Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Make Kokeshi Dolls with this free printable!

Well, Mama was a little obsessed this weekend. When my husband asked what was on the agenda for Saturday, I believe my actual words were "I don't know about you, but I'm going to be making Kokeshi dolls all day!" And I did, along with anyone who happened to pass by my dining room table, including our dinner guests on Saturday night. (It just happened to come up in conversation *wink-wink*):
Here are the after-dinner crafters

It all started with my daughter J wanting a Japanese themed birthday party. We were poking around on Google and discovered these adorable folk dolls from Japan called Kokeshi Dolls. They looked way fun, so I scurried down to my computer and made a doll template on Illustrator. J put in her 2 cents on  some Kimono adjustments, hairstyles and lo! we had templates for 2 different forms of the doll; one to create with cut paper and one to trace and color on my favorite medium Shrinky Dink plastic. Yes, I said Shrinky Dink. And because craftiness like this should be shared, I'll include both templates at the end of this post so you can make your own. This is a craft project dynamo that people of any age can enjoy (you'll see my 6-year-old son's below--it's the one with the bloody death scene on the bottom hem) because no matter how simple or complex the design is, each one looks better than the last!

Here is a sample of the cut paper style. What I loved about this kind was that I got to use some of my beautiful Chiogami paper (you only need a little bit!) and made use of some beautiful origami papers too. Choosing coordinating papers and obis (that's a crossword favorite, folks. It's the official name of the belt worn on the Kimono) and adding accessories to each doll's hair was a delightful challenge. Scrapbookers would really like this one since it makes excellent use of the smaller scraps of paper.
Here are some of the Shrinky Dink variety, which turned out to be everyone's favorite. I started with the frosted plastic and used my colored pencils. Those were nice, but since I was obsessed, I went to 2 craft stores and bought the Shrinky Dink variety pack at 8 pm on Friday night. The almond and white opaque plastic was a great medium and requires a permanent ink or paint pen. I used that as an excuse to buy the big pack of Sharpie markers that always calls out to me at the craft stores. Here are some more photos of the craft rampage...
Coloring a design with Sharpie markers on Almond Shrinky Dink Plastic
Ready to bake!
Just a few of our creations...
Paper Cutting template

The paper Kokeshi doll template should print on a standard size cardstock. Then trim out the pieces and trace onto your decorative paper.

This Kokeshi doll template is so you can trace the different dolls (differentiated by their hairstyles) onto the Shrinky Dink plastic and color your designs. Print to a standard white piece of paper.

If you end up using these templates, please send me pictures of your tiny works of art! I'd love to hear your stories!


  1. Wow, these are so darling. What a great idea. I love that you couldn't hold back from going to craft store late on a Friday night. I can totally relate. :)


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