Friday, August 20, 2010

How to make Japanese Paper Dolls "Ningyogami"

In my previous post I took a photo of some Japanese paper dolls or otherwise known as Ningyogami that I had made for my daughter. I haven't made them for a while but I wanted to teach my daughter how to make them to give to her friends and teachers at school. It's her last year in primary school and next year she'll be going off to study back home so the dolls were just little gifts to give away. 

Anyway, this is my first step-by-step tutorial so here it goes. 

What you need.
* Wrapping paper (not too thin)a few different types. The best paper to use is "chiyogami", traditional Japanese paper.
You can download and print some chiyogami paper from Creative Canon. 
* White card paper for the body and head. It's a slightly thicker paper than print paper.
* Black paper for the hair but you can also use the white card paper and just colour it in with a black pencil.
* Scissors
* glue

* Kimono: 2 1/2' x 4'
* Kimono Sleeves (Optional): 1 1/2' x 2 1/2' (cut 2)
* collar: 1/2' x 1 1/2'
* obi sash: 2 1/2' x 7/8'
* obi sash back: 1 1/2' x 7/8'
* obi jime: 2 1/2' x 1/8
* body: 2/8' x 5
* face: roughly 6/8'diameter oval

1. Fold the collar into half and fold over the top of the body. Fold the left side first facing you.

2. Fold 1cm of the top part of the kimono facing the non-printed side and then fold in half facing the printed side. Place the body and collar on the kimono and glue down the middle of body.

3. Fold the left side of the kimono over the collar but not the full side just the top part.Fold the rest of the paper over to so that there is a straight edge of the kimono lined up along the body. 

4. Repeat this for the right side of the kimono. Glue down the straight edges down.

5. The sleeve is optional. Glue the 2 pcs of sleeves together and press in half and cut one curve corner. Place down just below the outer collar.
6. Cut the sleeve along the body up to 3/8 to the top. At the back trim the portion of the sleeve on the back into a V shape. Glue down the sleeve to the back.

7. Place down the middle of the obi/sash onto the kimono and fold over the back and glue down.

8. Fold the obi sash back to form a small roll and glue ends together. Place the obi jime along the middle of the obi sash and glue down. Place one end of the obi jime through the obi sash back and glue down the end and repeat with the other end. 

9. Glue down the face onto the body and attach the back of the hair to the face. Glue the hair onto the face and body.

10. Attach the fringe to the face and glue down. You can play around with all different hairstyles and decorate the hair and obi with flowers.
This is the back of the paper doll.You can play around with the different paper and add layers to the kimono. Give each doll a personal touch with lots of different hairstyles. It's fun and you can give them as bookmarks, tags or just little gifts. I made a few of them and now my son wants a boy paper doll so I'll be post that soon too. 

What's new on this blog.... 22 March, 2011

The Giveaway!

I've reached another 25 new fans on my Facebook page and so this is my little giveaway to say thank you. I'm giving one of these clutches for the giveaway and you can have the chance to pick one if you are the winner. Just become a fan of my "This Side Of The Island Shop" page on Facebook and make a comment below this photo of the clutch purse giveaway. This offer ends on 31st March and I'll be using a random generator to select the winner of this giveaway. The winner will be announced on 1st April.

Become a fan of This Side Of The Island Shop on Facebook , leave a comment and WIN!


  1. It is beautiful. I can't wait to try to make them with my kids.
    I have a question please, can you teach me how to make also korean dolls, with Hanbok? or do you know if there is a tutorial for this in the web?
    Thank you so much.

  2. Hi, you're dolls are beautiful, I can't wait to try making them with my kids. I have a question please, can you please teach me how to make korean paper dolls with Hanbok? or do you know if there is a tutorial for this in the web? Thank you very much.

  3. Thanks. Glad you like them:) I haven't heard of Korean paper dolls. I'm intrigued so I'll have a look around.

  4. Hello, Thank you for the tutorial. the dolls are so cute. I'm trying to make them but didn't understand step 6, what should I do with the sleeves in the back? where should I cut the "v" shape? thank you again and have a nice day.

  5. Hi Ahuva. Step 6. In the photo I've only showed the front part but at the back part of the sleeve that is in the middle of the body, you trim that part into a "V" shape so that it doesn't show too much once you place the belt over it. I'll have to check for my photos to see if I have one of the "V" shape. It is basically trimmed so that it doesn't show but you don't necessarily have to trim to a "V", you can just shorten the length of the middle part of the sleeve that in the body.
    I hope this helps.

  6. Great tutorial! My son who is in grade 2 is doing a project on Japan and wants to teach his classmates how to make Japanese Paper Dolls... he was excited to find your tutorial... THANKS!

  7. That's so neat! I'm so happy to help out :)

  8. how do you fold step 2 and 3? i cant seem to be able to

  9. Fold over 1cm and then turn the paper over and fold it into half so that the collar is now 1/2cm covering both sides of the paper. Mark the middle of the paper and glue the body onto the paper so that you have enough for the head and neck. Fold the top corner at an angle and so that only the top part is folded to make out a shoulder. Line the edge and fold it parallel to the body and repeat of the other side. I hope this explains it all.

  10. wow they look so cute! soooooooo making one of them : )




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