Introduction: How to Make a Book Doll
I’ve always been intrigued by the story told in the human figure - the tilt of the head, loose dangly arms, pursed lips. As an adult, I’ve used dolls as a way to do personal healing. Placing my emotions outside of me in the form of a doll has been a way for me to engage and communicate with neglected parts of myself. This process of healing through doll making has been informative, transformational, and fun!
My dolls tell stories, and making a doll into a book is a way of combining two creative expressions. This process can be deep and revealing or can be light and fun. Made of a file folder and decorated with whatever supplies you choose, you can create this doll with minimum effort. Write the story before making the doll or let your doll tell its own story.
You can see my healing dolls and read their stories at https://www.anneheck.com
Step 1: Imagine Your Doll Into Being
1. Close your eyes and imagine your life as a book. Ask yourself what chapter you’re particularly drawn to at this point in time. It could be only a page of the book that draws your attention.
Focus on a character or presence that’s speaking to you through this part of your life. What message or symbol connects you with the circumstance or character you have in mind? What colors, textures and symbols appear to you? What is your character’s expression? Is it holding anything? Is it a symbol it carries?
Open your eyes and make a sketch of the character you want to portray, choosing colors and symbols that match those that appeared in your imagination.
2. Imagine a character you’d like to connect with - this could be one your know or someone you make up in the moment. For example, I’ve often asked people to create in their imagination someone who is a helper or who can support them with what challenges them at this time. With closed eyes, see the character in all its detail. Look closely in your imagination at its expression, its colors, its textures and the clothes it wears. Is it holding anything? Is there a symbol it carries?
Open your eyes and make a sketch of the character you imagined, choosing colors and symbols that match those that appeared in your imagination.
Step 2: File Folder Cutout
Supplies: file folder scissors paint, markers or crayons glue clay (optional) fabric (optional)
Get a file folder. Trace and cut one side of the file folder in the shape of the pattern included in the file provided. Score “Fold Lines” only. Do not fold at other junctures as these are where the head and torso are connected and these will not require a fold. You may also wish to re-enforce this ‘no fold’ area with an extra piece of cardboard glued across the back, especially if you choose to use clay for the head as then the head will be heavy.
Step 3: Doll Creation
Choose decorative papers or fabrics ~ or use markers, crayons or paint to create the body of your character on the inside of the book. You will want to give some thought to any symbols or designs that you came up with in your introductory exercise. Perhaps you’d like to make something from clay or paper that your character will be holding. Maybe you’d like to make some striking shoes or stockings. Perhaps you’d like to make clay hands, etc. You may wish to write some words on the panels to describe your character or to tell a bit of the story you’re focusing on.
To fold the book doll, fold up the bottom “Fold Line” first. Then fold the left and right panels, one overlapping the other. On the outside of the book, you can design another appearance of your character - some other clothes or features if you’d like.
The head can be drawn on the top or you can make a head from oven bake clay and glue it there.
You can choose to write your story on the flaps or simply share your story with a friend.
Think of a way you’d like to create a closure on your book. You could sew on a button or wrap some elastic cord around the book and tie in a bow.