Monday, August 20, 2012

Mr & Mrs Polichinelle Pantin Paper Dolls

My previous post gave a bit of information about French "Pantin" paper dolls from the 1800's 
and today I'd like to bring you a set that I had a bit of fun playing with digitally.

To assemble these puppets I suggest printing them on a heavy paper and then backing that with a heavy cardstock or light chip board before cutting the parts out.  Small brads are perfect for joining the doll parts; however eyelets would work well too.  You can even create a double sided puppet by printing the sheet in reverse so you see the pretty side no matter which way you flip it.

To make a true "Jumping Jack" doll string is also used to 
connect the pieces so you can make the figure "dance".
In this case you want your brads or eyelets to be loosely fitted to the doll 
so that when you pull the string the limbs will move easily.
An example of a large "Jumping-Jack" with string can be seen  - HERE
See more about Jumping-Jacks HERE and on string assembly HERE
My Pantin paper doll assembly instruction sheet on how to make them dance can be found HERE  

Mr & Mrs Polichinelle based on d'Epinal sheet No. 404
I've "cleaned-up" and slightly altered a vintage set of Pantin paper dolls to give them more appeal and make them a bit more versatile. You will notice that Mr Polichinelle has an extra upper thigh and bell arm so you can change his look slightly; however if you what even more versatility you can print the sheet twice or in reverse to alter your final puppet even more.

Polichinelle - French for the Commedia dell'Arte character Pulcinella aka "Punch"
He is a popular in French theater -  a mocking and comical hunchback; 
 that is easily spotted by his big hooked nose and his protruding belly. 
Mrs. Polichinelle - is Polichinelle's wife and was originally called Joan but later it got changed to Judy so yes, these would be an early version of the beloved French puppets "Punch and Judy"

This is the original image I found on a Netherlands website- HERE
The original set were fairly nice but I thought the faces seemed a bit bland and 
then there were multiple color issues throughout the piece that I wanted to clean-up.

So above you have the original set and below is my adaptation for comparison.
My EKDuncan "refreshed" version based on the original
 The lines and colors are now crisper and cleaner, the faces have a bit more depth to them and Mr. Polichinelle has a few spare parts allow for a few more "posing" options.

Polichinelle is a hunchback in the original theater version of his character, which is why he has that odd hump like item on his back.  I did not want to remove it from the set since that is how he was originally created; however feel free to remove it when cutting and assembling the dolls if you choose.  As you will see below I've removed it in a few of my adaptations of him.

One day I intend to make a series of  Pantins for my Christmas tree but for now 
I've just had a bit of fun creating digital dolls in png format to play with...

And here they are!

This will give you a few ideas on how her figure can be posed.
The middle figure is actually a "reversed" version of her.  
This way even though she is the same character she has a very different look 
just by being "flipped" in the opposite direction.

This first Polichinelle has him with all his original parts.
Mismatch pants, club, bell and his hunched back.

The first Polichinelle is in a "reversed" position and missing his hunchback.
The second figure has him with his with two bells instead of a bell and club.

My final version of him has him with matching pants and two bells.
The original version of this character has one leg that is predominately blue and the other green. 
I did not know if that was correct for him of if it was a colorization error when he was created.  
(It was not uncommon to find colorization errors in vintage paper products such as these dolls).
Either way, I thought he looked better with matching pants and created the second green pantaloon for him. 

I'm also not a big fan of the club he carries.  
Yes, yes - I know Punch carries a stick and likes to use it but I like him better with two bells so my version of the doll set makes it so you don't have to use the "club arm" if you don't like it either.  

Having extra parts or reversing the direction of a character is a great way to get more versatility out of one image; so remember you can print multiple copies and/or a reverse copy of a sheet to get extra parts -  for instance if you want his shoes to point in the same direction you would need two left or two right shoes.  It's fun to mix and match to see what your final character will look like.

I hope you have a bit of fun and create a few puppets of your own.

I'll be back later on with another altered Pantin to add to the collection, 
so please visit again to see what it will be.

Till Next Time...


  1. Oh these are gorgeous! They're so cute and funny at the same time!

    1. Hi Ira!
      I thought they were fun and am glad you like them too.


  2. Hello,
    Wow,I recognize you to make living small characters of paper! Mrs Polichinelle seems sympathetic!
    Many thanks!!!

    1. Hi Sylvie - This is a merry set indeed.

      I love showing them in actions since it really shows so much of their personality and I hope it will inspire people to make some. I know I'll make them out of paper one day but for now they are wonderful digital versions living on my computer.


  3. wOw to the images and thanks SO much for these!!!!!! I found you through a friend's post, and I'm delighted to have a look into your amazing talent. I play mostly in the computer, but you just gave me the urge to make it to paper with these two!!!!! thanks once again :)

    1. Hi thelatinmrspeel - Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed seeing this fun set of French Pantins. I'm so glad you found my blog and I hope you finds lots of other inspiring paper toys and digital images to "play" with.


  4. Omg!!! these are perfect. Thanks a lot to share...

    1. I'm so glad you like them.

      Thanks and Enjoy,
      Evelyn - EKDuncan