When I was fairly young, perhaps around 10 years old, one of my sisters introduced me to paper dolls. The ones that came with outfits that could be traded out to my heart's content. Of course, I also learned that I had to cut them out myself. Not an easy task for someone of my age. Since this was my first experience, I was concentrating so hard on getting the clothes cut out perfectly, that I cut off the the most important feature of the delicate paper creations: the paper tabs. I discovered, to my dismay, that the clothes would not stay on no matter what I tried as long as they lacked the little tabs. I don't recall what happened with those dolls; perhaps the tabs were cut out and then taped on, or maybe I tried to play with them flat on the ground. Either way, the lesson was very much learned.
I've been thinking about paper dolls lately. I've wanted to give my daughter this experience as well. Well, not the exact experience. She wouldn't have been able to cut out those dolls to save her life. But, I wanted her to experience the joy of something so simple, and even a bit vintage, as a paper doll.
I did some looking around and, while there are a lot of paper dolls out there, not many of them appealed to me. I finally happened across some on Pinterest, and the link led back to here and here. These dolls are delightfully vintage, and wonderfully printer-friendly. Some brilliant person was able to take Hallmark's vintage wrapping paper and convert it into a digital format. Well, I knew a good thing when I saw it and immediately printed them out on card stock.
I think it took me nearly two hours to cut all of the dolls out, but they turned out super cute and my kids love them. That's right. Kids. Plural. Wee Willie was perfect for Henry, with fireman, cowboy, clown, baseball and football players and several other outfits. Dancing Debbie was a no-brainer for Audrey, with such outfits as cowgirl, jester, gypsy and countless fancy dresses.
At first, I cut out just a few outfits and gave them to the kids with the promise of more. I alternated new outfits between the two of them, and it didn't take long for them to wait anxiously at the door for the next new outfit. I also gave them envelopes to keep their little dolls safe.
The kids have been playing with them for several hours. I figure that in and of itself is worth the time, effort and printer ink.
And, perhaps, one day, they will feel nostalgic about paper dolls, themselves, and introduce their own children to them...