Paper Art Doll – Self Portrait Theme

Paper Art Doll – Self Portrait Theme

hello everyone its Shel C from PaperOcotilloStudio and today I’m sharing with you an art doll that I made for a
swap in a group that I’m in. The theme was self-portrait and so I made a paper
doll, fully articulated,with my face my body basically what I look like I got a
little bit serious and intense with it and then I realized that I needed to
stop taking myself so seriously and I changed it up a little bit at the end so
this is the process except for making the actual body and I will put a link in
my card right now which shows you how I make the paper what the paper is made
out of and how I design and assemble the body it’s from a different a different
video that this is the same body as the bee lady so the only difference being
that I made the head piece instead of drawing it I glued a black and white
photo of myself and then painted over it so the body is the same as the bee lady
now the colors might be a little bit different but heads different the face
is different because it’s it’s meant to be a self-portrait so I did glue on the
front part I glued my face in my hair on the back part I’m making a piece that I
can glue over that that will cover the back of the head and go down the back
this is how my hair is I have long hair in the back it’s a little bit shorter
around my face a little bit layered around my face so that piece
will go on the back like that and it’ll be double thick so that it’s nice and
sturdy this is 140 pound cold press watercolor paper that the doll is made
out of and there’s a whole process to it which you can watch in the other video
so for this one I am showing you how I made the face and head how I made the
clothing I didn’t feel comfortable sending somebody my self-portrait doll
without any clothes on some of the other art paper dolls that I’ve made that
you’ve seen on my channel they’re naked and then I make them clothes to put on
this time I’m going to to dress myself I guess it’s what it’s supposed to
represent me in a bra and underwear and then then clothing like I would normally
wear t-shirt and shorts and then some more whimsical accessories after that so
I have this scrapbooking paper that I’m making the Bron underwear out of this
would be something I would wear I like patterned cotton underwear so and I like
them to match I like two tops and bottoms to match so this kind of almost
looks like a bathing suit at this you know sort of but it is actually under
clothing so I cut them out I glued them on with permanent glue stick and then I
did some shadowing with a graphite colored Stabilo all pencil and a water
brush just to add the shadows like clothing does have I mean when you you
wouldn’t look so flat nothing looks flat on a human person so now she needs some
bottoms as well gonna cut that out of the same paper I guess I’m still working
on the hooks and the the whatever those straps size adjusters since your upper
things are basically to make the clothes I’m using scratch paper and tracing
around the body of the doll and then using that little pattern to cut out the
pattern paper and then I glue that on then shadow it and in the case of my
paper dolls you know a lot of paper dolls they don’t have a backside it’s
just got like folded tabs on the back but it’s all just completely white on
the back that’s not how I do mine minor art dolls and they have a front and a
back everything is 360 all the way around the
clothing fast fastens and is covering both the front and back
I just I don’t like it to be just nothing on the back in the case of this
backside the way I did the underwear I put it on the torso piece but then
realized that it didn’t look correct and so I ended up putting some of that paper
at the top of the legs in the back so that it looks it looks right I kind of I
mean this this process was about five hours to make the doll from front you
know start to finish and I’m trying to fit it into 20 minutes which ended up
being 25 minutes so this is a 25 minute video so there are pieces that are very
spit up there pieces that are cut out completely and of course I didn’t even
show cutting making the paper painting the paper cutting out the doll itself
assembling it putting all the Brad’s and all that type of stuff is not even in
this video so this is this is not a quick project but it’s fun and it’s it
was a challenge I put it off till the very last minute because I just didn’t
know how I would do a self-portrait I don’t feel comfortable about my face and
body I don’t think that you know I’m the the best thing since sliced bread I
don’t like my photo taken i none of these things so to actually make
something that somewhat looks like me was a little bit on the creepy side and
then i’m sending it to someone else and exchanging it for theirs so i could
have taken it even less seriously and maybe made it even more whimsical but it
said self portrait so i’m trying to make it look like me maybe i could have made
it reflect my personality but I’m not really that deep so I couldn’t think I
just what this was a tough one you know give me give me a theme like fairy
Taylor mermaids or something he’s a lot easier than doing this this was this was
a tough one so for the face like I said I used a black and white
printout from my inkjet printer just to get the the shadows and the placement of
the features correct I didn’t feel comfortable just drawing it I thought I
needed something a little bit more concrete so I put that on with some
matte gel medium and then now I am coloring it in I need it to match the
skin of the body part of the doll so I need it to be those same colors but then
enhanced with highlights the shadows the pink cheeks you know the whole thing so
this process of this tiny little face probably took longer than anything on
the entire doll because it requires layers and layers I have some white
acrylic paint on my palette and then I’m using neo color 2 water soluble crayons
as the tint so I how I scribble the crayon onto my under paper and then I
pick it up with the water brush the water tank brush but I also have a
little bit of the acrylic blended into it so it lightens the color of what I
have on the paper to have that white blended into it so it’s not pure color
from what the crown is but it’s the 10th of what it is because I’m adding white
and having that little bit of acrylic it mixed in with it helps it to stay
permanent because these are water soluble product I don’t intend to seal
this so I do want to have something to make it permanent when it’s dry also
that’s creamy bit of acrylic titanium white paint helps it blend better so
it’s not as Scratchy of blending however when you see the close up close up the
one at the end it’s not it’s not like an acrylic painting it doesn’t look like
acrylic painting it’s more blended than that and of course I’m using pencil the
pencil is graphite so I can blend to the graphite a little bit
I didn’t use any pen real Inkpen on it I used softer materials
trying to get kind of a portrait look so I keep adding back in the highlights I
keep adding back in the shadows it’s just it’s a layering process just
layering color on top of color on top of color until you’re happy with how it
looks it’s something that requires practice and I did end up feeling like
it looked like me it looked like the picture of me it’s not you know it’s a
very basic expression I don’t have I and in some of the photos I thought about
using I have goofy looks on my face you know I do make faces at the camera when
I’m getting my picture taken good I don’t don’t like to have my picture
taken so I tend to make goofy faces and I did have some that were more funny
than this having a lot of problems with my printer it’s really broken and it
needs I needed I don’t know what to do about it
it just prints very very poorly so that’s the reason that I printed this
with just a simple black and white and painted over I mean I was going to do
that anyway but instead of printing in color because my color is all messed up
and it’s it comes out weird it’s like I I go to print with black it comes out
purple I go to print with skin tone it comes out yellow I don’t know what is
wrong with the darn thing but you really I need to figure it out because I’ve got
some projects where I need to print stuff with my printer and I yeah I got
problems I got printer problems so here’s the back of the hair and I’m
using the same colors that I used in the front layering on colors and coloring in
the back side so that would be from the back the doll from the back that will be
glued on to that using some white using some pencil adding some detail
making it look like layered streaky hair with a little bit of purple at the
bottom you have purple streaks in my hair so sometimes just one streak
sometimes a lot of streaks it just depends it depends on how much time I
want to spend I guess so then that’s going to be glued with tacky glue to the
back and I went ahead and glued it on flip the doll over and realized that
some of it shows in the front so I had to take it back off and color the bottom
inside part that shows where around the neck it was just white it didn’t look it
didn’t look right at all so and they fixed that up a little bit and then glue
it back on again and now she has the front in the back of her hair I don’t
like the white edges around the top so I get out some distress ink in photo
whatever the something about aged photo and I sponge the edge all the way around
and then that colors it in brown and you don’t see the white edges so there’s the
finished all without any clothes that’s what it looks like in the front in the
back and now I’m going to make her a t-shirt and some shorts this is the
average thing that I wear every day I live in Arizona it’s very warm here
sometimes I wear leggings or yoga pants in the winter and jeans I mean obviously
I have jeans but I tend to wear comfortable clothing because I don’t go
out that much and so this is very typical of something that I would wear
jean shorts and a t-shirt and I don’t wear shoes I mean I have shoes and I
will wear them if I have to go outside but 90% of the time I am NOT in shoes
and if I am in shoes they’re either teens sandals or Birkenstock sandals so
I didn’t make her in shoes because yeah I just didn’t some of
my other dolls have boots and different things that I slide on their feet but
for this one it’s just barefoot so I made a front and back of the shirt
and then I have a gel print here that was a gel print made with pan pastels
and the stencil and I’m cutting it out with tabs and then the tabs can fold
over but I’m only gonna have the tabs fashioned on one side and the tabs are
folded under and attached to the back on the inside on one side so then the tabs
will have velcro and they vel car on one side but then the other side you just
slide it over the arm and then velcro that over the arm and under the arm at
the other side I know that’s confusing but if you really look at the pictures
you can see how it fastens so here I am sliding it over the one arm and then
attaching it with the velcro on the back over the arm and under the arm and
that’s how it stays on so the clothing is all the way around from the front to
the back I have to tuck the shirt underneath the hair and actually the
hair comes in really handy later when I attach the wings so here’s the velcro
dots they’re sticky I cut it in half and I stick one side down and then stick the
other side down and then fold them together now it’s attached now I’m gonna
add the shading the shadows around the shirt on the front the back like you do
again with the gray graphite Stabilo all pencil this is a lot of reactive pencil
I also end up using a little bit of white acrylic paint and then a little
bit of dark purple neo color Chu crayon just to add a little bit more to the
shadows so if anyone out there likes to make art dolls I suggest that it would
be fun if you tried to make a sort self-portrait
one and I’m I’m really excited to see other people’s photos in the groups what
they came up with were they completely whimsical were they more realistic
I was really started out making mine realistic and I wonder if everyone took
that route it’s always interesting to see what different people do with the
same challenge so I’m just about done with the t-shirt I am gonna write some
words on it as soon as it’s dry I think funny t-shirts about art with funny
sayings on them or or something that I enjoy so it says that art is my favorite
sports which is kind of a tongue-in-cheek commentary about of course yeah I like
to do art I like to sit in my studio maybe I sit on my behind too much and I
don’t really play sports and maybe my body would be a different shape if I did
play sports you know what I’m saying it’s kind of that’s the reason that I
pick to that particular is saying to put on the t-shirt so now she needs some
shorts so tracing around again tracing around the doll on the scratch paper and
then making a little pattern I looked around my studio because I did have
somewhere in this studio some patterned paper that looks like denim you know
it’s it’s printed to look like denim it’s here somewhere
I have like a little 6×6 pad of it I could not find it it’s getting so
frustrated could not find it but I did find this handmade paper and it
definitely has a weave to it it was made on a screen I actually remember making
this paper we made a whole bunch of paper one time a friend of mine and I
and you make pulp it’s blue paper pulp and you can put different things into it
and depending on what paper scraps you’re using you know if you’re using
junk mail comes out kind of gray if you you can
throw some scraps of blue into it and then it will turn into light blue or you
could put some botanical type stuff like some blueberries or something in it it’s
really fun and then you just spread it out and squish it onto a screen and you
let it dry so that’s what kind of paper this is so I thought oh I’ll make this
shorts because I have a pair of light denim shirts I’ll make the shorts out of
this but then paper was too weak and I ended up having to glue it to some
mixed-media paper and then cut it out again because it’s tore the minute I
tried to stick the velcro dots and stuff on it that it just tore it was way it’s
way too weak it doesn’t have enough strength to do much with so then I use
some distress oxide and faded jeans and sponged all the way around all the edges
and it made it a lot look a lot more realistic because you know you’re the
tops of your thighs and the places where you put your pockets and the kind of
places where you sit on your on your bottom gets a lot lighter in jeans it
starts to fade in that area and look more worn and then that the places where
it’s sewn on the edges tend to stay darker so that’s how it ended up looking
once I did that I also drew in all the details with a permanent fabric castel
illustration pin and also ended up adding like some little rivets some
little gold rivets with some gold paint eventually still putting the velcro dots
on so this one is just it just wraps all the way around it’s folded on one side
and then there’s a tab on the other side that folds around to the back and
fastens to keep the shorts on they don’t have anything in the middle like in
between the legs there’s no fat there was no no folder fastened in between the
legs which means the legs kind of flop around a little bit and they don’t
always stay in in alignment with the you know what I’m saying the
legs went across on the doll they want to swing around but you know it’s it’s
paper doll so here I am putting their rivets on at this point I was almost
done and I was gonna be done and then I thought
hi I’m taking myself way too seriously really what I really want to be is a
fairy and I want to wear a tutu in a crown and I should have a crown I mean
who doesn’t have a crown right so that’s when things went a little bit weird so
I’m starting out with the fairy wings and this is a very similar gel print it
is the ghost print of the other print that I used for the t-shirt so it’s got
the same pattern on it but it’s very light very very light and I ended up not
even having to put any fastening on it because I can just tuck it under the
hair remember the hair is made out of 140 pound watercolor paper so that’s a
stiff paper and when the wings are just slid underneath that back hair they just
stay on on their own so I cut out two two pairs glue them back to back
I puts a little bit of veining on them with a pencil and then I put glitter
sparkly diamond glitter Stickles on there and made the fairy wings I also
had some leftover of that gold paint that I was using to make the rivets
that’s actually what started the whole thing was I had this leftover paint so I
scraped it onto a piece of scratch paper in order to not waste it and then
realize I should make a crown out of it so that’s what happened with the crown
it’s painted on both sides and then cut out two pieces are cut out and glued on
the edges and it just slides right over the head and stays on there quite quite
firmly doesn’t have to have any type of fastener either
I used some stick on gems on the crown obviously on the front back you got to
have gemstones on a crown of course I also made a fairy wand and I used a
toothpick for the handle opinion at dark purple
I made some silver stars with that same sparkly glittery
stuff on them I glued one to the front one to the back
over the stick and made a fairy wand and then this is some pain tea baby wipe you
know we all use baby wipes in our art room to keep you know to keep things
cleaned up and this one just happened to have a lot of pink paint on it and I
save these I have a bucket of I don’t know what I’m saving them for but it
made a great teacher so I just fold it in half I cut like little scallops then
I ended up trimming one shorter than the other just because it looked better that
way I glued the two together and then I got a piece of ribbon and I glued them
down to the ribbon but I didn’t feel like it was gonna stay so instead I just
decided to use my tiny attacher stapler and I’m plating that like folding under
pleating each one and then stapling it and then I glue some strip of rhinestone
type stuff over the top of it to cover the staples I wasn’t gonna get out the
hot glue gun and I wasn’t getting in to get out the sewing machine the sewing
machine would have been good but it’s lost I can’t find it I mean it’s in a
box somewhere so I just used this the tiny attacher and that worked fine and
then I just camouflaged that with a little bit of bling so that’s it for
this project I hope you enjoyed it please give it a thumbs up leave me a
comment or question below subscribe you haven’t already share all those things
that’s it for me thanks bye bye


  • Jean Black says:

    I love it. What a work of art. The person that receives this is very lucky.

  • AuntBecscreations says:

    Shel… this is AWESOME!!! I LOVE LITTLE SHEL FAIRY!!!! I shared this video and challenge in my group so perhaps some more little people will show up on You Tube.

  • Marie Duncan says:

    Art doll Shel is amazing!! Always remember you are perfect, you are beautiful, you are loved! Your crown, wand and tutu are wonderful!

  • Marti Seelye says:

    Oh wow Shel, you are amazing!!! And lovely, by the way. My Dad used to sing a song called Paper Doll, I think. I'll buy a paper doll I can call my own. I was singing that as I watched your awesome creation come to life. I want one! LOL

  • Marike Bakkenes says:

    Like the tattoos on your legs. Lol

  • Reny Missos says:

    Beautiful project! As cool as this doll is, she’s not as cool as you are in real life. I am proud to call you a friend.

  • starla arts says:

    Wow. She is fun and beautiful !

  • Peggy R says:

    Omg Shel – so freaking cute !!! Lots of work for you but worth it in the end – tfs- 👵🏻🎨❤️. 🌵🌵🌵🌵🌵

  • Sue Falls says:

    Love it❣️you are truly a woman after my own heart!!! So much in common!!! Very nice self portrait❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️

  • Kissmygrits69 N'joi says:


  • Bridget Murray says:

    I truly enjoyed your wonderful paper doll. I felt like a little girl again watching your create. It made me want to create one….hmmm one day. LOL…tfs

  • Pati Pena says:

    Your Paper doll is so cute, I need to make one of me.. It's going to be Skinny Law Professor with couture clothes on it.. just what I always wanted to be.. oh and sometimes she will also be a fierce boxer.. and other times a beautiful ballerina..

  • Daisy Cochran says:

    Such fun to watch the process of mini Shel come to life! Such wonderful detail down to the point of choosing fabric looking, handmade paper for her shorts, with the addition of gold rivets for even more detail. Such an awesome work of ART! The whole feeling changed when you decided you were working too seriously. 😉 I loved your crown, wings, wand and tutu. I could tell you were having FUN. Mini Shel does look like you. She’s definitely another work of ART!

  • Debbie Bonner says:

    I think you and your art doll are AWESOME. I feel your pain about looking for denim paper, I promised Barbara some textured wall paper and it took me three days to find it. That happens every time I clean up. 🙂

  • Judy Lamb says:

    Love this! Love that you shared yourself with us. I dress very much like you. 💕🤗

  • Sammi Jarrad says:

    Amazing!! 😁💜👍🏻🌈

  • Regina Read says:

    This is adorable.

  • Liz Dale says:

    Very enjoyable and fun and funny. TFS your process!

  • Barbara Clark says:

    Shel, I LOVE your paper dolls! She is so cute, and I'm glad you made her a fairy princess outfit. Saving to my paper doll playlist.

  • Kathleen Hartley says:

    Love the dolls you make, this is no exception.

  • Thilda Hanna says:

    Amazing likeness Shel!. She is the most detailed doll I have seen in a while right down to her wardrobe. You do wonderful work! TFS ♥♥♥

  • bonnie mathieu says:

    Too much fun. I love It and yes you do deserve the crown and tutu.

  • June Mccabe says:

    Beautiful xx

  • Magz Lockley says:

    WOW she (you ) are Adorable tfs Shel

  • Sharon Doane says:

    This is the cutest one yet Shel!

  • Karen Atkinson says:

    You look so cute as a paper doll. It was fun watching you create this doll. Thank you.

  • Tricia B says:


  • Ella Conner says:

    She’s adorable! I like them both ❤️. TFS

  • Ella Conner says:

    PS. I’m so glad u made yourself a fairy and a CROWN 👸🏼🧚🏻‍♂️

  • Jackie Keegan says:

    I LOVE this paper doll. I want my own Shel C paper doll that can sit with me while I am crafting. I am sure she would have great suggestions for me when I am stuck on something.

  • Deborah Rusignuolo says:

    I really like your paper dolls. So talented. Thank you for sharing.

  • Lisa Swank- Artful Inspirations says:

    Oh Shel… your doll is great! how fun!😃🌸

  • judith gillam says:

    Toooooo Cuuuuuute ! Thank you Shel ! Kind regards – Judi – Australia

  • thehippywoman says:

    She's fantastic! I want to go make one now!😁

  • Keryn O'Keeffe says:

    Oh Shel, you put so much thought, time and effort into the making of your art dolls! This is my favourite cos I love your way of thinking and your strength of character and courage in stepping out of your comfort zone to make your doll realistic and a true reflection of you! Go girl!!! You excel! 🥰💖

  • Laura Greggain says:

    What fun! I love this! Thanks so much

  • Anne Casillas says:

    She is beautiful Shel! I love you beautiful purple streaks of hair. That you have wings is totally understandable. Good fashion sense on the accessories too. 💜💕🌸😘💕💜

  • Laura Murphy says:

    I love your self portrait paper doll. She's lovely. Have a beautiful day!

  • Michael Ann says:

    Oh this is so cute! Love the addition of the fairy wings and tutu😍 Thanks for sharing!

  • Anne Lahr says:

    You are a beautiful person inside and out. Don’t short change yourself.

  • Robin Alcorn says:

    Your doll videos are such a treat. The detail you put into them is awe-inspiring. It must be hard to give them away.

  • Brenda Abeyta says:

    Hi. I absolutely love this self portrait doll. 💚💚and more 💚 Great job. Thanks x x

  • Tina Knoell says:

    Amazing how your vision comes to life…always impressive!!! Love it!!

  • Mary Anne M says:

    Shel C, you are a riot. I smiled the whole time I watched this video. Love what you did with "yourself."

  • Evelyn Rauseo says:

    Love it when you make a paper doll! This is so cute. Thank you for making me feel like I can do anything; I just have to follow your lead !!! God bless you and your family. TFS

  • Mara Makes Journals says:

    Awesome! Your description of yourself was brutally honest and brave and totally inspirational. We should all be open and honest like that. We are who we are and that is awesome! One question: how could you part with her?

  • Jennifer Watson says:

    So good!

  • karen delquadro says:

    I LOVE IT! You ARE magical!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *