Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How To Make Japanese Paper Dolls

Last Sunday, I had a ball teaching the Brisbane Brown Owls group how to make "Ningyogami" - Japanese paper dolls. I think everyone was surpised at how easy they were to do.

What you need
* “Kimono” paper (I prefer Japanese Yuzen or chiyogami) about 5.5 x 12.5 cm
* “Obi” and “collar” paper about 1.5 cm wide, the length doesn’t matter too much. You can use different papers for the obi and collar.
* “Obi-jime” paper (again, I prefer Yuzen or chiyogami), narrower than the “Obi” paper. You can use a few different ones to layer if you like.
* “Hair” and “Fringe” paper – I use Japanese crepe, but a standard crepe paper will do.
* White card for head and body. The head circle is about 2cm in diameter, the body about 3mm wide, length isn’t too important.
* Double-sided tape (you can use glue, but I find tape is less messy).
* Sticky tape
* Scissors

1. Cut a small length of the collar paper and fold it in half to create a narrower strip. Fold this around the “body” to create a collar (actually the collar of the under kimono). Make sure that (as you’re looking down on it) the left goes under the right. This is the way a kimono is worn by all except for the deceased. Run a strip down the length so that it hangs over the edge, you will use this soon.

2. With the wrong side up, fold about 1cm of one end (if the pattern on the paper has a top and bottom, do this at the top).

3. Flip the paper over and fold about 0.5cm back over. This forms the collar of the kimono.

4. Tape the body and under-kimono collar into the middle so that just a touch of the under-kimono peeks over the top.

5. Fold the left side of the kimono over the under-kimono collar. Only press the top of this fold, not the whole length.

6. Fold the rest of the side over to create a straight edge down the kimono.

7. There may be a corner of the collar that goes further than the rest of the edge. Trim this so that it is all straight.

8. Fold the other side over. To get the angles matching at the top, I find it easier to crease from the bottom up. Crease the straight line up to the point of the slight corner on the other side and then fold in the top to match. This side doesn’t fully cover the other side. There should be a few millimeters of the first side showing. Trim anything that hangs over the side.

9. Put the piece of “obi paper” around the kimono so that it sits just below the collar and covering the angled folds in the kimono (where the angle of the collar change to the straight edge of the kimono). Tape this at the back. The long hair will cover the tape later.

10. Put a decorative piece of “obijime” over the obi. You can do a few of layers of this if you like.

11. Place a bit of the crepe paper on the head to make a fringe. It should sit about half-way down. Make sure that the grain of the crepe is running down, like hair would do. Flip the “head” over and trim off the excess. The trimming doesn’t need to be too perfect, this will get covered by the rest of the hair in the next few steps.

12. Tape the head onto the body leaving a bit of “neck” showing. I use double-sided tape, as this gets stuck to the rest of the hair in a moment.

13. Tape the back of the head onto the hair piece so that there is some space at the top.

14. Fold the hair to that it angles up to the middle (or a little past, you don’t want your doll to end up with a bald spot). I like to do a few folds to give the hair more volume.

15. Do the same on the other side and hold the top of the head.

16. Twist the top of the hair and then fold it behind the head. If using the doll to go on a card or bookmark, it is fine to just tape the twist in place on the back.

She’s finished!

Watch out, making these can get addictive.


Teresa Foo said...

They are very lovely! I'd love to try them out but first I gotta go to Kinokuniya to get some beautiful Japanese paper! ^_^

Anonymous said...

these are lovely. may i have permission to use you tutorial for end of the year activities with year 8s and 9s?? this is the easiest explanation i have come across.

Liesl (Hoppo Bumpo) said...

They are absolutely gorgeous and you have put together an amazing tutorial. Thanks for sharing the secrets of the dolls - I can't wait to try and make some!

Little Munchkins said...

I used to make these when I was in primary school. I still vaguely remember how to do them. They make great bookmarks too ;)

Kre8ive Life said...

They are gorgeous. Love the step by step tutorial. I just love the extravagance of the papers. Beautiful.

Allie said...

Gorgeous! I bought one of these at a craft show one time - always thought I'd like to try it but now you've given instructions, so I know I can, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this Melanie. I've wanted to know how to make these for ages and couldn't find anything online. You're amazing. That must have taken so much time and effort to put together. I'm going to make them this weekend with my step daughters. We have purchased some gorgeous paper recently!

Diana said...

Thank you for this post! I made these dolls years ago and had completely forgotten about them. What fun they were and will be again.

Jetta's Nest said...

Thanks for putting this up Mel....I'm forwarding the link to a friend of mine so she can make some with her little girl :)


singtatter said...

That's a great tutorial! I did them in my school days, and in fact, I found some I did back them and re-mounted them on ATCs.

I'm planning to do more and teach my children to do them after the exams.

Péitseoga said...

oh, these are really cute!

Aussie-waffler said...

Thanks Melanie, these look wonderful, I am so going to have a go and try to make some scrummy book mark dolls.

Sabii Wabii said...

OK I'll try but I think you may have made them look a lot easier than they are.

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

Very sweet project! I think Sarah and her friends would love to have a go at these. We are off to Japan in January - I will have to stock up on some of that gorgeous paper.

Janice Mae said...

I love these paper Japanese dolls. I couldn't wait to try them with paper beads and make something really beautiful, unique jewelry with it.

SurrealDesign said...

Great Tute, I would have loved to have been at the Brown Owls Meet, I haven't made it to any yet, I just can't get anyone to watch Surreal :S

Ange said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I've always wanted to make my own kimono paper dolls!

Tania said...

See I know, just as soon as I start, the granny blanket addiction will be stopped dead in its tracks and there'll be 70 loose granny squares wafting about the place. So I'm squinting. And then bookmarking. Thank you!

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Anonymous said...

Love the dolls. Thank you for sharing the instructions with us.


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anabelucraft said...

Una idea preciosa!! SAludos

amyjean said...

These are really cute - great tutorial.

BellsInSpires said...

hi! i found this post while making my post this week, and linked to your blog from mine. hope that's ok? i love your photographs, they are gorgeous!

whizzbangle said...

so lovely - i will be making these with my girls this afternoon! thanks so much mel

Chris Jeffery said...

Right after reading how it's done, I couldn't agree more that this can get quite addictive. Especially that there are literally thousands of designs that can be made, this is almost like designing your own kimono, except that this is for the paper dolls' clothes. Lovely work, Melanie!

Anonymous said...

These are very nice dolls, do you know how to make dolls like the one's on this website They are very beautiful, and I'd like to learn how to make those.

K-Sue said...

These are so cute! Thanks for sharing the how-to.

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bukucraft said...

i love them japanese paper doll 2 dimention, they are beautifull. i have many book about japanese washi ningyou if you interest :)

Kylie Andersen said...

Hi there, how long would you say these take to make if it is your first time? I'd like to make these with a group of children and am wondering how much time to allow. Thank you :)

Belinda Paterson said...

I had little geisha dolls when little under domes and I've always wanted another because I lost or broke them playing with them.
They weren't meant to be played with just collectable .
Anyway l lerve this and I've got a drawer full of silver doilies and silver paper and I don't know if that's traditional but seeing this I've gone omg yeah and since I bought cocktail parasols yesterday like the paper I've got and seeing this I'm gonna make one.thank you so much.

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