Mix & Match Dolls

Mixmatchdolls 315

Inspired by the classic mix and match books that we all loved so much as a child, we dreamt up this three dimensional project and I have to tell you it was such a hit I’m not sure who had more fun with it – us or the kids.  In our humble opinion this project totally rocked – it has all the elements of a super fun summer DIY project for bored kids and frustrated moms!  {  If you want to soak up a little inspiration before tackling this project, check out this beautiful book illustrated by artist Carin Berger here.  }

It starts out with a good old fashioned dress-up party and the end result is both fashionable and functional!  The kids will have a blast making their dolls, despite the challenge of them being a sticky gooey Mod Podgey mess.  They’ll have so much fun playing dress up and will love the idea that their dolls move and they can play with them like toys. Who doesn’t want a little mini me doll of themselves, sporting all of their favorite outfits at once? And its an added bonus that it’s a very interactive and a collaborative “mommy & me” project.

MixMatchDolls2.pngYou Need:

Dress up clothes & a camera!
Three identical small square boxes.  They must be square in order for the body parts to align properly.  We used 4×4 kraft tuck top boxes, available in an arts & crafts or packaging store.  
Medium size brads (fasteners)
Mod Podge
Soft brush
Printer + medium weight card stock paper

How To Do It:

Each child needs at least four wardrobe changes with lots of accessories.  These are more fun when the entire outfit from the top to the bottom are different – not just changing hats.  Round up lots of fun tutu’s, wigs, scarves, costumes, shoes, boots, swimsuits, sunglasses, hats, jewelry, etc.

When taking the photographs, it helps to have the child pose against a white wall (this will save you a lot of printer ink!) and make sure to fill the frame from the top of their head to the tip of their toes.  Don’t cut off their feet at the ankles!  Ask us how we know.

The size of your boxes will determine the proportional size of paper on which to print the images. We used 4×4 boxes, so the total height was 12″, which was just about perfect for us to print on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.  You want all of the images to be the same dimensions so they look uniform as the body parts rotate, so we configured them in our photo editing software to print with the top of the head at the very top margin of the paper, and their toes at the very bottom margin of the paper.

After printing your images, make a small template the size of your box to place over the printed image to frame the best part of the image to cut out.  Using a pencil, lightly trace the template on the photograph.  Make sure to frame each section of the body in as close to the same spot in each photograph (for example, we framed the head and shoulders just below the collar bone).

Cut out all body parts very carefully, as close to the edge of the photograph as possible.  Make sure to leave straight lines where the image will line up with the edge of the box, where applicable.

To connect the boxes, poke a hole in the bottom of one box and in the center of the lid of the box it will connect to, and fasten them together with a brad.  Make sure the hole is exactly in the center or the boxes will be out of alignment when they turn.

Working from the head down, apply a generous layer of Mod Podge to one box at a time, and firmly press the paper to the box, rubbing out any air bubbles.  Cover with another generous coat of Mod Podge.  It will be a white sticky mess at this point, but when the Mod Podge dries it will not be visible other than as a clear protective coating.

You can configure the doll so that each of the four sides has a correct image of an outfit, or you can totally mix them up so that no matter how the doll’s body parts are turned, the outfits will always be mixed up.

Cover the top of the box with Mod Podge to finish it off.  Let dry for about an hour, periodically rotating the boxes so they don’t get stuck together.

And voila!  Wouldn’t it be fun if everyone in the family made one!?

small hands big art is an art studio in South Charlotte that offers classes, camps, & parties for children & young adults.
8025 Ardrey Kell Rd.
Charlotte, NC  28277