Monday, July 7, 2008

Magnetic Paper Dolls

We often spend the holidays with my in-laws who live
about 4 hours away. The long drive is challenging for the kids
who, when not napping in their car seats, need to be
constantly entertained. Just before the 4th of July weekend,
I became obsessed with the crazy idea of making magnetic paper dolls.
I'd read about making fridge magnets from full-length photos
of family members (which I still plan to do someday)
from a magazine and then some weeks ago I came upon
a charming magnetic paper doll project here.
So the wheels in my head started turning - no, churning,
and two days (I did say it was crazy) before our trip,
I started this project. Pure adrenaline kept me going
because what started off as something simple became
more complicated as I added more and more details just for the fun of it.

So here they are: magnetic paper dolls of the kids themselves!

For those who are interested in doing this project themselves, here's what I did:

I bought:
- One roll (1'x2') adhesive magnetic sheet (from craft store)
- Two 8"x'11" sheets of self-adhesive laminating paper (from office supply store)
- Two magnetic dry-erase boards

I took pictures of the girls in their swimsuits and printed them out on regular printer paper. The images were roughly 7-8" tall.
I laminated the images (top surface) with the laminating paper and stuck these (bottom surface) to the magnetic sheet, then cut along the outlines of the images to make the magnetic dolls.

To make clothes, I placed the magnetic doll face down on the back of colored paper (or fabric) and traced the outline of the arms, shoulders, torso, legs etc. as a guide for each item of clothing, trying it on the doll and making adjustments to get it to fit right. Then I laminated each piece and stuck it to the magnet sheet before cutting it out.

And (further insanity) because the tiny pieces are so easily lost,
especially in a moving vehicle, I made a bag with top zippers for each set.
When the doll sets were complete, I confess that I spent some time
playing with them myself, marveling at how much easier it was
to dress the kids this way than with real clothes on real bodies
that refuse to cooperate!

Edited to add: Here is a much later post about a new set of
magnetic dolls made for the girls' cousins.


  1. ah! this blog allows one to post comments!

    This is SOOOOO cute! hahahah! Quite amazing... how in the world did you find the time to make these?? :)

    tks for sharing yr life & experiences with us! Fun!


  2. I am SO going to steal this! KIV la :)

    You asked about my

    The problem there is yo gotta join to see ALL of my postings (some of which are members only). In any case, you can still comment even if you don't join. Only must say who. I have not posted much there lately, craft-related or otherwise :(


  3. I was thinking that the bags were pretty huge, then realized they contained the entire board with the pieces, rather than just the pieces themselves. In any case, I covet the bags - the fabric looks like the rugs IKEA used to sell. xoxo E

  4. oh my goodness - I love this SO much..what a fabulous idea. I adore the bag too.

  5. Just thought I'd post again to say, "You're so clever, Lor!"

  6. I love the dolls. They are so fun. And yay for your new blog. Can't wait to see what else you create!

    -C. Warren

  7. I love these! And hopefully I will have some time making these before our big summe holidays (about 7 hour drive). These look so much fun - I think they will keep a kid busy for quite a while! :-)
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Really cute and totally clever! Asking in advance for a change - would it be alright if I use one of your photos (with credit, of course) and include a link for tomorrow's (mostly)Handmade Holiday? This would be such a fun gift!

  9. I love this idea!! Do you happen to know what thickness of magnetic sheets you used? Who knew there would be so many choices. ;)

  10. Donna: I think the sheet was 1-2mm thick. It came as a roll in a skinny cardboard tube like an oversize toothpaste tube. It was easy to cut with regular scissors. There was only one thickness of magnetic-sheet-in-a-roll at Michaels where I bought it. There were two varieties: one that you could print/paint on, and the other which you couldn't. Both were adhesive. I bought the latter kind. At Michaels, they were $9.99, which works out to $6.00 if you have their 40%-off coupon.

  11. I am a day care provider and this is a wonderful idea of a station for my day care. The kids will love it. Putting it all in a bag like that will be a woderful way to story it. Thank you

    Lisa's Home Day Care


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