I must admit I’ve always had a thing for Childcraft. When I was growing up in the oh-so-long-ago 1980s, there was a series of books a lot like dictionaries. But thinner. And illustrated. And actually interesting. The set covered a bit of everything, from science to poetry, in a well-illustrated way perfect for young, inquisitive minds.
My favorite of the whole series was volume 11, a book titled “Make and Do”. Which, now that I come to think of it, was about making. And doing. It covered such riveting topics as how to make doll houses out of crates, a hobo costume for Halloween, or a soapbox derby car (make sure you have an old pair of rollerskates on hand for this one).
Of all the pages in all the Childcraft books in the world, the section on paper dolls was my favorite. It was a two-page spread featuring a young girl and boy you could trace and cut out, and an outfit by each doll that you could use to start your wardrobe. The girl sported a cute but standard red dress with inverted box pleats, and the boy had a singularly spectacular cowboy costume.
I have warm and fuzzy memories of sitting at our dining room table tracing, cutting, and designing clothes for those paper dolls for hours on end. Although my mom wasn’t into crafting, she did like to color. I could persuade her to draw new outfits, and we’d sit together with our pencil crayons, coloring side by side.
In order to bring that fond childhood a bit closer your way, I scoured thrift stores until i found the edition of Make and Do I grew up with (it turns out other editions had different crafts in the Make and Do book). I’ve sketched, traced, tabbed, and created a few modern outfits of my own to add to the mix. Wanna see?
I’ve put together this paper doll set in a nice little package in case you’d like to print them out too. I usually color the paper dolls first, then glue the sheet to an old cardboard box before cutting the dolls out so they’re sturdy enough to stand. Or you could just print on some heavy cardstock and save yourself some trouble!