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Paper doll chains cut from white and colored paper
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Paper Doll Chains

What you will make:

Create a chain of paper dolls by cutting multi-folded paper strips. Learn this basic paper cutting technique with paper dolls, then let your imagination run wild! Cut paper chains with themes for every season and every special event. They make wonderful decorations for parties, classrooms and your home.

This craft project is great for family, classroom or group craft time. With a little preparation by the adult or teen leader, this project is both quick and easy for groups of kids.

This craft features bilateral symmetry—two halves that are mirror images of each other.

Learn more about symmetry and explore paper cutting in these related crafts:
    Paper Flowers - Fold paper squares in fourths, then cut out flowers.
    Symmetry in Snowflakes - Fold and cut squares of paper to make snowflakes.

At the end of this project page, find links to other sites with more paper doll fun!

Here's what you need:
  • Lightweight computer or craft paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Colored paper, cardstock and tape

This project is rated VERY EASY to do.

How to Make Paper Doll Chains

Read all of the steps before starting.
Printable pattern for paper doll chains Step 1: Project Preparation

Read through the project and gather the materials needed for creating chains of paper dolls. If you are doing this craft with a group, precutting the strips of paper will make the craft go faster.

You may also want to make some doll templates to be traced. Create your own or download and print Aunt Annie's patterns on cardstock. The templates are in two sizes. Select the size that best fits your strips of paper after folding, and adjust as needed.

Step 2: Cut Paper Strips

Cut strips of paper that are approximately 4½" by 12" from lightweight craft paper. If you are using computer paper, cut each sheet in half lengthwise.

If you are planning to use construction paper, it is best if shorter strips are used to reduce the bulk after folding. Try strips that are 4½" by 6", fold in four equal sections to cut a chain of two dolls. These shorter chains can then be taped together.

Step 3: Fold Paper Strips

Fold the paper strip into eight equal sections of accordion pleats.

1) Fold the strip in half, matching edges and making a sharp crease.
2) Fold one edge back to meet the fold just made, and crease. Turn the paper over and repeat with the other edge.
3) Fold the top layer back to meet the center fold, turn over and repeat.
4) Open the center fold like a book. There are three layers on each side with a single layer in the center.
5) Fold one side of three layers in to meet the center fold. Repeat with the other side.
6) Fold the center fold back to complete the accordion folds.

Step 4: Draw Doll

With the cut edge of the folded strip to the right, draw half of a doll along the left (folded) edge with arms extending to the cut edge.

Step 5: Cut Dolls

Hold the folded strip firmly and cut carefully around the doll outline. Do not cut along the folds.

Unfold the paper strip to reveal your chain of dolls.

What other shapes or objects have bilateral symmetry and could be made into paper chains?

That's it you are done! Use your imagination to create more paper doll chains!


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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

Two rows of paper angels as a centerpiece

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Tip: How about cutting some Paper Angel Chains for Christmas decorating!

Paper doll chains cut from construction paper

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Tip: When using construction paper or other heavier paper, start with shorter strips and fold them in fourths to create a two-doll chain.

Two paper doll chains joined at the hands

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Tip: Join two chains of paper dolls together with tape. Be sure to cut the arms for both chains at the same height.

Examples of paper doll shapes

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Tip: Create the dolls in paper doll chains with your own ideas. Make boy or girl dolls, cut a fun hair style and neat clothing, have arms up or arms down. Use your imagination!

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