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Do you remember the countless hours you spent playing with paper dolls? I do. Playing with paper dolls was one of my favorite activities. What I liked best about paper dolls was that I could pretend to be a fashion designer. I could dress my dolls in whatever I chose to create, from flowing evening gowns to skimpy bathing suits. I could create plaids and stripes or I could choose to use solids, relying on my box of 64 crayons for inspiration. I also chose the hairstyles and hair color for my dolls. This helped to determine the different personalities for each doll.

Though I am much older now, I still get the opportunity to play with dolls, only now I use them to add a touch of whimsy to my scrapbook pages.

One way that paper dolls can be used is to recreate a scene from one of the photos on the page. For instance, on a page I recently completed was a photo of a group of people sitting around a campfire. I placed this single photo at the top of the page and triple-matted it for emphasis. At the bottom of the page, I recreated a similar scene.

I chose to use only one paper doll, and dressed her to match the little girl in the photo. I paid close attention to details because these are what give the dolls personality. I used long blond hair with bangs, a white t-shirt layered beneath pink, short-style overalls, and black sandals.

To create even more detail, I used a small snowflake punch to make small white flowers which I glued onto the overalls, some cut in half and placed right at the edge of the shorts to make the pattern look more realistic. A gold pen was used to detail the fastenings at the top of the shorts.

The face was kept simple - two small dots for eyes and a curvy line for the mouth but pink chalk was applied with an applicator to make realistic rosy cheeks.

But just creating a paper doll like that did not make for a complete scene. Using die cuts, I created a campfire and gave the doll a stick to hold so that she could roast marshmallows. Again, attention to detail paid off; I used a caramel-colored chalk to create marshmallows that looked good enough to be eaten!

Other possibilities for outdoor scenes could include the following:

*Hiker - dress the doll in shorts and shirt, hiking boots, and a hat. Provide a walking stick and some die cuts of binoculars or a canteen.

*Swimmer - dress dolls in trunks or maillots or fashion a bikini by using two heart pieces, punched from the paper of your choice. Accessorize by making a wading pool or giving them some die cut waves to frolic in. If they are on the beach, cut some towels from patterned paper and lay them on a sandy beach (maybe suede paper?) under a multicolored umbrella.

*Soccer, baseball, etc. player - dress doll in shorts and jersey of team colors worn by someone in the photos, include player numbers if possible. Die cuts to include would be sports equipment or possibly a trophy.

Paper dolls may also be used without scenes on pages that contain more photos. Tuck the dolls in a bottom corner or over the edge of a photo. You may even just include the top half of dolls if you mount them on the very bottom of a page.

However you decide to use your paper dolls, be sure to attend to the details - hair in pony tails trimmed with punched bows, very curly hair or beards made from layering punched out swirls, jewelry designed from small circle punches, and so on. Give the dolls some props - a bouquet to hold, a book to look at, a ball to catch or kick.

Once you try using paper dolls on your scrapbook pages, the fashion designer skills from your childhood will return, enabling you to create fabulous outfits and accessorize them appropriately!