courtesy of Sylvia Kleindinst

Check out this example that illustrates just how an idea found in the pages of Ladies Home Journal November 1909 was developed into a paper doll book by Sylvia Kleindinst.

Alternatively look at the Black and White Ball Paper Dolls by Sylvia Kleindinst that were based on designs by Mr. Robert E. Jones Vogue Magazine- July 15, 1915

You can go on a treasure hunt, find some early magazines and try making a paper doll book of your own that depicts an intriguing life-style from the past. The possibilities really are endless.

Mask of the Red Death
View Sylvia's work on this project

View Sylvia Kleindinst Dolls
Paper Dolls by Sylvia
Black and White Ball

Sylvia Kleindinst at Soul Food
Memories Rising
Taos Doorways

Sylvia's Paper Doll Links

Paper Doll Review
The Original Paper Doll Artist Guild
Paper Dolls for your Computer
Fairy Paper Dolls
Denver Doll Emporium
Treasure House
Judy M Johnson Paper Goodies
Printable Paper Dolls
Origami Paper Dolls
Assorted Freebies - Fiddlers Green
Marilee's Paper Doll Page
Joanne's Paper Doll Page
Paper Doll Parade
Paper Doll Cafe

Sylvia Kleindinst talks about making Paper Dolls

Paper dolls are a great source of fun and inspiration. Many who collect now do so because of memories from childhood and sets they enjoyed. This is certainly the case for me as well. Drawing fashions for comic dolls that came in the Sunday newspaper was a major hobby from around age 11 all the way to now!

I would take a small sketch book with me to the movies and started drawing the costumes while watching the film. I had to do this in the dark! Well, some light from the screen. Then, I would redraw the clothes to fit one little figure I'd cut out from a comic doll. I'd color and paint the clothes, cut them out and glue into scrap books. Over time, I filled up eight books with clothes from the movies. Fortunately, I do have the books!

Most other paper dolls disappeared and so many people report that their mothers threw out all the paper dolls and they now regret losing them. As a teacher, the paper dolls could be worked into writing lessons as part of the fun of the dolls is the imaginative play and creating the costumes to go with them.

One of the artists who now does fantastic sets of movie stars,Marilyn Henry--(another Nebraskan) recalls that she and friend worked out a whole town called: TWINKLE TOWN and even put out their own newspaper with news about the stars. They used their paper dolls to act out scenes from movies or whatever the stars might be doing. Marilyn went on to become a teacher of Graphic Design at a college in Evansville,IN and continues to create these great sets in the style of the older movie sets.

I went into other things when I got into collage and trained to be an art teacher,married and had three children. I went on to take more college work and ended up with three Master's Degrees--One in English ED from Elmira College, one in Art ED.from Buffalo State College and the third one for Humanities from the University of Buffalo.

My interest in paper dolls resurfaced in about 1980 when I read a little article in Family Circle Magazine about collecting PD's and an address for a newsletter for collectors. I subscribed to it and also found a big box of cut dolls at a flea market. The rest is history, so to speak.

The idea came to me to get out my old scrapbooks and use them as references to do sets of movie star paper dolls for sale. I did this, with some success. In 1984, I went to my first convention and met Judy Johnson. She wanted to start a zine for paper doll artists and we had a meeting at this convention to get organized as a special guild to promote paper doll art. Well, OPDAG is still going now, better than ever!

Jenny Taliadoros has taken over the publication for her mother as she has the computer skills to put it together very well! I've worked on the editorial staff since around 1989. Jenny and I have become very close friends and she became interested in rubber stamps first. Started her own company called: Maine Street Stamps. Then she discovered collage and making books! We went to three workshops together in Montreal--so we share on several levels.

Suggested Activities

1. Use Alicia G's doll template and make a jointed paper doll. Alternatively use this template from Joanne's Paper Doll Page as a base and dress her as you would like to dress yourself if expense were not an issue.
2. The New York City Public Library provides image resources for those who seek knowledge and inspiration from visual materials. It is a collection of 30,000 digitized, public domain images from books, magazines and newspapers as well as original photographs, prints and postcards, mostly created before 1923. It consists of images of New York City, Costume, Design American History and other subjects. Two other great sites for collage materials is this collection from the Vatican library and the British Library Image Collection. If the combination of the New York City Public Library, the Vatican Library and the British Museum does not stir your creativity then you need to go for a good walk in the fresh air and hug a tree.
3. Have fun cutting out and assembling paper dolls and constructing this German Circus Set. The circus is all in German but just click the links and have fun. Insert the pieces in a plastic pocket inside your visual journal.
4. Henry David Thoreau was a dissenter and a dropout, perhaps the most famous who ever lived. He signed off from the Church. He signed of from the State. "If I had known how to name them:' he wrote, "I should have signed off in detail from all the societies which I never signed on to." He rejected the Establishment and all its trappings. He saw such possessions as fancy clothes and elaborate furniture as so much extra baggage. He demanded a fresh, uncluttered existence with time for self-exploration. He would, he told the world, "breathe after his own fashion." Recreate his famous home and learn more about his non conformist views. Write about five things you feel really strongly about.
5. Use the material, places and characters you have worked with to create a town. Plan a town festival to attract tourists, write a tourist brochure advertising features of this area and write some articles for the local newspaper about events and some of the characters who inhabit this place. Keep everything in your visual journal - taking care to store pieces in a plastic pocket or envelope.