorts. I am very sad that there are no Doctor Who dolls. :( I could spend endless hours coloring the various Doctors...

HOWEVER, it looks like Anita has left us... :( The link is broken now and I am in tears.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Show Some Love

I just took a tour around the FamilyFun site. WOW! I'm totally impressed with the high color, engaging, and well thought out printables they have. And great site organization too!!! I just printed out some finger puppets (I didn't need anything but wanted test thier site out) and they where provided as a PDF. They have lots of themed based games and puzzles for little people and a wonderful selection of travel or road games. They also have some great simple paper toys that kids can do.

The rest of the site is nice too. I was a little suprised that its a Disney site since it's not drizzled with Disney characters. Over all it's a great site.