My daughter’s favorite app on my iPhone is a kind of digital paper doll. It’s called Adora Dear and it is probably the best 99 cents I’ve spent in the iTunes store. The interface is fabulous, the variations are pretty much unlimited, and the girl absolutely loves it.
But it got me thinking about the paper dolls of my youth– the ones that were actually made out of paper. They were probably exorbitantly priced but they made me so happy. Mom probably paid the price gratefully knowing full well that this particular activity was very quiet, calm, and would likely consume much of my afternoon.
It seems to me, though, that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a paper doll book in stores. Until recently, at least, when the hubby pointed out one at our local craft store. It was a reasonable size, but the artwork was not up to my standard. And the price? Let’s just say I wasn’t going there.
The real price is apparently my ongoing fascination with finding a good one for my little one that won’t break the bank and will meet my standard. What is this standard?
- Good quality card stock.
If it’s not going to last 5 minutes within earshot of my very hands-on son, it ain’t happening.
- Nice artwork.
I’m shallow. I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with is obviously thrown together stuff. I want texture, depth, and effort, dangit.
- Variety of dressing options.
Because one must have options. Really.
- Franchise avoidance. Maybe.
I will not ever EVER be a fan of things like Brats and Barbie and the typical big names of girl toys. Unless there’s a Princess Leia doll out there, for which I would consider taking out a mortgage for if necessary.
In an ideal world I would have the wherewithal to sit down and make a custom Paper Doll which met all these criteria. We don’t live there (which is probably a mercy), so I’ve been scouring the internet trying to pin down some options. Here’s what I’ve come up with.
Generic, historical and just plain cute
- Clarence the Cat – http://www.gallimauphry.com/clarence/clarence.html
OMG it’s a kitty in a jester costume… and roman centurian gear… and a yankee outfit called “uncle socks”… le GUSH!!!
- Elizabeth I – http://www.gallimauphry.com/PD/elizabeth/elizabeth.html
Her maj and 5 gowns inspired by portraits of the Virgin Queen herself.
- The World of Samuel Pepys – http://www.gallimauphry.com/PD/pepys/pepys.html
This Baroque author’s +3000 page diary details daily life in smashing 60’s London—1660’s that is.
- Molière – http://www.gallimauphry.com/PD/pepys/moliere01.html
More Baroque fashion of a more theatrical flavour.
- King Louis XIV – http://www.gallimauphry.com/PD/pepys/louis.html
The ever-flamboyant sun king gets the paper treatment.
- Sixteen – http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/dolls/pd_scans/sixteen/index.html
Fabulous vintage ‘40s printables, 2 dolls and dozens of outfits.
- Six and Sweet 16 – http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/dolls/pd_scans/6-16/index.html
More vintage, this time from the ‘50s. 6 dolls (3 sets of 2 sisters) and a lot of matching outfits.
- Ziegfried Girl – http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/dolls/pd_scans/ziegfeld/index.html
Hollywood glam? Yes please! 10 pinup-style dolls and 6 pages of interchangeable gowns.
- The Ginghams – http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/dolls/pd_scans/ginghams/index.html
Very sweet collection of traditional dolls and dresses.
- Betsy McCall – http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/dolls/pd_scans/betsy_mccall/index.html
McCalls made patterns, and they also made a new paper doll every year, presenting a new outfit sheet every month.
- Cave Man – http://www.willicommer.de/bastelbogen/page07.htm
Dubious historical validity is easily compensated with mega-cuteness.
- The Fabulous World of Card Toto – http://ilfavolosomondodicartaditoto.blogspot.ca/2010/05/costume-e-societa.html
Adorable, and Italian!
Franchises I can tolerate
- Sailor Moon – http://www.rushita.com/sm/dolls.html
Haven’t even thought of this one since high school, but there she is. And all her friends.
- Star Wars – http://www.flyingarmadillo.com/cantina/fashion.html
The afore mentioned Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. Cartoon versions of them, but better than none.
- Firefly – http://spiraclemusic.com/webwalk/FIREFLY%20PAPER%20DOLLS.htm
Hand-drawn pretties of your favorite cancelled-too-early TV show.
- And what doll would be complete without an amaze-balls paper stage on which to strut?
- A Victorian village, complete with a few of the locals