Here is a charming, low tech way to amuse yourself during your next natural disaster, power outage or zombie apocalypse.  It may also work to keep small children quietly entertained during family visits this holiday season.  

Paper people are easy to make and customize.  You can quickly put together a complete family.  You can your child can make monsters and fight them in the arena of your coffee table.  Or you can create a race of enlightened aliens or robots and build a new utopia.  You can make characters to star in your next video production.

Lets go!

Step 1: Level 1 - Make a Blank

To start, make a blank person to see how all of the parts fit together.

  1. Print out, or copy the design sheet onto card stock.  
[ Edit ~  Apparently the design template image lost some detail when I uploaded it.  Here's a link to (hopefully) unaltered template page: http://www.bagchemistry.com/uploads/2/7/5/5/2755727/paperdoll.jpg ]

  1. Cut out the body first. (it looks like conjoined twins)  Don't cut the notches yet.
  2. Fold the body piece in half.  You can glue, or tape it together to make it more sturdy, if you like.  Its not necessary.
  3. Cut out a set of arms, a set of legs, and a head.  (There are two styles of arms.  Try em both!)
  4. Cut your notches inside the guidelines.  If you are using thicker card stock, cut wider notches.
  5. Assemble the pieces as shown in the pictures
  6. Say hello to your new friend!  "Hello Tabula Rasa"

* Some notes. *

Notice that the "chin" is actually the "nose".  And it starts at the top of the forehead.

Notice that the chest overlaps the hips in front. 

You don't need dark outlines. Unless you really want to. You can print this design sheet very faintly and still have guidelines for cutting and embellishing.  

Heavier stock will make a sturdier person, but it will be harder to cut out.  I tried using corrugated cardboard in one version, but I didn't like the way that the edges looked unfinished.

Make the notches very thin to start.  Cut them very narrow to start and make them wider if you can't get a good fit.  (its easier to cut away more than to put back paper you cut off.)

** Extra Bonus Note! **

"Tabula Rasa" is the idea, developed by Aristotle, that people are born without personality, talent or knowledge.  That their brains are effectively a "blank slate".  Tabula Rasa means blank slate in Latin.

<p>thx love the idea</p>
<p>This is SO good! My grandsons will love this when they next visit. Thank you.</p>
<p>This is brilliant.</p>
<p>Amazing. I shall make a paper Kraken. Thank you for this great idea.</p>
Paper People 2013 style
These are wonderful! Love Jason, Iron Man and Harleyquin. :-)
Harlequin is actually Lady Ga Ga! Glad you like them!
Haha. I guess I'm not too hip. Anyway, the student did a nice job altering her arms and legs. <br>:-)
Falcons Art Department present Paper people 2013 style..
These are made by students of saddle Brook High School
Oh these turned out wicked cool!! I had campers make them this summer, they turned out well (but alas I did not get pictures). My 4th graders are dying to make them this year, I'll have to share what your class did!
Here are some more to share with ya. :) Today I had a brilliant idea to use this concept, I just love these little guys!
Love the minotaur. I can see that you are really into that greek mythology. <br> <br>How did you get Atlas to hold the world on his shoulders?
Here is the drawing before I inked.
That's brilliant!
Mythology is a common core standard for 4th grade, so I'm working towards a project for them. :) As for Atlas, I used your basic arm shape, the one that has the arms face up, then created a circle. I slightly bent the cardstock to cut out a triangle then cut out around the inside leaving it one piece. :)
So I need to figure out how to do a cape, any ideas?&nbsp; I also realized I need to elongate his legs more.....clearly I haven't finished this, but as I was working on it and brain storming ideas for capes I thought I should see if you had any ideas about it. :)
I like him! <br> <br>Do you have trouble stabilizing the legs when you space them apart like that? <br> <br>Regarding his cape, maybe you could make an extra piece, that curves up from the shoulder slot and bend it to the ground? It might give you extra stability too. (I was thinking of trying that to make wings for a Doctor Who inspired &quot;weeping angel&quot;. :-)
I am at work, but I'll get a better picture later. I'm not completely happy with batman's cape, but it's getting there. These are addictive and I'm almost done with my lesson plan to use this project. :)
Nope no issue with the legs, what I did do was make the cut go up the body more for the leg slot, that helped. I did really push it with Batman I will admit. <br> <br>Good idea bout the cape, I'll play around with it. Oh you so should make a weeping angel and share pics!
I started an album for the paper people that get posted here. Its over on my facebook page: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/BagChemistry" rel="nofollow">https://www.facebook.com/BagChemistry</a>
I had to show you my first attempt, I was playing around with this during my planning period today. :)
Too cool! I like it that you changed up the body and arms. and I love the snakey hair! <br>:-)
Thanks I basically used your forms and lightly traced them onto card stock with a pencil then embellished or took away. Hit it with sharpy and cut. :) Then added color, this I can see is ADDICTIVE, because oh yes I'm sitting at home now making more. :) I'm also lesson planning, my students are so going to eat this up!
Very clever, they look like fun :D
Thanks! <br>I have been having a lot of fun making them.
Nativity version next with a new design for the sheep/donkey?
Ha. Good idea. I'm not religious though, and I would probably offend someone by body-swapping the wise men with the Madonna and the sheep. <br> <br>I was thinking castle, with knights and kings and queens and jesters.
You could make a really cool chess set with them! Superheros....book characters...man the possibilities are endless! Love this!
I like the idea of book characters! I've done Cthulhu. I should do Sherlock Holmes.
Oh yes! That would be fantastic!!!
&quot;Ha. Good idea. I'm not religious though,&quot; - Me neither, but I bet a lot of people would like a nativity that they could print and draw with their kids. Would probably get a lot of views. <br> <br>The castle idea sounds good :D
This is such a great instructable- thank you!
Really fantastic idea! thank you for sharing it with all of us!
Thank you. It so cool that people are enjoying it.
Forget kids, i want to do this
Let me know what you make! :-)
Excellent instructable. Clever, cute and clearly explained. Something anyone could do and everyone will want to make. Thanks.
Thanks for your kind words.
This is a really fun instructable. Thank you for spending the time sharing it with us!
Thanks. I appreciate it. :-)
Very neat idea! I'm going to play around with this idea for one of my classes. :)
Thanks! <br>I would love to see what your kids make. <br>:-)
I promise to take pictures and share :)

About This Instructable




Bio: I teach computer science and I do graphic design for printed bags, clothing, housewares, and much more. (http://www.BagChemistry.com, http://PaperTownToys.com and ...
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