Introduction: Talking Paper Dolls With Makey Makey and Scratch


When I was a little girl, I LOVED paper dolls. I would spend hours changing clothes, making up stories and having a great time with my imagination. I decided to merge my love of paper dolls and coding to share stories in a new way.


  • Makey Makey
  • 8 alligator clips (for 4 characters)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Items to make clothes for the cardboard dolls or printouts of characters
  • Glue Stick
  • Marker
  • Scratch Program
  • Computer

Step 1: Make the Cardboard Paper Doll

  • Make a template for your paper doll out of paper.
  • Trace the template shape on to cardboard.
  • Cut the doll shape out of the cardboard. I know that I want four dolls for this project, so I cut out 4 dolls.

Step 2: Dress Your Paper Doll

Now is the time to get creative! This is where you will use various supplies to make the doll unique to the story you are telling. I know that I want to make a story about my favorite childhood movie, The Wizard of Oz.

  1. All of my supplies are currently in storage, so I just printed out pictures of the four main characters; otherwise, you would use the supplies you have to make clothes and accessories.
  2. Attach the picture, clothes and/or accessories to your cardboard doll form.
  3. Repeat for the remaining dolls.

Step 3: Create the "Stage" for Each Paper Doll

I want each doll to be able to stand on their own, so I decided to create a "stage" for each of them to stand on.

  1. Cut a rectangular piece of cardboard. For this project, my rectangle was about 3 inches by 9 inches.
  2. Fold the rectangle into thirds.
  3. The stage is where you are going to glue two thin strips of aluminum foil. This will allow us to make a slap switch to make the characters talk. Glue the two pieces of aluminum foil down, so they form a "V" at the front of the "stage". BE not let the two pieces of aluminum touch. Get them close to each other, but do not let them touch.
  4. Write "Press Here" and draw an arrow to the point where the two pieces of aluminum foil almost touch.
  5. Place your paper doll on their stage!

Step 4: Use Scratch to Program What Your Characters Will Say

My program can be found at: . You can remix this program and change it to fit your needs.

  1. Start the program with the EVENT - "When [Space] Key pressed".
  2. Select which key you will press to activate the paper doll's sound bite. I want to use the four arrow keys for this project, I will select "Up Arrow".
  3. Select SOUND - "play sound [Meow] until done".
  4. None of my characters will Meow, so I need to record what I want each character to say. On the SOUNDS tab, go to the bottom of the screen and hover over the "Choose Sound" button. For this project, I will choose record sound.
  5. Click the record button, record audio, click the stop recording button.
  6. If needed, trim the audio to cut out anything not wanted, then click SAVE.
  7. Make sure to change the name of the recording. In this case, I'll use character names.
  8. Go back to the CODE tab. On the play sound drop down menu, scroll down to the name of your recording.
  9. Repeat steps 1 - 8 for the remaining characters.

Step 5: Connecting the Makey Makey to the Character Stages.

I used 8 alligator clip cords for this project.

  1. Plug the Makey Make into the USB port on the computer.
  2. The first character I want to connect to the Makey Makey is Dorothy. She will have one connection to Earth and one to the right arrow. Hint...I like to test that my connections are correct at this point, before moving on to step 3. To test your connection, open the Scratch program on your computer. Press the cardboard where the arrow is pointing. If your connection is correct, you should hear your recording of Dorothy.
  3. The next character I want to connect to the Makey Makey is the Scarecrow. He will have his own connection to Earth and one to the down arrow. Don't forget to test your connections.
  4. The next character I want to connect to the Makey Makey is the Tin Man. He will have his own connection to Earth and one to the left arrow. Don't forget to test your connections.
  5. Finally, you will connect the Lion to the Makey Makey. He will have his own connection to Earth, and one to the up arrow. Don't forget to test your connections.

Step 6: Show Off Your Creation!

The final step is to play your masterpiece for an audience! Go through each of your characters and listen to what they have to say!

Use your imagination and the paper dolls to make more stories to share with friends and family!