Kimono Dolls

Kimono Dolls 1

Class taught by Candice Jordan of Art Neko on 6/01/08

Link to gallery:
Flickr Kimono Dolls Set

Note: an additional template in .pdf format is available in the files of the OSA Classes Yahoo group. You must be an OSA member to join OSA Classes.


  • Clothespin doll stand for each doll
  • Asian yuzen washi or origami papers or you can decorate your own plain paper with stamps and various art mediums.
  • Paper trimmer/scissors
  • Doublesided tape or other adhesive
  • Black paint for hair and shoes, white paint for socks
  • Contrasting paper, fabric or ribbon for obi (belt)
  • Any additional embellishments you might like to add such as beading wire, thin cording, charms, etc. “Google” kimono to get some ideas before you start

Preparing the doll stand:

  • Paint hair on top of doll head with black paint. The face area should be centered above the slits in the doll stand—each side of the slit will be one foot of the doll, so the face needs to be centered above the slit. If you want you can paint in a face—or just leave the face blank.
  • Paint the bottom ¾ inch of the slitted end of the stand white.
  • Paint a thin line of black along the bottom edge of the stand. With a fine brush, paint in a slanted line to give each foot the appearance of the white tabi socks.

Preparing the Kimono:

  • Cut a piece of paper 3” x 8” (if you want 4 pieces from and 8.5 x 11 sheet you can cut the pieces 2 ¾” x 8” and adjust accordingly on the following instructions.
  • Cut this piece into two equal 3” (or 2 ¾”) x 4” pieces.
  • On the piece to be used for the body of the kimono, fold back the right edge one half inch. Then near the top of the right edge fold, fold back the folded edge in a diagonal with the bottom part of the fold nearly ½ “.

Preparing the Kimono Top:

Preparing the kimono top

  • Fold the other sheet (sleeves and top) into quarters.
  • With the folded edge of the narrow side at the top and the folded side of the longer edge at the left, mark a dot ½ inch on the left of the bottom edge, another ¾ inch in from the left bottom. Mark a third dot ¼ “ down from the top and ½ inch in from the left.
  • Cut through all four layers from the bottom left dot to the top dot, and from the top dot to the dot in the middle of the bottom, removing the resulting tall, skinny triangular pieces.

Preparing the Collar Top:

Preparing the collar top

  • Unfold this piece and lay it flat as shown.
  • Mark a dot 1/8 inch above the midline fold, along the center fold. Mark a dot 1 inch below the midline fold on the centerline and another 1 ¼ inch below the midline fold on the centerline.
  • Starting from the center fold at the bottom, cut along the fold line to 1/8 inch beyond the middle fold line. Where the center line intersects with the midline, cut ¼ inch to the left and to the right along the fold line.

Final Cuts:

Final Cuts

  • Fold to the inside (side of paper that will not be showing on the outside) along the lines which would connect the four dots shown around the neck.
  • Cut away from the dot at 1 ¼ inch below the midline fold on the front to the top of the triangles previously cut for the sleeves.

Final Construction:

Final Construction

  • Wrap the Kimono body around the doll, tightly with the folded side overlapping. Wrap a piece of double-stick tape along the top edge of the kimono to hold the kimono tight to the body.
  • The tape should have been placed about ½ inch below the doll’s neck to avoid exposed tape after the next step…so pretend the photo shows the tape a bit lower….
  • Rotate the kimono so that the diagonal fold is centered at the slit and that the bottom of the kimono overlaps the painted socks.
  • Fit the top piece onto the doll so that the back fold is centered along the back and held in place with the double-stick tape and the midline fold of the sleeves is lined up with the middle of each side of the neck or slightly forward towards the chest.
  • Cross the collars of the kimono in a v-shape in front and hold in place with the double-stick tape used above.
  • To simulate an obi, wrap a contrasting narrow strip of paper around the body, between the body and the sleeves and secure with double-stick tape at the back under one end.
  • You can embellish the obi in the front and/or back with bits of wire, cording, ribbon, etc. Use Google Images with “kimono” to get some ideas.
  • Line up the front and back of each sleeve and use doublestick tape to hold the front to the back.

Your doll can stand on its own, in the ring stand or you can tie a string around it to hang it from your Christmas tree or other location.

If you want your doll to stand in the wooden ring holder, you may need to make your kimono a bit shorter. And you can skip painting the sock and sandals. You can also experiment with the length of sleeves. A miniature folded fan could be tucked into the obi at the waist. You could also add a puffed tail to the obi at the back to simulate any of the many styles that obi’s are tied–see Google. You might like to use black crepe paper or yarn for a wig to add another variation to your doll. Make it yours! And send me scans or digital photos to share, or upload your pics into the OSA Gallery for this class!

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