Flat Self Paper Doll

60aThis is Flat Lisa, a travelling paper doll who is being passed from artist to artist. The completed doll stands about 21 inches tall when unfolded, and folds down to about 9-1/2 inches. (Your mileage may vary depending on how you construct and decorate her.)

To make your own Flat Self, you’ll need the patterns for arms and legs and head and torso. DO NOT print these from your browser! The size will be wacky, and you may end up with a teeny tiny doll, or one whose arms and legs are the wrong size for her body. Save the patterns to your hard drive, open them in any graphics software, and print them.

The next thing you’ll need is something to use as your doll’s structure. I cut mine from book board, because I knew she was going to travel for six months, and take a beating. If you just want a big paper doll to decorate, you can print the pattern directly onto heavyweight index stock. Tracing the pattern onto chipboard will give you a medium weight doll.

Next, you’ll need something to hold her together. I rivetted my book board pieces together with a pop rivet gun—but not everybody has one of these in their bottom drawer. Brads will work for lightweight dolls. Screw posts might work for thicker ones. Jump rings? Sticks and rubber bands? Be creative.

OK, the assembly process should be pretty obvious:

Trace or print your pattern onto whatever you’ve chosen as your structure.

Cut out your pieces.

Decorate like crazy.


To make Flat Lisa, I painted book board black, and then stamped and embossed the arms and legs with black powder. I sized a photo of myself to fit roughly on the head—I actually left the head piece uncut until I had my photo mounted, and then lined up the neck shape, cutting the top of my head according to the photo. Flat Lisa’s body has a strip of magnet on it, to hold her t-shirts on (or any other clothing anyone decides to make for her.