How-To Tuesdays #1: Milk Jug “Paper Dolls”

It us turning out to be an amazing summer for us.  Randy is spending a record amount of hours in the living-room-recording studio.  (If you haven’t heard any of our sneak-previews from the new album, check them out on our website–  There is a lot of creative energy bouncing around here.  As a challenge and motivation to myself, I am going to start a little mini-series here on the blog.  For the next six weeks, I am going to be posting how-tos on Tuesdays.  This is motivation for me to stay productive in the midst of taking care of all the wee ones while Randy is locked away in the vocal booth, and just because–I like to make things.  So for this little series, I will be posting some projects that are:

A) Quick.  I don’t have time in my life for projects that spread themselves out over months or weeks or even days…  The projects I will be posting are quick and can be done in between a newborn baby’s feedings.  (An essential for this season of my life…)

B) Cheap.  Another essential for this season of my life, most of these projects use things like cardboard, old clothes, milk jugs, etc.

C) Simple.  These projects are designed for people like me, whose craft expertise goes about as far as cutting, gluing, and stitching an almost-straight line.

So here we go.

How To Tuesdays #1: Milk Jug “Paper Dolls”

Milk Jug "Paper Dolls"

I have had a lifelong love of paper dolls.  My older sister used to make them for me when I was a little girl, and if I was allowed to buy something at the store, it seems like I always chose paper dolls.  I remember making up stories with them in the back of our station wagon–making them sing songs, go to parties, dance at the ball…  I made clothes for my dolls while we watched tv.  I still have my collection from when I was a kid.

Last Christmas, I was so excited to give Rosie and Paloma paper dolls for Christmas.  Paloma’s were the punch-out kind, but Rosie’s had to be cut out by hand.  I cut each dress out carefully, each accessory, etc.  They loved them.  They thought they were so beautiful.  They REALLY enjoyed them for a very short time.  The next day I found one of Paloma’s dolls missing a head.  They are just paper, you know.  It’s hard for a 3-year-old and 5-year-old to really take care of a piece of paper.  I think this is the one flaw of paper dolls.  They are too easy to destroy.

While I was rinsing out an old milk jug to throw in the recycling box, I had an epiphany.  Milk jug “paper” dolls would be brilliant.  They are sturdier than cardboard (we’ve made a few from cereal boxes, too…), and they can be painted with acrylic paint or decorated with permanent markers.  They are very hard to tear, and they do not bend easily.  I cut some dollies out.

The kids all enjoyed their little dollies.  They colored them with sharpies, and we made some little clothes to go with them.  I made tabs on the clothes, but later we realized that sticking a little piece of folded tape on the back works even better than the tabs.  It is easier for little kids to get their clothes to stay on.

It’s obviously pretty self-explanatory, but this is how you make milk carton paper dolls.

1.  Rinse out your used milk jug.

2.  Cut off the top first to make it easier to cut some long strips of plastic.

3.  Draw the outline of a person on the plastic.  (You can draw it on paper first, cut it out, and trace around it if you prefer.  If you don’t feel that you can draw a good figure, print one out on the computer, or cut one out of a magazine and trace around it.)

4. Cut out your doll.

5.  Decorate with acrylics or colored permanent markers.

6.  Make clothes by placing another strip of plastic over your doll and using the outline as a guideline for the clothes you would like to design.  If you want tabs, draw them on.

7.  Cut out your outfit and decorate it.

8.  Play!

Paloma and Kells working on their dollies.
Paloma and Kells working on their dollies.
Rosie coloring her milk jug doll.
Rosie coloring her milk jug doll.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. nance says:

    never mind Mack, I found it by googling “milk jug paper doll”…