How to Create a Paper Person

Five Methods:Basic paper personSimple three-dimensional paper personDrawn paper person with basePaper person chainOther paper person forms

Paper people can be used for child's play, for school project work, for decoration and for craft. They're one of the simplest crafts to make but you can make them more interesting through decoration, use of different colors of paper and by varying the shapes.

Method 1
Basic paper person

  1. 1
    Select paper. A paper person can be made from many types of paper, it just depends on what you plan on doing with the paper person and how much "handling" the paper person will get.
    • Thin, strong card is best if the paper person is to be played with.
    • If using on a collage or other craft, the paper can be of any kind, matched to the craft's requirements.
    • Old wrapping paper can be turned into paper people; the patterns can make the person look very interesting.
  2. 2
    Draw a basic paper person. Draw a very simple outline of a person, male or female. You don't need details on this drawing, just the shape, as you'll be cutting around this.
    • If you're having trouble getting the shape right, print off a basic picture of a human being and trace around it. Or, use a gingerbread man/woman cutter and trace around that, for a quirky person.
    • The size of the paper person is up to your needs. It might be a miniature person for playing with toy cars, or it might be a lifelike size, for pinning on the wall for a party decoration or a poster for science class.
  3. 3
    Cut around the outline. You now have a paper person.
  4. 4
    Add details to the paper person. This step is optional and dependent on your end use of the paper person. However, some standard details to add include:
    • Facial features
    • Hair
    • Clothing
    • Shoes
    • Adornments, such as a watch, jewelry, headband, etc.
  5. 5
    Use the paper person. If strong enough, the paper person can be used for play. If he or she busts, you can just make a new one.

Method 2
Simple three-dimensional paper person

  1. 1
    Make a three dimensional paper person for child's play.
  2. 2
    Draw a T shape onto the construction paper. Divide the T shape into five same-sized squares 8" x 8". Add one more square on the center top of the T shape. This forms the head shape.
  3. 3
    Draw facial features on the square just under the bar of the T (it's the square one up from the base of the T).
    • If adding hair, draw hair on this box and on the two T-bar end boxes (the hair should run in a line from the face box, each side). Draw a line to complete the hair on the top box of the T. Color the hair in, keeping the hair color inside the drawn lines in each box.
    • Color the face in, if wished. If you do so, also color the non-hair areas of the two side boxes of the T-bar.
  4. 4
    Cut out the T shape. Fold on each line drawn for the square, then tape the three-dimensional box together. The box with no drawing on it forms the base of the head. This is the head completed.
  5. 5
    Draw a rectangle on another piece of construction paper. Make it 10 inches (25.4 cm) x 5 inches (12.7 cm). Divide the rectangle into five equally sized rectangles. For one end, add a 2" x 2" square to the top.
  6. 6
    Cut out the rectangle with the square attached. Fold at the fold lines, going left to right, then tape it all together. Fold the square over and tape in place.
  7. 7
    Tape the head to the body. Tape onto the folded over square portion of the body.
  8. 8
    Add any extra decorations as wished. Once done, the three-dimensional paper person is ready for play.

Method 3
Drawn paper person with base

This method is great for stand-up people suitable for play. You can make a whole family or classroom of characters using this method.

  1. 1
    Try this version if you're not so keen to draw the outline of a person for cutting. In this method, you only need to make basic shapes, then you can draw any designs for the people as you like, onto the shapes.
  2. 2
    Draw archway shapes onto lightweight card. Vary the sizes according to the ages and shapes of the persons you'll be drawing (shorter for babies and kids, taller for adults). The base of the archway should be slightly wider than the paper roll you're using for the bases.
    • Draw as many of these archway shapes as you want to make paper persons.
  3. 3
    Cut out the archway shapes. Put to one side for now.
  4. 4
    Make the bases for the paper people. Cut a small round from the paper roll. Cut two slits on opposite sides of the base. These slits will hold the paper person in place for play.
    • Make as many of these as you've made archway shapes.
  5. 5
    Design the people. Draw one person per archway shape, with the flat end being the base (where their feet should end) and the rounded end the top (where their head goes to). Be creative with the styles, looks, etc.
    • You can make use of as much or as little of the space on the archway shape.
    • If you like, cut out scrap fabric and glue pieces on for the person's clothing. You could add beads for buttons and jewelry, bows as hair accessories, etc.
    • Have kids color in the people if they like.
  6. 6
    Assemble the paper people. Simply slide the archway shapes into the roll bases.
  7. 7
    Play on. The paper people are now ready for playing with.

Method 4
Paper person chain

Paper people chain are a classic decoration for the classroom, home or workplace environments. If you would like an even fancier chain, see How to make a circle of paper chain people.

  1. 1
    Cut a long strip of paper. A regular piece of paper will do just fine, or construction paper, printer paper, wrapping paper, etc. The flimsier the paper, the more likely the paper people chain will rip.
    • The number of people in the paper chain depends on the length of the paper: the longer the paper, the more people.
  2. 2
    Fold the paper accordion style. Make sure that the width of the folds are the size of the outline of the person you are going to draw.
  3. 3
    Draw the outline of a person at one end of the strip.
    • Take care that the head touches the top edge and the feet touch the bottom edge of the strip. Also, the hands must touch either side.
    • Tracing the outline of the person will be a lot easier than doing it freehand. (Do an online search for "gingerbread man", go to images, and there should be a plain outline that you can print off and trace over.)
  4. 4
    Trim off any leftover paper that isn't long enough to fold. Cut out the shape of the person, leaving the folds intact at the hands (and possibly the feet also) so that the chain does not break.
  5. 5
    Unfold the paper. You now have a chain of people. Pull it apart and it's ready to be hung.

Method 5
Other paper person forms

  1. 1
    Choose one of the following styles of person to make from paper:
    • Paper army men
    • Kimono girl in origami
    • Paper bag man.


  • Give your character a name. If he is cool, name him something like yo bro dude.
  • Give your paper person such details as sunglasses or a sideways hat.
  • Glue a magnet on the back of your paper person. Stick it on the fridge.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper construction paper, etc.; lightweight card can be sourced from cereal boxes, etc.
  • Markers/pencils, etc.
  • Eraser
  • Scissors
  • Tape (if needed) or glue (if needed)
  • Toilet rolls or paper towel roll
  • Gingerbread man/woman/child cutter
  • Embellishments such as glitter, scrap fabric, paint, stickers, etc. (optional)

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Crafts