Three little maids from Guides


I made the one with the anchors as a demonstrator before I found my red and black paper

Friday nights during term time are not my own. I am a Guide leader, which means I spend most of my Friday evenings with a bunch of pre-teen girls either a) covered in flour cos they like baking b) stinking of wood smoke cos they also like outdoor cooking or c) trying to fathom out just what it is they see in One Direction. Last night, however, we had a little bit of a change and made some pretty Japanese paper dolls.

The girls are currently doing their World Cultures badge – so far we’ve done some international dancing, made brochures of our local area and had a go at mehndi (using eyeliner so I wouldn’t get lynched by their parents) amongst other things. We needed one last thing to complete the badge and luckily I found these dolls in the old Guide Handbook – the one from the 90s that I had as a Guide myself. I’d always looked at it and fancied having a go, but being a lazy teenager I always talked myself out of it somehow.

Anyway, they’re pretty quick and easy to do, and they turn out very nicely indeed. So nicely that a couple of my Guides wanted to take some spare materials and instructions home so they could make some more.  If you’d like to have a go yourself, here’s some handy instructions with lots of pictures!


You will need:
1 piece of wrapping paper measuring 12cm x 18cm
1 piece of matching wrapping paper measuring 14cm x 16cm (I got mine from Paperchase – they have a nice selection)
1 strip of black paper measuring 22cm x 2cm
1 strip of red paper measuring 8cm x 2cm
1 strip of red paper measuring 12cm x 2cm



  • If your paper has a directional print, make sure that it’s going the right way! With the wrong side facing you, make a half centimetre fold along the short edge of the smaller piece of paper.


  • Then fold lengthways into thirds – I measured mine.


  • Fold the top left hand corner over as shown. Set aside for a second – we’ll come back to it later.


  • Take the black strip of paper and fold as shown. This is going to be the lady’s face and hair.




Finish off the knot – I trimmed mine to make it a bit neater.


  • Pick up the smaller bit of wrapping paper again and fold the right hand corner over as shown. Pop the black strip of paper down the middle.



  • Then fold the right side of the paper over down the right hand vertical fold. Do the same with the left. It’s important that you fold right, then left as you’ll end up with a nice collar on the kimono.




  • Take the shorter piece of red paper and fold it round the lady’s waist. Glue it in place.



  • Cut your larger piece of paper as shown, fold in half and glue to the back. This piece of paper might flap around a bit so glue it down too if you need to.




  • Your doll might look finished from the front, but she’s not! Finish off your doll with an obi knot on the back. Fold the longer piece of red paper as shown. Make sure that your first fold is quite deep as this will mean that you’ve got the extra length to make the knot comfortably.




  • Glue your knot to the back of the doll as shown.



  • Ta-dah!



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