For centuries, young children around the world have played with paper dolls, simple and cheap toys that are nevertheless charming and fun. They have been around for as long as there has been paper. Perhaps the first paper dolls were created in China, where the modern form of paper was first mass-produced in 105 AD during the Han Dynasty. The Japanese also used paper origami, the art of paper folding, to create different forms and shapes as early as 800 AD.
The first true paper dolls, figures cut out of thin cardboard with separate costumes also made of paper, were manufactured in the 19th century. Cut-out paper dolls also began to appear in magazines during the 1800s. The popularity of paper dolls continued well into the 20th century when it provided cheap amusement, especially during the Great Depression.
Celebrity paper dolls depicting well-known entertainment and historical figures also became in vogue during the 20th century. These vintage paper dolls have become valuable collector’s items, with some mint uncut sets priced between $100 to over $1000. An annual convention celebrating the art of paper dolls is held in the United State, gathering paper doll enthusiasts from around the world.
Today, although they are not as popular as they once were, paper dolls are still charming and endearing simple toys that kids of all ages can enjoy. Modern paper dolls can now be downloaded from many sites including Printable Learning, an online resource offering free printable activity books, worksheets, coloring pages and more. Kids can use their creativity and imagination to make these paper dolls into fun art projects. They can even make their own costumes, clothing, and accessories for their paper dolls using art paper, scissors, and coloring material. Certainly, printable paper dolls can provide children with endless hours of playtime and creative storytelling.