Paper dolls are figures cut out of paper or thin card, with separate clothes, also made of paper, that are usually held onto the dolls by paper folding tabs. They may be a figure of a person, animal or inanimate object. Paper dolls have been inexpensive children’s toys for almost two hundred years. Today, many artists are turning paper dolls into an art form.
Paper dolls have been used for advertising, appeared in magazines and newspapers, and covered a variety of subjects and time periods. Over the years, they have been used to reinforce cultural beliefs regarding the appearance of ideal women.
Today, they have become highly sought-after collectibles, especially as vintage paper dolls become rarer due to the limited lifespan of paper objects. Paper dolls are still being created today.
Some flat plastic figures are similar to paper dolls, like Colorforms figures and Flatsy dolls, but these are mere imitations and not considered true archetypal characteristics of the paper doll art form. Magnetized versions of paper dolls have also been produced over the years.
Paper dolls have regained popularity with young children featuring popular characters and celebrities. Online and virtual paper dolls like KiSS, Stardoll and Doll makers also have a popular following, with users able to drag and drop images of clothes onto images of dolls or actual people.