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How to cut a string of paper dolls

by Jen Gagnee-mail: jen@beware-of-art.comhomepage: http://www.beware-of-art.com

Here's a couple different sets of directions... once you get the basic idea, there's plenty of ways to modify it! It's a lot like cutting out snowflakes from paper. It's much less complicated than it sounds here, trust me.
Let's figure you're using standard-size paper, 8.5 by 11 inches. Really you could do this on any size of paper, depending on your preference.
You need:

Basic Instructions

1.  Fold the paper in half lengthwise, so you get a long rectangle about 4 by 11 inches.
2.  Reopen it and then cut along the fold, giving you two long sheets of paper.
3.  Tape these two sheets together at one short edge. Make sure the whole edge is taped -- just use a long piece of tape to cover the whole seam, and wrap the extra around to the back. This gives you a looong strip of paper 4 by 22.
4.  Now, you want to accordian-fold this piece of long paper. Basically... fold it in half so you have a 4 by 11 size, then again so it's 4 by 5.5, etc etc... till your folded piece of paper is about an inch wide. Press it down very hard so the creases stay... then unfold it all again. Use those creases to re-fold it into an accordian pleat, first one direction and then the other. Try to make each section the same size as all the others. From the end, it should look something like this:
5.  Now flatten the stack of folds, so it's 1 by 4 inches now. Here's an example pattern!

Turn your folded paper so that the free (unfolded) edge is on the side with the blue line. As you can see, this is basically the shape of a half-person. This pattern I drew has the feet joined as well as the hands... I figure this makes it more durable, but really, you could just join the hands.

6.  Cut out the shaded areas. Be sure to get all the corners, and try not to let the stack shift around too much while cutting!

7.  Carefully unfold the sheet... pull out, and voila! A string of paper dolls! You could make multiple strings and join them together, or you could try to cut even longer pieces of paper... you're only really limited by the thickness your scissors can cut. You might end up with a half-person on one end of your strand... just snip that off. :)


Other Ideas:

You can also cut a string of paper dolls with alternating boy and girl shapes.
Instead of making your stack of paper 1 inch wide, make it 2 inches wide...
Then, when it's time to cut, use a pattern like this instead:

For a more complicated pattern like this, it's much easier to NOT join the feet... that way it's easier to cut out the shape beneath their arms.
Your result? Something like this:
That's it! Now that you've got the basics, you can experiment.
Have fun!
e-mail: jen@beware-of-art.com
homepage: http://www.beware-of-art.com