Easy to craft African dolls made from newspapers

I know… I know! Making dolls is not everybody’s cup of mahewu, but you might be surprised by how making things with your hands can prove therapeutic! Better yet, you could even bookmark this post and save it for a later date when you have the right gang to do this with (now that’s a plan). Given all the things going on in the world today. Kids and parents now find themselves feeling trapped indoors. Different countries have different strategies to combat COVID-19, but loosely speaking most governments have asked people to stay indoors more than people have ever had to, before. Allow me to say; you are not alone in this unexpected-mess of a year. Wanna try and explore on of the things to do with old newspapers?

I am now going to give you a fun little, creative project that looks visually African! We are going to teach you how to make a paper doll, with the aid of “Whats Today’s Craft”. Think of it as a way to keep some kids… or yourself, busy! All thanks to one of my favorite Youtube crafters: Whats Today’s Craft? What will you need, you ask? The most crucial resources you need to try this are:

  • Newspapers
  • Paint (…or markers, or a way to just colour)
  • A bit of cardboard

Wait… you still buy Newspapers?

Once you are done answering the question above, join me in watching the video below. As you see all the materials in action, it will become easier for you to try and find substitute materials. Substitute items that you can use to replace any of the materials that you might not have. Like for example in the video you’re expected to use glue… but with a bit of ingenuity, one might cleverly use a sticky tape of sorts. Ready? Good… The next video will spoon-feed you all the steps you need to follow.

Now, how easy was that? (as far as “Things to do with old newspapers” go)Normally I would have provided step-by-step images that would breakdown the whole process for you. But the instructor above did such a brilliant job guiding us all and left me feeling you must be ready to do this now. One of the key components of this craft project is the innovation one can demonstrate at the final painting stages. Let loose and be creative with your patterns and colours!

Conclusion and a related story

I kicked off by talking about how therapeutic this whole project can be. So now is the perfect time to give you a link to a touching story about Radhika – a Coimbatore woman who is battling a rare bone disease (since the age of 5). Due to her illness, Radhika spends most of her life indoors and has become one of the most innovative African paper dolls designers. Read more about her story in this article here by Sruthi Venugopal. Before you go and read Sruthi’s article, here is a photograph of Radhika that was taken by U Rakesh Kumar.

Paper dolls - Things to do with old newspapers
Radhika AJ (Pic: U Rakesh Kumar) more info on

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