Thursday, February 23, 2012

Screen Printed Felt Paper Dolls

Screen Printed Felt Paper Dolls

My girls love paper dolls. There’s a paper doll sticker book with over 200 stickers that they go through it so quickly. And they have some cardboard sets too but those are starting to bend and curl.

It might take me a while to build a big set, and my illustrating skills aren’t the best. So I don’t think this little felt set will completely replace their other paper dolls, but at least these are an alternative. And I gotta tell ya, these was to make, especially since my girls helped me design the clothes.


I have been having fun with my Simply Screen Custom Screen Printing Kit by Plaid. Screen printing may seem like a daunting, complicated process, but as mentioned in my review here in my Screen Printed Storage Ottoman tutorial, it’s a lot less intimidating than other systems I’ve researched. The Simply Screen is a great starter set and I’m getting better and better at it. I still love it and I’m glad to have it among my craft tools.

So this isn’t really a tutorial, but to show you that it works on felt, with my hand drawings of the dolls and their clothes. I love the results, but I can see where I could have improved. And I’d also love to bore you with my thought process. But to see how to use the screen printing kit, please see my tutorial linked above.

Here’s how I made my Screen Printed Felt Paper Dolls:

Materials: In addition to the Simply Screen Kit, Screens, and Paints, I used printer paper, felt, pencil, Sharpie pen, painters tape, paint brush, iron, press cloth and scissors.

Process: First I drew out the dolls. I kind of based it on my girls! I am not very good at drawing things to look real, especially people. So it looks a little cartoon-y. That’s ok.


I drew the face a zillion times and was happy with this one. It was too big, so I tried to draw it smaller but I couldn’t capture the same cuteness! My mom literally said “Yuck” about the bottom two. Thanks Mom. Well, honesty is good. I guess.


So I scanned the drawing and resized it on my computer and printed it out. Then I drew the body attached to the head. I added lines for underclothing.


Then I traced the face onto another piece of paper but changed the hair to ponytails to make another one.


When I was finally happy with the drawings, I retraced them onto another piece of paper, then traced over the lines with a Sharpie pen. First I tried a Sharpie with a fine point, but the lines did not develop well on the screen.


So I had to switch to the medium point pen and try developing the screen again.This time it worked, but I didn’t like how I lost the details of the drawing (such as the fingers, toes and face) because of the thicker pen.


I used black ink to screen print onto an oatmeal-ish color felt. No my girls aren’t the color of oatmeal. But everything other color that was available the day I was at the craft store was either too light or too dark. Maybe something more peachy? Will have to look again.


When the paint dried, I heat-set it with an iron and press cloth. Then I cut along the edge.


All done with the dolls!


Then I started working on the clothes. I sketched out a little wardrobe and used the medium Sharpie over my pencil lines and developed the screen. Again, I lost some of the detail. The t-shirt with the sun says “Sunny”. I should have redone that one.


Here comes the fun part…making the clothes! Love these purple and orange pants!


As the girls waited for mama to finish the clothes, they played with their new dolls.




For this dress, I colored in some pink when the black ink dried. I just squirted out a dollop of pink onto the squeegee that came with the screens and used a paint brush.


One of my girls might have a punk rock, Joan Jett side, because this was requested.


This is sort of a copy of one of their favorite dresses. That white blob up in the top corner was supposed to be a flower…that was one of the details that got lost, plus I think this dress didn’t develop too well (I didn’t press the screen to the paper well enough, even though I used a piece of glass…see my review for details on this).


Since I messed up the first time I developed the dolls, I ran out of screens. So I wasn’t able to make the shoes, hats, and toys I had planned! I’ve ordered more screens and will show you when I make them. I know, I always say that.

Felt Paper Dolls

As mentioned, I was the most bummed out about the loss of detail using the thicker-tipped Sharpie pen. At the store, they said there was no in-between for Sharpies (really?), so I’ll have to look at other brands I guess.


Again, that was a lot of fun. Yes, it was time-consuming. Yes, I had to do a lot by hand. Yes, there was a lot of room for improvement! But I enjoyed every minute. Even though I may not have taught you much today, I hope it still inspires you to create something, anything, on your own!

Here are two great fabric paper doll tutorials using different techniques if you don’t have a screen print kit:

And please see my review of the Simply Screen Custom Silk Screen Kit by Plaid (and scroll to the bottom for more projects and tips from fellow bloggers). And here’s what else I have screen printed:

Disclosure: Thank you Plaid for sending a screen refill pack and more paints. This post was not required, nor was it a paid post.

Linking: The Frugal Girls :: Petite Hermine :: Tip Junkie :: Rook No. 17:: The Trendy Treehouse::Tidy Mom :: Creation Corner :: Whipperberry ::Sassy Sites:: Tatertots and Jello :: Lolly Jane Boutique ::Flamingo Toes :: Homemaker on a Dime :: The Gunny Sack :: Love Affair With My Brother::Craft Monkey



  1. these are awesome! I'm sure your girls will love them for a long time.

  2. Those came out so adorable and how cute that your girls helped design the clothes!

  3. Wow! Those are awesome. Well done! I bet your girls will have hours of fun playing with these cute dolls.

  4. A little something for you here : )

  5. So cute Steph!! I would never have thought of screenprinting these - but I love the idea of fabric "paper" dolls!!

  6. I LOVE these, Steph! But, of course, you knew I would, right? I wanna make some now!!! Not sure if I'll use Simply Screen or not, hahaha. And my grandson definitely won't want girlz ;) Superheroes, maybe?

    And, listen, you're illustrating skills are awesome!!! don't shortsell yourself :D (Thanks for the link love too!)

  7. This is such a great project! I love the screen printing technique! My daughter will love this craft! Just posted on Craft Gossip!!

  8. Great idea...thank you for the tutorial. I've pinned it.

  9. Absolutely brilliant, Steph! I have a hunch these will be passed down and treasured for generations!


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