Monday, November 30, 2009

Kids' Card Making: The Paper Doll Card

The cards for the girls' Kids Craft Weekly card swap are all finished up, and the monkeys are sitting at my feet right this minute writing up some semblance of a signature and holiday greeting (after one card, Willow abandoned her planned "Happy Christmas to all" as too time-consuming and began to make do, instead, with "Will"). When they're done with that, it's the momma's job snap a photo of the two angels looking angelic together and send it to the dadda, whose job it is to add my blog address to the bottom of the photo and print off ten color copies and bring them home to the babies, whose job it will be (with the momma's supervision) to stuff the envelopes and seal them, and then we'll all go off to mail them together.

I had planned to sneak in some geographical learnin' this week all about the places that the cards are going to--everywhere from Australia to Ohio--but I have the sneaking suspicion that I'll be unable to peel the children's eyes away from anything overtly CHRISTMAS!!! this month.

This set of paper doll cards was extremely time-consuming to make, but the girls LOVED it, and worked absorbedly on the activity until they'd run out of doll clothes, which I couldn't cut out from the Cricut as fast as they could glue, especially with all the turn-taking and choosing of scrapbook papers and outfit choices, etc. etc.

You can do this kind of card with any sort of homemade or boughten paper dolls, of course, but since the girls and I happen to be obsessed right now with our new Paper Dolls Dress-Up Cricut cartridge (bought for a song during a Michael's doorbuster, at least, and well worth it), that is of course what we used.

It's tricky to get exactly the right size of paper doll with the Cricut, however, if you're measuring by width, because the Cricut offers measurements only by length. For instance, I didn't particularly care how tall these paper dolls were, but I did need them to be a little less than 3.5" wide, because I wanted our cards to fit in standard envelopes. So I actually had to experiment a little with various heights until I discovered that a 5"-tall paper doll is just a smidge less than 3.5" wide. Fortunately, the girls were happy to take over my mis-fires.

The nice thing about the Cricut, however, is that once you know the height of your paper doll, you can just input that same measurement to cut out all the clothes and accessories that are proportionate to that doll, so I could use 5" for everything from the hairbow to the Christmas tree. I don't use that feature as often with the font catridges, because if I want a single lower-case p, I generally want that p to be exactly the size I want it, not proportionate to the upper case P that I'm not going to print, but with the paper dolls cartridge, it's an extremely useful feature.

I've been playing with using the Cricut cut-outs as templates for making paper dolls and clothes out of recycled papers like magazine pages or comic books, and I have some big plans of also using them as templates to cut out some things for the girls' big felt board, but these Christmas cards are all done with scrapbook paper:
I tried to plan for the cards to be at least winter-themed by asking the girls to choose clothes and things that someone would use in the winter. Sydney was really bad at this, but with her, you never can tell if she's not doing something because she doesn't understand the concept, or because she'd just rather do whatever the hell she wants--either way, it's an activity to repeat a few times. Will enjoyed that aspect of the game, however, and came up with some fun cards:

The card swap is for children of all ages, and whereas when the girls did their Artist Trading Card swap they were sorted into a group of age-mates, here I think that at least some of their partners are quite older than they are. For that reason, I did want the cards the girls' sent to be fairly neatly done and reasonable as Christmas cards, and so although I obviously didn't direct or criticize their work, I did sort the cards into a small stack for the swap, and a biiiiiig stack to send to our own family and friends.

Grandma Beck might better appreciate Sydney's card, which consists of about 40 items of doll clothes glued smack on top of one doll with a big mound of glue, which was then colored on, than some anonymous ten-year-old in Canada might.

When a three-year-old works for most of an hour on ANYTHING, I don't care what it ends up looking like--it's automatically a masterpiece.


Anonymous said...

Wow...many 3 YOs couldn't sit that long for a tv show, let alone doing a craft!

About the Cricut: when you mentioned it a while back, I got all excited, because, after all, you first introduced me to the Dremel (which has been totally awesome for sanding our ceramics; I can't wait to use the other attachments for other stuff), so I figured if you raved about the Cricut, it is something that I need to look into.

Imagine my shock when I finally saw what the price is! I can justify the Dremel, but, alas, not the Cricut. I will drool over yours every time you post about it.

julie said...

Yeah, that's what I spent my CAGW bonus on! Now you know why I was especially so pissed when the general manager tried to screw me out of it! I allotted that whole amount, since it wasn't money I'd budgeted to earn, for the Cricut and cartridges, and now that I finished spending the rest of that bonus on Black Friday cartridges, I'm allotting the rest of the upkeep (blade changes, mat changes, etc.) to my swagbucks money, which actually comes pretty often.

And I bought it from Wal-mart, where's it's something like a hundred dollars cheaper than the big-box craft stores.

You can come over and play with my Cricut any time.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, thanks for the invitation to play with your Cricut! You may have to wipe the drool off of it afterwards though. ;)

cake said...

oh, what i wouldn't give to have your patience, and your ability to let go of control, when it comes to crafting with your children. you have some lucky little ones, indeed. you are a true inspiration.

julie said...

Aw, you guys!

Ooh, I did FINALLY figure out how to measure by length on the Cricut, however, on account of I finally read part of the instruction book. You have to press the "Fit to Length" button, and then your dial measures length, not height!