How To Make Paper Dolls And Paper Scenes With Depth-A Tutorial And Review

How to make paper dolls and paper scenes might not be a question that you ask yourself as a miniaturist, but I thought it was a good idea to talk about on my website, as I find paper crafting adorable!

Not so long ago, I took you through a tutorial on how to craft a doll with fabric, and even on how to make miniature clothes, but today it will all be about paper, there is a lot more to say about this than you think!

Let’s just get our thoughts together and dive straight into things.

Updated 20/12/23

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But first: what is paper cutting or paper craft?

Paper crafting is all about a fun way of cutting paper.

That’s it, that’s the article. Kidding!

Cutting paper in a certain way to create two or three-dimensional projects is a serious art form, and especially in the East, lots of artists are creating gorgeous things just by using paper or card.

If you would like to learn more in-depth about this form of art, then I would advise you to take a closer look at my other blog post on 3D paper crafting here, be amazed! πŸ™‚

But now, up to our paper dolls!

Step 1: Which Materials Do You Need to make a paper doll?

This tutorial is based on an online course created by Noe Arata on paper-cut scenes.

Not a lot of materials are needed for this craft, but of course, there is a little list, divided into essentials and non-essential, but handy.

Beware though that papercut artists can use different kinds of materials, it depends on what you feel most comfortable with.

1. Materials that you Need and will use

  • A cutting mat

I have several cutting mats, one for rough and “dirty” work, like painting and gluing (I actually mean that it is already dirty lol), and one “clean” one, that is used to film the progress on my dollhouse kits and for cleaner work, like cutting paper and fabric.

So, get a nice and clean or new one for the purpose of this tutorial.

A professional one like this one, with the cms and inches on it, is very handy!

  • A precision knife/craft knife.

A crafting knife is something that I use a lot in the miniature world. I use it to cut balsawood, but also cardboard and paper. They are pencil-like tools with a blade on top.

But “finger knives” also exist and I prefer using those for my miniature kits.

  • A surgical scalpel is a very nice tool for cutting very precisely your paper.

    For the crafting knife as well, make sure to always have spare blades available, because you don’t want to stop working on your project, just while you are doing well πŸ˜‰

  • Of course: paper. Crafting paper between 90 and 220 grams is preferable and use paper that is easily bendable and treatable.

    Make sure to try out a few brands until you have your favorite one.

  • Having scraps of paper around is quite handy to own!

  • Paper of over 240 gr is useful to put together the pop-up structure of the project

  • Corrugated Cardboard as seen here. It is colored on one side and has a structure on the other side.

  • Tracing paper

Certainly, in the beginning, you will need tracing paper for your projects.

Check out more into depth information on all the materials used for crafting paper dolls and paper scenes here.

2. Other Helpful Materials

These next materials will definitely help you out extra, especially the glues, of course

  • Carbon paper to transfer your designs onto the crafting paper.

  • A ruler and a rectangle, for obvious reasons. A T-square ruler I tend to find handier, as you can measure something from the vertical side as well as the horizontal side.

  • an all-purpose glue. You can use UHU glue, but it’s a matter of personal preference.

  • A small and a large pair of scissors, paper tape, and any kind of thin rope or cord.

  • Butterfly pins will be needed to hold sheets of paper together.

Besides all of these materials above, there are other things that you could use, but not necessarily, like: rollers; to give paper some texture, precision tongs to let you have a grip on the paper, foam board and EVA foam, bias tape, and more.

You can check out the link below for more information.

Check out more into depth information on all the materials used for crafting paper dolls and paper scenes here.

Step 2: Think about the caracter of your paper doll and paper scene story.

When creating a layered miniature scene out of paper with a paper doll inside, you need to think about what kind of “story” you want to create.

Think of things like fairytales from your youth, a personal vacation that you made and have pictures of, toys or books from your childhood, cities that you have visited, and so much more..

For more into depth information on finding a story and more inspiration, have a look at this online tutorial.

Step 3: Make an initial sketchHow to draw a paper doll?

Sketching little images gives you an idea of how many layers of paper you will need to create your scene and how many paper doll characters you will implement in it.

Also, while sketching, you can start to think about which colors you will be using for the paper layers.

A course by Noe Arata

Step 4: Create the layers for the miniature scene.

If you want to create a layered paper scene, you need to work layer by layer. As you will need to know which images you will place in the front, in the back, and in between.

You need to sketch everything on tracing paper so that you can see clearly where each layer will go and see every image.

So in total, this will mostly be a three-layers structure, as creating more layers will make it harder to open and close the final project.

  • For the first layer in front, you could start for example with the left and right side of the scene, using trees, mushrooms, flowers, etc, etc, the only limit seems your imagination.

  • The second layer can include images like the previous ones from the first layer, just make sure that they don’t “hide” under the first layer of images. And this layer will fill up the “hole” that was created from the first layer.

  • The third layer will fill the second “hole” created by the second layer and thus fill up the entire space.
three layers of tracing paper on top of each other by Noe Arata

There is lots more to talk about for this part of layering a miniature scene, but it would take us far too deep into the online course.

To see exactly into detail of what I mean ( it is hard to describe the process in writing) check out this online tutorial!

Steps Number 5, 6, and 7: Exercises, make a mold, and learn how to use digital software!

To learn the language of papercut, you need to exercise, and exercise, there’s no way around this, unfortunately πŸ™‚

Sadly, there is no way that I could create videos for you myself on how to papercut, that would take me weeks, to be honest, and take a lot of time from me to continue to create my own papercraft videos on Youtube, so for this part, I would like to refer you to this great online course on Domestika.

One of the 7 videos on how to learn papercutting, a mold, and more! By Noe Arata

It is affordable and explains to you in 7! videos how to proceed with paper cutting.

Not just the cutting itself, but also making a mold and even how to use software to create digital scenes in layers.

Check out the online course for more detail on how to proceed with papercutting, making a mold, and how to use digital software here.

Step 8: learn how to cut straigt lines, curves, extra elaments, and glueing.

There is still a lot to learn before you really know how to make a paper doll and a paper-layered scene, did you realize this?

I did not know that so many steps would be involved and got quite overwhelmed when following this course, to be honest. Although I have some easy miniature paper crafting projects myself, this is way above my own capacities, haha!

Anyway, for the next steps, you will need to learn how to:

  • organize your workspace
  • how to cut straight lines
  • How to cut curves
  • How to cut extra elements
  • How to assemble pieces
  • How to lightly paint parts with diluted paint

How to cut straight lines and more by Noe Arata
extra elements and gluing

Learn all about these procedures in this online tutorial by Noe Arrata on

Step 9: How To Create a Pop-up structure?

For the next step, you will need to learn how to create a pop-up structure with a certain depth, to place your layered miniature scene in.

Once more, it would be impossible for me to write down the whole process, but Noe Arrata will teach you everything;-)

Learn all about these procedures in this online tutorial by Noe Arrata on

Step 10: Kamishibai: learn how to create an external structure, layering the structure

Kamishibai is part of an ancient Japanese storytelling technique, where a story is told by sliding your finished paper layers in and out of a “story box”.

In the next lesson by Domestika, you will learn how to cut out the external structure, inspired by Kamishibai boxes.

Learn all about these procedures in this online tutorial by Noe Arrata on

Final step: assembling the final piece.

In the final step, you will assemble the final project.

This includes the inner projects in 3 layers: the central part, the part that contains the total structure, and the cutout layers. All of these will be glued together.

Again, Noe Arrata will explain to you how this process works.

Learn all about these procedures in this online tutorial by Noe Arrata on

An Online course review on how to make paper dolls and a paper miniature scene.

Who is the teacher in this course?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this tutorial is based on an online course from Domestika, but it would be way too much to go into detail on the how-tos.

Working with paper, Noe Arata created all kinds of projects for several brands, like LancΓ΄me, Kiehl’s, Isadora, Campari, Brother, Olfa, Natura, Instagram, Ohlala, and others.

More information can be found on:

Check out more information on the teacher and her influences here. Popup artists included.

What will you learn in this course?

Your final project in this course will be an open mini scene, using Thumbelina, with a layered structure.

This course is divided into steps by steps, as I explained above.

It contains 22 lessons for a total time of 5h 18 min, with 31 additional resources.

This course is:

  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on an app
  • Audio: Spanish, but with subtitles in Spanish, English, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Beginners level
  • Unlimited access for always

A short review of this online course on how to make paper dolls and a layered paper scene.

The Good.

  • This is a very affordable online course
  • This tutorial is very expanded, I needed hours and hours to watch it all and has lots of extra information and guidelines
  • To be able to finish the entire scene and structure, you don’t need any other tutorials at all, just this one will be more than sufficient.
  • Gets 99% positive reviews, which is a fantastic score
  • easy to follow

The Bad.

  • although the subtitles are ok, I could follow, the audio is in Spanish and it can get tiring if you are not used to hearing Spanish
  • Only for beginners, advanced paper artists will not learn extra things

Check out the price and more details on this online tutorial on how to make paper dolls and a paper small layered scene here.

A bit of my own Papercraft work is Available on my Youtube channel.

Have you seen my Youtube channel yet, where I already made some dollhouse miniature furniture and miniature plants by using papercraft?

Let me see, so far I have crafted a miniature fridge, a miniature swing, a DIY miniature Christmas tree ( 2 types ), a miniature paper snowman, a miniature stool, a miniature trolley bag, a miniature origami cooking set, a miniature paper broom set, miniature paper plants, and more!

Feel free to check it out and subscribe to my Youtube channel, thanks!

My Final Conclusion

I hope that you enjoyed this walkthrough on how to make paper dolls and little paper miniature scenes.

By the way, did you hear about these peculiar Blythe dolls?

If you have any more questions or would just like to chat with me, please feel free to leave an answer below in the comment section.

You can also join me on my social media channels or Facebook group.

I wish you happy crafting!

Kind regards,


4 thoughts on “How To Make Paper Dolls And Paper Scenes With Depth-A Tutorial And Review”

  1. Hey there! I came across this article about making paper dolls and scenes with depth and I was pretty intrigued. I’ve always been a fan of crafts and I love the idea of making something 3-dimensional from paper.

    I noticed in the article that you mentioned using an X-Acto knife. Do you have any favorite tools for cutting out the dolls and scenes? I’m always on the lookout for new tools to add to my craft box.

    Overall, I think this article provides a great starting point for anyone interested in making paper scenes. It’s fascinating to see how much detail and depth you can create with just a few simple tools. I’m definitely going to give this a try and see what kind of creations I can come up with. Thanks for sharing this tutorial!

    • Hello Bob!

      Thank you for your reply, it sure is fascinating, isn’t it?

      About your question, I tend to use a regular sharp crafting knife which you can find on Amazon, a fingertip crafting knife from Fiskers is also something that I use a lot.

      I hope this helps you!

      I wish you happy crafting!

      Kind regards,


  2. Although this is not something that I would do myself, I have forwarded the article to my granddaughter who loves to paint, draw and make paper sculptures.  I am sure that she will have no problem getting the tools and materials she needs.  The instructions are clear and well organized.  The one question I have is how detailed to the initial “sketches” need to be.  My daughter is a good artist for her young age, but you initial drawing looked very detailed.  Her favorite thing to draw and make is any kind of animal.  I am forwarding this to here.  Thanks for this helpful article.

    • Hi Anastazja!

      Thank you for your uplifting comment and I hope that your granddaughter will enjoy it!

      The original sketches do not need to be detailed at all, as a matter a fact, the less detailed, the easier the cutting out will be, in my opinion.

      I wish you happy crafting!

      Kind regards,



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