Category Archives: Paper Dolls

Writing 101 Day 19 – Paperdolls

Today’s post is a challenge to write 400 words, straight through without stopping, thinking, going back or changing what is already written. Getting 400 words down on paper isn’t a problem for me. The part about no re-writes, going back, changing order, etc is the exact opposite of my usual style. I like to get all the thoughts out of my head regarding a subject, and then organize them later. But, I’ll give you what would probably be a rambling post much like my conversations.

Today’s topic for me is paper dolls. I guess it depends upon your age what you think of when you hear “paper dolls”. For some reason one of my aunts was talking about them on email yesterday. Every day we start an email string with my dad, great-aunt, cousin, aunt and me. Usually just a hello, checking in kind of thing to make sure everyone is upright and taking nourishment.

So anyway, my soon to be 81 year old aunt (who is still working full time I might add) mentioned paper dolls in one of her emails. Don’t know how it came up. I replied that I used to LOVE paper dolls. They were a great source of fun for a small amount of money. My other aunt chimed in and said she had a huge box of them that she used to play with on my grandma’s (her mom’s) bed for hours.

For you youngsters in the group, back in the late 50’s early 60’s when I played with them; they came like a coloring book. The doll or dolls were cardboard and usually cut out of the cover. Then the clothes were the pages. At first you had to carefully cut them all out. Mom had to help because what 5 year old is coordinated enough to cut out tiny pieces of paper accurately? Each piece had little tabs that you folded over the shoulder of your cardboard doll to keep the clothes from falling off. paperdollss

Sometimes there was a half circle piece of cardboard that had a slit cut in the top to go with the doll. You slipped it on their feet so they could stand up. The hats had little dotted lines to cut along so you could slip them on the paper doll’s head.

Picture if you will a 5 year old playing with a thin piece of cardboard folding even thinner pieces of paper over and over again taking clothes on and off this wonderful new toy. By week 2 repairs were in order. Mom used available (read free) repair tactics. When the doll’s head lolled forward because the tiny neck got bent, she taped a Popsicle stick to the back like a wooded spine. I was happy to eat the Popsicle to provide said stick. If a dress ripped, she taped it. When a tab ripped off, paperclips were provided to keep it from falling down.

Paper dolls provided hours of very inexpensive entertainment, and surprisingly they are still sold. I checked on Amazon and eBay. You can buy vintage or brand spanking new. They even have magnetic ones. Word of caution, I am not really sure just how Popsicle sticks and tape could ever fix those if they broke. They also have downloadable paper dolls that you can cut out like the old fashioned ones for free! I would suggest gluing the doll to some cardboard to save yourself irritation. Just sayin’.

While I was on the internet, I decided to see who made the first paper dolls. Apparently the first ones date back to 1810, the first in the US 1820. Betsy McCall paper dolls used to be included in McCall’s magazine. That was a bit before my time.

mccalls(paper doll images from Google)

Lastly, a warning: when you type “paper dolls” into the search on your computer, apparently a group of pole dancers calling themselves The Paper Dolls are more popular than the children’s toy. So watch what you click on.


Filed under Crafts, family, Paper Dolls, writing101