A chain of paper dolls makes a nice surprise, as does showing a young child the secret behind creating these hand-holding paper figures. The key to a successful doll chain is to draw the figures so both hands reach off the edges of the folds in the paper, which ensures each doll's hands join the hands of the next paper figure. For variations on the theme, change the shapes of the figures to create different styles of paper doll chains.
Things You'll Need
Printer paper or construction paper in desired color
Position a piece of paper vertically, as if you're reading a letter written on it. Fold the paper in half from left to right, then crease the line down the middle. Tear the paper in half along the crease, or cut it with scissors. Each paper half makes one chain of paper dolls. The size of the paper used doesn't matter, but the bigger the paper, the larger the dolls.
Rotate one half sheet of paper so it's wide and short. Fold it in half from left to right, creasing the paper, so the fold is on the left.
Fold the front flap of the paper -- the right edge -- back to meet the left edge, creating a straight vertical crease along the fold.
Flip the paper over and fold the remaining flap -- now on the left -- over to meet the right, creasing it vertically. The folded paper should look like an accordion or zigzag if unfolded slightly.
Sketch a paper doll shape on the top flap of the folded paper so that both hands appear to travel slightly off their respective sides of the paper. Draw the figure so it takes up nearly all of the vertical space available on the paper flap. Create the character as male, female or gender-neutral, to color in later.
Cut the figure out while keeping the paper folded, so you cut through all the layers at once. Do not cut the folds or edges where the hands travel off the paper. Unfold the paper to reveal your paper doll chain.
Provide crayons or assorted construction paper colors and glue sticks for children to turn the paper dolls into colorful paper people.
If you'd like the feet of the paper dolls to connect with one another, draw the feet similarly to the hands.
Create a number of paper doll chains with variations in the characters -- some in dresses, some with unusual hairstyles, or some with one arm up, one arm down -- still connecting off the paper -- for a variation in arm positions along the chain.
A shaped hole punch, such as a heart or dove shape, punched through the center of the torso and through the entire folded stack creates a cutout shape or design in each paper doll.