Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Articulated Paper Dolls - Vintage and New

I hope everyone who joined me for my series on Vintage French "Pantin" Paper Dolls made by d'Epinal, enjoyed the fun images and the updated versions I've created.  For this post, I wanted to show some other vintage paper dolls of a similar fashion as well as some more modern versions so you can get a sampling of what other treasures are out there for you crafting pleasure.

I actually started my blog due to my fascination with articulated paper dolls and my new found love of collecting vintage ones.  I had a driving passion to share some of my great finds and to find a creative outlet for creativity and thus EKDuncan - My Fanciful Muse was born. My very fist post "New Quest" showed a few of my vintage jointed dolls and then a few I created. 

So I begin today's post with the vintage paper doll that inspired me to start a blog.

Late 1800's Articulated Embossed Paper Doll from Germany - L&B (Littauer & Boysen)
I've been told she represents Alexandra of Denmark who became 
Queen-Consort of England by marriage to King Edward VII.
Alexandra was known for her trademark tall collar of pearls she always wore, 
presumed to conceal a scar she had on her neck due to a childhood operation.

*** Some also list this doll as actress Lillie Langtry***
Ironically Lillie Langtry was King Edward VII's Mistress

So is this doll the King wife or his Mistress????
 I believe her to be Alexandra since I have another doll in the series who 
I believe is Lillie; either way she is a very pretty paper doll.

L&B (Littauer & Boysen) was a German company who produce high quality embossed, lithography dolls and "paper scraps".  They sold products under their L&B logo as well producing items for sale for distributors such as the Dennison Co here in the USA.  These dolls are beautiful in person due to their glossy and slightly embossed surface.  Sadly the material they are made of is a heavy pressed paper that possibly contains a clay like product in it; and over time these pieces become very fragile, brittle and crumbly so you have to handle them with care and be careful as to how they are stored to reduce the chance of damage.

I'm going to do a new series on my L&B collection in the near future since I've purchased
 some new dolls recently and I've gotten a bit creative with my existing collection.

There are lots of Victorian articulated paper dolls out there and from time to time you can find them on web auctions or posted in places like flickr or Pinterest.  Several of my older posts show other L&B or similar articulated dolls. To re-visit those posts click - HERE


Pantins were the French "Jumping-Jack" puppet dolls that were the rave in Europe during the 1700-1800's and they are probably the base design for all articulated paper dolls that followed.

You could purchase very nice quality versions of many of the dolls from print shops however the images that seem to have survived in greatest quantity were the ones of lesser quality that were mass produced on a newsprint type paper and looked like the image below.
French Pantin paper dolls from the late 1800's
 You can see a variety of other Pantins by re-visiting my French Paper Doll "Pantin" series 
showing vintage and reworked versions of d'Epinal jointed dolls - HERE

d'Epinal may have been one of the major producers of French "Pantins" but not the only ones.
Here is an example of a beautiful doll produced by Poupee Modele in the 1800's
Late 1800's Paper Doll from the Doll Magazine Poupee Modele
 Poupee Modele was a well known 1800's French Publication dedicated to dolls.  They had all kinds of clothing patterns for real dolls and then there were lots of paper doll related items as well.  This corset doll is such a sweet lady and I currently only have the web version of the image you see here. If I'm a luck girl I'll one day own an original or a very good resolution version of her;
 but for now I at least know how pretty she is and that I want one.


A Fun Variety of Vintage Dolls

Below are a selection of interesting Vintage jointed paper dolls that I've spotted over the years while doing web searches.  Sadly in most cases I do not know where they were originally found and the resolution on them is low.  I used these images only as reference while searching out vintage articulated dolls to purchase. These will help give you some idea of the variety of vintage paper doll sheets that were made and may still be available to collectors.

C1880 Germany - from

1896 The Boston Sunday Globe from
Two assembled from the above sheet -

The Assembled American Acrobat below was added to this post on  01/02/2013
American Acrobat - I just won it on eBay!!!!
  update 01/02/2013 - I just won this doll on eBay and I'm thrilled!!!!
I still hope to one day get the full uncut sheet but for now 
I'll have this great original doll in my collection.

Just in case you are wondering why this acrobat looks a bit odd???
The person that originally assembled him a long time ago, has his thighs upside down.

When I get him in I'll post about him.
I'll probably disassemble him, scan his parts and then re-assemble him correctly.
I'll also post the parts for you so you guys can create one of your very own.

If I'm lucky, I'll one day have a full set of assembled acrobats and an 
original uncut sheet but so far I've had a very nice start to 2013!!!



1950 Denmark from -


The Modern Approach

Jointed Paper Dolls still being made today; however for the most part they are part of the 
"Art Doll" world being made by artists and given/sold directly by them on the Internet.
You can even find free templates and ideas on how to make jointed dolls of your own.
I also own several rubber stamp versions of jointed dolls for some added interest in my collection.

You can create your own jointed doll by using a variety of templates, stamps and images.

This is an "Art Doll" I created using a jointed doll plastic template I had in my stash of stuff and various rubber stamp images from 100 Proof Press Rubber Stamps.  I love to make skirts from odd items and her skirt is made from 7 images of  the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I've done the same with all sorts of images from buildings to fans to even butterfly wings

Jointed Art Doll created using a digital copy of vintage L&B doll parts and butterfly wings
 For a while I was creating a nice collection of folding ATC cards using jointed paper dolls and other items to dress them up.  The above folding doll was made with digitally printed items and the doll assembled with brads so that she could be easily stored in the ATC background she was attached to.

This ATC folding Art Doll was created using the doll template I posted a 
few images up and then multiple rubber stamps from Blockhead Rubber Stamps.

Mad Rat Rubber has great doll part rubber stamp images and accessories.
They have converted several vintage Pantins into rubber stamp form
so you can stamp and color them any way you want.
below is a link to one of the rubber stamps they make that I own.

The Enchanted Gallery
 has several free doll templates available for download and a variety of 
rubber stamp images to help give your new creation character.
These can be found on their site at

Now if stamping is not your thing there are thousands of images you can find on the Internet.
It does require a bit of effort to find them and size them correctly for your project; however,
 you can be assured of a truly one of a kind creation when you are finished.

It is also very nice to have some ready to go supplies to augment 
you collection of doll parts for variety and ease of use.

Some of my favorite finds have come off Etsy and the great artists and crafters who post there creations for reasonable prices. The best part is that many of the items are available for instant download to your computer.  I love a well put together set of doll parts - grins

 I purchased this set from Cemerony a while back and loved it so much that 
I went back and purchased several other of her sheets.

These types of doll sheets allow you a bit of variety in how you build 
your doll like the two different examples seen on the right.


Then there are other jointed doll download sheets that can be purchased
so that you get a very exact looking doll.

AlteredArtifacts has some fun dolls like the Marie Antoinette and Louis dolls on the left or the Witchy version of Marie Antoinette on the right - She can be found on Etsy
by clicking HERE should you decide you just have to have her.


YourPaperEphemera offers the doll on the left  and  RhondasOriginals the one on the right

I have way to many favorites to post here but if you want to see more...
 go to my Pinterest boards at the following links to see them all.
Interesting Projects (includes many jointed paper dolls)
Cool Image Downloads (paper doll and fun paper projects from downloads)
Victorian Paper Scraps (vintage paper dolls and other vintage paper downloads)

And if you are just not the crafty type or want a doll that has a high end quality look...
Then there are other jointed dolls that can be purchased assembled, many of which are so 
amazingly wonderful that you don't mind paying a bit more to own one of your very own. 
In many cases they are limited editions and or signed by the artist.

FreakyLittleThings offers a Vamp line or dolls while CrankBunny has a set of Tattoo dolls

JDavidMcKenny offers his fantastical mermaids and CathyandtheCat her Grand Ladies

There are just so many great artist offering spectacular Art Dolls that are quite affordable, 
you just have to browse around a bit to discover all the treasures that are available.

I never tire of looking for articulated paper dolls and look forward to adding some of the above shown beauties to my growing collection in the near future.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing just a sampling of  articulated doll styles; and if you 
have a favorite leave a comment.  I'd love to know which is your favorite pick.

Till Next Time...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chineese Style - French "Pantin" Mechanical Paper Dolls

Hi all, I'm back with two more French Pantin - Jumping Jack - Paper Dolls by d'Epinal 
from the late 1800's.  This time it's two of my favorite figures - The Chinese Dancers.
And to add a bit more fun to the restoration process, I've created several new 
color versions of both dolls for your crafting pleasure.

The original colors for the dolls as you see them below are nice but these are such 
fun characters that I thought they could take a bit of jazzing up just for the fun of it 
- so you'll have to tell me what you think after seeing them all.

These are my restored version of the original characters.

Pantin is the French word for Jumping-Jack Puppet and these type of dolls were popular in Europe from the 1700's till the early 1900's.  Originally such dolls were made of wood or a pressboard material then later they were made simply of paper.  The "Jumping-Jack part of the dolls comes from how they are assembled and the strings used to help the puppets: move, jump, dance...

The great thing about these dolls is you can simply put them together with adhesive if you want a stationary doll or if you want a bit of poseable movement, brads or eyelets work great.  
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
 There are several nice sized images of vintage Pantin paper dolls on the web, however you have to remember that when they were originally made many of the mass produced figures were extremely inexpensive and not of the greatest print quality.  One of my projects over the past several months has been to see if I could "perk" some of these old treasures up for use in several upcoming projects I wanted to undertake. I have to say that so far they are cleaning up quite nicely.  I'll let you be the judge as to weather you would be more inclined to use these dolls in their original state with all their antique charm or the updated versions I've created.  Either way I hope you enjoy these Chinese Dancers and the other d'Epinal paper dolls I've posted before them.

This is my restored version of the China Lady Doll

This is the original Antique image I started with  - from pilllpat at flickr
Even in her vintage stat you can see this dolls charm and why I was drawn to give her 
a makeover.  She just begged to be played with but the drabness of her face and the 
faded/splotched ink blemishes cried out for attention before that could happen.
The above original doll can be found - HERE

The same went for her partner who originally started looking much the same.

This is the original vintage image of the China Man paper doll from - pilllpat on flickr
I am ever so grateful to generous contributors who place lovely vintage images like these on the web so us crafty types have the opportunity to digitally own them and alter them as needed for our projects.  I hope you will take the opportunity to discover all the wonderful vintage treasures
 pilllpat has placed on her flickr account for your viewing and crafting pleasure.
The original of the China Man can be found - HERE

Hours of digital work in Photoshop was required for me to change my little China man from  his original vintage state to the new man he is today, or at least one of my versions of him - giggles.

My updated version based on the original French Pantin bu d'Epinal
I believe his outlines are sharper, his coloring while still retaining some of the antique charm 
are now brighter, the coverage is improved and his face has perked up a bit.

I pretty much stayed at restoring the dolls in my other "Pantin" conversions and maybe adding in a few additional limbs for variety.  I wanted to somthing a bit different with this set of characters and decided to create several color versions as their variety factor -  since the are just too fun for words, in my opinion.

I've even taken a few of them and created png dolls so you can see them in a few poses
 or to be used in digital or handmade crafts should you wish to do that.
png versions of two of my re-colorized dolls in fun poses - these two coordinate but don't match exactly.
  The above figures required an additional arm for each of them to create these poses.  To create the same in paper you would need to print the man twice so you could get a duplicate of his left arm, allowing him to have one arme pointing up and one behind his back.  For the lady you would need to print one normally and one in reverse so you have well matched arms to place behind her hips. 

png versions of two of my re-colorized dolls in fun poses - these two are a matching set.
Here are two more that work well with the set above yet are in slightly different poses.  This time the figures are a matched set color wise. I've digitally cut away the extra "draping" fabric so you can see another way to easily alter their appearance, should you choose to do so when creating these as paper dolls.  Only one image of the man or lady would be needed to create these poses.
 The New Paper Doll Collection - Colors!!!!
I hope you enjoy hours of crafting pleasure with this selection of Dancing China 
paper dolls as did those who originally played with them in 1800's France. 
 The best part is we now have color options they never did.
Tip - for durability I suggest mounting your printed sheets to heavy cardstock or light chipboard (recycled cereal boxes are great for this) before cutting out your figures, especially if you will be constructing them with mini brads or eyelets.  Also, for variety you can print multiple image in regular and reverse so you can create more options for posing your figures, it's just fun to play and see what combinations you can come up with. I like the idea of printing one regular and one reverse. Mounting them on chipboard and cutting them out then assembling each doll back-to-back using eyelets so that no matter how you flip the doll you see the pretty side and not a plain back.

I've made matching set so you would have figures that worked well together at all times; however many of them mix and match well together so you figures don't always have to be matchy-matchy.
There are 10 sets of dolls total so hopefully you will find a few you like - grins.

 Aubergine version 1

Remember to click on each image to pull up the larger version of it before saving.
This way you will be saving the larger image and not the smaller thumbnail you see here.

 Aubergine Version 2

 Blue Version

 Blue-Green Version

 Brick & Slate Version

 Green & Grape Version

 Plum and Raspberry Version

 Teal Version

 Wine Version

And one last time my version of the original color scheme from the vintage set.
My version of the original d'Epinal doll set

Again - Remember to click on each image to pull up the larger version before saving it.
This way you will be saving the larger image and not the smaller thumbnail you see here.
This will make a huge difference when you finally try to use the image later on.

Please visit my previous post to learn more about French Pantin Paper Dolls
 and to see the other vintage doll images I've given a makeover.

"Pantin" Post #1 - About French "Pantin" Dolls  - click HERE
"Pantin" Post #2 - Mr & Mrs Polichinelle Dolls  - click HERE
"Pantin" Post #3 - Gypsy Lady and Man Dolls  -   click HERE
"Pantin" Post #4 - Scottish Lass & Gypsy Pirate - click HERE
"Pantin" Post #5 - Harlequin, Pierrette, Polichinelle - click HERE
"Pantin" Post #6 - China Doll Dancing Dolls  - Currently Viewing

The French were not the only ones to produce these types of puppet dolls.
They were made in a variety of countries and called by various names.
"Pantins" are what they were named by the French maker d'Epinal on his printed sheets.

Originals of these types of dolls are still available if you search hard and are willing to pay the price, luckily there are very generous people who do not mind posting images of originals so the rest of us get to drool over their collections and occasionally find images in a high enough resolution to play with; as I've been able to do for these posts.

 (you can even find them in animal form like these d'Epinals -  also from pilllipat at flickr)

The Show Pony/Circus Horse and Donkey paper dolls by d'Epinal make an
interesting twist to a jointed paper doll collection and these are in great
printing condition, so I hope add them to your collection too.
The Pony can be found - HERE and the Donkey can be found - HERE

Personally I am not actively searching to add originals of these dolls to my collection; however there are a few exceptions of that rule as always.  Here are a few elusive sheets I hope to one day own and post for your playful enjoyment, so wish me luck as I search for the following d'Epinal sheets.

Top on my list is this set of Chinese and Turkish dolls - arn't they great?

d'Epinal Pantin Sheet #1 - Pantins Danseurs Chinois et Turcs-  Dancers Chinese and Turks

  I discovered this sheet - HERE and am able to purchase a reproduction print
at places like - HERE but then I can't share them on my blog.  I love this set so much
that I may one day break down and buy it to frame and hang on my wall. We shall see.

d'Epinal Pantin sheet No.845
I would like to get the lady Spanish Dancer, the Cavalier next to her and the uniformed man
above her -  who knows it could one day happen and I'll post them for you if it ever does.

d"Epinal Pantins sheet No. 844
 I'd like to get the two lovely ladies from this sheet as well so if I'm ever fortunate enough to get these or any other vintage "dancing" dolls like them I'll do my best to share them with you. - grins.

Vintage Pantin from the  - Spielzeugmuseum Nurmburg
So far this is the best quality image of the Fairy Dancer "Sylphide" I've been able to locate;
 but at least it lets me know that she was available individually and not just on a group sheet.

I believe that wraps up my French d'Epinal digital collection for "Pantins" at this time;
 but I do have some other vintage "Dancing" dolls and some interesting modern ones
 to share with you on upcoming post.
Please let me know if you are enjoying this series or if you know of any resources out there there with vintage pantins out on the web that I may have missed, and so others can find them too.

Till Next Time...